Here are the assistive technologies I found on my computer which has the Windows 7 Home Premium operating system.
If you go to the start menu, then control panel, then Ease of Access Center, you will find the following options:
- Start Magnifier – This immediately magnifies everything on the computer screen. This is an excellent feature for someone who has lost vision, but not completely.
- Start On-Screen Keyboard – This allows someone to use the mouse to type if they are limited in fine-motor skills and have trouble typing on the regular keyboard. The regular keyboard appears on the computer screen then the mouse can select the keyboard buttons.
- Start Narrator – This reads everything on the screen out loud for someone who is completely blind. When pressing the tab key, you can just go through and have the hyperlink read to you.
- Set up High Contrast – This increases the contrast of colors so the screen is easier to read for someone with limited vision.
“Physical disabilities typically affect a person’s mobility and agility. Difficulties with motor movements may involve gross- or fine-motor movement and frequently exist concurrently with other disabilities” (Roblyer, 2013). In the ease of use menu are additional setting combinations suggested to make the computer easier to use for certain disabilities, especially physical and sensory disabilities. “Sensory disabilities involve impairments associated with the loss of hearing or vision” (Roblyer, 2013).
- Optimize for Blindness – Here you can turn on the features needed if you are blind such as the narrator, audio description of video displays, and turn off animations that cannot be seen.
- Optimize the Visual Display – This option opens all the ways to modify the computer is vision is present but limited such as high contrast, the narrator, audio description, and the magnifier. Additionally, there is an option to make the blinking cursor bigger, as well as to remove animations and background images that are distracting and make the screen harder to read.
- Set Up Alternative Input Devices – The options listed here adjust the computer settings for someone who has a more severe physically disability and has limited or no use with their hands. It suggests using the on-screen keyboard but also offers speech recognition to avoid using the mouse and keyboard altogether. Then the computer user can speak into a microphone to use the computer.
- Adjust Settings for the Mouse of Other Pointing Devices – For someone with fine-motor skill difficulties or limited vision, this adjusts the mouse setting to make it bigger, more contrasting, or use the the keyboard to move the mouse instead.
- Adjust Settings for the Keyboard – This menu has additional options for someone with limited fine-motor skills. You can again choose the setting to control the mouse with the numerical keyboard arrows, as well as change the shortcut key combos such that you can press one at a time instead of at the same time. Here you can turn on toggle keys, filter keys, underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys.
- Set Up Alternatives for Sounds – This features will help someone with a hearing disability. You can turn on visual notifications for sound notifications as well as text caption for spoken dialog.
- Adjust Settings for Reading and Typing – The computer setting adjustments in this menu help someone stay on task better. “Mild [cognitive] disabilities are considered to be the most prevalent type of disability” (Roblyer, 2013). These would be great options for a student with a cognitive disability such as ADD. To stay focused the suggestions include turn on the narrator and remove background images and animations.
Roblyer, M. D. & Doerling, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.