Wounded vets get e-mail aid

Dallas – The Defense Department’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) developed to aid disable federal employees use computers has now added assistance to wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans still on active duty to its portfolio so they can use e-mail.

CAP director Dinah Cohen, speaking here at the annual Healthcare and Management Information Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, said the fit between CAP and the mostly young, wounded Iraq war soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines is a natural fit “because these are kids who have grown up in a computer environment.”

Once those Iraq war veterans are evacuated to a stateside hospital, Cohen said they want to use computers, with access to e-mail to communicate with family and military colleagues a priority.

There are some 15,000 military personnel who have sustained wounds as the result of the Iraq war, Cohen said, and CAP has serves today at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington due to a grass roots effort by the CAP program to extend its service to the war wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. She said that CAP next plans to extend its services to soldiers at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

If needed, CAP can also supply wounded war veterans whose vision is so bad they cannot see a computer screen even with the aid of a magnifying device with voice recognition technology input system. Tom D’errico (cq), federal sales manager for ScanSoft Inc. said he wants to work with CAP and DoD to provide veterans who need voice recognition systems with free copies of the company’s Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition system for use of their own PCs or laptops.

CAP can also provide wounded war veterans in the military health system that has lost a hand or use of one hand – another common wound due to IEDs – with keyboards configured to be used with just one hand, but still delivering the full functionality of a two handed key board. Tan said.

Young war veterans would also like to find assistive computer technologies to help them play computer games, Tan said. But, she added, CAP has yet to find, for example, a voice recognition technology which will work with such games.

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