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Computer Access Software Solutions for Persons with Visual Impairment and Learning Limitations. Dan Smith Hines VA Hospital Blind Rehabilitation Center. The Problem: Access Technology is Now a Goal for Veterans Right Here Right Now.

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computer access software solutions for persons with visual impairment and learning limitations

Computer Access Software Solutions for Persons with Visual Impairment and Learning Limitations

Dan Smith

Hines VA Hospital

Blind Rehabilitation Center

the problem access technology is now a goal for veterans right here right now
The Problem: Access Technology is Now a Goal for Veterans Right Here Right Now
  • Regardless of age, concomitant disability, or learning barriers, veterans with visual impairment and blindness need to communicate using the modalities of this “FacebookMe” – “EmailMe” – “TextMe” – “SkypeMe” – Ultra-Portable era.
demographics of a va blind rehab center
Demographics of a VA Blind Rehab Center
  • Contrasting populations on a wide continuum
    • Although some have passed away there are still many aging WWII and Korean Conflict veterans
    • Viet Nam Era veterans reaching retirement age are experiencing disabilities associated with aging, including vision loss
    • Limited (10%) but steady numbers of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) service members, often with traumatic head injury.
what are the barriers to some veterans
What are the barriers to some veterans?
  • Lack of exposure to computer technology and concepts
  • Difficulty with sensory integration—too much input
  • Difficulty remembering shortcuts & multi-step processes
  • Slow, tentative typing & difficulty using a mouse
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Impaired hearing
  • Diminished or impaired memory…………………
how do we achieve best access technology fit for veterans
How do we achieve best Access Technology fit for Veterans ?
  • VIST Assessment prior to referral
  • Screening and telephone interviews
  • Skill & goal assessment on admission
  • Typing assessment
  • Review the strengths and weakness of solutions (see chart below)
  • Select technology to meet goals
veterans commonly stated goals for training
Veterans’ Commonly Stated Goals for Training
  • Send and receive e-mails
  • Write a letter or document
  • Browse the Internet to respond to “For more information go to WWW…”
  • Download NLS Books
  • Manage my finances
  • Scan pictures
  • Use Skype
failure is not an option
Failure is not an option
  • Solutions Explored
    • Teach ZoomText or JAWS
      • Simplify and repeat, repeat, repeat
      • Provide extensive custom step by step reference material
    • Partially meet their goals
      • Provide scan and read OCR device
    • Provide a simpler choice
      • VoiceNote
      • iPad, iPhone
      • Guide or Guide Hands Free
      • CDesk (Still being explored)
      • SAMNet
guide and guide hands free access solution
Guide and Guide Hands Free Access Solution
  • Formerly produced and marketed by Software Express
  • Now a product of Dolphin Technologies
    • USA Dealers -- EVAS
    • Guide ~ $800
    • Guide Hands Free with Dragon Preferred ~$1500
guide tm
Guide TM
  • Runs on Windows XP or Windows 7
  • Suppresses most of Windows messages and clutter
  • Menu-driven: Simple step-by-step menus
  • Requires recognition of menu choice rather than memorization of complex keystrokes or multiple steps
  • Native combined magnification and speech output
guide meets veteran goals
Guide meets veteran goals
  • Writing Letters and Documents
  • Email Communication
  • Internet Browsing
  • Simple Contact Management
  • Calendar with Reminders
  • CD, MP3, DVD Player
  • News Feeds: FOX News, CBS News, Etc.
  • Scan and Read Printed Material
  • Magnify Handwriting and Pictures
  • Access NLS Book Download
deciding who will benefit from guide
Deciding who will benefit from Guide

Guide software is often an effective alternative to interacting with the full Windows environment for some veterans. The following challenges can be indicators to teach Guide:

guide assessment cont
Guide Assessment (Cont.)
  • The veteran has short-term memory problems.
  • The complexity of the GUI environment is difficult for the veteran.
  • The veteran has difficulty navigating and orientating the physical keyboard and hotkey combinations.
  • The veteran shows evidence of frustration or discouragement of his progress.
assessment for guide hands free
Assessment for Guide Hands Free
  • Medical reason why typing is not possible
  • Above indicated assessment results
  • Guide HF still requires reasonably consistent speech patterns
  • Consistent speech cadence
  • Memory for speech commands
  • Patience
  • Willing to play with the toys in the sand box
case studies mr r
Case Studies, Mr. R
  • Goals
    • Refresh all training from previous computer program
    • Create documents and envelopes
    • Scan and read documents
    • Send, reply, and forward e-mail
    • Access the internet and save favorite sites
case studies mr r cont
Case Studies, Mr. R (Cont.)
  • Why Guide?
    • The complexity of the GUI environment was very difficult for the veteran
    • The veteran had difficulty navigating and orientating the physical keyboard and hotkey combinations due to stroke
    • The veteran was becoming frustrated due to lack of progress
guide success case studies ms e
Guide Success Case Studies, Ms. E
  • Goals
    • Use email for correspondence as secretary for a national association
    • Create envelopes and labels
    • Scan and read documents and letters
    • Access the internet for limited searches
ms e cont
Ms. E (Cont.)
  • Why Guide Hands-free?
    • Neuropathy in fingers made typing impossible
    • She did have patience to learn and was willing to play with the toys in the sand box
ms e cont1
Ms. E (Cont.)
  • Challenges
    • Speech patterns posed an issue in teaching Guide HF
    • Memory for speech commands was marginal
why choose samnet
Why Choose SAMNet
  • Internet based environment that is readily tested and updated
  • Very easy access to e-mail
  • Specially adapted access to various internet sites and features, i.e., news, described video service, blogs, movies, podcasts, and sports
samnet continued
SAMNet Continued
  • Free to Veterans
  • $129.00 per year for general public
  • Can be used with enlargement or screen reading software for PC or as hybrid with Guide
  • Desktop access at user’s cost
  • Free 30 day trial
case study samnet mr g
Case Study SAMNet, Mr. G
  • Mr. G. had extensive history with Zoomtext, but had new vision losses
  • Veteran was struggling remembering commands
  • Veteran was happy with Guide, but disappointed with the Guide Internet Browser
case study samnet mr g continued
Case Study SAMNetMr. G, Continued
  • Veteran was pleased with the straightforward options with SAMNet
  • Since options on the portal were tested, they worked more smoothly
  • User feedback and tweeking helps keep the browsing trouble free
a quick look at cdesk
A Quick Look at CDESK

CDesk Personal $395.00 , CDesk Mobile $595.00

why choose cdesk
Why Choose CDesk
  • More Mouse friendly with options for keyboard shortcuts.
  • Provides more complete word processing options (Open Office)
  • Provides easy access to Digital Book Downloads (BARD, NLS, Bookshare)
  • Less expensive software
demonstration
Demonstration
  • E-Mail and Internet Demonstration
    • Guide
    • Guide Handsfree
    • SAMNet
    • CDesk
resources
Resources

Guide, Guide Hands Free

EVAS WWW.evas.com

39 Canal Street

Post Office Box 371

Westerly RI 02891

(401) 596 3155

CDESK

AdaptiveVoice LLC.  www.adaptivevoice.com

25286 Adelanto 

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 

(949) 436-7760

resources cont
Resources (Cont.)

System Access Mobile Network

Serotek Corporation www.serotek.com

1128 Harmon Place, Suite 310

Minneapolis, MN 55403

(866) 202-0520

thank you
Thank You!

Thank you for attending this AER Conference session!

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