Adaptive (also called assistive) technology is equipment designed for use by people with a disability. It may be purpose-built or it may be equipment that is generally available which has been modified. The focus here is on modifications to computers that allow people with a disability to access the web. This is often software-based, but it can also involve hardware. It is stressed that it may be very helpful and will often be necessary, when choosing equipment, to have a formal assessment conducted by specialists in the rehabilitation of people who have a disability.
For easier reference, the technologies discussed in this section have been grouped under different types of disabilities. Some technologies overlap the disability areas, however, as they are used by people with different disabilities. For example, word prediction software and speech-to-text software can be used by people with physical, intellectual and learning disabilities.
A more detailed discussion of equipment that meets the needs of people with a disability is contained in the Technology Options Series (further details are available from CLI Direct Mail Sales, phone (02) 9715 8222).
For students who have a disability requiring adaptive technology, and who are enrolled in regular schools, support classes or special schools, contact the disability program consultant in your school area.
Teacher/consultants for students who have disabilities at your local TAFE colleges can also advise you on the needs of students with a disability and on adaptive technologies.