Signs Of Self

Independent Living Services for people who are Deaf, Hard-of-hearing or Deaf-Blind

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Assistive Technology & Communication

Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited hand function may use a keyboard with large keys or a special mouse to operate a computer, people who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, people who are deaf may use a TTY (text telephone), or people with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard.

A formal, legal definition of assistive technology was first published in the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (The Tech Act). This act was amended in 1994; in 1998, it was repealed and replaced with the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 ("AT Act"). Throughout this history, the original definition of assistive technology remained consistent. This same definition was used in the Access Board's Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards, developed as required by 1998 amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

A tremendous variety of assistive technology is available today, providing the opportunity for nearly all people to access information technology (IT). However, an individual's having proper assistive technology is no guarantee of having access. IT accessibility is dependent on accessible design. IT products must be designed and created in ways that allow all users to access them, including those who use assistive technologies.



AccessIT promotes the use of electronic and information technology (E&IT) for students and employees with disabilities in educational institutions at all academic levels. This Web site features the¬ AccessIT Knowledge Base, a searchable database of questions and answers regarding accessible E&IT. It is designed for educators, policy makers, librarians, technical support staff, and students and employees with disabilities and their advocates.

Assistive Technology Industry Association
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services. ATIA represents the interests of its members to business, government, education, and the many agencies that serve people with disabilities. Its mission is to serve as the collective voice of the Assistive Technology industry so that the best products and services are delivered to people with disabilities. For more information about ATIA's educational opportunities and conferences, visit  Since 1999, ATIA has held an annual conference in Orlando, Florida during January that provides a forum for education and communication to professional practitioners serving those with disabilities. ATIA has also held additional educational events as needed including conferences in additional locations and a Leadership Forum on Accessibility to provide corporations, government agencies, and higher educational institutions with the information needed to expand their accessibility efforts. In 2009 ATIA introduced a webinar series to complement the conference activity. ATIA webinars provide participants with high quality professional development without incurring travel or lodging expenses. ATIA Webinar Series presenters are recruited from the conference speaker roster, bringing assistive technology information and best practices from state and national leaders to service professionals and consumers.

Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii (ATRC)hawaii2
ATRC is a nonprofit whose mission is to link people with technology and empower individuals through its use. ATRC is also the State of Hawaii's designated AssistiveTechnology Act agency.  Our primary role is as an education center for anyone interested in Assistive Technology. We do not sell products. We will recommend vendors if requested.  We have been providing Assistive Technology Services for the state of Hawaii beginning in 1991! Wow, how technology has changed for all of us and we believe persons with disabilities have benefited tremendously. You can learn more about ATRC and Assistive Technology through this website, on our Facebook page and by contacting our office. We look forward to meeting you and assisting you in any way that makes Assistive Technology more familiar and usable for you. Take the opportunity to browse this site, see what we currently offer and contact us at any time for service, program information and assistance related to ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY.

Island Skill Gathering (ISG)hawaii2
Offers an array of support services and product sales (assistive technology) for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, and have speech disabilities such as TTYs (text telephones), FM listening systems and telephone/doorbell alerting systems. Also offers repair services for specific brands of TTYs.

Purple / P3
At Purple, we're dedicated to developing fast, easy and convenient communications solutions and services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and businesses using a variety of different platforms. As a leading provider of on-site interpreting services, video relay services (VRS), text relay services and video remote interpreting (VRI), Purple has built an excellent reputation for developing products and services that open communications between all people, regardless of differences in abilities, languages and locations.  Because of our many innovations and firsts, including Internet relay, wireless relay, mobile communication apps, real local 10-digit number access for video and text relay customers and interpreting services, Purple continues to be a leader in the relay industry, allowing millions of people to enrich their lives through easy and accessible communications access.

Relay Hawaii / Sprint Relayhawaii2
Relay Hawaii is a service overseen by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that provides full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and speech-disabled. Relay Hawaii provides the equipment and the service free of charge to all qualified residents of Hawai`i or kama`aina. Relay Hawaii allows the people of Hawai`i or kama’aina to communicate with friends, ohana, and anyone over the phone using text-telephone (TTY), captioned telephone (CapTel), online, and wireless relay services through specially trained relay operator.

Sorenson SVRS
Sorenson Communications provides world-class communications products and services that break down communication barriers between deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing individuals. Sorenson Communications offers the Sorenson VP-200 videophone, Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS), and Sorenson IP Relay (SIPRelay)  SVRS empowers the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to communicate with both, deaf and hearing family, friends or business contacts using video relay service. This free, 24-hour service empowers you to place and receive calls with a professional American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter via a videophone and a high-speed Internet connection. In addition, the services enable hearing callers to contact deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals as well.

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