Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Click on Assistive Technology: The ABLEDATA Website Puts Assistive Technology Information at the Click of a Button

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Click on Assistive Technology: The ABLEDATA Website Puts Assistive Technology Information at the Click of a Button

Article excerpt

The Internet, the "information superhighway," is growing at an unprecedented rate. Daily, even hourly, new websites spring up, offering an avalanche of information, advice and opinions from businesses, publications, organizations, governments and individuals. No matter what the topic of interest, there is likely to he a website, or at least a webpage, devoted to it somewhere in the world. Such an array of words, images and sounds is at once exciting and bewildering. And, more often than not, it leaves both veteran web-surfer and novice wondering where to begin. For parents of children with disabilities searching for information about assistive devices, the answer is often the ABLEDATA website at http:/www.abledata.com.

ABLEDATA AND ITS WEBSITE

Each month, EXCEPTIONAL PARENT readers check the "New Products" column for products and services. This information is gathered from the ABLEDATA database--a national database of information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment, available domestically and internationally. ABLEDATA has compiled information on more than 23,000 products, from white canes to voice output programs. Detailed descriptions are provided for each product including pricing (where available). Also, the database contains information on non-commercial prototypes, customized and one-of-a-kind products.

Along with its centerpiece database, the ABLEDATA website offers visitors a range of information services centering on assistive technology. Each button on the homepage offers a selection of resources designed to meet specific needs:

ON THE WEB SITE:

* CLICK ON WELCOME: An overview of ABLEDATA and its services, both on the website and from the office. Find out where to call, fax or write to contact the office.

* CLICK ON SPONSORS: Learn about the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the U.S. Department of Education, ABLEDATA's sponsoring agencies and Macro International, the company that operates the project.

* CLICK ON STAFF GALLERY: Meet and e-mail the ABLEDATA staff.

* CLICK ON WEBLINKS: Start here for satisfying side trips along the information superhighway. Find the websites for the Assistive Technology Project and Independent Living Centers in each state. Visit sites maintained by many of the companies with products listed in the ABLEDATA database. Explore other interesting disability- and assistive technology-related websites located by the staff during their own Internet explorations. Embark on the adventure of a personal Internet search using one of the many search engines provided.

* CLICK ON SITE REPORT: Find out how many times the website was visited during the previous month, what kinds of information visitors requested and where in the world those visitors are from.

NEWS

* WHAT'S NEW: Catch up on the latest news about the assistive technology field, disability-related information and websites of interest. Updated several times each week, find something new to investigate here. Also, check out the archive of previous postings and the weblinks to general news sources that frequently highlight disability issues.

* BULLETINS: Reflecting the constantly changing flow of information, Bulletins generally offer brief updates on a particular subject. Information is added, changed or removed as needed. Current Bulletins include: "ABLEDATA for Manufacturers," "Conferences and Meetings," "New Products," "Custom-made Products," "Disabilities-Related Services" and "Resource Materials. …

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