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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

8(Basic)  How do I know what type of adaptive equipment to recommend having available in the One-Stop Career Centers?

(DPN Bi-weekly FAQ - 1-23-06. Modified from the 2005 DOL-SSA DPN FAQ s)

If you have not yet been exposed to the world of adaptive technology, this is your opportunity! There are numerous resources out there to help you learn about all the different kinds of adaptive equipment and technology available today. First, check to see what your One-Stop Center’s plan and budget are for accessibility. Meet with your technology staff to make sure that software associated with various types of adaptive equipment is compatible with the system currently in place. In addition, consult with your State Lead and fellow Navigators on their experiences and suggestions on adaptive equipment that have improved accessibility in their One-Stops
     After you have gathered some basic information, talk with individuals with disabilities in your community by tapping into your local Independent Living Center, Commission for the Blind, d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing agencies and nearby colleges with adaptive technology resources for students with disabilities. Keep in mind that each community may have specific preferences on the types of technology used. For example, your local Commission for the Blind may relay that individuals who are visually-impaired in your community often use Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTV), even though other communities do not use this mode of magnification as much. If you learn about technology that is up-and-coming, such as video relay interpreting, work closely with your deaf service providers to ensure that they would provide training to deaf individuals on how to use the technology. Many people may be able to benefit from adaptive equipment that did not realize that it was available or that it would help them (e.g., people with literacy issues or learning disabilities).
     Research adaptive equipment and technology vendors throughout your state who will provide demonstrations, and consult with regional and national resources like the ADA & IT Centers (also known as DBTACs) and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). They will gladly make recommendations on the types of adaptive equipment that will open up access for a wide variety of customers. Before making recommendations on the purchase of specific adaptive equipment and technology, learn how to design a universally accessible work station that can be used effectively by a wide range of customers without special assistive technology. This will help your One-Stops decide which assistive technologies are needed. If they are not able to make all of the purchases, develop an action plan outlining why the recommendation has been made and how the adaptive technology would allow individuals with disabilities to independently access services to reach their employment goals.
      With all of the research you do, you will most likely uncover state-of-the-art technology that people in your community are not yet familiar with. This presents a great opportunity for your One-Stops to introduce more options to individuals with disabilities, including job seekers with learning and cognitive disabilities that could also be implemented on a job. In addition, many Navigators report that the presence of accessible work stations and assistive devices raises the level of awareness among employers who come into the One-Stops for recruitments. Helpful resources include:

Note to DPNs: If you have comments, suggestions or questions relating to the above topic, please email DJ Diamond at ddiamond@ndi-inc.org . They may be added to this FAQ and the archived one on the One-Stop Toolkit website.