Issue #9 – Communicating in the digital age

People are social by  nature and being able to communicate is a very important part of that. But people with some types of disabilities have a difficult time conveying their ideas and wishes. It must be extremely frustrating not being able to carry on a simple conversation. But thanks to technology, whatever the disability, there is probably a way to improve communication skills and improve quality of life.

 

 

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

In the past if you didn’t know sign language you were limited in the extent of conversation you could carry on with someone who is profoundly hearing impaired. You definitely wouldn’t think that a phone would be the solution for improved communications with the hearing world. But now that texting is so prevalent a phone is the easiest solution. There is also computer software that enables the user to send text messages to any voice phone and they can even have voice messages converted into text. For those who have some hearing, speaking on the phone is still difficult but there are special phones to assist in this area as well.

 

 

 

Visually Impaired

At first you may think that visual impairment doesn’t affect your ability to communicate. But with so much of our interaction, both business and personal, being done via computer, there can definitely be road blocks to communication for those who have trouble seeing. But there are now computer programs designed to read information to the user. Not only can these programs convert online text At first you may think that visual impairment doesn’t affect your

ability to communicate. But with so much of our interaction, both business and personal, being done via computer, there can definitely be road blocks to communication for those who have trouble seeing. But there are now computer programs designed to read information to the user. Not only can these programs convert online text to audio but can also read mail, newspapers, and magazine articles that you scan into the computer.

Physical and Developmental Disabilities

In the past, if people with physical disabilities had trouble navigating a computer they had to buy special adapters to fit over the monitor so it could be used as a touch screen. Now they can more easily communicate through email and social networking with laptops and desktop monitors with touch screen capabilities built right in. There are also computer mice with varying size trackballs depending on the person’s ability to manipulate the mouse. People that are unable to speak due to the effects of cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, or any non-verbal condition have had to use picture boards as a way of communicating. Now they are able to communicate with Tap To Talk. Tap To Talk is a customizable app for iPad, iPod Touch, Android Phones and Tablets, Nintendo DSI, Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, and Blackberry. Since these devices are light and portable it is easier than ever for people with communication issues to be a part of the conversation anywhere

 

 

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