Accessibility Centers and Consultants Around the World
Many assistive technology centers and occupational therapists have accessibility consultants to help individuals identify the right mix of accessibility features and products. Some centers offer computer training and many organizations have lending libraries, so you can try a product before committing to purchase it.
There are hundreds of types of accessibility solutions available—both built-in features and assistive technology hardware and software products—so it is important to take the time to identify the right mix of accessibility solutions for an individual computer user.
Below is a list of accessibility centers and consultants located throughout the world:
In the United States
- Microsoft Accessibility Resource Centers are available in the United States. These centers provide expert consultation on assistive technology and accessibility features built into Microsoft products.
- The Alliance for Technology Access and the Assistive Technology Act Programs are other U.S. national networks dedicated to providing information and technology support services to children and adults with disabilities.
- The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, known as RESNA, offers certification programs for assistive technology practitioners. RESNA is another source for identifying AT experts who can assist schools in North America.
- Tokyo Information Technology Regional Support Center for persons with disabilities delivers training, organizes IT support, and has an exhibition room for people with disabilities.
- Osaka IT Station provides work-related training, organizes IT support, and has an exhibition room for people with disabilities.
In Latin America
- POETA Accessible Centers in Latin America deliver training in information and communications technology, civic education, and job readiness to thousands of at-risk youth and people with disabilities across Latin America and the Caribbean.
- AbilityNet in the UK ensures people with disabilities in the UK, whether as individuals or through supporting organizations, have accessible IT that enables and improves their lives. AbilityNet is the leading UK charity for computing and disability, and has a network of centers. A range of free resources are available from their Web site. AbilityNet also offers advice on Web and software accessibility including user testing.
- ONCE, the Spanish National Organization for the Blind and its foundation, ONCE Foundation for Cooperation and the Social Integration of People with Disabilities in Spain, provide work-related training and employment for people with disabilities, and universal accessibility, promoting the creation of universally accessible environments, products, and services.
- Enable Ireland works in partnership with those who use its services to achieve maximum independence, choice, and inclusion in their communities. Enable Ireland runs a national assistive technology training service specializing in electronic assistive technology, providing advice and training on AT products to Enable Ireland service users and staff.
- Charta 77/PCs without Barriers in the Czech Republic provides technology knowledge and support to those living with disabilities through 16 PC centers across the Czech Republic.
- The Organization of People with Disabilities and Their Friends APEIRONS in Latvia has a goal to integrate people with disabilities into society as well as creating more accepting attitudes towards them from the general public. The organization operates a lab in downtown Riga where people can take classes, learn about accessible technologies, and test various options.
- The eCentrum project in Poland specializes in the use of modern technologies in education and mobilization for those living with disabilities, creating e-learning and blended learning educational programs as well as desktop training at several locations throughout Poland.
In addition, online training and Web seminars are available for learning specific types of assistive technology products. Two primary sources for online training are: