Increased access to ICT for persons with vision disabilities

Europe, May 24 2016

MALTA: The Hon. Minister Evarist Bartolo visited the FITA-ADVICE centre and viewed first hand a number of technology solutions that help increase the independence of persons with disabilities on May 20.

Man using JAWS at a computer.The Foundation for Information Technology Accessibility and the Assistive Devices Visual Impairment Centre, are collaborating in order to provide persons with vision disabilities, with increased access to enabling products, particularly equipment which makes use of ICT.

FITA’s existing services are available to all persons with disability in Malta and Gozo, irrespective of age or disability. These include consultancy, ICT accessibility certification and training in the use of ICT.  Following a request by ADVICE, FITA is also hosting a range of equipment geared towards the needs of persons with a visual impairment.

The range of equipment available at FITA has thus increased, and now covers keyboard and mouse alternatives, magnification devices and optical character recognition (OCR) technology.  Not all the products rely on ICT.  Some of the simpler but still useful products are bread cutters and accessible board games.  Other electronic devices include water level indicators and talking devices, like scales, jugs and watches.

At the FITA-ADVICE centre, clients can try the equipment hands on and FITA also provides consultancy in the sourcing and matching of the necessary technology products. This way clients can make an informed decision on which products are most suitable for them, thus helping them regain independence and achieve tasks they thought out of their reach.

The service concept of FITA is user centred and aims to address the specific requests of employers, employees and students.  We start off by assessing the difficulties clients experience, their goals and the possibilities available to them and their work or school environment.

Once clients decide and acquire the necessary equipment, we follow up with training so that they can make full and effective use of the technology they invested in.  Eventually clients gain more confidence and contact us because they have higher expectations or are tackling new goals. This allows us to continue addressing higher needs, ranging from training in ICT and office skills to the use of ICT in order to access more specialised training courses, both commercially and at University for example.

FITA is already collaborating with a number of NGOs, but values the feedback of more Disability NGOs, and looks forward to the possibility of working jointly on different projects, so as to continue to provide newer services for all persons with disability.

For more information contact FITA on 2599 2048 or at info@fitamalta.eu

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