Successful Accommodations: Assistive Technology and Accessibility Working Together

Janet Peters

Welcome everyone. I think we''re going to go ahead and get started today. I want to welcome you to the Accessible Technology Webinar Series. I''m Janet Peters and I''m a project coordinator for the Great Lakes ADA Center. The Accessible Technology Webinar Series is sponsored by the Great Lakes ADA Center, and the Pacific ADA Center which are both members of the ADA National Network. Before we begin I want to cover just a couple of housekeeping items. We are going to use the public chat area to submit any questions you have throughout the presentation, as well as to respond to some of the poll questions that our speaker has put together. We do have the microphones turned off because we have such a large group today. So please be aware that you will not be able to use the microphones, but you will be able to chat, type in the public chat to answer the questions. Because we do have many, many participants today, please try to keep the chat area to actual questions, and not extraneous testing or chatting as much as possible. Just so that it''s readable. Today''s session is being recorded and archived on the site. You will receive an email link with that address and an archive when it, as soon as it''s available which is in about 10 business days. The session has real time captioning. The CC symbol is on the lower right hand corner of your viewing area. If you click on the icon you''ll be able to open a dialogue box where the captioning can be viewed. This window can be resized and moved, moved around anywhere on your screen. Today''s session will have handouts and they will be emailed to you along with an evaluation survey. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out this evaluation survey. It is important to us and we do try to incorporate your feedback into future accessible technology webinar sessions. So with that, I think we''ll start with today''s session. It is on Successful Accommodations, Assistive Technology and Accessible Technology Working Together and our speaker is David Dikter. We''re very glad to have him with us. Mr. Dikter is the executive director of the Assistive Technology Industry Association. The ATIA and he manage the overall mission of the ATIA to bring assistive technology to people with disabilities. He is responsible for all aspects of the ATIA annual conference, public awareness, government education and work on national policy issues as it relates to assistive technology and accessible technologies. Dikter sits on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiatives Steering Council and works with diverse groups to promote assistive technology and the needs of people with disabilities. We are very glad to have him with us today and I know it''s going to be a great session. So please welcome David. Here you go David.

David Dikter

Thank you Janet. It''s, it''s good to be here and presenting to this fairly large group. And I''m going to keep refreshing the, the slide so I can make sure as people enter they have the slides. You can also hit the little refresh button I believe on your own screen if you''re not thinking that you''re, you''re with, with me on the slides. I want to welcome everyone. It''s, it''s, when Janet asked me to, to come on and do a presentation through a webinar, I was kind of excited to do it. I do lots of presentations in, in the public arena, and have an audience and, and this I thought would be an interesting modality to kind of present some of this. So I think that throughout the session, as I spoke to Janet about the topic, I, I definitely think that the topic lends itself to some interaction and some communication back and forth. So I have some questions that will come up that will post out there and hopefully you''ll all jump in. I want you to feel free to, to ask your questions as well. I want to start off by telling you a little bit about ATIA for those who don''t know about it. And I''ll stop for a second. We sent out some questions ahead of time, and just so you understand who the group is a little bit it''s about as diverse an audience as, as you can expect. We have folks with us who are, who work in IT and companies. We have folks who work in centers, working directly service providers as evaluators. And we have folks who have very little experience in terms of assistive technology and accommodations that are looking to, to learn some, some additional information. The assistive technology industry association is now 11 years old. We just passed our 10 year mark. And we have about 130 manufacturers and resellers who are members of ATIA. And we have a growing list of partnerships and organizations that are, that work with us and that partner with us. Our members focus primarily on the information technology side of the assisted technology. Technologies around visual impairments, around learning disabilities, around issues of multiple disabilities, independent living, cognitive disabilities and vocational needs. And a ever growing community of members who focus on communication and augmented communication technologies. We also include IT members as members of ATIA and I think that it''s, it''s important for everyone to understand that our members, both our assistant technology companies and our information technology companies are working together and have been for years and continue to work together. And the challenges always continue to grow and change as technology grows, but we do a lot of partnering because the technologies of the assistive technology companies are really about access to the mainstream technology, using the mainstream technologies to, and using computers to be able to access in the end content and do work and, and do, and work in schools. We know that the IT companies want to make their systems accessible and