5 Must-Try Assistive Technologies to Help Employees Thrive in the Workplace in 2023 

Due to inaccessibility, work can be more challenging for people with disabilities—but it doesn’t have to be. Providing suitable accommodations can create a smooth working experience for employees with disabilities. It’s not only about making their tasks accessible and improving productivity but also makes them more engaged in the workplace.  

The Importance of Assistive Technology at Work 

Assistive technologies (AT) are here to provide better access to resources so that employees with disabilities can perform their tasks effectively. It also allows them to interact more with their colleagues, breaking barriers to communication and improving physical access.  Here are more reasons why people with disabilities should have access to assistive technologies as reasonable accommodations.  

1. Boosts Confidence and Independence 

Accommodations help employees work independently or with less help from others. They get the freedom to move independently because devices such as stairlifts or lift chairs enable them to access the workspace. Additionally, assistive technology helps them perform their work. 

2. Empowers Communication 

Assistive devices have been an enormous help for people with hearing, speech, and language disabilities. These devices allow them to communicate their needs and opinions with colleagues. 

Through alternative forms of communication and the use of these helpful devices, people with disabilities can build long-term relationships with their colleagues. 

More on Clear Communication: How to Clearly Communicate Your Need for a Flexible Schedule 

3. Makes Training at Work More Inclusive 

Training and learning at work were made fairer for everyone through assistive technology, as it made learning environments more inclusive through accommodation.  

Aside from this, employers should hire interpreters or provide close captioning available during training to help people with hearing disabilities participate in training opportunities. Managers can also check in to ensure training opportunities are accessible to those who are using assistive technologies. 

4. Supports Mental Wellness 

Employees diagnosed with mental illnesses can benefit from assistive devices. Some devices, like noise-canceling headsets, can help them focus on their tasks and reduce their anxiety and stress. These gadgets can help them control their thoughts and work as best as they can.1 

Types of Assistive Technology 

Assistive technology has been a part of our experience for hundreds of years, dating as far back as the 5th century when wheelchairs were first used in China. Another of the oldest devices we’ve been using are eyeglasses, which were believed to have been invented in Italy between 1268 and 1289. 

There are many kinds of assistive technology today. They can be bought from stores or customized for an individual’s specific needs. Here are some types we have today: 

  • Vision software 
  • Hearing aids and closed captioning 
  • Speech Communication software and hardware 
  • Learning, Cognition, and Developmental 
  • Transportation and Vehicle Modification 
  • Computers and Peripherals 

5 Today’s Must-Try Assistive Technology in the Workplace 

Here’s a list of assistive technology examples for work that can help employees with disabilities excel in what they do. 

1. NVDA 

NVDA, or NonVisual Desktop Access, is a free and open-source screen reader software designed to assist people with visual impairment to navigate computer systems and perform various tasks independently. It announces text, including menus, dialog boxes, documents, web pages, and more. The software also provides keyboard navigation and supports Braille displays, allowing users to interact with their computers effectively. 

NVDA also supports applications, including web browsers, email, word processors, and other software programs. It uses keyboard commands and gestures to navigate through content, read text aloud, and provide information about the layout and structure of documents and web pages. 

2. OrCam 

The OrCam is a handheld device with built-in Artificial Intelligence for people with low vision and developmental or intellectual disabilities that won the accessibility category of the CES Best of Innovation Award in 2021.2 

The device, which can be activated using voice commands, has a trigger button, a two-laser targeting feature, and a smart camera. 

It can convert any text from any surface into audio that can be listened to through a connected Bluetooth device or its own built-in speaker. It works by pointing the red lights onto a text the user wants to read.

The device then captures the image and reads it out loud. And the best part is it doesn’t need an internet connection to operate.

3. GlassOuse 

The GlassOuse hands-free mouse was designed for individuals with limited mobility. It can be used by connecting via Bluetooth and slipping the device on like a pair of glasses. It is compatible with most smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Smart TVs. 

This can help people navigate the cursor by moving their heads instead of the traditional computer mouse. It can track even the faintest head movements. 

4. Hable One 

The Hable One Smartphone keyboard was designed for individuals with visual impairment. It is an eight-key Braille keyboard that allows its users to control their Android or iOS devices completely. This keyboard can be used even when the phone is away, such as unlocking and locking the device.  

5. GoTalk Now 

GoTalk Now is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app designed for individuals with speech and language disabilities. It is a mobile application that provides a platform for people who have difficulty communicating verbally to express themselves using symbols, pictures, and text. 

The app allows users to create customized communication boards or grids consisting of various symbols or pictures, along with corresponding text or recorded speech. These communication boards can be tailored to meet each user’s specific needs and preferences. Users can navigate through the grids and select symbols or pictures to construct sentences or phrases, which are then spoken aloud by the app or can be displayed as text.

6. Pictello 

Pictello is an application specifically designed to create and share visual stories and social narratives. It is a communication and learning tool for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities or those with low vision. 

With Pictello, you can easily create personalized stories using a combination of pictures, text, and audio recordings. The app allows users to import their own photos or choose from a library of pre-loaded images. They can then arrange these pictures sequentially to tell a story or explain a specific social situation or event. 

Users also have the flexibility to add text to each image, describing the scene or providing additional information. The app can read the text aloud using text-to-speech technology, providing auditory support for individuals who may have difficulty reading or comprehending written text. 

Assistive Technology Boosts Overall Achievement 

Assistive technology is indeed helpful in creating accessible workspaces. Through them, employees with disabilities can have the support and equipment they need to do their work, maximize their productivity and contribute most efficiently to their teams. Having assistive technology at work can help you meet your business goals and support employees with disabilities achieve their career goals. 

EXCEL IN YOUR DIVERSITY HIRING WITH THE HELP OF THE GALT FOUNDATION 

Galt Foundation is one of the largest staffing organizations in the world for employees with disabilities. We have over 20 years of experience helping people with disabilities find the best job for them. We can connect you with your best employer options. 

Get in touch with us. Call us toll-free at 1-877-361-1277 or submit our contact form here

References 

1. “The Key Benefits of Assistive Technology At Work.” Thriiver, thriiver.co.uk/the-key-benefits-of-assistive-technology-at-work/. 19 May 2023. 

2. Solomon, Shoshanna. “OrCam’s AI-based reading device wins prestigious CES 2021 innovation award.” The Times of Israel, 16 Dec. 2020, OrCam’s AI-based reading device wins prestigious CES 2021 innovation award | The Times of Israel.  

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Let’s start a conversation! Are you a person with disabilities searching for a job or an organization with temporary or long-term employment needs? We look forward to helping you realize your potential.

Contact Us

Let’s start a conversation! Are you a person with disabilities searching for a job or an organization with temporary or long-term employment needs? We look forward to helping you realize your potential.