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The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology & Devices: Tools And Gadgets For Living Independently Paperback – December 8, 2009
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"For people with disabilities, the aging, and those with low literacy, the key to success in the workplace and society is usable access, enabled by assistive technology that works in harmony with information technology. Suzanne's book combines research and personal insight to help even the most novice user make better, more informed choices about assistive technology. "--Frances W. West, Worldwide Director, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center
"... should be on the Top Ten list of anyone interested in Assistive Technology products."--David Ditker, Executive Director, Assistive Technology Industry Association
"Using a lively narrative style, Suzanne Robitaille takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the latest and best in assistive technology... More than a compilation of information, this is the story of a personal journey that most of us, in one way or another, will experience in our own lives."--Nick LaRocca, PhD, Vice President of Health Care Delivery and Policy Research at the National MS Society, Author Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges
"This comprehensive, practical, and detailed guide gives you all the information you need to choose the right options for you or your loved one."--Kim Dority, Vice President of Content and Strategy, Disaboom.com
"With her clear, energetic writing style and carefully chosen examples, Suzanne has demonstrated how people with a range of disabilities can utilize technology to optimize their independence, productivity, and creativity in every aspect of their lives."--Rosalind Kalb, PhD, Director of the Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Author Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have, The Answers you Need
"This must-have guide goes beyond descriptions of AT by including developmental histories of devices, cultural considerations, and limitations of technologies that will help interventionists develop uniquely appropriate accommodation plans for clients."--Ann Logsdon, the About.com Guide to Learning Disabilities
"This book will benefit any organization looking to become more informed and interested in anticipating the new, more inclusive future workforce on this critical topic."--John Kemp, Executive Director, U.S. Business Leadership Council
"This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to get the most at work and at home"--Daniel Hubbell, Accessibility Technical Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation
"Robitaille has written an engaging and witty guide that incorporates anecdotes with a wealth of photographs that enhance what might have been a dry catalog of current assistive technologies available... This scope of coverage makes this guide stand out among comparable works. [She] is a business writer on assistive technologies, writes an assistive technology blog, and has lived with a disability since the age of four. This gives her the perspective to speak from a professional work experience in using assistive devices at work, but also a personal one for everyday life usage of these tools. Recognizing her limitations to fully appreciate the coverage of technologies for various disabilities, she also sought the advice and help of other experts in their respective areas for assistive technologies. This book is highly recommended for public and consumer health libraries focusing on needs of those with disabilities." --CAPHIS Consumer Connections
" --MSWorld.org(Daniel Hubbell Accessibility Technical Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation 20100503)
About the Author
Suzanne Robitaille is the founder and editor of Abledbody, a website that covers disability news and assistive technology. Growing up profoundly deaf, Suzanne learned firsthand that people with disabilities can benefit from these type oftechnologies both professionally and socially. She began her journalism career in 2000 at the Wall Street Journal's interactive operations in New York. A year later, she became a technology columnist for Business Week Online, writing a weekly column on assistive devices and technology. Suzanne has written for various consumer publications and websites, including the Wall Street Journal, Business Week Online, and Media Post, among others.
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Robitaille, herself a beneficiary of a cochlear implant, uses this book to describe many of the products and services available to the disabled. A complete listing would be impossible, or at least obsolete by the time it was finished. Instead, Robitaille draws samples from a wide range, describing their applicability, drawbacks, and cost.
The first chapter addresses aids for visual impairments. These come in many forms, a startling number of which rely on computer technology. The next chapter covers aids for hearing impairments, like Robitaille's own caused by a childhood illness. Although Robitaille mentions a number of ways to help the hearing impaired in a sound-filled society, she also touches on the sensitive subject of deaf culture. Physical and cognitive disabilities have their own chapters, as well. We have more disabled veterans than ever returning to civilian life, ironically because personal armor and battlefield medicine now save so many who would otherwise have died. Wartime injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, represent only a few of the many kind of physical and mental challenges that people face, however, and each challenge needs a solution of its own. Communication disabilities get a chapter of their own, as well.
Robitaille's final chapters cover legislative, legal, and even financial support for assistive technologies. (Early on, she notes that "[Disability] has an impact on ... financial health and well-being." Assistive technologies are often expensive.)
This whirlwind tour of assistive technologies and services does little more than mention the ones that Robitaille has chosen as examples. Still, it's an eye-opening collection, and one likely to help educators, human resources managers, parents and families of the disabled, and anyone to whom "can do, done differently" becomes an important issue.