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Technology Guide for People with Disabilities

02 Sep 2019

Having disabilities is not an obstacle for students to enter a college. Various organizations work to help people with disabilities to overcome social, physical, attitudinal or other difficulties and avoid exclusion from many areas of life. Many employers nowadays offer opportunities for them to earn decent money. And there are multiple resources, software programs, and technological devices to help young people with different disabilities to obtain a proper education and subsequent benefits. The reason is that some barriers, especially communication ones, may prevent people with vision, hearing, or cognitive impairments to receive the messages and knowledge in a regular learning environment in a college or university. However, the situation has changed and with the help of multiple applications and resources, attending the college will not be a problem for these people anymore.

Young people with limited ability to see or even complete loss of eyesight are not deprived of obtaining higher education as one may think. Though they will inevitably experience difficulties in their both daily and academic life, colleges usually offer adapted Braille learning materials and tape-recorded lectures and textbooks. Screen readers are also among popular programs for visually impaired students.

Useful mobile apps

With just a few taps on one’s iPhone any printed text can be easily converted into an accurate speech. It is extremely useful as students need to review multiple documents while studying.

Studying at modern colleges requires constant communication with teachers and peer students. This application requires a small fee and it can read aloud updates received via emails.

Useful software

Computers and laptops are the inseparable part of the successful and effective studying process. Having numerous settings, this assistive program allows MacOS users with visual impairment to hear and understand what is happening on the screen.

Similar service that, however, does not require installation and can be used on any computer.

Online resource

This organization unites multiple programs and services useful for blind people: from the library to career service. Seminars and classes that are worth attending to as they are intended to improve blind people’s inclusion in all aspects of everyday life including education.

Young people with a reading disorder that is known as dyslexia have the desire to learn just like all other future students. Anyone must remember that this disorder does not affect the intelligence despite some problems with language processing that can be ignored. Alternative ways of obtaining knowledge should be utilized if reading and writing are difficult.

Useful mobile apps

The necessity to fill in worksheets and complete written responses is the part of the educational process that can become a real horror for students with dyslexia. The possibility of taking pictures of the required worksheet and use speech to text option to fill it in can be a life-saving one.

Audiobooks are the most obvious solution for students with reading and writing recognition difficulties. The application that grants access to all information gathered by this organization is a must for any student with dyslexia.

Useful software

This is one of the most useful assistants that can be installed on computers with MacOS and Windows. Screen reader, spellcheck and grammar reviewer for writing activities, as well as reading assistant, are intended to help people overcome their learning problem.

An innovative program that is primarily designed to teach and improve reading and spelling skills of people with dyslexia.

Online resource

A good idea of emphasizing strengths of dyslexics, forming the community that unites people, and developing new ways of learning is embodied in this organization.

The condition that prevents young people from concentrating, remembering, and managing things might have been a severe obstacle on the way to a diploma. However, multiple resources can assist with organizing, structuring, and proper processing of all needed activities that students with ADHD need to be involved.

Useful mobile apps

Easy and funny way to motivate one to improve his or her life presupposes the creation of virtual avatar and completion of needed tasks for in-game rewards. The perception of important tasks such as attending classes becomes easier and distraction level decreases.

A simple tool for creating to-do lists and avoid forgetting something important when distracted. Useful for students with ADHD as it will let them have more control of all their academic tasks.

Useful software

Useful organizer and planner where one can add documents, photos, audio files and many more so that it is easier to have access to the information that requires focus from any place and device.

The application that tracks one’s way of using devices and sends notification alerts to help one avoid distraction and keep being focused. Supports phone, computer, and tablet.

Online resource

Perfect place to find the support from other people with ADHD, participate in webinars and workshops, or read stories of other people. This organization can help both an adult with challenges in the workplace and student with study strategies and time management.

Partial or complete inability to hear results in the necessity to increase the use of written texts in communicating with other people. Sign language and lip-reading ability are useful tools to improve one’s everyday life but the following software tools are helpful as well.

Useful mobile apps

An extremely useful tool for deaf students who attend lectures as the spoken text with the help of a phone turns into the text.

One can easily stay in touch with friends and teachers with simple voice recognition tool that transcribes live phone calls into the text.

Useful software

Innovative communication service that provides the possibility to find an interpreter and easily communicate with those who do not know and understand sign language.

Online resource

This is the leading organization where people with hearing disabilities can learn their rights, participate in useful activities, learn new updates, or just talk with other people who have a mutual understanding.

Studying at a college may be even more stressful if one cannot participate in class discussions because of either full or partial inability to communicate using verbal speech. Fortunately, there are options that can make the process easier.

