Ep 3: Assistive Technology
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This episode is on assistive technology. All technology is assistive and the range of products and services available now for disabled people is pretty amazing. Alice talks with Lateef McLeod and Jessie Lorenz, two people from the SF Bay Area disability community. Lateef and Jessie share about their usage of assistive technology, how it impacts their lives, and the current barriers disabled people still face accessing assistive technology.
Lateef McLeod’s website: Lateefhmcleod.com
Allen Temple Baptist Church: Persons with Disabilities Ministry (Oakland, CA)
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF)
ILRCSF Nick Feldman Device Lending Library
Aira.io: Visual interpreter for the blind
Jessie Lorenz is a career-loving mom. She is the Executive Director of the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and a single mom to an active 1st grader. You can Find her on Twitter: @UppityBlindMom.
Lateef McLeod is building his career as a motivational speaker and spoken word artist. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. He is now a student in the Anthropology and Social Change Doctoral program at California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. He published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010 chronicling his life as a black man with a disability and tackling various topics on family, dating, religion, spirituality, his national heritage and sexuality. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying. He was in the 2007 annual theater performance of Sins Invalid and also their artist-in-residence performance in 2011 entitled Residence Alien. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying. More of his writings are available on his website Lateefhmcleod.com and his Huffington Post blog, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lateef-mcleod/. Some of his recent community service work includes being the co-chair of the Persons with Disabilities Ministry at Allen Temple Baptist Church and being the chair of the Lead committee and executive board member of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
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Cheryl Green, Audio Producer, Text Transcript
Alice Wong, Writer, Producer, Interviewer
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off” and “Hard Out Here for A Gimp”
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
“A New Day In a New Sector” by Chris Zabriskie (Source: freemusicarchive.org. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License)
“Amsterdam” by Lasers (Source: freemusicarchive.org. Licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License)
“Faith” by Borrtex (Source: freemusicarchive.org. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License)
“Human” by Borrtex (Source: freemusicarchive.org. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License)
“VOCODER countdown” by Jack_Master. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
“8 Bit Beeping Computer Sounds” by sheepfilms. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
“Cash Register” by kiddpark (Source: freesound.org. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License)
We need to advance the notion about how the field and term of AT advanced over the years. For an item to be simply dubbed assistive technology for all AT, ignores the other forms of AT present in our lives and the efforts pushing towards universal design. Yes, assistive technology nicely captures the range of hardware and software solutions which enables an individual with a disability to utilize something or achieve a goal. For example, screen readers like NVDA enables the visually impaired to access computers, but runs into barriers rather quickly if a website or PDF form fails to incorporate web and digital standards for accessibility.
This is why we need to include accessible technologies as part of the AT acronym as part of educational outreach efforts. Mainstream companies, like Apple, Microsoft, and Google steadily advanced and improved products suitable for most individuals. We might be a little off before we can say everyone’s usage, but right now devices like the iPhone and iPad, Surface, and the Pixel may be debated that they are worthy of the AT identifier, referring to Accessible Technology. They are not assistive technology, since the accessibility features exists in the product’s core and does not require an add-add on to be made usable for an individual with a disability. Granted, Windows users may still prefer a screen reader like NVDA or a magnifier like ZoomText, the integrated Narrator in Windows 10 slowly turns this into a luxury for comfort more than a necessity.
Finally, how can we forget the age old adaptive technologies when talking about AT? Remember the days when tinkerers and inventors would retrofit physical environments and devices to promote usability? This still occurs today, and should remain present whenever we talk about AT, for it shows us our past.
Thank you for your thoughts, Timothy!
Hi, I can’t get the audio to load or play. I’ve tried different web browsers and downloading it but still no luck. Can you check to make sure it is uploaded? Thank you.
Thank you for letting me know. Fixing it now!
Hey! Just as a heads up, I think this episode might be broken. I’ve tried to play it from three different browsers and none of them loaded successfully, and the download link doesn’t work either!
Thank you! Fixing it right now!