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Computers and the disabled

Computers and the Disabled

The computer age has changed many things for many people, but

for the disabled the computer has ultimately changed their entire

life. Not only has it made life exceedingly easier for all disabled

age groups, it has also made them able to be more employable in the

work force. Previously unemployable people can now gain the self

esteem from fully supporting themselves. Computers have given them

the advantages of motion were it had not previously existed.

Disabled children now have the advantage to grow up knowing that

they can one day be a competent adult, that won't have to rely on

someone else for their every need. Windows 95 has made many

interesting developments toward making life easier for the nearly

blind and for the deaf, including on screen text to synthesize

speech or Braille, and adaptive hardware that transforms a

computers audible cues into a visual format. Computers have given

the limited back their freedom to be an active part of the human


According to the Americans with Disabilities Acts, any office

that has a staff of more than fifteen people now has to provide

adaptive hardware and software on their computers, so that workers

with disabilities can accomplish many tasks independently. Before

this Act was passed the disabled were normally passed over for jobs

because of their handicap, now however employers can be assured

that people with disabilities can work in the work place just like

people without disabilities. The self esteem disabled individuals

have gained from the experience to work and be self supporting, is


Computerized wheelchairs have given disabled people a whole new

perception on life. It has given them the mobility to go just about

anywhere they want to go. It has given them the ability to explore

an unknown world, and progress intellectually as well as

spiritually. Computerized vans allow many disabled people to drive,

by having onboard computerized lifts to place the disabled in the

driver's seat. Movement sensitive hardware, as well as computerized

shifting devices allows the disable to control the van with very

little physical movement. Children with disabilities now have

access to many computerized devices that enable them to move freely

in their home as well as outside. The battery operated bigfoot

truck, much like the ones that we buy for our own children to play

on have been adapted and computerized for children with special

needs. These trucks have been designed for even some of the most

limited children to operate with ease. With the newest technology

these children can now go to public schools with their peers, and

have an active social life. They also are learning that there is a

place in this fast paced world for them, and are teaching the rest

of us that with strength and the will to succeed, all things are


The Windows 95 help system was designed to help users with hearing,

motor and some visual disabilities, they include information on the

built-in access features. The controls of these features are

centralized in the Accessibility Options Control Panel. This

specialized control panel lets the user activate and deactivate

certain access features and customize timing and feedback for a

limited individual. A program for the disabled called StickyKey

helps a person who doesn't have much control over hand movement to

use a computers delete command, or any other command that

normally uses both hands. StickyKeys allows a disabled person to

hit one key at a time so that they can access a multi-command

without pressing multiple keys simultaneously, it also allows for

mistakes by deleting any accidentally hit key that isn't held down

for the set amount of time. To use a mouse a person needs complete

control of hand movement. MouseKeys assist the disabled with the

use of the arrow keys on the keyboards numeric keypad to move the

mouse around the screen. ToggleKeys is another program that aids

the disabled, it provides audio feedback for certain key strokes by

providing high and low pitched beeps that tell the current status

of Caps Lock, Number Lock, and Scroll Lock keys. Windows 95 offers

several features for those with limited sight. They make a high

contrast layout that can be scaled to multiple sizes for easy

reading. Their program Showsounds lets you set a global flag that

shows sounds in a visual format.

In an age when computers seem to be used in just about every aspect

in life, the disabled have found something that makes their lives

more endurable. Considering the limitations that they have overcome

in their everyday lives the disabled should be commended for the

strength and will, that has let them overcome, at least somewhat,

the difficulties the world provides. The computer age has brought

them many changes and they have adapted and excelled in them. With

Windows 95 and programs like it, the computer world has been

brought to almost everyone, even people born with limited


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