People With Disabilities Essay Research Paper As

People With Disabilities Essay, Research Paper

As we approach the 21st century, there are noticeable advancements in technology

that is making communication much easier for the people of the world. The people

who are now achieving more due to this technology are those with disabilities.

The new wave of electronics is coming in the form of assistive technology.

Assistive technology is a device or process that helps a person with a

disability to do something that could otherwise be difficult or impossible to

accomplish. By implementing appliances into people’s lives who are unable to

communicate without aid, a new door is being opened for the disabled. With the

use of alternate access aids, hearing aids, and alternative communication

devices, just to name a few, a newfound dignity is being realized by people who

otherwise would not be able to communicate on a regular basis. In this essay, I

will address new technologies for people who are disadvantaged in the

communication field and how these devices are adding not only to their lives,

but to the communication process as a whole. The more quickly the world can

become compatible for people who are incapable of customary communication, the

more quickly the walls that stand in the way of communication will be scaled.

Once this is achieved, it will pave the way for a world where communication is

available to all people and no longer will being disabled put you at a

disability. Technology has taken a giant leap in the right direction with the

invention of new devices that can be used to help people who are disabled to be

able to communicate more effectively. Inventions such as the

"Liberator", hearing aids, augmentative and alternative access aids,

and so on, have made great improvements to the amount of communication that

people with disabilities can become involved in. These assistive technologies

are, in some cases, the only means of communication a disabled person has. A new

device that I feel is notable and very beneficial to disadvantaged people is

that of the Voice Output Communication Aid (VOCA). This aid produces synthesized

speech that can be readily understood by the general public and therefore

improving interactions with speaking individuals. In one study, it was noted

that the VOCA improved communication in a person who has profound mental

retardation from 21% to 86%. A follow up of the patient after a month of using

the VOCA produced that she used her VOCA for 75% of her communicative behavior.

(Schepis & Reid, 1995, p.75.) Another device that has been used is one that

has the similar use of a telephone. These "future telephones" or

information appliances "accommodate the choice of either visual mode

(typing) or auditory mode (speaking), thus direct communication can be achieved

and communicating parties no longer are handicapped by single-modality services

that are not compatible." (Brummel, 1994) These phones help people who have

never before had the chance to use a telephone or who have never been able

address another person in a regular fashion. Another method that is soon

anticipated is a visual communication appliance. This satisfies a range of needs

from sign language transmission to handwritten note sharing as an alternative to

auditory mode for conversations. (Brummel, 1994) As these technologies keep

becoming mainstream, it seems possible that all people who have trouble with

communication otherwise will soon have an outlet that allows them the pleasure

of not being singled out due to their lack of skills when it comes to

communication. Past technologies are now very popular among the everyday person

as well as being for the disabled. For example, a hearing aid. These aids were,

from the beginning used to enhance the hearing of a person who is deaf. These

now are used for anyone who has any hearing problem, including the elderly as

they get older and their hearing becomes worse. Another such invention is that

of a wheelchair. A wheelchair makes it possible for people who cannot walk on

their own to get about allowing more interaction with others. These have become

two very widespread inventions. The most popular of all the technologies is

known as the Telecommunications Device (TDD). This carries conversation typed

into a keyboard over telephone lines and displays it on the receiving TDD. It

can also be used if the person is blind, as the letters on the keyboard have

brail and the computer can say the message out loud.(High Tech, 1989, p.50.)

