disAbility, Accessibility and Adaptive Technology Resources
“See with your heart, speak with your heart, teach with your heart.”
Miss Cathy Alfieri (Morrison)
Retired NYS Elementary School Educator
Passed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires schools to accommodate the needs of disabled students in their district. At the time of its inception, the vision of this act was to break down many of the barriers that, in the past, prevented students from accessing educational resources. In addition, it also aimed to enable more of that population to enjoy the full benefits of a college education. Since that time, many public and private organizations have systems in place to ensure that students with disabilities are able to achieve their educational, career and life goals, despite potential setbacks such as learning issues, environmental challenges, or medical conflicts.
collegescholarships.org, Disabled Scholarship Opportunities – As you piece together your plans to fund your higher education venture, consider your unique personal characteristics as a possible source of aid. Help with the cost of college for people with disabilities can originate from any number of sources including government agencies, advocacy groups, corporations and private entities. Check out this organization’s list and sources for financial aid.
scholarships.com, Disability Scholarships – This list of scholarships provided on scholarships.com is extensive and are funded by a variety of providers with different requirements. They may be intended to assist those students with a specific disability pay for school, or they may be aimed at a wider range of students who have physical or intellectual issues.
affordablecollegesonline.org, Scholarship by Disability – This organization has extensive information on selective scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities who are entering college.
scholarshipamerica.org, Scholarships Made For You – Oftentimes circumstances warrant special consideration in the pursuit of higher education. You may be a victim of an unexpected or unplanned event such as a national tragedy or illness. This organization provides a list with so many financial aid opportunities that may be just want you are looking for as you move forward and pursue your dreams despite those circumstances.
Learn How To Become, Scholarships for Students with Disabilities – There are so many reasons why it is so important for students with disabilities to have ample funding options available to them for higher education purposes. This organization provides a searchable index of, and a long list with hundreds of, scholarships available.
Nitro, Scholarships for Students with Disabilities – Nitro is a service organization that will work with you to help find financial aid for your higher education aspirations. They are commissioned by the entities they partner with and have your academic well-being first and foremost in mind as they guide you toward successful funding opportunities. Many scholarship sources are listed for your review.
affordablecolleges.com, Scholarships for Students With Learning Disabilities – This website provides you with an extensive list of specific scholarships for students with learning disabilities across the spectrum.
Community for Accredited Online Schools, Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students With Disabilities - The purpose of this school’s guide is to focus on special financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities financial aid opportunities and discuss how to take advantage of them.
REACH, Education Services – This organization’s (Resource for Education Advocacy, Communication and Housing) vision is to foresee a world where all individuals see themselves as integrated and productive members of society. Though located in southern California, they offer virtual classes and services to help educate and train people with disabilities to make this vision a reality.
One Step Beyond, Inc. – The focus of this organization is on opening their arms to individuals and their families who seek our programs and continue to live up to the name by going One Step Beyond the status quo for programs that serve individuals who have intellectual disabilities. Programs include life skills, recreation, employment, culinary and more.
RespectAbility, Education Resources on Disability Issues – Teachers and educators are important partners in all efforts to overcome bias, barriers and stigmas by promoting and practicing best practices in the classroom. This website has an incredible and far reaching series of offerings relative to resources, a solution center, advocacy links, employment for job seekers with exceptional situations, articles, books, personal reflections….. all available online to help educators, teachers, parents and others to reach students who have limitations to traditional learning and lifestyle methods. This is an amazing website!
Peterson’s – Many colleges and universities have systems in place to aid and support students with learning disabilities. Peterson’s (an educative service company serving students, parents and educators) provides a summary of 20 colleges that have programs implemented for students with learning barriers that provide the services and support needed to thrive in a learning environment. What makes this particular summary of particular interest is the depth of thought that was provided with each higher education listing.
Jobs and Training
Workforce GPS, Disability and Employment - WorkforceGPS is an online technical organization created to help build the capacity of America's public workforce asset system. This webpage of the organization’s website puts the spotlight on the top ten ‘hits’ for disability and employment resources based on the ability to provide services and programs to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment
EARN, Ask Earn (Employer Assistance and Resource Network), Disability Inclusion – EARN supports employers in their efforts to recruit, hire, retain and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) – JAN provides free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations to employers as well as to employees, job seekers, family members and service providers.
USA Jobs Resource Center – This official website of the U.S. Government lists federal job opportunities actively recruiting candidates with disabilities.
