AT @ Work
Assistive Technology
in the Workplace
Tools to Accommodate Employees with Disabilities
Revised May 2009 by the Pennsylvania Assistive
Technology and Employment Collaborative,
with funding provided by the U.S. Department of
Office of Disability and Employment Policy
Why Are We Here?
• People with disabilities can work!
• Disability does not negate the
individual’s skills, talent, and knowledge.
• Increased pool of potential employees.
• Keep trained employees in the
workplace after injuries.
Large Pool of
Potential Employees
• 13.0% people in the United States have a
disability (ages 21 - 64).
– Pennsylvania – 13.7%
• 62.8% of all people with disabilities are
unemployed (ages 16 - 64).
(from United States Census Bureau 2006
American Community Survey)
What Is Assistive
What Is Assistive Technology?
• Device
– “any item, piece of equipment, or product system,
whether acquired commercially, modified, or
customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or
improve functional capabilities of individuals with
disabilities” (AT Act of 1998, as amended).
• Service
– "any service that directly assists an individual with a
disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an
assistive technology device" (AT Act of 1998, as
Assistive Technology Devices
• Low Tech Devices: Inexpensive, easily
made, easy to learn, readily available,
easy to replace and maintain.
Early PDA…!
Large timer
Notebook with communication pictures
Assistive Technology Devices
• Mid: May cost more, require some
training, have special design, often need
power source.
Communication device
Large button phone
Assistive Technology Devices
• High: Higher cost, need specific training to
learn, often customized.
PDA with organizing software
Text to speech software
Refreshable braille display
Eye-gaze computer access
Where Are
Assistive Technology Devices?
• Low, mid, and high tech devices can be
– At common local stores (Home Depot, Staples)
– At specialized vendors (Maxi-Aids, Infogrip,
– In generic catalogs
– On the Internet
Assistive Technology Services
• Evaluation for appropriate devices.
• Selection of the appropriate device.
• Coordination with service providers (e.g.,
therapists, engineers).
• Training / technical assistance for the person and
supporting individuals (e.g., personal assistants).
Assistive Technology
Specialists: A - O
Academic Specialist
Adaptive Driving Specialist (car and van)
Adaptive Microcomputer Specialist
Assistive Technology Specialist
Home Modifications Specialist
Learning Disabilities Specialist
Occupational Therapist
Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Assistive Technology
Specialists: P - Z
Physical Therapist
Recreational Therapists
Rehabilitation Engineer / Fabricator
Sensory Aids Specialists
Specialized Career Evaluator
Speech Language Pathologist
Telecommunications Specialist
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
Universal Design
• Universal design is the design of products
and environments to be usable by all
people, to the greatest extent possible,
without the need for adaptation or
specialized design.
–Ron Mace (NCSU)
The Principles of
Universal Design
Equitable use.
Flexibility in use.
Simple and intuitive.
Perceptible information.
Tolerance for error.
Low physical effort.
Size and space for approach and use.
Universal Design Advantages
• (Almost) everyone can benefit.
• Can reduce job accommodation costs
associated with retrofitting and additional
Universal Design Examples
Curb Cuts
Automatic Doors
Accessible Websites
E-mail / Text Messaging
ergonomic box cutter
Job Accommodations
Reasonable Accommodations for
Individuals with Disabilities
Reasonable Accommodations
• Also known as job accommodations.
• Modifications or adjustments to job
functions, work environments, or “the way
things usually are done” so that an
individual with a disability gets an equal
employment opportunity.
Reasonable Accommodations
Enable a person with a disability to:
• Participate equally in job application
• Perform “essential functions” of the job.
– Fundamental job duties
– Job descriptions
• Enjoy equal benefits and privileges of
Reasonable Accommodations
• Reasonable accommodations need not be
the “best” or “ideal” but need only be
• The employer does not have to provide an
accommodation primarily for personal use.
• Accommodations should assist in
performing job functions.
Reasonable Accommodations:
The Interactive Process
• The employee (or representative, such
as spouse, friend, doctor, etc.) requests
the reasonable accommodation.
• No “magic words” are required.
• It is a good idea for the request to be
made in writing.
Reasonable Accommodations:
The Interactive Process
• After the request is made, the employer should initiate
the interactive process, including the employee,
supervisor, and other relevant people (e.g., human
resources, doctors, computer experts, state vocational
rehabilitation agency, etc.).
• The employer must take affirmative steps to help the
employee identify a possible accommodation.
• The employee must be a part of the process.
• Employers must provide an effective accommodation,
not necessarily the exact accommodation requested by
the employee.
• If an effective, reasonable accommodation is agreed
upon, it should be implemented.