for them to interoperate with the assistive technologies. We also know that there has been a long standing collaboration between IT and AT companies to ensure accessibility. We really, you know, focus on, on building knowledge of AT and, and how it works with IT and that''s a critical component to accommodations and, and accessibility. I want to start also by saying I''m not going to be talking very specifically about any one piece of technology. I''m seeing that some of you guys have some technical issues. They''re, they''re working to help you with that and for anybody who, well those folks probably aren''t hearing me say that. So I don''t generally speak to a specific technology or a specific company''s technologies for that matter. I, I make it a point not to talk about any one individual company because inevitably I would be missing someone or it would be a competitor who is also a member. What I want to talk about today are strategies and, and, and really what I call helping you have some level of ammunition that you need to be able to help either an individual or help a company make, create a successful environment so that someone with a disability can come into the work force and be successful. I think that there are levels of successes in that, in this arena, and I think that many of you have knowledge of that and have first hand experience of that. Some of the questions that we saw before this session, when we sent out an email were specific to website accessibility and how, how do I do that. Some of the questions were about telephone systems for the deaf and hard of hearing. I don''t have all those answers, but I bet people on this webinar do and I bet there are resources. And I want to talk a little bit more about the resources as well. So I''m going to move right along here to another slide. I like to start out by saying that the assistive technology is a tool, as we all know and a set of, or a set of tools. And it''s usually only one part of a solution for someone who has a disability. It''s a critical piece but it''s not the only piece that I think we have to focus on. I still see that we''re getting some sound problems. I think that, that folks are, are working on that. I think that other critical areas that require focus are obviously in the work place, corporate processes. We often hear that purchasing of a piece of assistive technology is a challenge. That we often hear that there isn''t an evaluation process in place. Or how does someone get evaluated for being able to have an accommodation or a piece of technology. On, when I say on-going development which is one of this slide, there is a constant need for making sure that websites, that internal software systems are looked at and examined and evaluated related to accessibility. And then there''s the larger scope of creating an inclusive work environment. And you''ll hear me say a little later about some of that as well. I think some of the critical areas, when it comes to assistive technology in the framework of technologies that I spend most of my time talking about, are the current information and communication technology systems and obviously the people, not only the people who buy those systems, the people who run them and the day-to-day dealing with those systems. And one of the other areas is training. And I think that, as I go through hearing a lot about, and talking a lot about accommodations in the work place, training needs are both on the AT and the IT side. So one of my pet peeves is claiming that someone''s, you know, that an accommodation isn''t going to work, when in fact someone, an, an employee just needs some better training on some of the systems of software that in fact they need to use and the AT isn''t the problem, but something else may be the issue. I''m going to move right along to the next slide. I''m on slide six. I hope that you''re seeing that. So we often talk about an ecosystem that is required. Oh we have a poll. I''m sorry Janet, I, I do have a poll question that I wanted to throw up there. Hold on I didn''t have it up, up and visible. Will you put that poll question out? I, I actually closed that window on myself. So Janet''s going to put a poll question out on the, on the, the chat area. So if you could all just pay attention to that. Janet what was that question that I had to put out there? I don''t have that open at the moment. Okay, if you could answer this question right in the chat area? What is your familiarity with the AT and accommodations? Are you, do you consider yourself an expert? Do you have some experience? Literal experiences, no experience, are you completely new to this? And we can all see kind of the level of where folks think they are. And I think it''s important for all of you to know that there''s a range of expertise. Even on, you know, 80 people signing up for this session. And I think that that''s pretty important. And I would, if I were you, keep an eye on who the experts are because you might know them and want to make some contact with them. Excellent, so we have a, a pretty broad mix of folks who are, who are, have some experience around AT and accommodations. And we have a few experts in here. I see we have someone relatively new. And that''s awesome. So as you can see we have a pretty good mix of folks and, and I think that one of the things that I like to tell folks is that after we''re done with this session, I hope that you will have an opportunity to continue to spread what we''re sharing today, either within your organization and certainly into the businesses, and for the organizations that you work with. I''m going to move right along here with, with ecosystem thinking. So when we talk about accommodations, it''s not just about a piece of technology. It''s not just about hiring someone. It''s about the whole array of, of needs that an employee may have and