What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology (AT) includes devices, hardware, software, and other tools that enhance or replace unusable features of computers, mobile devices, or workspaces. Examples include:
- Software that reads text aloud to blind or learning disabled users
- Keyboard shortcuts that facilitate navigation for people who can’t use a mouse
- Adjustable tables and chairs
Why Assistive Technology Matters
Equity and Inclusion: Our university is committed to equity and inclusion. It’s critical that everyone can engage meaningfully with our digital spaces, which play a significant and growing role in our institution.
Technology Access: Standard features of websites may be difficult or impossible to access for many disabled individuals, requiring them to use assistive technology. Many of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommendations for IT accessibility are designed to optimize compatibility with assistive technologies.
Our Process and Methods
Current and prospective students who are able to register with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) should contact them for AT support. Evaluations for current permanent faculty or staff with medical documentation of a disability are performed by MHealthy; contact Cindy Zielinski at email@example.com. Members of the U-M community who do not meet either of these descriptions may contact the Assistive Tech staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
We provide personalized evaluations to identify AT that will best meet individual needs. Much of this technology is free; depending on your role with U-M, we may be able to suggest funding sources. We can also provide a limited amount of training and technical support.
We ensure that common assistive technologies are available on all computers in the public computer labs overseen by Sites and on other public machines as appropriate. The Knox Center computer lab, which is restricted to students registered with SSD, provides accommodations such as quiet space and a video magnifier; it is located on the second floor of the Shapiro Library.
What We Ask of You
Faculty and unit leadership: Ensure that individuals are aware of disability services available across campus, including the Assistive Technology ITS team (email@example.com), the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), and the U-M Library. This could include providing a statement in all course syllabi and in new employee materials.
Individuals desiring an evaluation: Current or prospective students registered with SSD should contact their counselor. Faculty/staff with medical documentation of disability should contact MHealthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other members of the U-M community are welcome to contact the Assistive Tech team at email@example.com.
What We Do
Accept requests for AT evaluations, and either refer to SSD/MHealthy or schedule a time with the Assistive Tech team.
Meet to provide an evaluation. Potential accommodation solutions are demonstrated or discussed.
Send a follow up email with details on the AT of interest, including product websites.
Where needed, provide limited assistance with setup, training, and troubleshooting.