Defense center helps disabled users find IT that fits

Seville Allen uses a braille keyboard to check her whirlwind typing for accuracy, and she uses screen-reader software to read with her ears.

| GCN STAFFSeville Allen uses a braille keyboard to check her whirlwind typing for accuracy, and she uses screen-reader software to read with her ears.The senior program analyst with the Defense Department's Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) is blind, and although 'a real typist never looks at the keys' anyway, she said, the software's monotone voice helps her navigate between applications.At CAP, Allen has been using the software for more than a decade. And she's helped thousands of disabled Defense employees'and more recently, hundreds of other federal employees'find assistive technology, long before Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 required DOD and other agencies to do so.'It's just the right thing to do,' said Michael Young, manager of the CAP Technology Evaluation Center, a facility in the Pentagon that lets workers try out technology before ordering it.Established in 1990, CAP is the oldest federal program of its kind, Defense officials said. It provides assistive devices, software and training to employees with disabilities at no cost to the employees or their agencies. CAP operates with a budget of $4.6 million a year; $2.6 million is designated for DOD users, the other $2 million for non-Defense personnel, Young said.The center'a small office in which monitors and other devices are set up under cardboard signs identifying a disability'houses technology designed to assist federal users with a range of disabilities, from visual and hearing impairments to dexterity, voice recognition and cognitive disorders.CAP's mission is simple: Ensure that people with disabilities have the same access as everyone else to electronic information and job opportunities in the government.'One of the barriers to employing people with disabilities is perceived to be cost,' Allen said. 'It was generally known in the community that that was one of the main reasons people weren't getting hired. CAP was started to take that away.'Last month, President Bush toured the center before addressing a Pentagon audience that included Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, center director Dinah F.B. Cohen and a number of Defense employees, many of whom are disabled.Bush said a lot has been accomplished since his father signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, but achieving accessibility still has a long way to go.'The Internet brings a world of information into a computer screen, which has enriched the lives of many with disabilities,' Bush said. 'Yet technology creates challenges of its own.' He cited the barriers inherent in such things as elaborate graphics, audio transmissions and keyboard use.As a result, Bush said, 'computer usage and Internet access for people with disabilities is half that of people without disabilities.'Section 508 is supposed to help government agencies overcome that disparity. The law requires federal agencies to ensure that the electronic and information technology they use is accessible for people with varying disabilities.In October, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2001 granted CAP, which had been mandated to serve only DOD users, the authority to provide assistive devices and services to employees throughout the federal government.To date, the program has filled more than 20,000 requests for accommodations for employees with visual, hearing, dexterity and cognitive disabilities.Users can test software and devices at the evaluation center, where personnel will help them determine if a product meets a particular user's needs. If a user requires, say, software the center doesn't have, CAP will buy it after determining that the application will work with the user's systems.Young said that although CAP gives employees devices, software and training free of charge, it's the agencies' job to provide the backbone systems infrastructure to ensure operation of the assistive technology.'We're buying a person with a disability a toaster, and once you get your toaster, it's their job to make sure it works,' Young said.
BY DAWN S. ONLEY



braille keyboard
Seville Allen's braille keyboard enables her to 'read' the screen; a computerized voice also can read the text to her.












Michael Young
CAPTEC manager Michael Young speaks into a microphone attached to a computer with voice recognition software, which puts his comments on the screen.










Expanded beyond DOD











X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.