it''s about the array of needs that a company may have and either supporting that employee, or, or even supporting a group of employees. When I think about the, the ecosystem, I think you know human resources is involved. Training folks are involved. IT folks, that''s within a company, the employee themselves, and especially managers. One thing that we do need to consider is that managers may have zero experience dealing with someone with a disability, someone who''s blind. And they obviously I would hope they''re part of the hiring process, but they may not understand the kinds of technology solutions that that individual has. Are there other folks, because I know I''ve left a lot of folks off the mix here? Why don''t you type in whom else would be part of, or what other folks would be part of this ecosystem to ensure success. This would give us a little bit of interaction and other folks can see what, what, what we all think. So type into the chat area who else you might think will be part of that ecosystem. Occupational therapist, job coaches, disability advocates, co-workers very much so. DME, voc rehab, you know all, look at all this, the individual with disability. Architects, especially when it comes to the environment itself. Oh see okay. I''m sure someone may be on the phone as well, on, on this, on this webinar as well. High school transition team, yeah, for sure. So I''m just repeating some of the things that I''m seeing go up. And, and the family as well or care givers as well. So you know there''s obviously work that needs to happen before and during employment. That one disability and their work always requires some changing, changing along the way, needs change all the time, and one of the things that we know around the technology is that systems change all the time. Such as the introduction of a new, of a new time keeping system, introduction of a new customer relationship management system, a CRM system, or an update to that system. Introduction of you know just some new paperwork that needs to be filled out. And in fact all it is sent out as a piece of paper that someone can''t use. Either they can''t write on it, or they can''t read it or for whatever reason what is happening with those things. So there has to be a constant effort put in to make sure that, that the employee is not locked out of being able to do their job. And I think that''s a key. So the one thing that I wish that I had and I think that some of you probably have it and I, I went looking for, for some, some samples, but, but didn''t find anything that I was quite satisfied with is really developing checklists for employers and for employees to, you know, kind of keep up and do check ins around what systems are and are not working at the moment. And what needs they may have that is coming up through some changes. One of the things that I saw that was consistent in the responses from our pre, pre-webinar questions was that, you know, budget seems to get in the way an awful lot. And we hear it in K-12, we hear everywhere. And there are not tons of money out there and especially in businesses for this, this other piece of technology. I kind of put that in, into the area of apathy in many ways. It''s a great excuse. Most of the technology needs that people have who need an accommodation don''t exceed 1,000 dollars. And I would say that many companies do have, or could find budgets for that. Discrimination is what it is and I am not, I''m not one who decides to say that we need to ensure that that is not what''s happening, and, and I think that probably all of you are, are advocates like I am. And, and to call it that at times; although we have to work with folks. It''s really a question of, you know, what is reasonable and what is doable. And there''s some really interesting findings out there around who we are accommodating currently. We know that we are not employing people with disabilities at a level that''s anywhere near what it should be. So the question is, you know, what is reasonable accommodation? There were a lot of questions that came up about web and document access. Okay, I''m sorry I''m getting a quick little message here. Go ahead Janet; throw up your next question. I, I don''t have them in front of me so I''m blanking on what, what I put out to you. I don''t have information about the tax credit. I believe there are, okay. Hold on one, before you guys answer this question let me just answer this. There was a question about, and somebody had informed this individual La Candace about companies receiving a 5,000 dollar tax credit for making job accommodations. I don''t have information on, on that that tax credit I. I don''t know, I''m not knowledgeable about that. And there''s, somebody''s responding that it''s state by state. There is some tax incentives related to having people, employing people with disabilities and I think that my understanding is that it''s not used very much, but that''s something that you should certainly help your companies that you''re working with to look into. The next question is where in the corporate structure do you see the greatest barrier to a successful accommodation? So based on the last slide that I had you know there is all of these different folks in the ecosystem of, of, of accommodation in order make it successful. But where is, is, where are these barriers? Front line supervision is that the same as manager? I, I think they''re the same manager. Attitude, yeah, funding, I''m seeing funding on here. Attitude of higher ups which goes back to the issue of making sure that a company has a full set of resources that it is a work environment that is interested and willing and, and able to, to support someone with a disability and have diversity in their work environment, managers which goes again to training. So if there, I would recommend that some of the training needs