Apple Disability Solutions and MAP

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By Peter Green

This article describes the Mac Access Passport (MAP) and provides examples of the third-party companies and products contained in it. This article provides information about non-Apple products. Apple Computer, Inc. is not responsible for any content referring to these third-party products. Please contact the vendor of each particular product for additional information.

Mac Access Passport Database

Mac Access Passport (MAP) is a database that includes descriptive information about more than 100 Macintosh solutions for individuals with disabilities. Each record in MAP contains a product description and developer contact information.

MAP includes information on tools for individuals with physical motor impairments, blindness, hearing and speech difficulties, and learning disabilities. The database can be searched by keywords, product name, developer name, disability type, and description text. MAP is based on the Macintosh FileMaker Pro search engine by Claris Corporation.

You can view the Mac Access Passport on the WWW at You can download the Mac Access Passport database from or Or you can request a copy by calling Apple's Worldwide Disability Solutions Group at 800-600-7808 (voice), or 800-755-0601 (TTY).

The following information is distributed by Apple Computer's Worldwide Disability Solutions Group. Mention of a particular product does not represent an endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Apple Computer, Inc.

Learning and Speaking Disability Solutions

Special Education Software

There are over 1,300 educational software programs available for the Macintosh, ranging from those that teach adverbial clauses to ones that help students explore the anatomy of a whale. Some software comes alive with dazzling color, animation, and stereo sound; other programs are more basic by comparison, incorporating traditional teaching strategies such as drill-and-practice and memorization.

Without knowing more about a particular student (What are his reading skills? spelling skills? comprehension skills? What are her academic and personal goals? interests? abilities?) it's difficult to recommend specific software.

But it is possible for teachers and parents to make that decision once they have enough information about what software is available. Below are four companies that offer a wide selection of educational software for the Macintosh. We encourage you to contact them to find out about their various Macintosh education software solutions.

Broderbund Software
500 Redwood Blvd.
P.O. Box 6121
Novato, CA 94948

Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
1000 N. Rand
Wauconda, IL 60084

Edmark Corp.
P.O. Box 3218
Redmond, WA 98073

Wings for Learning/Sunburst
101 Castleton Street
Pleasantville, NY 10570


The Macintosh is favored by many people with learning disabilities because the software is so easy to use- all Macintosh software works essentially the same way. So once you learn one program, the next one will seem very familiar. This fundamental consistency eliminates frustration for a lot of people.

In addition to the Macintosh's ease-of-use, there is software that can help you structure and organize your ideas, check your spelling as you type (using your own list of frequently misspelled words), and analyze your written documents for grammatical errors. There is even some software that can anticipate the word you're about the type, and type it for you!

When it comes to managing your daily activities, personal information management software can help manage different areas of your life: keeping an updated TO DO list, maintaining your address book, and scheduling and reminding you of upcoming appointments.

Aldus Consumer Div.
5120 Shoreham Place
San Diego, CA 92122
TouchBase Pro and DateBook Pro

Baseline Publishing
1760 Moriah Woods, Ste. 5
Memphis, TN 38117-7118
Thunder 7

Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
1000 N. Rand
Wauconda, IL 60084
Co: Writer

Speech Communication

Every Macintosh has speech capability built-in, which means a Macintosh PowerBook-in addition to doing everything that a Macintosh regularly does- can travel with you, helping you communicate with others. A PowerBook is small and lightweight, so it can be carried around in a backpack or easily attached to a wheelchair, making it a versatile communication tool.

Using "text-to-speech" software, the Macintosh can create synthetic speech from typed-in words, allowing your PowerBook to speak out loud any word or phrase. The Macintosh also has the ability to record and playback a person's own voice (somewhat like a tape recorder), which results in a very high-quality sound.

Special software can help you manage computerized speech so that you can access the appropriate words on demand. Libraries of pictures, symbols, and graphics are often used to build "picture communication boards," enabling speech samples to be selected quickly and easily.

Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
1000 N. Rand
Wauconda, IL 60084
Talk:About and Write:OutLoud

Mayer-Johnson Co.
P.O. Box 1579
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Speaking Dynamically

Physical Disability Solutions


There are dozens of different kinds of keyboards for the Macintosh. Depending on your personal abilities and preferences, any of a number of them may be appropriate.

The right keyboard for you may be the kind that looks like a traditional keyboard, but has large, touch-sensitive keys to help make typing easier. Or maybe your keyboard is the kind that has only seven keys and uses a typing technique called "chording," originally designed for one-handed typists. The Apple Adjustable Keyboard, another possibility, splits into two sections and conforms to the natural position of your arms to make typing comfortable.

