Assistive Technology Training

Assistive Technology Overview

Assistive technology is a great equalizer, helping to level the playing field for deaf-blind individuals.

HKNC instructors will help you to identify the technology that is best for you and provide you with instruction on how to use it. You’ll learn from experts in the field, including trainers who are deaf-blind—people who know firsthand the challenges you face.

Training is available in our state-of-the-art Adaptive Technology Center or through our Off-Campus Services.

Woman and man sitting at table, using a braille notetaker, a mobile device and a bluetooth keyboard. Man is looking up at someone off camera; woman is looking at man.

The Adaptive Technology Center

Located at HKNC headquarters in Sands Point, New York, the Adaptive Technology Center features state-of-the-art adaptive equipment and software. This technology-rich environment is designed for one-on-one training, providing a comfortable setting in which to explore mobile, desktop computing and telecommunications solutions.

Hands-on Training

Trying to figure out the accessibility features on your mobile device? Looking for a program to help you read, send email or do business on your computer? Or perhaps an all-in-one tech solution would work best for you. Our instructors will help you to find and master the technology that’s right for you.

Everything you learn at HKNC will have practical, real world applications. You’ll try out different tools that can help you to access information; minimize obstacles in workplace and educational settings; communicate more effectively with the public; and stay connected with family and friends.

Most training is conducted one-on-one to maximize personal attention. In some cases, there may be a combination of individual instruction and small-group sessions. The first step will be to assess your current technology skills. Working closely with your instructor, you’ll develop a training plan and an assistive equipment configuration tailored to your unique needs.

Types of Equipment

Refreshable braille displayAdaptive technology generally falls into three categories: accessibility features that are part of the universal design of computers and mobile devices; software, programs and accessories that can enhance the capabilities of standard equipment; and specialized equipment and services designed specifically for people with vision and hearing loss. The options can be overwhelming, but HKNC can help you find the right combination of tools for you. 

Most computers and smart devices have built-in accessibility features, but many people don’t know that they exist. Our instructors will show you how to take advantage of what the manufacturer pre-installed on your device.

Accessibility features available through universal design can include:

  • Screen and text modifications
  • Voice output
  • Speech recognition
  • Programmable visual, audio and vibration alerts
  • Closed and open captioning
  • Tactile adaptations for interfacing with touch screens
  • Programmable functions
  • Videoconferencing applications

But universal design may not meet all your needs. We can identify software, applications and accessories that can work in conjunction with your existing hardware and mobile devices to make them more accessible.

Options that can improve performance on standard equipment include:

  • Screen readers that convert printed text to voice output or braille characters
  • Screen magnification programs
  • Dictation programs
  • Braille displays
  • Assistive listening devices, including earphones and Bluetooth with ear clip

You may find that specialized equipment or services may be better choices for you. These tools are capable of connecting with existing devices, but they are designed to be used as all-in-one products without the need for additional equipment.

Standalone products include:

  • Braille notetakers, which include word processing, email, calendar, calculator and database functions, and can be used for face-to-face communication
  • Telephone, video and text-based relay services

Once you’ve found the tools that work for you, our instructors will train you to use them. We also can assist you with device set-up, troubleshooting and warranty establishment. Armed with new skills, confidence and knowledge about adaptive equipment, you’ll be better prepared to achieve your goals—from competing in the job market to staying connected with friends and family.

iCanConnect

HKNC is a partner in iCanConnect, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. We can help you to navigate the application process, determine your equipment needs and configure your devices, and can provide you with assessment and training, or information about resources in your state as appropriate.

Admissions

Programs are open to individuals who are deaf-blind as defined in the Helen Keller Act. Funding from your state vocational rehabilitation program often is available. Your regional representative can answer questions about admission requirements, transportation, funding sources and more. 

Find Your Regional Rep

Success Story

Video & Transcript

Man in headpones

Mark’s Story: The Magic of Technology

Mark never thought he’d be able to use a computer again. At HKNC, he discovered the life-changing “magic” of adaptive equipment.

Go to Mark's Story Go to All HKNC Success Stories