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A new lab catering to the needs of disabled students will open in the Science Center today.
At an afternoon ceremony, Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 will cut the ribbon to open the Adaptive Technology Lab for Students with Disabilities, which will provide special support for students with visual or manual impairments.
"This is an experiment that we hope will provide good information for us and may lead to further expansion," said Associate Dean Thomas A. Dingman, director of the Office of Disability Resources (ODR). "We are thrilled that we have this resource and we will provide full support for it."
Students with manual impairments will be able to use the voice-activated Dragon systems developed by Paul G. Bamberg, director of science instruction in continuing education, to enter text into a computer, according to Ellen C. Fanizzi, assistant director of the ODR.
Blind students will use the Vert Plus voice-synthesis system which reads out text from a computer screen that may be entered from a printed page through a scanner. The system is connected to a Braille printer for student reading and an ink printer for handing in assignments.
The Vista system will display text in large print on a computer system to help people with poor vision.
The ODR paid approximately $20,000 for all the new machinery from its own budget and special donations, according to Fanizzi. Dingman said that Joseph Levin endowed a special fund to "improve opportunities for disabled students." He added that further facilities for the disabled may be developed with money from this endowment.
Fanizzi said that the ODR did not want the lab for disabled students to be isolated from the rest of the student facilities. She added that the location of the lab would utilize existing technical support in the Science Center.
"The whole philosophy of our office is mainstreaming," said Fanizzi.
Fanizzi said the facility could be useful to teaching fellows and teaching assistants of blind students. She added that she hoped to collaborate with the Danforth Center for Learning.
Dingman said that a special handbook on dealing with disabled students was being sent by Acting Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky to all teaching staff.
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