presented by Donna Case
Many individuals with disabilities experience social and community isolation. These individuals may experience difficulties in communicating with others. For some individuals with disabilities, communicating their wishes and needs gives them meaning. Communication can be verbal or written and is essential in sharing what an individual knows or wishes to know. This course will present an overview of communication and written exchange of information for individuals with disabilities, including augmentative and alternative communication, adaptions currently available through computer or tablet systems, and add-on apps or programs to facilitate various forms of communication.
Donna Case, PhD, OTL, began her work with assistive technology more than 30 years ago when working with adults with significant multiple disabilities who had been removed from Michigan’s State Institutions. She received a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Technology from Eastern Michigan University to facilitate her students' ability to interact in meaningful ways with their environments and community. She received an Individual Interdisciplinary PhD in Industrial Engineering and Occupational Therapy, looking at improving employment options for individuals with severe disabilities using assistive technology. Donna has been teaching courses in assistive technology to occupational therapy, engineering, and special education students for more than twenty years. She has written chapters and articles on assistive technology for a variety of publications.
Communication is divided into receptive and expressive areas. Some individuals with disabilities have difficulties with reception while others have difficulties with expression. Assistive technology allows individuals with disabilities to communicate with family, friends, and other individuals within their environment.
Augmentative and alternative communication can allow an individual with a disability to exchange information with others. It can allow children to demonstrate knowledge, ask questions, and have some control in life.
Written communication is important to individuals with a disability throughout the life span. There are many accessibility features built into the iOS and PC platforms that can transform the written communication options for individuals with disabilities.
Computers, tablets, and smart phones have many accessibility features built into them. However, at times there is a need for add-on assistive technology. This chapter will discuss various assistive technology options for information and communication.