This has made a very considerable impact on the deaf and blind community. They

no longer have to worry about how they will communicate with a person who is not

in the same room as themselves. Thus, the new technology that is coming into

effect prevents "hang-ups" on the phone, people laughing or staring,

and helps people to better understand the disabilities and then aids them in

trying to communicate with them. These technologies that are being introduced

into the world have a great influence on communication with the disabled. But

they also have more implications than in just communication. The inventions have

been helping people who are disabled to have a larger amount of self respect and

dignity. When these are achieved, communication will become more frequent with

people outside of their own families, creating a better life for the person with

a disability. As Ronald Stephens puts it, "once disabled people can work

with technology they gain an independence that considerably improves the quality

of their life." (1987, p.61) This independence can be very rewarding and

helps the person to become a more productive part of society. The reason for the

advancements in the technology is fairly simple and beneficial. It stresses that

it is to "affirm the belief that dignity and equality and independence of

people with disabilities is of utmost importance, and to educate people with

disabilities, rehab specialists, parents and others about technological

advancements that improves the lives of people with disabilities and to insure

access to the important technology." (Center on Disabilities, 1999) That is

to say that the dignity of these people is far more important than anything else

and that, with the aid of technology, it can be realized. Holding a job and

other things that are thought to be everyday to normal people can be very

rewarding to people with disabilities. This is being accomplished with the help

of technology. Many disability rights advocates "foresee significant

changes in the job market for people with disabilities, and a diverse more

efficient workforce accommodated by new telecommunication services and

products." (Flinn, 1999) With this new technology, deaf people can hold

jobs in telecommunications, telephone operators and various other jobs. When a

person has dignity and independence, there is a feeling of contentment. A person

who has no means of communication with other people is going to feel good about

themselves as a result of being able to use a device that will help them have

normal contact. Technology is not showing people what they cannot do, but it is

showing them what they can achieve with a little help. This is what is the most

important factor in the dawn of a technological revolution for those with

disabilities. In conclusion, I feel that it is very necessary for the

development of technology to continue ,and thus, increase the amount of dignity

and self-respect a disabled person feels. Technologies such as VOCA, TDD’s,

brail computers, and so on have made the world a better place for people with

disabilities. The reason for the advancement in technology is to aid the ability

a person has. If a person’s ability is assisted by technology, the person will

feel better about him or herself. If a person feels better about themselves,

they will be more productive in society. Also, not only does technology aid the

disabled in communication, but it aids people like us who want to be able to

communicate better with a person who has a disability. And so, it is the steps

forward in technological devices that is aiding disabled people to be able to

function in society as a normal, productive person.

List MLA Style Bowe, F,G. "Access to the Information Age: Fundamental

Decisions in Telecommunications Policy." Policy Studies Journal 21 (1993):

765-774. Brummel, Susan. People With Disabilities and NII. Yuri Rubinsky Insight

Foundation Webpage. 7 Sept 1994

. Center On Disabilities. "1999 ?Technology and Persons With

Disabilities’ Conference." 17 March 1999.

. Doss, S.L. and Reichie, J. "Using Graphic Organization Aids To Promote

Independent Functioning." Implementing Augmentative and Alternative

Communication. (1991): 275-288. Flinn, Nancy. UCPA Homepage. 5 Dec 1999.

Hendry, J. and Kerr, R. "Communication Through Physical Activity For

Learning Disabled Children." Perceptual and Motor Skills 56 (1983): 155-158

"High-Tech Aids Offer New Options to Deaf, Blind." Futurist 23 (1989):

50-51. Parette, H.P., Jr. "Assessing the Influence of Augmentative and

Alternative Communication Devices On Families of Young Children With

Disabilities." Perceptual and Motor Skills 78 (1994): 1362-62. Schepis, M.M.

and Reid, D.H. "Effects of A Voice Output Communication Aid On Interactions

Between Support Personnel And An Individual With Multiple Disablilities."

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 28 (1993): 765-774. I found this article to

one of the better ones for my project. It is done in the experiment form,

stating method, observations, and conclusions. It very clearly sided with my

argument and it also gave personal glimpses into some of the participants. The

thesis was included in the introductory paragraph and it also was very clear. I

will be using this article. Stephens, R. "A Voice for the Disabled."

New Scientist 114 (1987): 58-61. Thompson, Anne R. Mississippi State University.

"College Students With Disabilities And Assistive Technology.


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