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You are in: Home > Articles > Accessing IT - Physical Disabilities

Accessing IT - Physical Disabilities

The adaptability of the computer makes it a valuable resource. Itsflexibility makes it very accessible. Standard computers now have built-in accessories to adapt their response to meet individual needs.

The best starting point is to look at the standard computer and adapt it in stages until it can be used in a satisfactory way. Before doing this ensure that the user is well positioned with any specialised seating and support that will help them to work effectively.

It is also pointless to ask someone to try to use a piece of software that they cannot understand. You cannot expect someone who has not yet learnt to read to use a word-processor.

The computer can be used to write, draw pictures, obtain information through CD-ROMs and the Internet. Software can provide entertainment, support learning, motivate young children and help store and retrieve information. By providing suitable access a user with disabilities can be given access to all of this.

Using a keyboard can be much easier than handling a pen for writing. Most computers can be used with a single finger, with the help of the accessibility options to remove the need for simultaneous key presses. The response of the keys can be adapted to ignore tremors and long slow presses. Software such as Penfriend used to predict words being typed can speed up writing. Mouth sticks and head pointers can be used to press the keys.

Devices such as rollerballs and joysticks can be used as alternatives to the standard mouse. The keyboard can also be used to control the pointer on the screen.

Special software and devices are available, designed to provide access specifically for people with a physical disability.

Making the correct choice involves careful consideration of the individual's needs and an opportunity to try possible solutions.

Inclusive Technology offer a range of consultancy services including working with you to assess a disabled person's access needs.

For more information about Inclusive Training and Consultancy days, please telephone our Information Team on 01457 819790 or email ianbean@inclusive.co.uk

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