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Rated: E · Critique · Educational · #1987483
A look at assistive technology, computers and persons with disabilities.
A critique of the article:

-Assistive technology computers and persons with disabilities ... Brown, Carl.
SOURCE:  See CSE 500 Course Guide P(34-46).
JOURNAL:  Communications of the ACM May 1992 v35 n35 p36 (10).

The article serves to provide computer professionals with information about computer access systems which seek to satisfy state and federal guidelines and meet the needs of persons with visual, orthopedic, learning, or hearing disabilities.

Through advances in microcomputer technology and computer programming "assistive computer technologies" have resulted in significant gains in educational success and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. There is certainly a meaningful way wherefore computer access needs to be provided for the disabled, as there is a national commitment to make computers accessible to persons with disabilities. Through assistive technology the blind users can use screen reading software and speech synthesizers to enable them to auditorily "see" the screen as do sighted computer users. This is employed using a tactile mode using Braille or a combination of both methods. Deaf or hearing-impaired users can have access to a microcomputer's tones or beeps by implementation of a highly visible icon or prompt to inform users of work completion, error conditions or other events.

I share the concern with the author about the blind who is hearing-impaired, however, where quality of speech output becomes a more critical issue, indeed software conditions is a priority. For persons with orthopedic disabilities, the article addresses users who are capable of using a standard computer keyboard wherefore the solutions presented are key guards and keyboard control programs. The article fails to address users with other complex form of orthopedic disabilities.

The author, Brown (1992) observed that great studies have been made in the development  of  accurate, fast, large vocabulary  speech  recognition  systems  for microcomputers and that screen-reading systems tailored to the special requirements of persons with learning disabilities can be very effective at increasing productivity.

As I conclude,  I am more  aware  of  the positive breakthrough  and more ascertained that technological advances can be expected to enhance opportunities to rehabilitate the handicapped or otherwise to qualify them for some useful employment.

A critique of the article:

-The human element ... Newmann, Peter G.
SOURCE:  See CSE 500 Course Guide P(51-53).
JOURNAL:  Communications of the ACM Nov. 1991 v34 nll  p150 (1).

The theme of the article is system-related disaster.  It showed that people on a whole need to learn from experiences and avoid system-related disasters. The author maintains that the real causes of computer problems may be stemmed from a multiplicity of developers, customers, users, operators, administrators and others involved with computer and communication systems. He argued that the physical environment may also contribute to disaster in the form of power outages, lightening and earthquakes, etc.

According to the author, many system-related problems are attributed to errors
... errors by users or operators, system design, implementation, simulation, testing, maintenance and operations. The author claimed that a better understanding of the variety of failures is fundamental to our hopes for building better systems in the future.

I wish to agree with the author that we certainly need systems today that are not only fault-tolerant and secure against malicious misuse but also less sensitive to the mistakes of people in system development and use.
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