Reasonable Accommodations
• Undue Hardship
– A particular accommodation may not be
required if it would cause “significant difficulty
or expense” to the employer
– Undue Hardship is any accommodation that
would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial,
or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter
the nature of the business
– Another effective accommodations should be
sought and implemented
Examples of Reasonable
• Making the work environment physically
• Altering when or how a job function is
• Part-time or modified work schedules
• Use of accrued or paid leave or allowing
unpaid extra leave
• Providing or modifying equipment
Examples of AT
• Can be low cost to high cost
– Use of color to mark files/bins/controls
– Simplified instructions using diagrams
– Automatic bathroom soap dispensers and
hand dryers
– Automatic doors and/or ramp
The Cost of AT Accommodations
• The potential employer or employer is
responsible to fund any assistive
technology accommodations for the
application process or the job.
• However, there are funding sources to
– Federal and state tax credits and deductions
– Independent Access Capital Network (ICAN)
– Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Lending Library
Where to Get the
Assistive Technology
• Always ask the person who needs it.
• Contact an assistive technology specialist
for an evaluation.
• Contact Pennsylvania’s Initiative on
Assistive Technology (PIAT).
• Contact the Pennsylvania Assistive
Technology Foundation (PATF).
• Search Internet, local stores, etc.
Sample Assistive Technology
Devices for the Workplace
Remember – assistive
technology selection is based
on function,
not the employee’s disability!
Amplified Phones
In-line amplifier
Portable amplifier
Big button phone
Cordless amplified phone
Telecommunication Devices
Voice Carry-Over (VCO) Phone
TTY with Large Visual Display
Wyndtell (Wireless Device)
Frequency Modulated (FM) Systems
for Sound Amplification
Williams Sound Personal FM System
Conference Microphone
Talking Products
Talking Tape Measure
Talking Calculator
See It Right
Colored transparent folders
Color transparencies
Bar Magnifier
Dome Magnifier
Illuminated Magnifier
Hand & Stand Magnifier
Magnified Lamp
Video Magnification
Tabletop stand alone video magnifier
Connects to TV or monitor
Computer Access
Cognition and Learning
“Keys” for Access
Monitors / Screens
Alternative Mouse Options
Workstation Setup
Web Access
• Online information needs to be presented
so that all individuals can understand.
• Web-based proprietary applications need
to work with assistive technology.
• Focus:
– Who can understand it?
– Who can see it?
– Who can read it?
– Who can navigate it?
Web Design Resources
• World Wide Web Consortium
• Web Accessibility Tool:
Computer Screen Magnifiers
Built-In Accessibility Features
• Both Microsoft and Macintosh have built-in
accessibility features to address many
• Go to or for more information.
Voice Recognition Software (Speech
to Text)
Voice Recognition allows a user
to use his / her voice as an input
device. Voice recognition may be
used to dictate text into the computer
or to give commands to the computer
(such as opening application programs,
pulling down menus, or saving work).
Text To Speech Software
Universal Reader
Ergonomic Keyboards
Contoured Keyboard
Goldtouch Keyboard
Ergonomic Keyboard
Wireless for Bluetooth
Large Print / Large Size
BigKeys Keyboard
Large Print Keyboard Sticker Labels
Small / Compact Keyboards
Compact Keyboard
Mini Keyboard
Portable keyboard for PDA
Little Fingers Keyboard
One Handed Keyboards
Maltron One Handed Keyboard
Half Keyboard
Typing Aids
Standard keyboard with acrylic keyguard
Slip-on typing aid
On-Screen Keyboard
Ergonomic Mice
Contour Design Perfit Mouse
Vertical Mouse
Renaissance Mouse
Kensington Turbo Mouse
Microsoft Optical Trackball
Penny & Giles Roller Trackball
Head Mouse
SmartNav Toolbar
SmartNav AT
SmartNav reflective dots
Workstation Setup
Mouse Placement:
• Keep the pointer / mouse close to the keyboard.
• Alternate hands with which you operate
the pointer / mouse.
• Use keyboard short cuts to reduce extended use.
Workstation Setup
Work Surface:
• Desk surface should allow you to place the monitor directly in front of you,
at least 20 inches away.
• Avoid storing items, such as a CPU, under desks.
• Desks should be able to accommodate a variety of working postures.
Arm & Wrist Supports
ErgoRest Forearm Support
Gel Wrist Rests
Monitor Placement
Monitor Stackers
Standard CRT arm
Electric Monitor
& Keyboard Lift
Flat Screen Arm
Desks / Workstations
Sit / Stand Adjustable Desks
Height Adjustable Desk with Hand Crank
Motorized Height Adjustable Desk
Resources in Pennsylvania for
Assistive Technology in the
Who can I contact for help?
