Because the ADA requires reasonable accommodations be made for people with disabilities in public spaces and the workplace, technology has stepped up with alerting systems and communications devices that people with disabilities can use at home as well.
Think about going through your day: You answer a ringing telephone or doorbell. You can hear when your baby wakes from her nap. You can see when to stop pouring coffee into your cup. Seemingly benign activities some people can accomplish without a thought can pose difficulties for those with disabilities.
There are numerous tactile and visual signaling devices people with disabilities can utilize to manage life gracefully in their homes. Among these are:
- Voice-activated TV remote controllers and telephone dialers.
- Talking or vibrating clocks, watches and alarm systems.
- Liquid level indicators, electric frying pans with tactile controls and talking microwaves.
- Braille timepieces, compasses and measuring devices.
- Talking scales and medication bottle readers.
- Talking money identifiers, label scanners and thermostats.
- Visual and amplified fire, smoke and carbon monoxide signalers.
- Signals might use a speaking voice, flashing lights, increased amplification, vibration, or a combination of signals.
Mobile phones can be outfitted with screen reader and screen magnification software as well as offer apps that perform alarm or notification functions.
Additionally, people whose ability to verbalize is challenged, often use devices and programs that help them communicate with others:
- Devices to accommodate conversation between one who is deaf/blind with a person in the same room who is sighted.
- Text-to-speech synthesizers or voice output communication devices that allow people to communicate audibly if they have a speech disability.
- Hand held device and computer programs that help parents develop augmentative communications and learning solutions for non-verbal children.
“Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can include any strategy used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas. Examples of common AAC strategies might include sign language, picture communication boards and voice output communication devices. Many AAC strategies use picture symbols, letters, words and phrases to represent the messages needed to talk about objects, people and places. Individuals with communication challenges use AAC to supplement their existing speech or replace speech that is not functional.”
Thanks to the ADA, people with disabilities can be independent in every level of their lives.
Alerting and Communicating Devices for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
The American with Disabilities Act – Gallaudet University