As technology advances, there are more and more opportunities for those with disabilities in the average workplace. Many positions previously unavailable to those with disabilities are now an option, as assistive technology tools for the workplace are developed.
There are many different tools to consider, depending on the disability in question. Here are some of the best assistive technology tools for the workplace.
The Best Assistive Technology Tools for the Workplace
These five assistive technology tools are ideal for different disabilities and jobs. Not all of them are applicable to a single person or position. Let’s look at some of the best technology on the market for working with a disability.
1. Speech Generating Devices
Alternative communication devices offer a huge range of nonverbal communication methods. These include apps for a smartphone, speech-generating devices, picture boards, and even sign language. For the workplace, we refer specifically to speech-generating devices.
These alternative communication devices have a huge advantage. They allow the person who needs them to say and experiment with words. This way they easily learn new words and language. Also, the person listening understands them well.
If a person is unable to physically use the touchscreen for a speech generating device, there are other access options as well. These include head tracking, eye-gaze, single and multiple switch control, and alternative mouse and joystick control.
These are great for those working in an office that need alternative options for communication.
Next on the list, is Window-Eyes. This technology is a customizable screen reader available for Windows computers. It allows those with visual impairments to work independently on a PC, allowing them to be more productive in the workplace.
Window-Eyes allows complete control over what you are hearing and how it is heard. It also offers enhanced Braille support, so there is complete control over what you are feeling as well.
Lastly, since it is extremely stable and powerful, most applications work right away without any tinkering with the computer. It’s easy, convenient, and extremely helpful for those who are blind or visually impaired.
3. FM Systems
For those with hearing impairments that have difficulty hearing people in noisy environments, a frequency-modulated (FM) system is an excellent option. Whether it’s a meeting or a busy office setting, this system uses radio waves to deliver speech signals right from the speaker to your ears.
An FM system uses the same type of signal as an FM radio. It is simply tuned to a frequency band that is designated for personal use. It has two components: a receiver and a transmitter microphone. Depending on the system, the receiver is integrated into headphones or hearing aids.
The person speaking, whether it’s the boss, coworker, customer, etc. wears the microphone and allows a person to hear them over all the other noise in the office, store, meeting room, or another work area. They may wear a lapel microphone, which hangs around the neck like a lanyard, a table-top microphone. This is ideal for an office setting. It simply sits on the table picking up all voices involved. The boom microphone hangs off the ear.
4. Ergonomic Keyboards
A great option for those with musculoskeletal and connective tissue conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis is the ergonomic keyboard.
Simply put, these keyboards are contoured and ergonomic, designed to make typing less strenuous for those who need to use a computer all day. The keys on the board are within reach of all your fingers, allowing for a much more comfortable fit and less effort.
5. AR Controlled Robots
The final assistive technology tool on our list is AR controlled robots. For those with certain upper-body limitations such as strength issues, amputations, or dexterity issues. It allows them to support their natural range of motion for different jobs. These include office work, assembly jobs, or laboratory tasks.
Making Assistive Technology Work for You
As stated before, depending on your job and your disability, some options are more helpful than others. However, as technology continues to advance more and more, providing for a disabled person in the workplace is becoming easier.
Ready to take the next steps with assistive technology? We can help!