I look forward to attending the annual assistive technology conference because I see advancements in these products. I discover new companies. I meet new people. I have fun.
Mostly, I am awed by the empowering communication opportunities assistive technology products provide to users. In 28 years, I have seen probably thousands of faces glow as they touch, test and dream of having these products. I have listened to their pleas as they try to buy the products there. I have interviewed more people than I remember, and I watched them embrace these products as though they were a parent holding a newly born child.
I have heard blind and legally blind people, deaf and hard of hearing people, speech challenged individuals, cognitively-challenged people, physically challenged individuals, mobility challenged individuals and individuals with multiple disabilities laud these revolutionary communication products.
I am aware of significant impacts that AT products have had on the lives of people with disabilities. Because of these products, people with disabilities are lawyers, doctors, teachers, writers, scientists, store managers, researchers, programmers, receptionists, telephone operators, software and hardware developers. Because of these products people with disabilities stay connected to friends and family.
A variety of keyboards are there, especially for individuals with physical challenges.
There are portable products for low vision and blind users.
There are communication devices for speech-impaired and cognitively challenged individuals.
There are Sensor Switches designed to meet the needs of people with limited movement capabilities, limited strength or limited endurance. These switches are an ideal choice for the ALS population.
There are mechanical switches that enable individuals with special needs to operate various augmentative and alternative devices and other equipment.
Children with autism, hearing impairments, developmental delays and other language problems struggle every day with communication, conversation and reading. Attendees will see software designed to give speech pathologists, educators and parents who work with these children an important new tool to build comprehension and vocabulary skills.
For people with vision and reading disabilities, they can discover the world's largest accessible digital library of scanned material. There are products for the blind and visually impaired with the ultimate goal of universal accessibility to communications devices through innovations that make software more versatile, flexible, reliable and affordable than similar solutions in the market.
Dancing Dots serves blind musicians and their educators through technology and training.
There are Braille printers and embossers.
There are hardware and software solutions for individuals who have difficulty in speaking, writing, or computer access due to cognitive or physical impairment.
There are accessible copiers.
There are communication devices for people with Cerebral Palsy and other speech/language challenges.
There are tools for teaching social skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other language learning difficulties.
Attendees will discover technology for web accessibility solutions.
There are products that improve reading and writing skills.
These products eliminate communications barriers that have traditionally prevented people with disabilities from having access to information or communicating to others.