Useful mobile apps

The application is designed especially for people who cannot speak so that they could start typing what they want to say and predicted sentences will be given to them to choose from. One’s phone becomes one’s voice with this application installed.

For those who what to have their own voice, Talkitt can create personal dictionary and speech patterns based on the recognized user’s pronunciation. After that, one can use the app to turn his or her attempts to speak to understandable speech without efforts.

Useful software

Simple in use text-to-speech program that can recognize PDFs and text documents to read them with one of the chosen voices.

Online resource

Necessary information about the disorder and support from people who really care can be obtained in any local affiliate of this association or via online communication.

Both worrying for the future and fear as the characteristic features of this condition can prevent young people from pursuing their degrees in a college. The opportunities that were missed because of fear will trigger further depressions, panic attacks, and damage to one’s health. Thus, checking innovative technological means will be a good solution to regain feelings of happiness and harmony and dedicate all efforts to studies.

Useful mobile apps

Meditation service that differs from other similar apps as it suggests the best practice based on the current user’s mood defined by a short survey. All exercises – from yoga to deep breathing – help to avoid feeling sick and take control over anxiety.

Multiple relaxing tracks with sounds of nature only and the possibility to set a timer to turn the app off when you fell asleep will help with anxiety management, which is extremely important in stressful student’s life.

Useful software

This tool is oriented on the creation of new habits and focusing on positive aspects of life. The program presupposes various games and activities, does not require much time, and can be used both on phone and computer.

Online resource

The team of professional psychologists is offering online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A test is required to determine the type of anxiety and what tips will be relevant.

The irresistible desire to perform some actions again and again or think over the same thing repeatedly can affect one’s ability to learn and get good grades. This disorder can severely affect not only academic life but daily one as well. Fortunately, there are helpful tools to deal with the problem.

Useful mobile apps

Free application that is based on self-help strategy is available for iOS users. Several tests need to be completed to develop the plan of actions and after that, the progress can be tracked and reviewed whether professional help is needed.

Awareness about all the harm caused by negative thoughts is the first step to control one’s own life. The app is designed in the form of the game that challenges negative obsessions and increases the awareness of positive thoughts.

Useful software

This service allows 24/7 possibility to contact a mental-health specialist in case of need. The additional price is required for video sessions.

Online resource

The negative effect that OCD brings to students due to distraction and disinterest worries professionals. This association is a perfect place where one can find a therapist, speak with someone from an online community or just read gathered information to learn the facts and ways of treatment.

People with limited abilities to perform physical actions related to daily activities are usually dependent on people who take care of them. Limited mobility seems to put an unbreakable obstacle on the way to higher education, but it is not true as there are many alternative ways.

Useful mobile apps

There are not so many applications that can allow physically disabled people to operate their phones and use all their functions. However, there is an application that records custom commands and activates the corresponding phone’s functions upon user’s voice requirements.

Useful Software

Powerful software for people with serious disabilities that is based on keyboard simulation and allows an array of customizable activities. Famous Stephen Howkins uses ACAT constantly and disabled students can also take advantage of the possibility to explore online resources using this program.

Similar software that utilizes many access options to the user’s computer and learning materials on it – from touch to eye gaze. Developers also included tools to make the communication easier for disabled people such as symbols’ libraries and the base of suggested phrases.

Online resource

This is the place that provides access to educational materials to students with various disabilities according to federal law.

Autism

People with autism spectrum disorder experience significant difficulties while trying to communicate with other people. An executive function may be affected along with language skills; however, this is not the reason for refusing the dream.

Useful mobile apps

While being used for communication with children, this application that utilizes pictures along with recorded words stimulates the interest in learning and communicating with peers. Good results while using this app may result in the possibility to use more developed techniques in college.

Useful software

Students with ASD must work not only on getting knowledge and completing academic tasks but also learn how to communicate with peers as they need to cooperate to complete many assignments. This course intends to develop an understanding of emotions as young people with autism have difficulties with this aspect of life.

Online resource

An inspirational resource that will let all people with ASD to understand that success is easier to achieve than they think. Multiple programs, both online and offline, are created to involve these people in all regular activities and avoid their exclusion from society.

College is the next step! Are there any tips for a smooth transition from high school?

First of all, young people with disabilities must remember that they are not excluded from society. Even more, federal law obliges colleges to provide equal educational opportunities for all students whether they have any disabilities or no. The second step is to actually ask for all these assistive resources as a student still must demonstrate that he or she is really interested in higher education. Thirdly, the future student must prepare for the intense studying process and develop the best learning strategy based on the peculiarities of his or her disorder. Finally, many higher education institutions offer accessible housing for students with disabilities. This is a good opportunity to take control over one’s own life and become the independent and prosperous college student who managed to overcome all the obstacles put by disability.