The Ross and Doris Dixon Foundation has created an Adaptive Technology Fund to assist with purchasing equipment and furnishings that enhance the Library's services to persons with disabilities. The inaugural purchase by the Library is a desktop colour video magnifier to be used by patrons with low vision. This replaces the 15-year-old Closed Circuit TV print magnifier in the Adaptive Technology Centre.
The Adaptive Technology Centre provides a great source of support for its users. Third-year psychology student, Jennifer Wong, has been legally blind since the age of eight and knows first-hand how important the Adaptive Technology Centre and its resources are for her academic success. In a recent testimonial, Jennifer writes: "Study in university gives me many challenges. However, these challenges also mean pleasant experience because I receive great support from school, such as the the service in Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) in the Dana Porter Library. I spend most of my study time in ATC. The Centre is divided by different workstations that provide an excellent environment and private places for disabled students to study and do research." Jennifer additionally states that "Janet Wason in the Centre is always willing to assist whenever I need help. Her friendly smiles and willingness to help are the best support for disabled students."
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind states that low vision "can occur at any age," and that it is the result of gradual changes and decreases in central vision. Low vision can be the result of a variety of factors including birth defects, aging, and other medical conditions.
The ClearView 517 full-colour desktop video magnifier from the Optelec Tieman Group, providers of adaptive technology equipment for the blind and visually impaired, will be beneficial for UW community members with low vision. Including a 17 inch tilting monitor, the ergonomically-designed magnifier provides users with features such as instant focus, one-touch zoom, a position locator, and reading and reverse reading modes. This particular model of magnifier is important in that it will provide users with access to text, diagrams, illustrations, maps, and other detailed print information that relies on colour to represent key elements of the publication being read.
UW provides academic accommodations, services, and support to over 900 students registered with the Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD). The UW Library collaborates through cost sharing with the UW Office for Persons with Disabilities in offering services to registered students. One of the main services provided to these students and other members of the community is the Adaptive Technology Centre. Located on the main floor of the Dana Porter Library, the Adaptive Technology Centre offers a variety of adaptive software, equipment, and information services that help patrons with disabilities complete research, assignments, and exams with a greater sense of independence. Some of the resources offered by the Adaptive Technology Centre include:
The Ross and Doris Dixon Charitable Foundation has provided the UW community with numerous charitable gifts in the past. Two of these gifts include donations supporting the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) scholarship program and an ongoing student athletic award program using the provincial government's dollar-for-dollar matching opportunity. The Ross and Doris Dixon Charitable Foundation also established the Dixon Scholarships in International Trade to assist Faculty of Arts students enrolled in the International Trade Specialization option. Future purchases aided by the Ross and Doris Dixon Charitable Foundation Adaptive Technology Fund will extend adaptive technology offerings in other UW libraries, such as the Davis Centre Library.
Please visit the Adaptive Technology Centre's web page for more information about its resources.
For further information about the Library's services for persons with disabilities, please contact:
Coordinator, Services for Persons with Disabilities
Library Associate, Information Services and Resources