Candidacy Criteria Considerations
The iCommunicator program provides communication accessibility for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and other persons with unique communication challenges. The Candidacy Criteria Considerations include end user characteristics and skills that should be considered by evaluation and planning teams (e.g., assistive technology, IEP, transition, rehabilitation), disability coordinators, human resources departments, and other decision makers to determine the appropriateness of this communication access technology for a specific end user or special applications in a variety of settings, such as education, workplace, and public venues.
User Characteristics and Skills
The iCommunicator program provides communication accessibility for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and other persons with unique communication challenges. The Candidacy Criteria Considerations include end user characteristics and skills that should be considered by evaluation and planning teams (e.g., assistive technology, IEP, transition, rehabilitation), disability coordinators, human resources departments, and other decision-makers to determine the appropriateness of this communication access technology for a specific end user or special applications in a variety of settings, such as education, workplace, and public venues.
Special Communication Needs
Individuals with special communication access needs, such as those listed below, may be candidates for the iCommunicator program.
• Deaf or hard of hearing
• Significant speech or voice disorder
• Learning disability (e.g., Dysgraphia)
• Auditory processing disorder, learning disability, and/or severe
• language impairment that results in difficulty with multitasking and note taking
• Attention deficit disorder that results in the need for note taker
• Visual impairment (e.g., low vision)
• Physical impairment
• English as a Second Language (ESOL)
Independent Use: Candidacy Criteria Considerations
These characteristics, abilities, and requirements should be considered by the evaluation and planning teams when determining if the iCommunicator program is the appropriate communication access technology. The criteria considerations for independent use should be factored into the evaluation and planning process to reach an informed recommendation. Communication access needs should be identified in order to determine effectiveness gains. For use as a learning station in a classroom or other facility, there are no limitations, as the use of the iCommunicator would be under the direction of the classroom teacher, supervisor, or other professional.
1. Communication Access Needs (i.e., workplace, education, lifestyle)
2. Age of user
3. Cognitive level
• Ability to learn and remember new procedures
• Ability to troubleshoot and/or problem-solve
• Attention span
• Divided attention (i.e., ability to divide attention among windows displayed, the speaker, and other visual displays in the environment)
• Working memory
4. Language level and primary mode of communication (receptive and expressive language skills)
• Language processing ability
• Vocabulary level
• Language comprehension level (e.g., ability to chunk information, use tag words as meaning clues)
• Ability to derive meaning using contextual clues
5. Reading comprehension level
• Word recognition level (i.e., at least second grade level)
• Spelling ability
• Grade equivalent/Standard Score
• Visual processing speed
6. Personal Characteristics
• Motivation to use the iCommunicator software program
• Responsibility and maturity
• Patience with using this type of technology
• Appraisal by teacher(s)/supervisors and parent/caregiver
7. Computer literacy
• Keyboard skills
• Ability to navigate the Windows operating system
• Need for external mouse or other peripherals
8. Purpose for use (e.g., classroom instruction, access in the workplace, access to services)
• Content (e.g., core subject area, therapy tool, staff meetings, training, counseling, intake data)
• Delivery style (e.g., primarily lecture, highly interactive, small groups, one-on-one)
• Willingness of speakers to provide accessibility by creating a speech/voice recognition file and using the technology
• Amount of use per day
• Availability of back-up plan for when iCommunicator interface is unavailable
9. User supports
• On-site and off-site staff support
• Technical support
• Resources (batteries, transporting to classes, cart, case)
Training Requirements and Supports
1. The end user must be completely trained in the operation of the iCommunicator program to achieve positive outcomes. End users need to demonstrate competency in the use of a computer with respect to working within a Windows environment.
2. Adequate technical assistance/support will need to be available for the end user. This will vary with the individual end userís level of independence in using a computer and the software program and the specific application of the technology.
3. Implementation managers should possess computer literacy skills necessary to use and maintain the computer, software program, and to train both end users and speakers in the unique features of this communication access technology.
iCommunicatorô offers features and capabilities that render it an appropriate assistive technology for many individuals who face communication challenges. Systematic evaluation of assistive technology should include formal or informal assessment of the end userís unique communication needs and the features of iCommunicatorô. The initial population targeted as end users of the iCommunicatorô was persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, the program has applications as a reasonable accommodation for many other individuals who face unique communication challenges. For instance, persons with auditory processing disorder, learning disability, and/or severe language impairment who experience difficulty with multitasking will benefit from iCommunicatorô as a sophisticated note taking technology. Persons with a specific learning disability known as Dysgraphia, and other persons with motor disabilities, may also benefit from the program for access to communication and note taking during classes and training session, discussions, and meetings.
Those individuals with significant expressive speech or voice disorders may benefit from the voice output capabilities that will allow them to interact independently in personal and group conversations. A severe language impairment, either acquired or developmental, results in the need for communication accessibility, and iCommunicatorô provides the opportunity for a number of linkages to assist these persons through the developmental or recovery process. Persons with visual acuity and visual perceptual deficits also have special communication needs, such as the size of the visual display and background/foreground contrast, and iCommunicatorô can accommodate these types of needs. Another very large group of persons with special communication access needs are nonnative speakers of the English language.
The table below lists special populations and the features of the iCommunicatorô that could match their unique communication challenges. Refer to the Candidacy Criteria Considerations for additional information about factors to be considered in evaluating iCommunicatorô as an appropriate assistive technology.
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