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Environmental aids.

Environmental aids are environmental and structural adaptations that remove or reduce physical barriers for individuals with disabilities. Environmental adaptations usually involve building construction, engineering and architecture, but also include environmental controls and switches that can control an entire living environment. Discussed in more detail here will be home-workplace adaptations and environmental controls and switches.

Home-Workplace Adaptations include worksite/school/home design or modification for accessibility, architectural accommodations, structural adaptations, building/home ramps, home elevators, wheelchair lifts, pool lifts, bathroom changes, automatic door openers, expanded doorways, adapted furniture, adapted doorknobs, alternative doorbells, lowered counters, and specially designed bath areas.

Environmental Controls & Switches are primarily electronic systems that enable someone with limited mobility to control various appliances, lights, telephone and security systems in their room, home or other surroundings. This includes Environmental Control Units (ECU), electronic appliance switches, switch mounting systems, home automation systems, signaling and alerting devices, home alarms, television adaptations, smoke alarm and telephone ringers.

Tash, a manufacturer, seller and installer of Environmental Control Units (ECU) and Electronic Aids for Daily Living (EADL) has a 25-year history of providing Assistive Technology, switching and mounting solutions to the rehabilitation industry as well as educational and home automation environments.

Thomas Nikola, the National Sales Manager for the company, is very excited about the newest products that they have developed in this field. "The Sicare Standard and Sicare Light II are two new voice controlled ECU's that will enable a user to control their environment using voice commands with switch control back-up for safety and convenience," he explains. "The new Sicare Standard is portable, lightweight and is great for people with multiple infrared (IR) devices in multiple rooms. The special feature of the Standard is that the user's voice command 'menu' is custom-made based on their needs. The Sicare Light II is a simpler, easier-to-use little brother to the Standard and will allow for one-room control of IR devices, lights, telephone and bed."

The Keo is another Tash product and is a brand new addition to the North American market. Like other environmental control devices it features touch-screen control for phones, lights, beds and IR devices. It also features a Mouse Emulator that gives the user the ability to have computer mouse control built into their ECU. The Keo can also be used in a variety of switch modes for people with switch-scanning requirements.

Companies that offer environmental control products understand the desire that people with disabilities have to be comfortable in their surroundings. "Based on customer needs and goals," Nikola explains, "we also include in our ECU line products that can assist with lights, phones, IR devices and many other aspects of day-to-day living and are typically inexpensive."

In this field of Assistive Technology it's important to offer choices with different price ranges to fit all needs and to give people the independence and quality-of-life they are seeking. In an industry where ECU and EADL funding is limited and competitive companies like Tash are proud to offer choices to accommodate all types of situations.

"We strongly encourage people to research all ECU options," Nikola explains. "There are so many choices that it can seem overwhelming at times. Ask good questions, study the products and 'try before you buy' to ensure you are getting the best system for you and your family."

For more information on the choices and options available when purchasing an ECU write to or visit
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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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