Assistive Technology and
Employment Collaborative
• A network of Pennsylvania organizations that can
provide information on:
– Assistive technology and how it can help individuals with
disabilities in employment.
– Understanding the employer’s responsibility for providing
assistive technology.
– How to locate, try, and buy assistive technology devices and
services, including employer resources and incentives.
• Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Labor,
Office of Disability and Employment Policy
Disability Rights Network of
Pennsylvania (DRN)
• The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) is a
federally-funded, non-profit agency that is mandated to protect
and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
• DRN works with people with disabilities, families, organizations,
and advocates to ensure that people with disabilities can live in
their communities free of discrimination, abuse, and neglect.
• DRN’s mission is to advance, protect, and advocate for the civil,
human, and legal rights of Pennsylvanians with disabilities.
Disability Rights Network of
Pennsylvania (DRN) Services
• Services:
Intake and referral
Individual and systemic policy advocacy
Legal advice and representation
Training and education
• Among other issues, DRN helps with:
– Access to assistive technology devices and services
– Employment matters, including SSI and SSDI
recipients who want employment
Disability Rights Network of
Pennsylvania (DRN)
Contact Information
• Website:
• Offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, & Pittsburgh:
– Main Intake in Harrisburg:
• 800-692-7443 [Voice]
• 877-375-7139 [TTY]
• Assistive Technology Project Director:
Chava Kintisch, Esq.
– Philadelphia, 215-238-8070 ext. 210 [Voice]
– [email protected]
Pennsylvania's Initiative on
Assistive Technology (PIAT)
• P ublic awareness, information and
assistance about AT
• I ncreasing access to AT through
demonstrations and device lending
• A cquisition of AT devices and services,
including device reuse programs and
free adapted telephones
• T raining and technical assistance about
Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive
Technology (PIAT)
1-800-204-7428 (PIAT) -Voice
1-866-268-0579 - TTY
[email protected]
Institute on Disabilities at Temple
University, 610 USB, 1601 North Broad
Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
• Statewide AT Resource Centers - ATRC
PIAT Assistive Technology Resource Centers
UCP of
Central PA
PA’s Initiative on Assistive Technology,
Institute on Disabilities
Community Resources for Independence, Inc.
Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital
Center for Independent Living of Northcentral PA
Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern PA
Life and Independence for Today
United Cerebral Palsy Central PA
Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living
Thank you!
Additional AT Resources in
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology
Foundation (PATF)
• The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology
Foundation (PATF) is a non-profit organization
that helps people with disabilities and their
families purchase the assistive technology
devices and services they want.
• PATF serves people with all disabilities, family
members, and older adults, regardless of where
they live within Pennsylvania. PATF can help
people of ALL income levels, but individuals
must have an ability to repay a loan.
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology
Foundation (PATF)
• Provides low-interest loans, mini-loans / minigrants, information about other assistive
technology programs in Pennsylvania, and
information about other possible funding sources
in Pennsylvania.
• Provides significantly lower interest rates,
extended repayment periods, flexible eligibility
requirements, and rescue payments.
• Consumer choice program. Borrowers choose
the technology they want from the vendor of
their choice!
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology
Foundation (PATF) Contact
• Website:
• 888-744-1938 [Toll-free voice/TTY]
484-674-0510 [Fax]
1004 West 9th Avenue
1st Floor
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Independence is priceless…we help make it affordable
Work Incentives Planning and
Assistance (WIPA) Programs
• The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance
(WIPA) Programs assist Social Security
beneficiaries with transitioning from dependence
on public benefits to paid employment and
greater economic self-sufficiency.
• Pennsylvania has three WIPA Programs:
AHEDD, Disability Rights Network of
Pennsylvania (DRN) WIPA Program, and
Goodwill PASSABCO.
Work Incentives Planning and
Assistance (WIPA) Programs
• Help Social Security beneficiaries who have
received a Ticket to Work and are interested in
• Help Social Security beneficiaries understand work
rules and regulations.
• Recommend work incentives that can maximize
income and healthcare options.
• Help Social Security beneficiaries understand how
returning to work will impact benefits.
• Connect Social Security beneficiaries with
Employment Networks and other employment
support services.
AHEDD Contact Information
• AHEDD is a private, non-profit company
established in 1977 with a mission to serve the
community as a catalyst in the employment and
development of persons with disabilities.
AHEDD operates an array of employment
programs by partnering with business and
persons with disabilities through a network
throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware.
