According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), in the USA, federal law recognizes several types of disabilities: deaf, hard of hearing, mental retardation, multi-handicapped, orthopedically impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed, special learning disabilities, speech impaired, or visually handicapped (399.) The authors also note that various fields of special education and rehabilitation have long been interested in technology; “special education technology has been a part of the US educational system since at least 1879…” (399.)
They finally claim that no matter how technology is applied, the main purpose of its application remains the same: “to harness the potential of technology in ways that offer an individual with a disability increased opportunities for learning, productivity, and independence – opportunities that otherwise would not be available.” (400.)
- Voice Over – every Mac includes an advanced screen-access technology to enable those who are blind or with limited vision to control their computer.
- The Alex voice – the voice of the Mac. Delivers natural intonation in English even at extraordinary fast speaking rates.
- Braille – the only screen reader that supports more than one braille device at a time – up to 32 braille displays connected simultaneously to the same computer. It enables one to share what they are working on with others who read braille.
- Screen Magnification – a built-in magnifier that can magnify the items on the screen up to 40 times.
- Cursor Magnification – makes it possible to magnify the cursor to better see and follow while moving the mouse.
- Closed Captioning – support for playing back open and closed captioning in content such as movies, videos. podcasts, etc.
- Face Time – enables video calls for Apple/Mac users to communicate through sign language.
- Quick Time Recording – allows to record a sign language message to play later, send as an attachment in an e-mail, or put on a blog.
- Screen Flash – by asking the operating system to either play a beep sound or flash the entire screen, it ensures that the person gets the message!
- Mono Audio – enables a person to regulate which audio channel(s) to play – left or right, depending on individual needs (when someone is deaf or hard of hearing in one ear.)
- Slow Keys - changes the sensitivity of the keyboard to minimize unintended multiple keystrokes. It also allows more time between when a key is pressed and when it is entered, giving the person more time to remove the fingers and avoid mistakes.
- Alternative Keyboard layouts – a variety of Dvorak keyboard layouts useful for persons who experience difficulty typing. By offering Left and Right layouts it allows one to use most commonly used keys with a respective hand, at the same time limiting the need to move hands or fingers.
- Mouse Keys – allows to use Mouse Keys to control the mouth pointer using keys on a numeric keypad.
- Adjustable Mouse and Trackpad Sensitivity – using System Preferences, a person with physical or motor skills difficulties will be able to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse and trackpad, including tracking speed, double-click speed, and scrolling
- Speech recognition – allows one to control the computer using his/her voice instead of the keyboard.
“For most of us, technology makes things easier.
For a person with a disability, it makes things possible.”
Judy Heumann - Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
Teaching Every Student
OATS: Open Source Assistive Technology
CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology
Macintosh Accessibility Features
Accessibility Features of iMac (visual guide)
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
Images: Google Images