2004 Conference Proceedings

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ERGONOMICS OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN AN OFFICE OR SCHOOL SETTING

Presenter(s)
Lorie Gulley, ABLE/Contracts Manager
Connie DeHerrera, Training Coordinator
New Mexico Technology Assistance Program
435 St. Michael's Drive Bldg. D
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Phone:505-954-8529
Fax: 505-954-8608
Email: lgulley@state.nm.com 
Email: cdeherrera@state.nm.com 

Ergonomics- adjusting your workstation to meet your needs and perform work tasks more easily. Assistive Technology- using technology and adaptive device to perform tasks more efficiently, and independently. Both of these technologies can be utilized at the same time to produce a better, user-friendly work/classroom environment.

By factoring in ergonomics and assistive technology when setting up a classroom or office, you can create an environment that is easily accessed by anyone.

Competencies:

Participants will gain an understanding of:
In classrooms:

  1. Identifying the location of outside light sources (window, skylights) and locate the monitors or television screens so that they are positioned at a 90-degree angle from the window and not directly under a skylight.

  2. Situating inside lighting so as to reduce direct and indirect glare.

  3. When to provide some adjustable seating with armrests.

  4. Identifying the need to provide several height adjustable tables with work surfaces large enough to accommodate adaptive devises, if necessary.

  5. What to do to insure that resource materials i.e. books, handouts, are located so that they are easily retrievable such as on tables, or low, open shelves.

  6. Provide adequate aisle space to accommodate wheelchairs and other devices.

  7. If displays are used, such as blackboards, how to insure that they do not exceed the maximum height for viewing angles.

  8. If printed displays are used, designing a plain and simple type for easy, quick reading.

  9. If audio equipment is used, where to locate the equipment so that it can be heard from all areas of the classroom or when to use personal FM hearing helpers.

  10. Computers should be able to accommodate adaptive devices such as speech recognition software or special keyboards and touch windows.

  11. Slant boards are helpful for reading books, operating computers, and other resource materials.

  12. How to assess and utilize existing accessibility options within the computer's operating systems for MS 98 and XP.

Competencies:
In an office setting:

  1. Identifying outside light sources such as windows and skylights and locating monitors so that they are at a 90-degree angle from the window and not directly under a skylight.

  2. Situating lighting so as to eliminate or reduce direct and indirect glare.

  3. Utilizing height adjustable computer desks and monitor stands, and how to adjust them for according to individual viewing angles.

  4. What to look for when shopping for seating.

  5. Identifying appropriate computer accessories such as space saving keyboards and special mice and how to utilize existing accessibility options within the computer's operating systems for MS 98 and XP.

  6. Determining when it is necessary to provide telephone headsets.

  7. How to evaluate desks and other office furniture.

  8. Designing a work surface large enough to accommodate all equipment and materials used by the worker and allow the worker easy access to each item without having to stretch out, bend down, or reach overhead.

  9. Evaluating tools such as electric staplers and hole punches, and adaptive devises.

  10. When to provide slant boards for reading files and documents.

  11. Identifying useful and practical adaptive devices, and assistive technology, such as speech recognition software, and special keyboards.

  12. Providing the right size tool for a specific job is an important component of office ergonomics.

  13. Environmental issues such as heat, noise, odors and fumes are a part of the work environment and can be addressed.

  14. Locating cabinets and resource materials so they are easily accessible to everyone.

  15. Walkways should be clear of clutter and hazards.

In most cases ergonomics and assistive technology are interchangeable components of the same philosophy, creating a work/learning environment, which can be utilized by all.


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