New Adaptive Technology Tools

Integration Technologies Group recently hosted representatives from public and private sectors at its state-of-the-art Adaptive Technology Training Center in Falls Church, Va., for an open house to demonstrate products available to people with disabilities. This open house is one of several planned throughout the year, designed to further educate employers about products available to enhance accessibility in the workplace.
“We are committed to providing employers with tools that help people with disabilities function productively in the workplace – and to providing the training both employers and employees need to ensure that these tools are effectively used,” said Patricia Zawasky, development manager of ITG’s Accessibility Solutions Group, which provides procurement, consulting and training services to assist with customer needs associated with Adaptive Technologies.
ITG partnered with HumanWare, a leader in blindness and low vision products, for this two-day event. ITG, the federal government’s largest provider of Sections 504/508 standards-based solutions and assistive technology equipment, is dedicated to improving employer awareness of accessibility options for the disabled community.
“Disabled people should be able to walk into an office and do anything that I can do; and the ITG forums provide employers an outstanding opportunity to increase their awareness of accessibility solutions,” said Marilyn Estep, information technology specialist for the General Services Administration.
“Any government agency that puts in a procurement request must make sure that the Section 508 compliance requirement goes into its Request for Proposal,” Estep added, pointing out the importance of accessibility in the workplace.
The open house reached a number of employers, including representatives from several federal agencies. In addition to the General Services Administration, other agencies present included the Library of Congress, the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. Attendees agreed that the event was a success.
“This was my first time coming to an ITG forum,” said Clarke Allen, computer specialist for the publishing office at the Library of Congress. “It was very informative and impressive to see how people with disabilities, when given the proper tools, can remain competitive in the workplace.”
Another attendee, Rajiv Shah, an accessibility specialist for the Department of Education, said that he previously would hesitate before seeking assistance in the workplace.
“I used to feel like having something made accessible for me was burdensome to my employer,” said Shah, who is blind. “What I’ve learned is that accessibility should be available, not retrofitted.”
The Adaptive Technology trainers at ITG offer a unique perspective on disabilities in the workforce: 90 percent of these trainers are disabled, as were several presenters at the open house.
“Manufacturers are increasingly taking the needs of people with disabilities into account,” said Jonathan Mosen, HumanWare BrailleNotes product manager, who is blind. “The more manufacturers become aware of our unique needs, the more they are able to provide products and features that address these needs.” Mosen presented on using accessible PDA products for productivity within the workplace.
ITG will offer a number of other forums for employers at its training facility this year. It offers additional training opportunities for users of Adaptive Technology. The state-of-the-art facility is equipped to train up to 12 persons.
For more information about ITG and Adaptive Technologies, please call (703) 698-8282 or visit www.itgonline.com.
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