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Occupational Therapy - Technology

Uses of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education, employment, life.


DVDs, streaming video on the web, and films are engaging instructional tools. Everyone benefits from dynamic visual displays and dialog. Well, not everyone. Viewers who are deaf miss all audio content that is not also presented in a visual form.

Those who are blind can access only the visual content that is also presented in spoken form. It is usually not difficult to make video and multimedia products accessible to viewers with sensory impairments, but special considerations should be made at the design phase to ensure complete access to everyone.

Americans with Disabilities Act and Disability Information

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the definition of “disability.”

ADA National Network ( - Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

ADA National Network - Information, Guidance, and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act


The Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.

JAN’s trusted consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone and online. Those who can benefit from JAN’s services include private employers of all sizes, government agencies, employee representatives, and service providers, as well as people with disabilities and their families.

The Job Accommodation Network represents the most comprehensive job accommodation resource available.

Disability Document

Document developed to provide an overview of multiple disability topics, including:

  • What is a disability?
  • Disability Theory
  • Americans with Disabilities Act and Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act Comparison
  • Americans with Disabilities Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Comparison
  • Disability Statistics
  • Disability Awareness and Etiquette
  • People First Language
  • Universal Design

Universal Design

Including accessibility features when a product is being developed is much easier than providing accommodations to viewers with sensory impairments once they need to access the media. Building in accessibility features for all instructional products is in keeping with principles of universal design.

Universal design is defined by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design" (

Evaluating Products

  • Simple to use
  • Uncluttered interface
  • Ability to use graphics instead of text, if needed
  • Multiple options to use varying colors and shapes to differentiate ideas and to provide increased meaning and structure for the student.
  • Ability to export into different formats, so that the student can manipulate afterwards for the writing process.

There’s a Special App for That--Apps for Students with Learning Disabilities. inov8 Educational Consulting

Graphic Organizers

  • Reading comprehension. Use of graphic organizers is effective in improving students’ reading comprehension.
  • Student achievement. Students using graphic organizers show achievement benefits across content areas and grade levels. Achievement benefits are also seen with students with learning disabilities.
  • Thinking and learning skills. The process of developing and using a graphic organizer enhances skills such as developing and organizing ideas, seeing relationships, and categorizing concepts.
  • Retention. Use of graphic organizers aids students in retention and recall of information.
  • Cognitive learning theory. The use of graphic organizers supports implementation of cognitive learning theories.

Institute of the Advancement of Research in Education and Inspiration Software.

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