INNOVATION IN ACCOMMODATION

The use of the “spellcheck” and “grammar check” within a Word document is a form of assistive technology, said Bruce Mesman, Technology Coordinator at Assistive Technology BC (ATBC) at the recent AIM workshop, “Innovation in Accommodation”. This resonated because it demonstrates that assistive technology may be more common than we think and thus, can be easily integrated in our workplaces.

“Innovation in Accommodation”, the fifth workshop in the Candidly Speaking series, was held in the Conway Room of the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver on Wednesday October 22nd, 2013. Bruce Mackenzie of Canadialog opened up the workshop with an overview of assistive technology available for people with visual challenges. Canadialog is committed to offering local services and innovative products to promote active participation in society for people with visual impairments. He displayed products such as CCTVs, a large print keyboard, braille writers, JAWS (Job Access for Windows and Speech) for Windows, and a portable magnifier. Participants were able to try out some of the equipment.

Bruce Mesman from ATBC then outlined the necessity for employers and employees to work together to assess what assistive technology would best fit the individual. Bruce explained that there are various adaptive technologies that may help people with their writing, typing, speech, or reading. ATBC provides assistive technology resources to make learning and working environments usable for people with disabilities throughout British Columbia.

The morning ended with a personal testimony from one of the AIM advisory members, David Brun, who talked about accommodations used in his own work, such as ZoomText, which magnifies his screen. The value of accommodations has helped him immensely with his job functions as the Manager of Customer Relations at TD Canada Trust.

Workplace accommodations are more common than we think. Resources like ATBC and Canadialog exist to support individuals with disabilities in the workplace, and make it easier for employers to employ individuals with disabilities. For more information visit the following websites: www.canadialog.com and www.at-bc.ca