Why an Assessment?
All too often it is assumed – incorrectly – that people with disabling conditions are limited in what they can achieve, even with a modern computer. If our knowledge and creativity is limited to the standard computer peripherals and user interface, using the standard keyboard, mouse and screen in the standard way, then 10% of disabled people will face limitations and their possibilities will be restricted. Research and experience shows that the remaining 90% of disabled people should not find major difficulties in using standard computer equipment. Their needs are more related to lower education levels, resulting from physical inaccessibility of educational institutions and facilities.
Within the realm of assistive technology a large and powerful range of alternative and adaptive approaches is available. When properly selected and used, an appropriate technique can empower the “disabled” person by providing an efficient and comfortable link between the potential of the individual and the desired end result.
How can this best technique be chosen? By a process of assessment which brings together the disabled person, the hardware and software alternatives themselves, and the experience of an expert.
An assessment by FITA
FITA’s advisers have between them more than 25 years experience in the field of computing and disability to bring to bear. They will take the full amount of time required to deal properly with individual details and to arrive at an accurate and soundly based, practical conclusion. FITA’s view is independent. We will advise without bias on products and suppliers.
The assessment process will usually include the following elements:
- conversation, in confidence; to focus attention on the individual and to ensure that all relevant history, circumstances are considered
- arriving at a clear understanding of what is required and what is wanted
- consideration of the environment in which the solution will be used
- including existing hardware and software requirements, location and space
- wherever possible demonstrations and hands-on trial of the relevant or similar hardware and software
- discussion of major conclusions
- longterm review and progress monitoring in order to assess the need for further accommodation and to ensure that full benefits are obtained from any technology being used
Without these elements – without time to address individual detail, without independent experience – any process of assessment is limited and may risk a result that confirms limitation instead of achieving empowerment.