Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Monday, June 16, 2008

What is a Kludge?

I came across a new (for me) word today: kludge.

(pronounced klooj) n. Slang
  1. A system, especially a computer system, that is constituted of poorly matched elements or of elements originally intended for other applications.
  2. A clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.

kludge. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved June 16, 2008, from website:

I immediately started thinking about access technology (assistive technology) for those who have difficulty with reading or writing. These solutions are often awkward, inelegant, and inefficient, but nevertheless compensate for inaccessible curricula in schools and elsewhere.

According to Wikipedia, a kludge is a kind of "workaround" which they define as

...a bypass of a recognized problem in a system. A workaround is typically a temporary fix that implies that a genuine solution to the problem is needed. Frequently workarounds are as creative as true solutions, involving outside the box thinking in their creation.

Typically they are considered brittle in that they will not respond well to further pressure from a system beyond the original design. In implementing a workaround it is important to flag the change so as to later implement a proper solution.

It is important that those of us who work to provide "kludges" to provide accommodated access to inclusive settings to note Wikipedia's warning that these workarounds are supposed to be temporary and should be replaced by more robust solutions that specifically address the needs. Universal design not only addresses the needs, but it provides better access for everyone as well as logical social acceptance of the access solutions that allows everyone a level playing field. An example? Curb cuts and ramps at corners and for buildings not only allows access by wheelchairs, but allows baby strollers and rolling luggage carts easy access. Audio books (text to speech) for those who struggle with written text allows those individuals who are driving across town or across the country to read books while performing a routine task.

Bonus word thoughts for the day: If you investigate kludge on Wikipedia, then click on workaround, then click on outside the box, then click on lateral thinking, perhaps you can become inspired to make real, meaningful changes to including those who have challenges to "normal" abilities.

Do you need assistance in finding ways to access your school, workplace, and/or home? Please visit my website at and I'll share proven methods for success.

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