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Assistive Technologies That Help Job Seekers with Disabilities.

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1 Assistive Technologies That Help Job Seekers with Disabilities

2 CTWorks Assistive Technology This presentation is intended to provide information about and how to use the assistive technology available in each of the CTWorks Career Centers. The information will be helpful to employers, job seekers, service providers and Career Center staff.

3 CTWorks Assistive Technology Presentation team members include Michelle Laramie, Rehabilitation Technologist for the CT Board of Education and Services for the Blind, Arlene Lugo, Program Director of the Connecticut Tech Act for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services of the CT Department of Social Services, Kathleen Marioni, Operations Coordinator for the CT Department of Labor, and Joyce Barcley, AVP Special Projects for The WorkPlace, Inc. This presentation was developed by members of the Connecticut State Leaders Innovation Institute, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (Number OD ). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply the endorsement of the U.S. Department of Labor.

4 Learning Objectives In this module you will learn about Assistive Technology for employment. By the end of this course you will be able to answer the following questions: What is Assistive Technology? Who uses Assistive Technology? What’s the difference between low tech and high tech Assistive Technology? How do people know what they need? Where can you go to see and try Assistive Technology?

5 What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology is any item or piece of equipment that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functioning of individuals with disabilities at work, at school, and in the community. Two words that should be emphasized in this definition of Assistive Technology are the words “any item”.

6 What is Assistive Technology? Based on this definition if an item as basic as a large grip pen is used to increase, maintain or improve functioning for someone with difficulty gripping, then it can be considered Assistive Technology. This is true for many items that can be commonly found in an office, at home, or in a school setting.

7 What is an Assistive Technology Service? Assistive Technology Service is any service that helps an individual to select, obtain or use an Assistive Technology device. For example: Evaluating a person’s needs; Customizing an Assistive Technology device; Having a chance to try an Assistive Technology device; Training, etc.

8 Assistive Technology Devices & Services The main purpose of Assistive Technology devices and services are to reduce or remove barriers and to increase functioning. In an employment setting, an Assistive Technology device can be an accommodation that allows an individual to complete their work tasks and the essential functions of their jobs.

9 Assistive Technology Example An employee needs to type reports, s, letters, and do research on their computer but due to a stroke, he can now only use one hand to type. This person may be able to use a smaller, one- handed keyboard. Or, this person may be able to use voice recognition software to dictate into a microphone. The software will convert the dictation into text.

10 Assistive Technology Myths and Facts Myth: Assistive Technology is too expensive – employers don’t want to pay for Assistive Technology or accommodations. Fact: The Job Accommodations Network has collected cost and benefit data which suggest that more than half of all workplace accommodations cost less than $500. Fact: Job Accommodations Network statistics show that most employers report financial benefits from provided accommodations due to a reduction in the cost of training new employees, a reduction in the cost of insurance, and an increase in worker productivity.* * From the Job Accommodations Network Frequently Asked QuestionsJob Accommodations Network Frequently Asked Questions

11 Assistive Technology Device Types Assistive Technology devices are typically identified as: Low Tech: easier to use and integrate, generally little or no customization, lower cost. Mid Tech: moderate cost, may have computer or electronic components, may require some training to learn how to use and integrate, may have some maintenance or repair costs. High Tech: multiple features, more complex, may be highly customized, will require training and more time on the users part to learn how to use and integrate, will likely require maintenance and costs more.

12 Low Tech Assistive Technology Devices Examples of low tech include: Handheld magnifiers. Labels to enlarge letters on the keyboard. Highlighters or color coded labels. Electric staplers.

13 Mid Tech Assistive Technology Devices Examples of mid tech include: Telephone headsets. Talking dictionaries. Digital organizers. Recorders. Visual/Auditory alarms. Alternate keyboards or mice.

14 High Tech Assistive Technology Devices Examples of high tech include: Voice recognition or other specialized software. Adjustable height tables. Braille note-taking devices. Video magnifiers (CCTV). Power wheelchairs.

15 Selecting an Assistive Technology Device When it comes to selecting an Assistive Technology device, it’s always best to start with the low tech Assistive Technology. It will cost less, It will be easier to learn how to use, It will need less maintenance or repair If a low tech device doesn’t remove or reduce the barrier, then move up the continuum until the appropriate device is found.

16 Knowing what you need There are several ways that a person can figure out what type of Assistive Technology device will help to reduce or remove barriers and improve functioning. 1. A formal Assistive Technology evaluation - typically performed by a certified Assistive Technology Professional, an Occupational or Physical Therapist, or a Rehabilitation Engineer. 2. Visiting an Assistive Technology Demonstration Center to view different devices and learn what features they have to offer.

17 Knowing what you need 3.Try before you buy – an Assistive Technology device loan can allow you to try a device to use in your own environment (at home, at work or at school). You will find out if the device works the way you expect it to, before buying it. To find out where to go for an Assistive Technology Device Demonstration or Assistive Technology device loan view the Resources at the end of this module

18 Resources Board of Education Services for the Blind (BESB) Website: Phone: The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) Website: Phone: The Connecticut Tech Act Project Website: Phone:

19 Resources Connect-ability Website: Phone: Department of Labor Website: Phone: Disability Resource Center of Fairfield County Website: Phone:

20 Resources Eastern CT Assistive Technology Center Phone: New England Assistive Technology Center Website: Phone: The National Public Website on Assistive Technology Website: Job Accommodations Network (JAN) Website:


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