The internet is an essential feature of modern life used to check the news, sports, weather, engage in social media, and find employment, but for people that are blind, navigating the internet can be very difficult. It is essential that the internet be accessible to people that are blind so they have the same access to materials and resources that are crucial to daily living, and for them be more actively engaged in society. EdITS has adapted the COPSystem career guidance program to be accessible to individuals using a screen reader.
The National Federation of the Blind estimates that as many as 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, and in 2015 they estimated that only 42% of working age adults with significant vision loss were employed. Adapting the COPSystem to be accessible for using a screen reader is important to enable this population to seek a career path that fits their career profile. At EdITS, we are assisting in providing more employment insights, thus lowering the unemployment rate among people that are blind.
The challenge in making the COPSystem accessible for screen readers was in adapting the CAPS ability battery. There are eight timed tests in the CAPS, and all but two of them were able to be directly adapted for a screen reader. In an effort to accommodate low vision and sight impaired people a study was conducted to determine if a person who is blind could answer Spatial Relations test questions. It was found that this was not a task that could be done by the sample that were blind, so an alternative scoring option is incorporated in the screen reader adaptation. This is the most reasonable option for a person who is blind and will lead them to considering jobs that match their interests and abilities. In addition, the Manual Speed and Dexterity test has a series of self-report questions and a way to estimate the MSD score that enables a person that is sight impaired to complete the COPSystem.
As a part of this process we have made the CAPS available with increased time increments to make accommodations for special needs populations. The CAPS can now be purchased with the option of either time and a half (7.5 minutes per test) or double time (10 minutes per test). If you are interested in using either of these options our administrative team can assist you with choosing the option that best suits the needs of your clients. The results pages are all completely accessible as well, that enables people with a wide range of disabilities to access our career guidance program.
It is our hope that having these tools available will increase the quality of life for people who are blind, in the satisfaction that can be gained with a fulfilling job that fits each individual’s career needs. We are extremely proud to be helping the blind community by making our platform fully accessible to them.