• Website:
• Vice President: John Miller
(717) 763-0968 ext. 118 [Voice]
[email protected] [Email]
Disability Rights Network of
Pennsylvania (DRN) WIPA Program
Contact Information
• Serves Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery,
and Philadelphia Counties
• Website:
• Project Director: Phyllis Hilley
267-312-4789 [Voice]
[email protected] [Email]
Contact Information
• Serves 36 counties in Eastern
• Website:
• Project Director: Corey Nelson
866-541-7005 [Voice]
866-541-7001 [TTY]
[email protected] [Email]
Pennsylvania Business
Leadership Network (PA BLN)
• The Pennsylvania Business Leadership
Network (PA BLN) is an employer driven
program designed for business leaders to
promote hiring practices that enable qualified
people with disabilities to enter and succeed in
the workplace.
• The emphasis of the PA BLN is to create
opportunities where employers can
communicate, peer-to-peer, to provide candid
and frank assessments of hiring successes
and challenges.
Pennsylvania Business
Leadership Network (PA BLN)
• Provides employers with access to a
network of their peers as well as
opportunities for training, positive public
relations, an increased number of
applicants with a disability, and a
centralized source of information.
• Part of a national initiative of about 43
chapters of BLNs in 32 states.
Pennsylvania Business
Leadership Network (PA BLN)
Contact Information
• Website:
• Project Director: Stacy Kyle
717-763-0968 ext. 115 [Voice]
[email protected] [Email]
Pennsylvania Client Assistance
Program (CAP)
• The Pennsylvania Client Assistance Program
(CAP) serves as a vital link between vocational
rehabilitation, independent living, and people
with disabilities in the community.
• CAP advises applicants and clients of services
available under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
• CAP provides information and referral about
Title I of the ADA.
• CAP provides outreach to unserved /
underserved populations.
Pennsylvania Client Assistance
Program (CAP)
• Helps individuals pursue administrative and
legal remedies to ensure protection of their
rights under the Rehabilitation Act.
• Helps individuals to resolve questions or
concerns about vocational rehabilitation,
independent living, and other services funded
under the Rehabilitation Act.
• Provides systemic advocacy on issues impacting
the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services.
Pennsylvania Client Assistance
Program (CAP)
Contact Information
• Website:
• 888-745-2357 [Voice/TTY - toll free in PA]
[email protected] [Email]
1617 JFK Blvd., Suite 800
Philadelphia, PA 19103
“The statewide advocate for people with disabilities:
ensuring that vocational rehabilitation is open and
responsive to your needs.”
Pennsylvania Statewide Independent
Living Council
Employment Committee
• The Pennsylvania Statewide Independent
Living Council Employment Committee’s
goal is to increase employment
opportunities for people with disabilities by
working with employers, trade
associations, Centers for Independent
Living, the Office of Vocational
Rehabilitation, and others crucial to the
employment of people with disabilities.
Pennsylvania Statewide Independent
Living Council
Employment Committee
Contact Information
• Website:
• Coordinator: Melissa Simmons
(717) 364-1732 ext. 106 [Voice]
[email protected] [Email]
[email protected] [Email]
2 North 2nd St., Suite 100
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Bureau of Workforce
Development Partnership
• Mission
– To ensure the efficient and effective
advancement and encouragement for
statewide and local productivity, achievement,
growth and development that focuses on the
abilities, innovation and creativity at the state
and local level of a consolidated workforce
Bureau of Workforce
Development Partnership
• Responsible for the management, administration and
oversight of operations for programs funded by the
Workforce Investment Act (WIA), including: enrollment,
service delivery, job training, contract development, and
certification of training providers. Responsible for the
management, administration and oversight of operations
for programs funded by the Workforce Investment Act
(WIA), including: enrollment, service delivery, job
training, contract development, and certification of
training providers.
Bureau of Workforce
Development Partnership
Contact Information
• Creating opportunities for Pennsylvanians by
ensuring universal access to workforce
development, training, and education programs
that equip individuals with the skills employers
need to be successful.
• For additional information please contact:
– Bill Moulfair at (717) 772-8855 [Voice]
– [email protected] [Email]
Pennsylvania Office of
Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
• OVR’s mission is to help Pennsylvanians with
disabilities secure and maintain employment and
• The Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation
Services (BVRS) serves vocational needs of all
individuals with disabilities except those with
blindness or visual impairments.
• The agency has 21 district offices in two field
Bureaus located in 15 different communities
across the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Office of
Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
• The Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services
(BBVS) focuses on the rehabilitation and
independence of citizens with blindness or low
• BBVS also provides Rehabilitation Teaching,
Orientation and Mobility Training, and Social
Work services.
Pennsylvania Office of
Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
Contact Information
All services are eligibility based, individualized based on
need, and may only be provided in relation to
achievement of an employment goal (with exception of
the specialized services in BBVS).
Website: Keyword OVR
1-800-442-635 / (717) 787-5244 (Voice)
1-866-830-7327 / (717) 787-4885 (TTY)
1-800-622-2842 / (717) 787-6176 (BBVS only)

AT @ Work