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The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices
By Suzanne Robitaille

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The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices

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Also available: 20 point Super Large Print edition

The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices
Tools and Gadgets for Living Independently
By Suzanne Robitaille
Read How You Want, (2010)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Demos Medical Publishing)
ISBN: 9781458763969
Genre: Self-Help

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - March 4, 2010

Assistive technologies and devices run the gamut of hardware and software devices from hand-held magnifiers and TTY (text telephone) to screen reading software to sophisticated 'switches' that allow a person control their computer with just a blink of their eye or a short puff of breath. In The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices, Suzanne Robitaille provides an invaluable overview of the myriad of assistive technologies and devices that are available. She also explains who would benefit form these various technologies, how they are used, and where they can be obtained - and perhaps most important, how you can get assistance in paying for these apparatus.

Within the scope of this book, Robitaille also explains what, exactly, assistive technology is, and its history. The chapters that follow are organized around various disabilities, and the technologies available for each group. Groups covered include people with visual, hearing, physical, and communication disabilities, as well as a chapter devoted to people with cognitive and learning disorders. She examines the Americans with Disabilities Act and what it means for people with disabilities in both the private and public sectors. She also provides advice on how to pay for assistive technologies and what innovations the future holds in store for this exciting and vital area.

Assistive technology allows people who are differently-abled to live independently, to go to school, to work, and to play like any other person. They might just have to do things a little bit differently. For example, I have low vision and I cannot read standard print books, at least not technically. Yet I read standard print books all the time. How? Thanks to a variety of assistive technologies. I have a scanner that allows me to scan a book and then via the use of screen reading software, my computer can read the book out loud to me. As well, I have access to a CCTV, which is a monitor and video magnifier combination. I focus the CCTV's camera on the book, set the magnification to whatever I desire, and the book is displayed on the monitor. When writing this review I used a screen reader as well as a computer magnification program. Where it not for such aids, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to work as a book reviewer!

In The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices, Robitaille has done readers a great service by letting you know about them - and see - the wide variety of assistive technologies that are available and how they work. This book provides an excellent starting point from which to investigate the advantages of assistive technologies and whether or not they might prove useful to you. Once you come across something that sounds promising, simply consult Robitaille's resource guide at the end of the book to locate companies that sell and manufacture assistive technology products. You should also contact your local vocational rehabilitation (VocRehab) agency to see if you can try out or see the item in question. At the same time you can ask them if they can help you obtain the equipment in question - if you qualify, many state VocRehab agencies will give you, or share the cost of assistive technologies with you if you need them to get or keep a job, or to pursue your education.

The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices is a book that should be read by anyone who suffers from a disability, has a family member or friend who is differently-abled, or who works with someone who is disabled, either professionally or simply as a co-worker. This book will not only let you know about all the wonderful tools that are available - but also that through the use of such aids, someone who is disabled can often perform the same tasks as someone who is considered fully-abled, and do it just as proficiently and competently!

The Illustrated Guide to Assistive Technology and Devices is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.

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