Other products include switch-operated, on-screen keyboards that let you type with almost any part of your body, and "smart" keyboards that allow you to customize each key's position, size, and function. We suggest you contact the following companies to learn about, and perhaps sample, their keyboard products.

Don Johnston, Inc.
P.O. Box 639
1000 N. Rand
Wauconda, IL 60084
Ke:nx and Ke:nx On:Board

5221 Central Avenue. Suite 205
Richmond, CA 94804

TASH, Inc.
Unit 1-91 Station St.
Ajax, ON L1S 3H2
MacMini Keyboard

Pointing Devices

You can fine tune your mouse's sensitivity to a degree by using software that comes with your Macintosh. But this kind of refinement may not adequately address your needs. You may need an altogether different kind of pointing device.

If so, there are many from which to choose: head-controlled mice, trackballs (in effect a mouse turned upside down), joysticks, mice of different sizes and speeds, writing pads that function as mice, touch-sensitive screens that act as mice, and even remote-controlled mice.

Another solution is Easy Access, a software program that comes with every Macintosh. The MouseKeys feature of Easy Access lets you use the keyboard to control the cursor's movements.

How do you determine which pointing device is the most appropriate for your needs? First you need to find out what's available (beyond the contacts listed below). Try visiting your local newsstand and browsing through a computer magazine devoted to Macintosh technology; there you'll find new and different pointing devices being advertised regularly.

P.O. Box 3218
Redmond, WA 98073
Mac TouchWindow

Kensington Microware
2855 Campus Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403

Logitech, Inc.
6565 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555

Input Systems

With the right hardware and software, a Macintosh can become a powerful system for learning, working, and playing. But that won't matter to you until you're able to find a way to control the computer... your way.

Keyboards and mice are traditionally used to control personal computers. Although you may not be able to use these devices, you can choose between a number of alternatives, including: a voice recognition system that allows a person to control the computer by talking to it; an on-screen keyboard that facilitates typing without physically touching the keys; and a head-controlled keyboard/mouse that lets a person type using head movements.

There are, in fact, a number of possibilities that will allow people to use a Macintosh for whatever they want. Contact the following companies to learn more about their access products.

Articulate Systems, Inc.
600 West Cummings Park
Suite 4500
Woburn, MA 01801

Madenta Communications
9411A 20 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6N 1E5

Origin Instruments
854 Greenview Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 75050

Visual Disability Solutions

Speech and Braille

The Macintosh was the first truly graphics-based personal computer, which helps account for a common misconception that it's inaccessible to people who cannot see. In fact, when used with innovative software programs the Macintosh is fully accessible to blind individuals.

When it comes to navigating the Macintosh's screen, software called outSPOKEN gives audio cues to on-screen visual images such as icons, windows, menus, and cursor location (the numeric keypad replaces the need for a mouse). outSPOKEN is compatible with virtually all Macintosh applications, so blind people can use a Macintosh just as sighted people do- in the office, at home, at school, anywhere. Another program called Duxbury Braille Translator converts text to Braille and formats printing on a Braille embosser.

For more information, contact the following companies:

Berkeley Systems
2095 Rose Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
510-540-5115 - fax
510-540-0709 - TTY

Duxbury Systems, Inc.
435 King Street
Littleton, MA 01460
Duxbury Braille Translator

455 North Bernardo Avenue
Mountain View, CA 94043
Braille Embossers


There are several things that can be done to enlarge the images on the Macintosh computer's screen. One solution, CloseView, is software that magnifies the screen image up to 16 times its regular size. CloseView works with virtually all Macintosh software, and is free- it's included as part of the Macintosh's system software. (An enhanced version of this software, called inLARGE, is also available as a separate product from Berkeley Systems.)

Other magnification solutions range from monitors that display images in multiple resolutions to magnification lenses that attach to the outside frame of the Macintosh's monitor. You may also want to consider using software that reads text aloud, so that instead of looking at the words on your computer, you can listen to them. Contact the companies below to learn more about their access products for people with vision impairments.

Berkeley Systems
2095 Rose Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
510-540-5115 - fax
510-540-0709 - TTY

New Concepts Marketing
P.O. Box 261
Port Richey, FL 34673
Magnification Lenses

Sigma Designs, Inc.
47906 Bayside Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
Multiple Resolution Monitors
The Famous Apple!

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