that do exist in companies are to work with managers to help them understand the needs and the possibilities of having an employee with a disability. And the funding is often there, but as I said, I think that the funding becomes a problem because there''s no central funding within a company to pay for an accommodation. The, the manager who may have a small budget or who may not have a budget themselves, doesn''t necessarily have the resources and doesn''t want to use the small pot of resources that they have to pay for a piece of assistive technology. And the evaluation and the support that needs to go along with that. Health insurance premiums, that''s kind of interesting. I''ll read out some of the other comments that are being put up here. Fear of liability. Slow decision making which is often true. Supervisors that don''t want to give different treatments to employees. The whole idea is to equalize things and, and I think that that''s obviously a, an attitude issue as well. So we''re getting a lot of different areas. There''s, there''s some commonality here as well. I''m going to move right along here. I think that in order to, to change these, these attitudes and change these strategies is really having available as, as an advocate, as someone who''s working with companies, or working inside of a company, is to know the resources and have some information to be able to counter some often poor assumptions. The W3C and the, and the web accessibility standards knowing section 508 as somebody just as Yvonne Dover listed lack of information about 508. Knowing your resources so that if you can''t be the direct support to managers or to supervisors, or to higher ups in a company, knowing about Jan, I put just a few web aim, and, and especially the evaluation tools around the web, and having that available to IT folks. I often find it helpful to be able to say to an IT person well if I can point you in the direction of some experts around accessibility and how to evaluate your systems, would that be a help to you? And, and I often find that that is something that''s accepted, especially if they''re IT folks who can talk to other IT folks, which leads me to this world of, this amazing world of accessibility solution providers. I know that, for example, on this webinar series I know that Mike Paciello was a speaker. There are a lot of other companies, Tech Access and even local companies as well. These are folks who do understand the needs of the technology challenges and are able to help companies provide solutions. Create solutions. And in many cases work around how they get their systems accessible. And it includes training as well. I think that local services and funded agencies you, I think which most of you on this webinar represent, knowing who these folks are and being able to refer companies to them. And also refer employees to some of these supports. So if you''re not the expert on assistive technology, or you don''t understand the solutions for an individual, being able to go where to go to find those solutions. One of the other areas, obviously I think that there''s probably no surprise in my mind that I put this out, is that having contact and having a relationship with AT, assistive technology resellers, manufacturers and distributors is a really great way to be able to get training. If you have, and I''ll use, I''ll use blindness as an example. If you have someone who needs a screen reader, and a company has not had somebody in their employment is blind and they need a whole bunch of services and obviously there''s going to be a whole bunch of support folks there. But from the, the component of the company who has to install stuff on a computer, the computer comes from IT. The IT department''s not going to release the computer until they have everything set and they''ve tested it with this extra software. The opportunity for an AT vendor to work with that company often makes a lot of sense. It doesn''t necessarily have to be just one individual kind of trying to say well yeah I just installed you know X product. There can be support in that and training, especially if somebody''s buying product. Let me move right along here. I wanted to use some slides that I saw not too long ago. Beth Loy from the Job Accommodation Network presented this at one of our workshops that we did at ATIA. And it goes to the kind of the issue of so what are employers who are employing folks with disabilities. What are their experiences? The, Jan went ahead and did a whole bunch of research on a fairly large number of employers and folks who call into them and, and use their services. And probably not surprisingly the vast, a big majority of the responses actually were related to existing employees who needed an accommodation. And this is a whole array of accommodation, it''s not necessarily all about buying a screen reader or buying something high tech, or you know a magnification system on the computer. Some of them are mobility related. Some of them are, are, simpler, like ergonomic related accommodations. Here''s what these employers said, and I think that these slides, if you use anything out of what I''m presenting, these slides are pretty powerful because it is a way to communicate back to new employers, and also to communicate specifically to employees who are looking for work to be able to present that, yeah, I, we have skills, and as people with disabilities, and in fact we add value. And here are some of the things that, that really does matter to companies. They retained an employee, thanks. Janet just mentioned that the slides will be emailed after the session. I, I''m sorry you, you don''t have them at this moment. But they retained a valued employee. I often use the example of the, the single bookkeeper in the company, the person who handles all of the invoices and things that come in who, you