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ICT Solutions for people with Special Needs.

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ICT Solutions for people with Special Needs Introduction It is critical that the introduction of new technology does not further restrict access to materials among groups already disadvantaged through disability. My Coursework will offer guidance on how to maximize accessibility and will present guidance in relation to the needs of three different groups in turn - those with Dyslexia, Visual Disability/Impairment and Physical Impairment/Having limited use of limbs. Background My Coursework will give me the opportunity to investigate the provision of ICT software and hardware, dedicated to people with special needs, and to assess whether this equipment has improved the quality of life of users with special needs. I will be investigating into the following three specific groups of special needs: * Having a language difficulty - Dyslexia * Visual Disability / Impairment * Physical Impairment / Having limited use of limbs. First, I must establish the precise meaning of these individual Special Needs, and the differences between. These are shown below: What is Dyslexia? The word dyslexia comes from Greek and means 'difficulty with words'. Today, dyslexia describes a condition in which people have specific difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. It includes similar problems with number work and recognising symbols, such as musical notes or mathematical signs. Dyslexia can cause clumsiness, poor concentration and memory problems. * Dyslexia causes difficulties in learning to read, write and spell. Short-term memory, mathematics, concentration, personal organisation and sequencing may also be affected. * Dyslexia usually arises from a weakness in the processing of language-based information. Biological in origin, it tends to run in families, but environmental factors also contribute. * Dyslexia can occur at any level of intellectual ability. It is not the result of poor motivation, emotional disturbance, sensory impairment or lack of opportunities, but it may occur alongside any of these. * The effects of dyslexia can be largely overcome by skilled specialist teaching and the use of compensatory strategies Dyslexia affects people from all backgrounds, races and ages. ...read more.


as long as battery's power * It is ideal for users who have difficulty copying down notes, or references without making errors * It can scan a variety of printed materials and hear the word or sentence spoken aloud * It has the ability to read word definitions aloud as well as the ability to spell words out loud * A wide range of users can use the Quicktionary Pen, i.e. Age Range 11 - Adult. * It is available to be used in different languages * It scans from left to right, and right to left because it is adjustable for left and right handed users * It captures text within seconds * It has a large character display * It recognizes 6-22 point size text, bold, italic, underlined, inverted text. * It displays syllables * It keeps a history of scanned words * It is ergonomic 6" x 1 1/2" x 1", lightweight - 3 oz. * An Opticard and Character Bar allow the user to input text manually * One year Warranty Weaknesses: * It is relatively expensive priced at around �170.00 * It needs to be powered by batteries which will last as long as battery's power - The batteries are relatively expensive too, priced at �35.00 each * It is unable to pick up words that are of irregular fonts, e.g. some words with fanciful fonts and colours such as those that appear on product packaging * It is not very reliable if scanned over handwritten words, especially if the letters are cursive As is shown above, the strengths easily outweigh the weaknesses, and for this reason I would suggest that this is the solution which I would recommend to dyslexic users. The Quicktionary Reading Pen is ideal for users who have difficulty copying down notes or references without making errors, or who want to use it like a highlighting pen - scanning information that they want to review later. ...read more.


Computer technology must allow blind and visually impaired individuals the opportunity to access the vast array of information on the Internet. Computer technology and the Internet are important in providing blind individuals with the opportunities to realize their talents and capabilities. In fact, if a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to the level of a physical nuisance. Web page designers can do a great deal to ensure access to their sites and the information on them is made easier read for the visually disadvantaged. I would suggest to web site designer, that they must first be aware that many visually impaired users have very special needs. The user, whom may be visually impaired, would have difficulty processing information. All these barriers prevent visually impaired individuals from gaining full and easy access to websites. The following suggestions will greatly assist access for people facing vision barriers. 1. Designing screen with little clutter 2. Leave considerable space around all items 3. Avoid placing more than one hyperlink on any one line. 4. Avoid tiled backgrounds; text can become obscured. 5. Avoid dark or bright coloured backgrounds; high contrast between text and background is desirable. 6. Where possible illustrations must be used, because this makes it easier and more interesting for this type of user. I would also suggest that auditory cues might help an individual using screen-reading software, such as JAWS (Job Access With Speech). It would allow explanatory text to be placed on a web page so the user could hear the explanation with the use of the screen reader. Designers must be careful about the way they format their pages because screen readers do not always alert users to line breaks, new paragraphs, new pages, centering or spacing used by sighted individuals to process and comprehend printed text. The Internet is being used so much in people's everyday lives, and visually impaired users should have the same opportunity to access and view the same information. I would recommend that all websites have a function whereby the text displayed can be viewed in a different format. ...read more.

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