‘Hands On’ Assistive Technology Workshop: From Microsoft to the Makey Makey

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  • Mon. Jul. 15, 2013 6:00 - 9:00PM

  • Access to a computer is one of the greatest equalizers for independence and opportunities for people with disabilities. This class will cover computer accessibility for people with varying disabilities using  Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, off the shelf software and hardware to new DIY (do-it-yourself) switches and interfaces.

    Assistive technology can be described as the use of a device to assist with facilitatation of independence with a particular task.  This can include but is not limited to computer access skills.  Through adapting the operating system of a computer or utilizing adaptive equipment, you can enable an individual with a disability to increase their level of independence as well as their quality of life. 

    We will discuss the challenges that varying disabilities can create for users when attempting to access a computer.  This will include a discussion of varying levels of impairments and ways to address the needs through control panel changes, adaptive hardware and software, and novel DIY solutions.

    The class will get hands-on by making custom switches to emulate the mouse and keyboard with the Makey Makey. The switches you make can control on screen keyboards, iTunes music player, video games or anything that uses a mouse and keyboard.


    Objectives to be met by the end of this workshop are for the learner to be able to:

    • Discuss various disabilities and how the resulting impairments can affect computer access skills
    • Create control panel changes to address impairments for increased independence
    • Discuss alternative access, adaptive hardware/software for computer access needs
    • Create custom switches to emulate the mouse and keyboard using DIY alternatives such as the Makey Makey

    Workshop Outline:

    • Overview of assistive technology
    • Disability and how various disabilities can create difficulties with access of a computer
    • Modification of operating systems for impairments, both physical and sensory in nature
    • Options for adaptive computer access hardware/software
    • Discussion of emerging technologies
    • Introduction to switch components
    • Introduction to Makey Makey
    • Hands on component of switch making and interfacing with Makey Makey
    • Use of created technology to emulate keyboard and mouse in various computer applications
    • Class discussion/questions


    Registration is $85 for the class or $125 for the class plus your own Makey Makey kit to take home (impress your friends and manager!). All AOTA members receive a 10% discount.
    Occupational Therapists will earn .3 CEU credits as DIYAbility is an approved provider through AOTA.

    Laptops and supplies are provided in class for attendees but you may also bring your own computer. Bring your camera to document your work.