know, may be losing their vision, may be losing their mobility. And in fact, by, by coming up with some accommodations for that really important employee who is not quite at the age of retirement, who the company would like her to stay, that, that this is really important and 86 percent of the companies that responded to Jan''s survey said that this is very important. Increasing an employee''s productivity this is critical because every employer wants their employees producing at the highest level they can. And, and I suspect out of, out of, within the companies themselves when an employee improves their productivity with a, with an accommodation that it gives other employees and managers a who different point of view on that employee. There''s an item here around eliminating the cost of training a new employee. And I would probably, and I''m sure if it''s in here. But the cost of not only training, but hiring someone new, so if they were talking most about existing employees, the process to hire a new employee is very expensive for companies, from advertising to lost productivity because there''s a window of time that somebody may not be filling that job. And to the training needs and that''s important saving workers compensation or other insurance costs. Every time someone does not go out on disability it saves company money. Diversity of the company, employee attendance, hiring, hiring a qualified person with a disability, was an important benefit, and then promoting an employee that the accommodation itself in and of itself has helped promote an employee further. Any thoughts or comments or questions about these direct benefits and have you seen them, and have you seen them, or have you not seen them? And do you find value in this particular slide? Feel free to, to type those kinds of comments in and I''ll read them out. I''ll pick and choose and read them out as I see them. Are you all still there? Not seeing too much typing going on. The challenge, the challenge, so the question is do these kinds of, do these kinds of direct benefits that companies talk about, do you see the same responses, and or do you see the value of being able to present this info to employers, and to employees, so some of you feel that this would be helpful to send to employers. Some of you have not seen this kind of data before. So you, I''ll just remind you. This comes from the job of accommodation network (JAN) and they definitely would be happy to share a lot of this with you. All right I''m going to move to the next slide. Feel free to keep typing in your responses as well a lot of yeses in there. So companies also commented on indirect benefits. And earlier, earlier, so we can thank Beth Loy for all of the material for all this data. I''m really a fan of taking other people''s stuff and, and getting it out as far as we can get it when I think it''s really valuable. So the indirect benefits that companies reported are probably obvious to many of us, but may not be obvious to companies themselves in terms of thinking about the process that they need to put in place around hiring. And its improved interactions, improved company morale, obviously improved productivity that it, people are working at their optimal, then obviously productivity is up, workplace safety and interactions with customers. I often hear secondary results of making a website accessible and they found out that they had a, a customer who appreciate it, not just the employee themselves. I think that a lot of us have heard that. It''s not only at, when it comes to the web and it comes to their public components, being able to have your IT department understand and know how to make things accessible or not make sure they''re not blocking other people from using it can often have a direct benefit related to customers as well. Profitability and increased customer based. These are all things that companies have said are direct and indirect benefits to them. So I go back to what, why is this important? I''ve been talking about this. They, companies have employee needs, new and existing employees. In this case, when I looked at this data from Jan it was mostly about existing employees. The question I have is what about new employees and I think that the challenge we have is how do we get companies that don''t have existing employees right now to understand that hiring someone with a disability can be this valuable? Companies don''t just do things because it''s right. Some pay, especially small companies. But they really have needs and they have a business to run and knowing facts is really important, and these kinds of facts are really important to get away from, poor assumptions, poor attitudes and a lot of apathy towards people with disabilities. We have a comment here from Mark, as an advocate and a person with a disability; I see this information as very informative. And, and I think that we, we''ve run into, we, you know, when I asked an earlier question, attitude came up, attitude, attitude. I call it apathy and, and discrimination as well. How do we break that barrier? Part of it is the law. And using that stick approach. But the other part of it is educating folks about whether it be CEO''s or business owners or vice presidents or managers. We need to constantly be re, retraining and rethinking about how we approach those folks about, about the, about those attitudes and give them better ammunition themselves so that they can get what they need. Whether it be a budget or whether it be being able to support one individual in the work place. So we talked a little integrating assistive technology is kind of my next component because I know you want to know a little bit more about assistive technology and there are lots of different ways to integrate AT. In some cases it''s, it''s, it''s fairly simple. Go out, buy a piece of technology and, and that employee