Disabled Person – Here is a job board for focused specifically on individuals with limitations and barriers.
Workforce Recruitment Program - The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private-sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to demonstrate their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.
AbilityJOBS - This job board claims to be the leading career website dedicated to employment of people with disabilities
Recruit Disability – Here is a no-fee job board connecting job seekers, employment programs, and employers. It is a self-serve model and available for your use as a job seeker with a disability, an agency providing services, or a hiring manager looking to hire Americans with disabilities.
Ticket to Work – The Social Security Administration sponsors this website and the Ticket to Work Program for Social Security disability beneficiaries age 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. The Ticket program helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence.
Networks and Associations
Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) – This government organization serves as the key federal agency in the United States responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and its regulations.
American Association on Mental Retardation – AAMR offers resources that including publications, periodicals and abstracts from around the web to assist you in your knowledge and information gathering.
Association for Retarded Citizens - The ARC maintains great resources about intellectual retardation including numerous fact sheets, position statement, and information regarding governmental affairs.
The Center for Parent Information and Resources - CPIR serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities.
Department of Developmental Services - This organization provides information on the Frank D. Lanterman Act and explains the appeals, complaints and comments process.
Developmental Disability Resource Center - Referred to as the ‘unofficial guide to state developmental disability agency sites’.
International Network of Women with Disabilities (INWWD) – This is a group of international, regional, national or local organizations, groups or networks of women with disabilities, as well as individual women with disabilities and allied women. The mission of the INWWD is to enable women with disabilities to share our knowledge and experience, enhance our capacity to speak up for our rights, empower ourselves to bring about positive change and inclusion in our communities and to promote involvement in relevant politics at all levels.
Life Steps Foundation - The mission of the Life Steps Foundation is to transform the lives of people living with disabilities through in-home and center-based services.
National Association of Developmental Disabilities Councils – Here is an organization that promotes national policy to enable individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to make choices regarding the quality of their lives and be included in the community.
Utah Parent Center - The mission of the UPC is to help parents help their children, youth and young adults with all disabilities to live included, productive lives as members of the community. Visit this webpage of the UPC website to find an absolutely amazing list of resources.
Women Enabled International – WEI envisions a world where women and girls with disabilities claim human rights, act in solidarity and lead self-determined lives. Their website shares insightful information on issues, publications and initiatives.
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder – The NPDC is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs in the US Department of Education. The NPDC offers free professional resources for teachers, therapists, and technical assistance providers who work with individuals with ASD.
M.I.N.D.Institute – This institute maintains a site addressing the medical investigation of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, cerebral palsy, Tourette syndrome. There is an abundance of information on resources, news, events, research and education.
Think Beyond the Label – Here is an organization that exists to better inform, connect and communicate with all stakeholders in the disability and employment system to instill a catalyst for a more inclusive workforce. It offers a job bank, blog and newsletter to support job seekers with disabilities to find meaningful work in their chosen field.
Remarkable, Startups – This venture claims to have the ‘brightest minds creating technology to change the lives of people with disabilities’. And, if you decide to click on the link and visit their website, you will understand why this claim is made. This website showcases new assistive and adaptive technology tools and techniques for the purpose of improving the lives of those with disabilities, disorders and disadvantages. In this realm, you may wish to reach out to any one of the specific startups for the purpose of collaboration, communication, quality assurance or other purposeful measures you feel the venture would benefit from.
Accessibility and Adaptive Technologies
Computing technology continues to create academic and career opportunities for everyone. However, some individuals with special needs face significant barriers to these technologies’ input and output. Accessibility techniques and adaptive tools may serve as powerful means to provide effective access to computing and Internet technologies. For people with a variety of needs, that ‘bridging that gap’ allows the ability to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult.
AbleData, Tools and Technologies to Enhance Life – Here is an amazing source for impartial, comprehensive information on products, solutions and resources to improve productivity and ease with life’s tasks. AbleData provides an unending amount of valuable information to assist individuals, their family members, vendors, distributors, organizations, professionals and caregivers in understanding assistive technology (AT) options and programs available. The presentation of information is completely unbiased as AbleData does not sell products and does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
Partnerships on Education and Technology – PEAT is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and has the belief that Technology can and should break barriers for people with disabilities in the workplace. Its purpose is to foster collaborations that make emerging technologies accessible, to support workplaces in using inclusive technologies that engage the skills of employees with disabilities and to build a future that works.
