“Should Be On The Top-Ten List…” – ATIA
“Must-Have Guide….” – About.com
“Comprehensive, Practical and Detailed…” – Disaboom
“Lively Narrative Style…” National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices: Tools and Gadgets for Living Independently (Demos Publishing, December 2009, Paperback) is one of the only books on the marketplace to address assistive technology from a purely consumer perspective.
Written by former BusinessWeek.com assistive technology columnist Suzanne Robitaille, this book chronicles the use of assistive technology used by individuals with disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It includes everything from simple “no-tech” gadgets for the home and office; to the “high-tech” electronic gadgets and complex computer systems for the workplace; to mobility aids and accessible vans for getting around; and modified equipment for lifestyle needs, such as talking ATMs and strobe light alarm systems.
Through her book, Suzanne empowers people with disabilities to use assistive technologies to overcome some of their physical or mental limitations and have a more equal playing field. Using a lively narrative style, she includes real-life examples about how people with disabilities are using assistive technology to assist them in daily tasks, and discusses emotional issues related to the use of these devices.
The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology includes products from more than 100 vendors, in the areas of vision, hearing, mobility, cognitive and communications — with more than 50 illustrations and clear explanations of where to find these gadgets and how to use them in your daily life. This book serves also as an excellent primer for employers who are looking to better establish their “reasonable accommodation” guidelines and policies. Educators will also welcome the introduction to new devices that will work well in the classroom for the younger set.
“Suzanne’s book combines research and personal insight to help even the most novice user make better, more informed choices about assistive technology.”—Frances W. West, Worldwide Director, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center
“… should be on the Top Ten list of anyone interested in Assistive Technology products.”—David Ditker, Executive Director, Assistive Technology Industry Association
“This comprehensive, practical, and detailed guide gives you all the information you need to choose the right options for you or your loved one.”—Kim Dority, Vice President of Content and Strategy, Disaboom
“Using a lively narrative style, Suzanne Robitaille takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the latest and best in assistive technology…”—Nick LaRocca, PhD, Vice President Health Care Delivery and Policy Research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
“…Suzanne has demonstrated how people with a range of disabilities can utilize technology to optimize their independence, productivity, and creativity in every aspect of their lives.”—Rosalind Kalb, PhD, Vice President, Professional Resource Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
“This must-have guide goes beyond descriptions of AT by including developmental histories of devices, cultural considerations, and limitations of technologies that will help interventionists develop uniquely appropriate accommodation plans for clients.”—Ann Logsdon, the About.com Guide to Learning Disabilities
“This book will benefit any organization looking to become more informed and interested in anticipating the new, more inclusive future workforce on this critical topic.”—John Kemp, Executive Director, U.S. Business Leadership Council
The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology – Table of Contents
FOREWORD BY JIM FRUCHTERMAN, CEO OF BENETECH
CHAPTER 1 – WHAT IS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY?
CHAPTER 2 – HISTORY OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 3 – TECHNOLOGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES
CHAPTER 4 – TECHNOLOGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH HEARING DISABILITIES
CHAPTER 5 – TECHNOLOGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES
CHAPTER 6 – TECHNOLOGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE DISABILITIES
CHAPTER 7 – TECHNOLOGIES FOR PEOPLE WITH COMMUNICATIONS DISABILITIES
CHAPTER 8 – ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AND THE ADA
CHAPTER 9 – HOW TO PAY FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 10 – THE FUTURE OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Chapter 1 – What is Assistive Technology?
The benefits of assistive technology cross age, disability and/or health challenges. From young children to seniors, a person may face a range of possible physical and or cognitive challenges. Today, there are thousands of assistive technology products on the market to help people with disabilities with all sorts of needs, from the simple to the sophisticated. Whether you or someone you know has difficulty typing on a keyboard, reading a document or hearing the T.V., there’s probably a product that will fit your needs. It’s really a matter of finding the right technology and figuring out how to use it.
Sometimes I’ll meet someone who is afraid of using assistive technology because it seems like a crutch. Believe me when I say it is not. From all the talks I’ve had from people outside of the assistive technology world, they use words like “cool, “brave,” “inspiring.”
Especially when the assistive technology is associated with helping someone who is already doing something good do it even better. Like Oscar Pistorious, the Olympics athlete from South Africa who straps on blade runners – prosthetic legs – to run 10-meter races. Or Stephen Hawking, the brilliant astrophysicist with a neuromuscular disability who uses a device that helps him communicate his theories about black holes in the universe.
Users of assistive technology must acknowledge that the device exists to help them. There is no stigma in using assistive technology as a daily or occasional aid in your life. Quite honestly, self-preservation is a human responsibility; it’s a hard world out there, and if you want to thrive, it is wise to do whatever it takes to stay on top of your game.
With the help of assistive technology families of people with disabilities benefit too. Instead of a wife having to read the mail of a person who is blind, he can read it himself using scan and speak software. Instead of a child making a phone call for his mother who is deaf, she can do it herself in sign language – over the Internet.
One of the most important things to remember is that, as humans, we’re all temporarily-abled. At some point or another, it is likely that each one of us will use some form of assistive technology. You’re just starting a little sooner, which gives you a competitive advantage.
Assistive technology is a life-changer. It can help individuals with disabilities increase their independence, build their self-confidence and self-esteem, improve their quality of life, and break down barriers to education and employment. The real challenge, of course, is finding the right devices and gadgets, for the right reasons, at the right price.
— excerpted from The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology, by Suzanne Robitaille
To order Suzanne’s book at a 32% discount, go to Amazon.com
To interview Suzanne, contact her here.