can manage it. They''re already experienced on the technology. And be able to put it into place. In some cases, there is no way for an employee to install a piece of software on their computer if they need it. For larger companies, computers are standardized. For many, many reasons, but for security reasons or for other reasons employees aren''t allowed to just go ahead and install something on their computer. It''s blocked. They can''t. How does that purchase mechanism work and the installation of that piece of technology work within that company? Often this is where significant delays can happen in the implementation of either hiring or bringing back an employee, or even just hiring an employee to begin with. There''s a lot of frustration for yeah I know I need a piece of technology. I''m sitting here trying to make the best that I can, but I''m waiting and waiting and waiting. So the question is, you know, who in a company is responsible? Is it human resources? And the group that deals with accommodations within human resources? I''ve seen a lot of different models and I think that I use an example from the next webinar series presenter who''s going to be on in a week or a couple weeks. Frances West and I encourage all of you to attend her webinar. She''s from; she''s the accessibility director for IBM. You know she talks a lot about a central purchasing model. And I think that, that when there is a central purchasing model for assistive technology in a company, the burden and the responsibility of that money component is lifted off of a manager and allows a manager to kind of turn around and say okay we know we''ve got some resources to buy stuff, now what do we need. And, and we can be able to kind of move forward and do that. Somebody else wrote in here, I''m just going to stop for a second, I see this as also applicable in the education system. Teacher cannot install computer programs on their own computer. You have to work with your information technology departments, whether it is in a company, just making the recommendation and this person needs X piece of software installed in a large organization. Whether it is a corporation, a school district, or anywhere is not going to work. There needs to be someone who is willing to work with the IT department to prioritize this software installation on whatever laptop or desktop computer for this individual. And often it''s the case that they need to test it. And I''m hearing about the [inaudible] assistive technology center I assume. There are lots of centers in your states. And, and programs locally who will help work with these folks. But companies have to have their security. And they have their way of doing things from a technology point of view. And you have to do work prior to that employee starting. There needs to be prior testing. They need the time to do that. And they need someone who they can call or talk to about is it working properly. If you''re installing a stream reader with somebody in an IT group, they''re not going to know if it''s working properly. It''s helpful if they have a version that has been installed on a baseline machine. So they have a machine, and IT companies have lots of computers that are just baseline. This is what everybody gets and, and for them to get a piece of software to be able to install it on that baseline and say okay we know this works, we know it will work. It doesn''t necessarily mean that having that software that all of the systems in that company is going to, are going to be accessible. But it is not a bad starting point to make sure that they''re able and willing to install the software. That may be one of the bigger hurdles in addition to systems and legacy software that exists out there. Do I have any questions up to this point? Maybe we could just make it open. If you have any questions, feel free to type them in and I''ll open, open it up for some questions. Not seeing any. I''ll go forward. Feel free to throw your questions in as we go. What about managing the maintance cycle for hardware and software? I believe that if you''ve worked with the IT group, and they''ve managed the update, they''ve managed a baseline machine and understand how a particular piece of software works in an, in, in their, in their configuration that when it comes time for an update for hardware, so a new laptop every three years, that number one the software is already in hand. There may need to be an updated version purchased so that has to be done ahead of time. And then from software point of view, if there''s just one of the challenges I think we face in IT and AT and all around. As new software roll up, roll outs go in companies, so from let''s say they went, they''re going right now from XP to Windows 7 which shouldn''t be a big deal for, for most computer users. But let''s say it''s another piece of software that''s web based. They''re going from something that''s installed on a computer to a full web services based piece of software. A company has a responsibility to test that product and make sure that product is accessible. One of the things you''ll hear about in that next webinar of Francis West is really about how companies are setting accessibility as a priority. And, and I think that that, that''s critical. You have any, the next question is, do you have any strategies for increasing collaboration among IT and AT staff. In many organizations these two departments work independently. I think that that''s one of my messages all the way through. That you know there has to be a perception of you that this is not just everybody standing alone, that it is an ecosystem. It is a group of making sure that this works. I know that we are constantly working on within the AT industry how to better promote IT companies, IT technology folks working with AT technologies. There are challenges in the technology that