Feed on

Sensory Characteristics

Avoid relying on sensory characteristics, such as shape, size, or visual location. For example, “Click the green button” will not be useful to screen reader users or some users who are color blind. Instead, use “Click on the green button labeled ‘submit'” or simply “Click the ‘submit’ button”. Similarly, “Use the form on the right” could be changed to something more descriptive such as, “Use the search form on the right.” Other examples include prompts such as “Click the larger button,” “Select a state on the east coast on the map”, “Instructions are included in the sidebar”, etc. Purely auditory cues (“Click ‘Continue’ after you hear the beep”) should also be avoided.

Contributed by Lori Markland, Director of Communications, Outreach, and Development, MDTAP

Voice recognition is everywhere. In our smartphones (do you talk to Siri?) and embedded in nearly every customer support 800-line (seriously, have you ever called about your internet or cable services and answered “yes” “no” questions?). Talking to a computer isn’t something new, and it most especially isn’t new in the field of technology for individuals with disabilities. But recently, at an education conference, someone asked about the differences between the Dragon Dictation App and Dragon Naturally Speaking software. Here’s a quick run down, so you can decide what will work best for you or your students/clients/patients:

Dragon Dictation

  • An app that allows you to send emails, text messages, dictate status updates directly to your Social Networking applications (Facebook and Twitter) or send notes and reminders to yourself using only your voice.
  • Works on smart devices only (i.e. iPhones, iPads, etc., but not on a computer)
  • Has a set voice file, meaning that it will always recognize or NOT recognize certain words. It knows what it knows, nothing more.
  • It’s FREE

Dragon Naturally Speaking

  • A comprehensive software package that runs on the computer and allows someone to dictate documents, emails, and search the web all with voice only.
  • The user requires training to learn the shortcuts and navigation methods built into the software.
  • The software “learns” the users speech nuances and inflections, increasing accuracy the more often it is used.
  • Requires a good noise cancelling headset.
  • Costs about $100 for an individual user license.


Who Might Use Speech Recognition Software?

  • Someone who struggles with writing but has better oral skills
  • Consistent speech volume and enunciation
  • Ability to think, dictate, read and edit
  • Someone who has a good frustration tolerance


As an aside, the Windows 7 operating system includes built-in speech recognition software. This is a free alternative to purchasing software and can be a good introduction to whether or not the software will work for you.


US Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announces
launch of Web portal on accessible workplace technology

US Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy announces launch of Web portal on accessible workplace technology

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announced the launch of http://www.PEATworks.org — a comprehensive Web portal spearheaded by ODEP’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. From educational articles to interactive tools, the website’s content aims to help employers and the technology industry adopt accessible technology as part of everyday business practice so that all workers can benefit.

PEATworks.org will be the central hub of PEAT, a multifaceted initiative to improve the employment, retention and career advancement of people with disabilities through the promotion of accessible technology. PEAT conducts outreach, facilitates collaboration and provides a mix of resources to serve as a catalyst for policy development and innovation related to accessible technology in the workplace.

“PEAT is the only entity of its kind bringing together employers, technology providers, thought leaders and technology users around the topic of accessible technology and employment,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. “Given the critical role that accessible technology plays in the employment of people with disabilities, ODEP is delighted to announce the launch of PEATworks.org, with its rich array of tools and resources.

Features of PEATworks.org include an action guide for employers and informational articles, and it will serve as a platform for collaboration and dialogue around accessible technology in the workplace. Also featured is “TechCheck,” an interactive tool to help employers assess their technology accessibility practices and find resources to help develop them further.

ODEP is announcing the launch of PEATworks.org during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual series of events in October that raise awareness and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

PEAT is managed through an ODEP-funded grant to the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. For more information, visit http://www.PEATworks.org.

2nd Mid-Atlantic Deaf and Hard of Hearing Festival

Saturday, November 15, 2014, 9am-5pm @ the Howard County Fair Grounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Rd, West Friendship, MD 21794

Learn more online!

I’m starting to think that 3D printers will change the world. Or at least medicine and science and engineering and…O, whatever, the whole world.  AT in the news for the weeks of 9/29 thru 10/10

Scientists Coax Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Making Insulin

Natural sciences museum hosts STEM career showcase for students with disabilities

Student Creates 3D Printed ‘Airy Arm’, Allowing For Surprising Use of Paralyzed Appendages

Designing Better Keyboard Experiences

Philips BlueTouch and PulseRelief app give persistent pain sufferers a more flexible way to manage

Digital Walking Stick for the Blind

The Howard County Autism Society has launched a new website designed to help parents of students with special needs

NFB reached agreement with US Dept. of Ed that will make student loan information accessible to the

Pushing Technology for Inclusion

Newly-Discovered Corneal Stem Cells Could Be a Potential Source for Treatment of Retinal Disease

Computerized emotion detector

Couple Transforming UK Pediatrics With 3D-Printed Orthotics for Disabled Children

Answers to common questions parents ask about social skills groups

3D-Printed Heart Helps Save A Newborn Baby’s Life

Design News – Rehab Chair Delivers Right Dose of Tension & Vibration to Patients’ Muscles

Panasonic’s Robotic Technology Helps Deliver

New lab focuses on assistive technology, interconnectivity

Google Glass Can Now Add Closed Captioning to the World as It Happens

Open Field Echo Sounder – game app for blind kids

Bookshare and Public Libraries – A Digital Solution for Older Adults Struggling with Vision Loss

Beyond Pistorius: rise of ‘cyberathletes’ could change sport as we know it

Box at Penn State delivers accessible e-textbooks to students with disabilities

The Department of Veterans Affairs is at work on a prosthetic leg for pregnant women

Japan develops software for printing 3D maps for the blind

Listening to bipolar disorder: Smartphone app detects mood swings via voice analysis

Aging in Place

Bills in Congress could mean equal digital access for disabled students

For those with ALS, specialized computers a godsend

Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students celebrates 25 years of inspiring children with disabilities

2014 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Disability Issues -

Happening Today!

Thursday, October 9, 2014 1:00-3:00 pm

National Federation of the Blind

200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place

Baltimore, MD 21230

Click here for Pre-Registration to this Free Event!

Older Posts »

MDTAP | 2301 Argonne Drive, Room T17 Baltimore, Maryland 21218| Voice: 410-554-9230 Toll Free ⁄ Voice 1-800-832-4827|Email: mdtap@mdtap.org