Assistive Technology is available for Howard Community College students who are registered for credit classes and have documented physical or learning disabilities. Before the beginning of a school term, eligible students should contact the Disability Student Services office at 443-518-1300 to make an appointment to talk with a disability counselor. After talking with a counselor and determining what accommodations the student would need, then the student should then contact Marie Hughes at 443-518-3266 for an assistive technology assessment. Then the student would set up a series of appointments to be trained on how to use the technology, if training is necessary. Some assistive computer programs may take from one week to three weeks to learn how to use them, depending upon how computer literate the student is. Basic computer instruction is also available through the Learning Assistance Center. You may call 443-518-1320 to set up appointments for the basic computer instruction.
Examples of assistive technologies include the following:
- Screen magnifiers, which are used by people with visual disabilities to enlarge and change colors on the screen to improve the visual readability of rendered text and images.
- Screen readers are used by people who have low vision or have reading disabilities to read textual information through synthesized speech. Some screen readers have scanning, reading and writing capability. You are able to scan a page from a book and then the screen reader will read the page back to you and highlight the words as they are spoken to you. Screen readers can read characters, words or lines of text. Screen readers can also read e-mail, web pages or read text that has just been typed back to you.
- Voice recognition software may be used by people who have some physical disabilities.
- Ergonomic keyboards and alternative mouse pointing devices are used by people with certain physical disabilities.
- CCTV takes material placed on a platform and magnifies the material on a large screen TV located just above the platform.
- Reading pens will scan a printed word and you can see its definition displayed on the built-in LCD screen. It will also read out loud the definition or earphones can be used in a classroom.
- Electronic dictionaries that have full speech controls to read screens or speak individual words at the speed you choose. They are less than 6 inches square and have a large-type display option, with a high-contrast screen for low vision users.
- Furniture for use in class rooms for students with physical disabilities.
Students may also be able to receive information and support regarding assistive technology in the community. The following organizations may be of assistance:
- V-linc.org is a non-profit computer resource center creating technical solutions to improve the independence and quality of life for individuals of all ages with disabilities in Maryland. (www.v-linc.org)
- Maryland Assistive Technology Co-op. The Co-op provides discounted purchasing and training opportunities to schools, agencies, organizations and families. (http://www.atlastinc.org/)
- Maryland State Department of Education: Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS). DORS supports the employment and economic independence of Maryland citizens with disabilities. (www.dors.state.md.us/dors)
- Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP). MDTAP furnishes information, consultation, and training on assistive technology. MDTAP may make available loans to purchase assistive technology for Maryland residents with disabilities. (www.mdtap.org)