Adaptive Technology is defined as "Equipment that enhances classroom performance of students with a disability." Students who use adaptive technology are not getting an unfair advantage over the other students. Adaptive technology helps students with disabilities compete at the same level as other students without disabilities. This technology is like a helping hand. Students who are deaf-blind use adaptive technology that is specifically designed for their hearing and vision impairments.
It is OKAY to use adaptive technology. You do have the right to access information and compete just like everyone else.
Adaptive Technology is a general term that can refer to many different things. You probably know of other names that can refer to Adaptive Technology; here are some of the most common terms:
- Adaptive Equipment
- Adaptive Devices
- Assistive Devices
- Assistive Equipment
- Assistive Technology
- Enhancement Equipment
The Adaptive Technology section is divided into six areas: listing different tools that will support students who are deaf-blind, there is also a brief description offered for each specific tool. For a list of distributers, go to the Adaptive Links Page.
As new technology is always being invented, you may know of new and useful tools! If you do have information, please let me know by sending an email.
Equipment and devices that help students who are deaf-blind navigate the computer environment more confidently.
- Large Cursor Utilities - software options that enlarge the cursor for easier tracking and manipulation.
- Screen Enlargement - software that magnifies the contents of tthe computer screen (e.g., Zoomtext).
- Screen Readers - software that generates speech to enable visually impaired users to navigate the computer screen by "hearing" it. Most of these devices will have volume control, so they can be turned up for those who have some hearing, through the clarity of the speech may not be as good.
- Voice Synthesizers - hardware that allows the computer to prodduce synthesized speech when used with a screen reader.
Tools that assist students who are deaf-blind to read printed material, such as books, journals, courseware, class notes, etc. They can be either enlargement devices or voice reading machines.
- Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV) - a device that displays a magnified image of printed text through the use of a camera and display monitor. The books and documents can be read when placed on a movable platform under the camera lens.
- Magnifiers - low technology devices that easily and quickly enlarge print from most sources.
- Optical Character Reading (OCR) - software used with a scanner that converts printed text into electronic text that can be read on the computer or vocalized using screen reading software.
- Scanner - hardware that scans printed or graphic material into a computer.
Tools that help students who are deaf-blind access printed material on computer or assist communication.
- Braille Displays - hardware used with a computer that producces tactile Braille output when used with Braille translation software.
- Braille Printer - hardware that prints documents in Braille on embossed paper through a Braille translation program.
- SuperBraille 2000 - a portable laptop system which helps peopple who are deaf-blind to communicate, especially with sighted, hearing people.
Tools that are used to improve, but not replace, hearing.
- FM (frequency modulation) System – an amplification device that provides direct audio transmission from a microphone, via radio waves, to a headset or the hearing aid of a person who is hard of hearing.
- Infrared System - an amplification device that provides direct audio transmission from a microphone, via infrared to a headset worn by the student.
- Portable Amplifiers - hand-held amplifiers used with telephoness, walkie-talkies, etc.
Specific Deaf-Blind Adaptations
Tools that are created specifically for people who are deaf-blind
- Braille Lite - allows the user to read and write Braille notes.
- Brailletalk – a small, black, plastic box, which has a Braille display and a QWERTY keyboard. The sighted person guides the deaf-blind student’s finger to the appropriate cell, spelling out each word of the message.
- Telebraille - uses a TTY modem. It was designed as a TTY for people who are deaf-blind and is equally useful for face to face conversations.
Tools that assist students who are deaf-blind, but are not in the above groups.
- Telecommunication Typewriters (TTY) - devices that enable users to send and receive information over the telephone.
- Large Print Display for TTY – a large print display, which plugs into the printer port of the TTY.
- Omni Page - a paging system designed for people who need to communicate to another person - or need to be aware of a signal from an electronic device, such as a smoke detector, telephone, sound monitor, or doorbell.
Coomber, S. Assessment
of Service Needs for Post-Secondary Students who are Deafblind, Interpreting
Services Project, Burnaby, BC, Ca 1998
Coomber, S. Inclusion: Strategies for Accommodating Students with Disabilities who use Adaptive Technology in the Classroom. Adult Services Program, HRDC-Disabled Persons Participation Program, Vancouver, BC, CA 1996
Gallagher, J. “A-Z to Deafblindness” A to Z, 1999, On-line: http://www.deafblind.com