we are currently facing and that we''ll continue to face because of the evolution of technology. But it''s critical. Do I have strategies for that? I think that when you approach accessibility from a group responsibility perspective, I think that that alleviates and creates, alleviates some of the problems and creates a more collaborative approach. When the IT folks understand that you know, that in fact they need to be a part of the solution that they, that their territory is understood that they have to set up the computers, that no one''s trying to take that over. And that there are some, there are time constraints around that for the employee. I think that we''ll, we understand that they''ll understand that, that the collaboration is more important. When new, I''m going to read the next question, or comment. When new programs are introduced for the school, it takes a fair amount of time to get it distributed to a, to, to the school at large. And then the accessibilities are addressed afterwards. And then the next one is I''ve seen employees struggle, but when asked if they would benefit from AT they are not interested. Let me address the first one. I think that that is part of making accessibility a process in a company. That it is not ignored. We find all too often that the accessibility issues are an afterthought. And then costs increase too actually then turn around and make it accessible. Getting in to the organization, both the high levels and at the lower levels of people who are actually just do their work and the IT group or else where to make sure that they understand that accessibility has to be a priority is a good starting point. And why people would, would say that they''re not interested in AT, this next question. You know there are a lot of folks who don''t want to see themselves as disabled. And they may be. They may have a disability but don''t use that language about their, their, their struggles in the work place. I think just like anyone using, you know, if you''ve been working at a computer and doing your job and then all of a sudden you need something special or extra, I think that that''s sometimes a challenge for some people. I think for the AT folks and for the support folks that are out there whether they''re in HR or through other organizations, I think that it''s incumbent on us to help someone understand that the technology in fact could really do some amazing things for them. Whether it''s magnification, whether it''s changing some of the way that they''re desks and they''re keyboard is configured. Maybe they need a different kind of keyboard, maybe they need other things. But finding the subtle ways of helping them see that the technology can really make a difference for them. I''m going to move right along on my slides here. One of the things that happens, one of the important critical components where I think is often failure and, and not a lot of sensitivity to, is if I''m a new employee and or if I''m an existing employee, there''s a lot of training. Using webinars for example, and training environments and having people come together, having someone come in to the work place to train on, on whatever those, those issues for training are. Whether it be a piece of software. Whether it be training on, on health and safety regulations, all these different kinds of trainings. One of the things that someone has to take the lead on and be responsible for is those training environments and making sure that they''re accessible. If it''s a webinar, it doesn''t necessarily mean that it has to be this webinar system, which has a lot of accessibility features. But how do you make it accessible for your employees that need it accessible. And make sure that that''s not left behind. Standard employee training, what about the videos and I know it''s a challenge. The videos or the, the training on their, I use the time stamp system or the CRM system. The training environments are the launch pad to success for any employee. How do I work in this company? What do I need to know to be successful as an employee? It has nothing to do with their disability. It has nothing to do with their accommodation needs. It has to do with being a successful employee. However, when you leave out these folks that you hired as a company, or these folks that are currently in the work place with accessibility needs and accommodation needs, you are setting them up for failure. And I think that we need to remind companies, and remind employees and employers that if they''re making their training environments accessible to potentially the few, in all good likelihood they''re making it more accessible for many others as this one person up here said somebody who doesn''t want the AT but in fact might benefit from it. There may be a lot of folks in a company who would benefit from some of that technology. There are also the training needs around the assistive technology. So I don''t necessarily like to assume that if somebody''s coming in to the workplace or if somebody is in the work place already that they automatically will be able to use all the assistive technologies that someone feels is the right technology for them. And that they''ve agreed to. That there may need to be some training on those and some people may have some level of skills on assistive technology. But as they go into the work place the requirements for using that technology increase and their skills, by, by which they use that technology increases and they may have some training needs. Being able to offer to them some resources of if you need additional training on a piece of technology is really critical. Otherwise the manager doesn''t feel like sort of the individuals being productive. There''s frustration and either they aren''t successful in, in that particular job, or they end up going out on disability because the technology as