Where is 'Assistive Technology' today?

By: BigTech
Tue, 24/07/2012 - 12:13

Assistive technologies of varied range have the potential of bridging the gap and bringing down barriers which were earlier seen as inevitable for the differently abled population. BiGTech explores several assistive technologies provided by Barrierbreak Technologies- an enterprise that is a leading assistive technology provider and finds out what it has to offer to the people with special needs.

 

Shilpi Kapoor, who heads Barrierbreak, talks about the products range that can benefit the visually impaired, mobility impaired, hearing impaired and learning impaired. Here is what she has to say about assistive technology and its impact in the life of people with disabilities.

 

Given the right environment, people with disabilities can be as productive as those without disabilities. How does Assistive technology help in boosting an inclusive environment?

Assistive technology solutions can range from the simple to the complex, but they all have one thing in common – they assist people with a wide range of disabilities and impairments to overcome their limitations and achieve greater independence. These are technologies that help the blind to perform activities that typically require ‘seeing’, the deaf to do things that would typically require them to ‘hear’ and the non-verbal to accomplish tasks that would typically need ‘speech’.

A person with cognitive or learning impairment who has difficulties reading, writing and spelling or has dyslexia can use literacy software solutions like the Dolphin Easy Tutor. It includes Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and converts scan printed pages into electronic text, Dolphin EasyReader - the digital talking book player allows the user to read and listen to content through a combination of text, audio and images. A hearing impaired person can use the hearing aid compatible and large key phone for assistance.

Computer aids such as the Dolphin Supernova Screen Reader & Magnifier, adaptive keyboards and ClearView desktop magnifiers can have a major impact in the education of persons with disability.

 

What is the main problem that people with disabilities face as far as assistive technology is concerned?

The primary problem that needs to be addressed is the limited access to technology for people with disabilities. In education and day-today life, assistive technology is not available to the persons with disabilities. This hampers them in their education and growth. Many people are not even aware of available assistive technologies and thus the use of these technologies is minimal in our country.

 

How can a person/organization procure Assistive Technology from Barrierbreak and what is the support provided on procurement?

Barrierbreak offers a wide range of assistive technology products that cater to the needs of people with different types of disabilities. Be it for a person with visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment or learning impairment - You will find a product that would suit the person according to his disabilities!

You can write to us at info(at)barrierbreak.com or visit www.barrierbreak.com for information on various assistive technology products pan disability. You can call Barrierbreak for a demo on the product you wish to procure or you also have the option to view videos or download demo of various products on our website.

We also provide customized training on the product purchased by the person or organization so that the users can get accustomed with the technology accommodating to their needs.

A number of NGO’s have been our clients for assistive technology products; to name a few - National Association for Blind (NAB), SPJ Sadhana School, Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), Forum of Autism, Arth Astha, Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT), Asha Army School etc.

 

What are the steps taken by Barrierbreak in the space of Assistive Technology?

We have initiated Techshare India - A program with RNIB to promote accessibility and assistive technology. It has a pan disability conference, where 40 plus exhibitors showcase their products and services for people with disability. Besides, our Abilities Unlimited program is a format to spread awareness among organizations around the needs of persons with disabilities.

The BarrierBreak Accessibility Lab has numerous assistive technologies that can be used by people with disabilities. You can call us at +91-22-2686 0485/6 or email us and drop in to experience our accessibility lab.

In addition, we would also be calling NGO’s to participate in a pilot study to know the impact of assistive technology in the lives of people. The NGO’s selected by the Barrierbreak team would get an opportunity to use a product for 30 days on a trail basis for free. This would help them explore the product before investing on them.