Accessible Workstations through Easter Seals CrossroadsBy Carole Rose, Indiana State Library
Without assistive technology, persons with disabilities would find it extremely difficult to access the wealth of information available via the computer. Because everyone should have the opportunity to be able to access information found in libraries, the Indiana State Library and the Talking Book and Braille Library are helping to promote an exciting project sponsored by Easter Seals Crossroads.
In 2001, the Assistive Technology Center at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indianapolis began to develop an assistive technology workstation that would serve the needs of people with any type of disability. X-tation, the product of this endeavor, is a workstation including a variety of adaptive components that can be made available in public libraries, unemployment offices, college registrars' offices, or any place where the general public uses computers.
To date, over thirty X-tation accessible workstations have been implemented around the state of Indiana. These workstations include technology to assist individuals with learning disabilities, hearing impairments, vision impairments, or limitations in mobility. Special software "reads" information aloud, accepts voice commands, and allows users who have very limited use of their hands to do tasks like word processing, searching card catalogs, and surfing the Internet.
Specifications for each workstation are formulated during a planning meeting with Easter Seals Crossroads and the library or other institution desiring to increase the accessibility of their computer systems. Based on the institution's scope of services and population served, Easter Seals Crossroads develops a custom set of design components. Easter Seals Crossroads works with the institution to procure all the necessary equipment and provide comprehensive installation, training, and twenty-four-hour technical support to the institution and to end users.
For more information on this exciting project, please contact Wade Wingler, ATP, Manager of Assistive Technology, or by phone at 1-888-466-1314.