2006 Conference General Sessions

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David Niemeijer
AssistiveWare Origin Instruments Corporation
Van Speijkstraat 73-d 854 Greenview Drive
Amsterdam Noord Holland 1057 GN
Day Phone: +31-20-6127473
Fax: +31-20-6128266
Email: d.niemeijer@assistiveware.com

He has over 20 years of experience in developing software for the Apple Macintosh of which over 9 years developing assistive technology software in collaboration with users and AT specialists. Focus on solutions for people with physical, speech and vision impairments. He has done presentations at CSUN, Closing The Gap, Apple Expo, and various other conferences, including a pre-conference session at the 2005 CTG conference.

Mel Dashner, BSc (mdashner@orin.com)
Vice President, Origin Instruments Corp.

He has ten years experience in the aerospace industry and 14-years experience in the assistive technology industry. He is one of the founders of Origin
Instruments Corporation and a developer of the HeadMouse product line of computer access products. He has done presentations in the past at CSUN, Closing The Gap, ATIA, and various other conferences, including a pre-conference session at the 2005 CTG conference.

Many schools and organizations need to replace their aging Mac OS 9 computers, but few AT professionals have the necessary in-depth understanding of Mac OS X accessibility solutions to guide their clients and students on this new platform. Mac OS X has matured and now provides an excellent and stable platform for assistive technology. It offers people with disabilities an unparalleled degree of creative freedom and power of expression (through writing, art, music, video, and games) without the security and virus headaches of MS Windows. But, you cannot recommend Mac OS X solutions without being familiar with them first. This half-day pre-conference workshop is intended to provide hands-on experience with the Mac OS X software developed by AssistiveWare, the world leader in accessibility solutions for Mac OS X. The focus of the workshop is on making Mac OS X and all the standard Mac OS X compatible software accessible for people with disabilities.

In this half-day workshop, participants will be able to get in-depth hands-on experience with AssistiveWare Suite, a groundbreaking collection of assistive technology software programs for Mac OS X that can be combined or used and purchased separately, depending on the needs of the user. AssistiveWare Suite consists of 4 programs: (1) KeyStrokes, an onscreen keyboard with word prediction and system-wide dwelling; (2) SwitchXS, a scanning-based switch access solution that provides full access to Mac OS X through keyboard and mouse emulation; (3) Proloquo, an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and speech feedback solution; (4) LayoutKitchen, a keyboard and speech panel editor that can be used to further adapt and customize the other solutions. The workshop will offer a unique occasion to learn from and exchange ideas with, David Niemeijer, the lead developer of the software.

The workshop will offer a mixture of step-by-step hands-on experiences with key features of the software as well as presentation of case studies using audio & visual material. Some time will also be set aside to allow participants to experience how KeyStrokes and SwitchXS can be used to make regular games accessible and to edit videos with iMovie, just to illustrate how these access tools can be used for much more than writing an occasional email or doing homework.

Where appropriate, the workshop will also cover the built-in accessibility features of Mac OS X or direct people to solutions developed by other companies. The focus of the workshop will be on how to make effective use of the software and will be adapted where possible to the specific interests of the participants.

Learning Objectives:
1) Learn how to make Mac OS X accessible for people with physical, speech and vision impairments
2) Learn about the key features of the programs of the AssistiveWare Suite
3) Learn how to adapt the programs in the AssistiveWare Suite to best meet the needs of people with different disabilities
4) Experience how access tools can allow people with disabilities complete access to all regular games as well as creative software rather than force them to use dedicated software

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