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What is assistive technology, how does it affect your business

Assistive technology is technology that gives people with disabilities the ability to perform tasks that have been unable to perform previously. This technology provides enhancements or changed methods of interaction with the technology that is needed to accomplish the task. Assistive technology includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices, as well as the processes used in selecting, locating and using those devices.

Here are some of examples of what assistive technology includes.
- Dropped curbs - this is a type of universal assistive technology because not only does it allow people with mobility impairments to cross the streets it also assists parents with strollers, shoppers with carts, and business people with pull along brief cases.
- TDD or TTY - a TDD which is a telephone device for the deaf converts typed messages into tones that can be sent through the telephone lines. It works together with a rely service where an operator stands by and reads what the deaf person has typed and then types what the other person is saying.

Assistive technology is actually a great help to people who run a business. Using assistive technology in your business you can help people with certain disabilities, whether learning or physical, become productive members of the community. Assistive technology allows you as a business owner to buy hardware and software that is designed that help people accomplish every day tasks in the workplace; some of the technology is also beneficial for people without disabilities. This is due to the fact that sitting and working at a computer for eight hours a day is hard on the eyes, as well as on the wrists. By buying hardware that helps to solve these problems you are helping all of your employees.

Here are some examples of hardware and software that would be used in the business world.
- Ergonomic accessories - height-adjustable furniture, footrests, wrist rests, and arm supports to help ensure that you are sitting properly. Key guards are also included in this group and help to prevent unintentional key presses.
- Expanded keyboards - widely spaced keys
- Chorded keyboards - has a handful of keys to type by `chords' which produces different letters and keys
- Compact and miniature keyboards
- Dvorak simplified keyboard - the layout of the keys is different because the most common keys are located on either the right or left hand side of the key board
- Spell checkers and grammar checkers
- Predictive text - this is a program that will predict what you are typing so that you don't have to type out the full word
- ToogleKeys - this is included on operating systems of Windows 95 or higher. A loud alert is heard when CAPS LOCK, SCROLL LOCK, or NUM LOCK is turned on and a lower sound when those keys are turned off
- StickyKeys - allows characters or commands to be typed without having to hold down a modifier key
- Keyboard shortcuts - allows the user to use the keyboard rather than the mouse
- Macro recorders - extends the range and sophistication of keyboard shortcuts
- Large monitors
- Adjustable task lamp - shines directly onto the paper and can be adjusted to suit the individual
- Copyholder - holds printed material in a vertical position which makes it easier to read
- Screen magnifiers - makes the text on the screen bigger so it is easier to see

The above items are just some of the ways that assistive technology can affect your business. You might be using assistive technology without ever having realized that you are. Assistive technology is designed to provide your employees with software and hardware to help them accomplish their daily tasks.

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