SINGAPORE: Students with disabilities can now borrow assistive technologies at a library at Temasek Polytechnic and identify which devices suit them best before deciding what to buy.
The library at Temasek Polytechnic, which opened last Tuesday (Nov 13), is among three “satellite loan libraries” that will be set up at polytechnics.
Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic will launch the facilities early next year.
The initiative is part of efforts by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and SPD, formally known as the Society for the Physically Disabled, to help these students get greater access to infocomm and assistive technologies.
For second-year Temasek Polytechnic student Sebrina Ng, who was diagnosed with hearing impairment as a child, it has been quite difficult for her to understand what others are saying even with a hearing aid.
At the new library, she can try out tools such as a Roger Pen. It is a wireless microphone that can help transmit the speaker's voice to her hearing aid.
“I can see more options and explore with different devices,” said the 22-year-old.
President of SPD Chia Yong Yong said: “The libraries will enable students when they are prescribed to try out a different range of devices and technology to find one that is most suited.”
Such infocomm and assistive technology tools can cost between S$50 and S$5,000.
Under the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Needs fund, students with severe hearing, physical and visual disabilities can receive up to S$70,000 in support.
Students with less severe physical impairments can get up to S$5,000 to purchase the necessary assistive technology devices, and eligible students with less severe hearing or visual impairment will receive up to S$25,000 in subsidies.
Speaking at the biennial E2Connect Forum on Monday, Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran said that everyone has a collective responsibility to ensure that every Singaporean has access to technologies.
“To do this, we will need the combined effort of the Government, industry and community groups, who are well-placed to address the needs of persons with disabilities and enable them to participate meaningfully in a digital society and digital economy,” he said.