PBS Learning Media, Move to Include – PBS is profiling numerous hardware peripherals for the purpose of assistive technology integration into not only the educational experience but, also, everyday life of those individuals who have disability, disorder or disadvantage. As well, they bring forth information relative to assistive technology that helps to clarify and validate the efficient application of such peripherals.
Office of Educational Technology – The government OET develops national educational technology policy and establishes the vision for how technology can be used to transform teaching and learning and how to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible for early learners through K-12, higher education, and adult education.
AbleGamers – This charitable organization gives people with disabilities custom gaming setups including modified controllers and special assistive technology so they can enjoy the world of gaming with their family and friends. The aim of this is to embrace the power of video games in bringing people together as well as improving quality of life with recreation and rehabilitation.
Michigan Virtual, Web Accessibility – As a nonprofit focused on education, this organization believes that brilliance resides in all of us, ready to change the world with the next big idea. They aim to take K-12 education to the next level and work to leverage face-to-face, blended, and online learning innovations that facilitate the advancement of education. With that in mind, they have provided free web accessibility tools for schools, educators and students that may be used for effective integration into teaching and learning experiences.
The Special EDge, This .pdf is an excellent read for the educator/teacher in all of us. Though the article is nearly eight years old, the foundation of its content is solid, helpful and insightful. A definite article of interest for teachers who work with integrating technology tools and techniques into content delivery methods. (The Special EDge is published three times each year by the Napa County Office of Education’s CalSTAT Project, Winter/Spring 2012)
Bookshare, Ebooks for People with Reading Barriers - Bookshare aims to help make reading easier for those individuals with visual barriers. People with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading obstacles can customize their experience to suit their learning style and find virtually any book they need for school, work, or the joy of reading.
California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition (CATRC) – Though this organization’s home base may be a far distance from where you are, it is an organization that you just may want to reach out to as they have built an infrastructure that helps to break down the barriers of accessibility with purposefully reused assistive technology peripherals. You can purchase or borrow devices from the lending library.
National Assistive Technology Act, Technical Assistance and Training Center (AT3) - The mission of AT3 is to increase access to and acquisition of assistive technologies by individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. There is a fantastic search tool that allows you to drill down to a local level to find representatives, resources and centers.
National Institute of Deafness and Communications Disorders, Assistive Devices – On this government website you will find valuable information and peripheral resources that can help a person with hearing loss or a voice, speech, or language disorder to communicate.
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) – This non-profit professional organization dedicated is to promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions. RESNA advances the field by developing assistive technology standards; promoting research and public policy; and sponsoring forums for the exchange of information and ideas to meet the needs of our multidisciplinary constituency.
Assistive Tech – This organization represents a national public website on assistive technology. Their mission is to provide access to information on devices and services as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public. There is much helpful and insightful information to navigate the transformation of an end-user’s experience when assistive technology is integrated into the process.
United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – This organization believes everybody has the right to communication and advocates for access to communication in all environments for people who use or need AAC devices and/or tools. There is great information on devices, legislation, awareness and funding all for the purpose of achieving their mission of helping people communicate and express themselves.
Access Technologies, Locating Funding –This organization shares information and guidance on locating funding to acquire needed assistive technology devices and services. Its purpose is to be a resource for individuals with disabilities and their family members, staff, service providers, counselors, employers, and others.
Common Sense Media, Special Needs and Learning Difficulties - For children with special needs, the right tools can make a huge difference. Games, apps, and devices offer access, information, and inclusion to those with learning difficulties, autism, vision and hearing loss, and more. Help is available on this website to configure a child's device, boost a child’s social skills, and determine the best digital media for the child’s needs.
National Center on Accessible Education Materials – Information pertaining to national organizations, state resources, transition resources and more can be found on this organization’s website. There is a very robust search tool as well to assist you in locating the services, peripherals, software, etc. that you may be looking for.
Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled – NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page.
New Horizons, Adaptive Technology/Products – This is a ‘by state’ index of sources for adaptive technology projects and peripherals. Many links for each state.
Goodnet, Apps for People With Disabilities – Goodnet connects people around the world and is a network that empowers individuals to independently take positive action and amplify goodness. In consideration of that ideal, they provide a collection of ground-breaking apps that use modern technology to help people with disabilities.
Wheelchair Travel, Apps for Travelers with Disabilities – This organization highlights those apps important in making travel easier and more accessible to people with disabilities.