far as they''re concerned is abandoned and, and not working. You know having a process I go back to earlier slides for existing employees especially, who do they go to for an evaluation? Is there a way in the company to, to take a request? Is it positive for individuals in the company? Is it acceptable? And that is a cultural issue. And when we talk about how do we get rid of some of these attitudes, we also have to talk about if we do get rid of these attitudes does, does it create a more positive work environment for everybody. And based on some of the research that was done by JAN, these companies are saying yes it, it makes a positive work environment. It makes it more open for everybody. I''m going to read out some of the statements that were made in here. I know some of you can see them, but if you''re not paying attention. Many times employees assume they will have to pay for a device. We need to talk about accommodating disabilities, more with corporations. I certainly do that. We certainly do that. And I think that if there was any call to action out of this webinar I would say all of you should do that. That would be important from my point of view. And our time is coming short, so there''s areas of that I like to point out around, around AT and, and accommodations that I often don''t think are, are talked about all that much. We often hear mostly about, you know, blindness and vision, and, and I''m getting a five minute warning so I''ll try and move really quickly. We talk about blindness, low vision; we talk about those sensory impairments, deaf and hard of hearing. We talk about some mobility and ergonomic issues. But there are far more people with learning disabilities that are affected by, by their work performances often affected by their learning disability. And I want to point out that all of you should take some time and understand that there are technologies in the world of learning disabilities. Some of them are all the things, some of the things that are just built in, but making sure that we understand how to sensitively support folks who have learning disabilities. It may be encouraging an employee to, to have a set of headphones so they can listen to their email. It may be having some software available that will do, help them around word predication as they''re writing so to speed up their, their writing skills. It may be other strategies like organization as well. And something where I don''t think we have all the answers for, but how do we support employment for people with more significant disabilities, AAC, people who use augmented communication devices. People like one attendee here, who is quadriplegic and how do we support those folks who work and to have places in the work environment or who work from home, or to have telework opportunities available to them. So we go back, and I''m going to go pretty quickly through the next few slides. We go back to, AAC devices are alternative and augmentative communication devices speech generating devices for folks, folks who do not have the use of their, of to communicate with their voice. And they''re fairly complex systems and simplified systems. But these are their, lots of folks who are, who are using AAC devices. The management team must recognize job performance issues that could be solved with some accommodations. I think that another resource is using the disability insurer as a support mechanism. And have the company understand the impact both to their own, to their finances by not, by not having people go out on disability. But also those insurers often have support around the assistive technology and access. We may even have some of those folks here on the phone, on, on the webinar. I want to, you know, our challenges remain as budget training, evaluation resources, awareness and, awareness and apathy there''s still our challenges. We still have to work against these issues. We need more budgets for assistive technology and accommodations. Not just the tools, but all the other support. So I''ll move right along because I believe that you all are equally experts in this, in this world of accessibility and accommodations. I think that you should be out there, not only doing your job and working and, and educating companies, but also educating other folks speak at an event. And as a little bit of a shameless plug, but the assistive technology industry association now holds two conferences. And one of them, the, the two conferences we right now have a call for speakers. So if you want to present on a topic in this arena, we would love for you to come and present what you know and what you do. So do go to our website and check it out. And I''ll stop right there. I want to; I want to thank all of you, myself. And I''m going to turn it right back over to Janet to close things out. Thank you for all your attention and time today. Whoops.

Janet Peters

Thank you David. That was an excellent presentation and hopefully our participants will feel free to call us at the Great Lakes ADA Center, or your regional ADA Center with any follow up questions. I know that David had to go pretty quickly through the end. Just a reminder, the next session in the Accessible Technology Series is July 14th, and as David mentioned it''s with Francis West of the IBM, of IBM, which will I think really go well with this session and, and plan that. I will be sending out the archived information, as well as the evaluation. I''m putting a link up right now that has the evaluation form. And I will be sending out the archive link with that information. Thank you everyone for your attention. The, the archive does include the websites and that chats and the resources that will be on the handout that is sent out. I want to sincerely thank David for this session, and it was excellent. And all of you for your very attention and participation in it. Thank you.