Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is define as:  
Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether required commercially or off  the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Ref: Cook, A.M., & Hussey, S.M. (2002). Assistive technologies: principals and practice. St Louis: Mosby.

My interpretation of this definition, a selection of ingenious devises or tools that serves the purpose of improving a person’s ability to carry out daily functions.  These devises can be home made, adaptive or commercially provided to fill a deficient in function.

The definition by Cook et al, covers a vast variety of devices and systems.  These can be categorized into 3 areas being:
Assistive versus rehabilitation or educational technologies: To develop skills to use assistive technology in the process of rehabilitation it is usually called upon to use educational technology e.g. cognitive retaining software). Cook et al, (2002).
Low to high technology:  This refers to the catagoring devices into whether they are expensive to use or easily made e.g. a pencil grip as opposed to a wheelchair. Cook et al, (2002).
Hard and soft:  Hard are tangible, ready to use, easy to assemble.  Soft are involved in human areas i.e. decision making, training, strategies, etc. Cook et al, (2002).

Reading Pen2.

The following information is a description on a gadget called Reading Pen2 and this is considered assistive technology.
It is a hand held pen, battery operated.  Size (L x W x H) 163 x 38 x 23mm with cover.  The cost can be expected to be around $675.00 retail.
  • Displays selected word in large font to enable easier, clearer viewing
  • Reads scanned text aloud.
  • Spells out scanned words.
  • Direct look-up of idioms/phases.
  • Recognition of a wide range of printed font types and sizes.
  • Right and left hand support.

Reading Pen2 is ideal for people with reading or learning disabilities or for people who have English as a second language.  The pen has been designed for people suffering from dyslexia or learning disabilities.  It supports with reading and ideal for those who struggle with spelling, pronunciation and comprehension.  Use of this pen encourages independent and inclusive learning, thus additional support is decreased.

Ref: Star Education Ltd: Mobility & Disability Centre. (n.d.). Reading pen2 [Brochure]. WizCom Technologies Ltd.

Since the pen has been designed for people with dyslexia, its most beneficial use would be in a classroom.  They come in two levels, being, child and adult.  Proper use of this pen would enable students to participate actively in class work, perform better in exams and give them the incentive and confidence to continue with education.  People with English as a second language will find it supportive for education and everyday use where translation or pronunciation may be difficult.

Any assistive device that enables a person, with a disability, i.e. dyslexia will have an impact on their ability to perform and succeed within any learning environment.  Some people in the past have not had the assistance or support with their struggle in learning and comprehension difficulties so have experienced occupation deprivation due to dropping out of the school system or unable to maintain employment in certain areas.  As their disability is permanent, without help, it would deprive them of many occupational opportunities.

The following links are videos of how the Reading Pen2 can be used by people with dyslexia. 
                       Ref:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f400NcyxtM 

This link demonstrates how the pen works.


For manufacturer's information please visit Spectronics

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