Part of the power of the Adaptive Device Locator System lies in its ease of use. You do not need to know brand names or company names. Instead, you search for assistive technology in terms of "function" - the goal, purpose, or thing that the user wants to do or do better or easier. For example, you might search for "something to help me read easier, hold a book, or turn pages" or "something to help me drive a car, water my plants, or prepare food." ADLS is a full spectrum database. Your goal can be almost anything, from feeding and dressing yourself - to standing and supported positioning - to perception and communication - to travel and mobility - environmental access - therapy - or sports and recreation.
You direct your search through ADLS, narrowing and more sharply defining your goal, using the hierarchical tree structure and the many decision aids that comprise the ADLS Main Index. Using your mouse, single-click on a category level in the tree to display its decision aid. Double-click on the category to display the list of more specific subcategories below it. Click on each of these and read the decision aid to make your next selection. You see the complete history of your search path displayed by the tree-like index. Jump backward by clicking on any previously selected category level to pursue an alternate path. At any point you may open new paths by clicking on the small boxes containing a plus sign to the left of each category name. Close an open path or subpath by clicking on the small box beside it containing a minus sign.
When the small box to the left of the category name is empty, you have reached the device level of the Locator system. The decision aid for such a category will normally display a link that says "See Devices." Clicking on this link opens a new browser window called the Device Window and a new page of information called the Device Description page.
Please note that the Device Window may completely cover up the Main Index window and vice-versa. It is both a good idea and sometimes a necessity either to rearrange these windows so that they overlap on your computer screen or use your browser's options to switch between open windows. (The Go To or Go Back function works only within an open browser window. It often is necessary to switch windows manually at times.
For example, once the Device Window is open, returning to the Main Index and selecting another device level does not open another window. Rather the new information appears in the open Device Window and you may need to click on that window to bring it to the front. For this reason, we recommend closing the Device Window - manually or with the Return button - to go back to the Main Index to revise your search or start a new one.)
Initially, the Device Description page displays a list of device types and an option to Return to the Main Index. Click on a device name to view a generic description and picture of a specific kind of adaptive or assistive device or accessory. To view another type of device with a similar function, click on another device name.
When a Device Description is visible, three further options are available at the bottom of the page: (1) Show Vendors, (2) Email Vendors, and (3) Print Vendor Letters. These links lead to other pages that also display in the Device Window.
Click on Show Vendors to display an appended list of companies that produce and/or distribute devices similar to the one described. Company names, addresses, and telephone numbers are provided. In many cases, a corporate email and/or web site address are also provided. Click on the email address to send correspondence directly to a particular company. Click on the web site address to jump immediately to that company's web site for detailed information about its specific products.
Click on E-Mail Vendors to send an email message to all vendors listed for the particular device that have email addresses in the database. A new page appears with a form. Enter the required information: your name, address, and email address. Then you can to edit a standard letter requesting a catalog and product information. (Editing this letter is optional, but if you do, be sure to use proper HTML formatting codes.) Click on the Send Email button to send your letters and/or use the Go Back function of your browser to return to the Device Description page.
Click on Print Vendor Letters to generate a set of business letters to all vendors listed for the particular device. A new page appears with a form. Enter the required information: your name, address, and email address. Then you can to edit a standard letter requesting a catalog and product information. (Again, this is optional, but if you edit the letter, be sure to use proper HTML formatting codes.) The letters are sent back to you one at a time, controlled by a button at the bottom of the page. You may either print them one by one on your stationary using your browser or save them as HTML files to be edited further later using a word-processor. At any point in the sequence, you may return to the Device Description page using the Go Back function of your browser.
Although it is not necessary, when you are ready to return to the ADLS Main Index for further searching, we recommend that you close the Device Window (which very likely is directly on top of and covering the Main Index. As you further explore the Locator system and reach another device level, clicking the "See Devices" button will reopen the Device Window automatically.
Enjoy exploring ADLS-on-the-Web. We hope it proves useful to you.