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Assistive-technology info on the net. (Computer Corner).

Not long ago, searching the Internet was like panning for gold: If you used the right "search engine," with the right string of words, you might find a nugget or two. Well, lucky for us, Web information has become more organized, more reliable, and more easily accessed.

Popular search engines are AltaVista, Yahoo, Google, MSN search, WebCrawler, Hotbot, Netscape Search, and Lycos. Type any of those names into the Web address line of your browser, press enter, and you're at the home page for a great search engine.

Search engines are designed to find key words on the Internet. Most browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Netscape, have a search engine built in as a tool on their home page. However, if you wish to thoroughly search a topic, try using the same words for a number of different search engines. These engines often find varied information.

In your Internet address line, type of the search On newer computers, you may not even need to type the "www." or the ".com" at the end. You can also use a function in your browser called "inline AutoComplete," found in the Tools menu, then Internet Options for Windows Explorer. "In-line AutoComplete" will predict the Web address you are typing so you only need to press Enter when you see your site to get to that page (Remember: every keystroke savings counts!). I can reach AltaVista from anywhere on the Internet in three keystrokes!

Web information about assistive technology (AT) will never take the place of hands-on evaluation by qualified AT providers. But you can use search engines to find local specialists.

You can also download demo AT software such as onscreen keyboards or word-prediction programs to try before buying. Many AT vendors now have 30-day product-satisfaction guarantees allowing consumers to return products that do not meet their needs.

The following Web sites list AT resources, clinical information, and products. Your best bet is to identify local resources in your state to assist in product selection. AT professionals can help demonstrate how unique product features can best match your needs and support your disability.
Sites for Finding Local Resources
The Alliance for Technology
Access / (415) 455-4575 /
455-0491 (TTY)
Association of Tech Act Projects
(no phone numbers available)
Job Accommodation Network
(800) 526-7234 (voice/TTY)
Abledata Assistive Technology
Information / (800) 227-0216 /
(301) 608-8912 (TTY)
RESNA (Rehab Engineering and
Assistive Technology Society of
North America) / (703) 524-6686 /
524-6639 (TTY)

Web-based Clinical Information
Closing the Gap: Newsletter, international
conference, online forums,
AT directory
California State University
Northridge: International conference,
ATACP (Assistive Technology
Applications Certificate
Program for AT professionals),
AT information
Trace Center: Web site and software
accessibility info, online discussions,
conference information
RESNA--Rehab Engineering and
Assistive Technology Society of
North America: AT conferences,
credentialing program, information
Job Accommodation Network:
Disability information, AT directory,
overall AT information

Manufacturer Associations
Communication Aid Manufacturers
Association: Product vendors and
local conferences
Assistive Technology Industry
Association: Product vendors and
national conference

Web-based AT Databases
Abledata Assistive Technology
Job Accommodation Network
Closing The Gap

"Must Have" Self-help and
General A1 Catalogs
Sammons Preston, Inc. /
(800) 323-5547
Flaghouse Rehabilitation and
Special Populations /
(800) 793-7900
Access to Recreation /
(800) 634-4351 (Monday-Friday,
8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. PT)
Independent Living Products /
(602) 249-0455
Options by Infogrip /
(800) 397-0921

Information for this column is provided by: Susan LeHew, assistive technology coordinator, Rehabilitation Services Administration-Arizona. Send computer questions to her at
COPYRIGHT 2002 Paralyzed Veterans of America
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:LeHew, Susan
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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