Making computers accessible to the disabled

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HYDERABAD: There are many schools and organisations working for the betterment of  differently-abled persons in India. But when it comes to the use of computers, very few have the knowledge and understanding of how to make computer-usage more disabled-friendly. Barrier Break Technologies in collaboration with Microsoft have been organising workshops in various cities across the country to create awareness amongst teachers and staff of special schools and NGOs about the same.

Phani Kondepudi, who has been working with many private companies in their CSR initiatives and also with the Ministry of IT in this area for many years and has trained more than 200 teachers, was in the city on Wednesday. He and his wife Devyani P, who is an employee at the Barrier Break Technologies, took one such workshop in at the Devnar School For The Blind. They conducted a session on how the Accessibility feature of Windows 7 can be used for making computer usage more friendly to people with various types of impairments. They also stressed that the assistive technologies which are marketed by the Barrier Break Technologies like the electronic magnifier and special keyboards can be easily used with Windows 7 as it has built in required software programmes.

When asked about the assistive technologies, Phani said, “These equipments are being used by many schools in India and are very useful. But, at the same time their high prices restrict them to a few buyers only.” He also said that if India were to manufacture these equipments then it would prove to be a boon for millions of differently-abled children and adults.

The workshop was attended by more than 30 special educators. When asked to one of the participants, Dr George from the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped (which comes under the Ministry of Labour and Employment) said that he did know about the accessibility function but he didn’t know about it in depth until the workshop. He also said that the assistive technology gadgets will prove useful if they start getting manufactured in India.

(Indian Express)

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