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How is technology affecting the lives of people with disabilities?
The impact of technology has been nothing short of phenomenal on the lives of people with disabilities. Nothing articulates this better than the statement by Mary Pat Radabaugh, Director of IBM National Support Center for Persons with Disabilities - "For most people, technology makes things easier.
Technology Makes Things Possible
For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible." That's one of the most accurate observations on the matter and it is based on a whole list of examples that could be found across different parts of the world. In fact, there's a term that has been coined specifically for this kind of technology that 'makes things possible' for people with disabilities; it is called AT (Assistive Technology).
AT Tools for Braille
Today, disabled individuals have a whole range of AT tools to effectively overcome a number of their disabilities. Those who are visually challenged, now have the option of using screen readers, speech recognition systems, and refreshable Braille display systems. These refreshable Braille display systems can be used by visually challenged individuals to read text output of a computer system by means of pins that have a round tip. Those with mobility challenges may use touch screens, keyboard filters including typing aids such as word prediction, alternative input devices, or basic wands, sticks, joysticks, trackballs, and even one-handed keyboards.
Highly Advanced Gadgets
People who are faced with mobility challenges that are normally due to the problems they face in one or more of their limbs, now have a range of highly innovative equipment to overcome their difficulties quite easily. Such equipment includes keyboard filters powered with word prediction abilities like typing aids, touch screens, one-handed keyboards and alternative input devices among other things. There are many other innovative tools like wands, sticks, joysticks, trackballs and many other tools.
In order to overcome severe mobility challenges, there are specialized scooters with complete hand-operated controls and there are also battery-driven electric wheelchairs. Technology has come as a boon for people with disabilities and nowhere is it more symbolic than in the case of the all-time great scientific genius, Stephen Hawking whom the world might not have known without his highly sophisticated life-support systems.
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