CCNA certification and visual impairment

Doctor MidnightDoctor Midnight Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello all. I am a user that is wondering about gaining the CCENT and CCNA certs (for starters, then moving on). I am just wondering if this is viable if one is visually impaired and also if the testing center should be able to make accomidations (United States citizen). By federal law here, if accomidations Can be made, then they MUSTS be made or there can be a discrimination suit made against them. Let me clarify this a little bit. I will not be able to see anything at all, not even with any sort of screen magnifier. I use screen reading tech on my computer at home (System access very rarely and JAWS primarily for Windows and Voice Over for Mac OS 10 for anyone familiar with them). I am sure that I can do most of what is needed (and can already do some of the basics on home routing and switch systems), with the inability (I believe) of making and reading diagrams of networks.

The questions arise because I can only think of three ways that the testing center could accomidate, and they aren't very viable. One is to have someone read me the test and have me give what to do/answer them (very time consuming). The second is to have them install the test software on my machine with my screen reading tech on it, and then remove it when I am finished (which is not going to happen, I know). The third is to either have them provide a computer that has a screen reader on it, or for me to bring one with me (which is very very costly). And for the previous two options (install test on this machine, or instal reader on their machine), would the testing program even interact with the readers? Also, they provide you with laminated "paper" and dry erase markers/eraser, which is another item that I can not use. Will they let me use the computer and Wordpad/Notepad as my "note/calculation" paper?

I am honestly not trying to play the blind/handicap card. I do not plan on getting sue happy if they tell me no. I am just wondering what, if any, accomidations I should prepare to make on my own, and what they should take care of. I am one of those people that when they get their mind set on something, they do all that they can in their power (and in all legalness :P) to get it done.

Thank you very much.

Comments

  • mamonomamono Member Posts: 776 ■■□□□□□□□□
    You might want to contact both Pearson Vue and Cisco directly about this situation. They have most likely come across this scenario before and most likely already have some kind of solution already implemented.

    This article from March 2006 says that Pearson Vue can make accommodations.
    Easing Testing for Disabled Candidates
    http://www.certmag.com/read.php?in=1767

    But, it would seem that you'll still need to contact Pearson Vue to locate a test center that is capable of making those accommodations.

    Hope all goes well! :D
  • scheistermeisterscheistermeister Member Posts: 748
    You have to contact Pearson Vue and speak with them since they are the testing center that administers the tests for Cisco. From their site:
    Pearson VUE certifies that it complies with the provisions of the American Disabilities Act (42 USCG Section 12101, et. seq.) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2000e, et. seq.) in accommodating candidates who, because of a disability, need special arrangements to enable them to take an examination. If you need special arrangements for testing because of a disabling condition, you may ask for special testing services. All examination sites have access for candidates with disabilities.

    Any candidate requesting special testing arrangements due to impaired sensory, manual, speaking skills, or other disability must submit either by fax (610) 617-9397 or mail a written request which includes name, address, and Social Security Number, the test date desired, test location, time of examination, and a description of their special requirements. This request must also include supporting documentation from a physician or other qualified professional reflecting a diagnosis of the condition and an explanation of the need for test aids or modifications. Promissor will provide auxiliary aids and services, except where it may fundamentally alter the examination or results, or result in an undue burden. An appointment for the examination will be scheduled upon submission of all necessary information to Promissor.

    Pearson VUE recommends, due to the unique nature of each request for special arrangements and the types of variables involved with (testing frequencies as permitted by state licensing agencies and individual test center capabilities), that a candidate requesting special services do so as much in advance of their desired test date as possible. Concerted attempts to offer reasonable accommodations will be made.

    In addition, candidates should indicate when making a re-examination reservation that special arrangements were made or services used for the prior test administration and that these services will be needed again for the upcoming test date.

    http://www.pearsonvue.com/faqs/state.asp

    I would think they would have a way to accommodate you as I highly doubt you would be the first person unable to see that would want to take the certification. Best of luck to you when you do take it and keep us updated on how it goes for you as I know I am interested in seeing how it would play out.
    Give a man fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    Hello all. I am a user that is wondering about gaining the CCENT and CCNA certs (for starters, then moving on). I am just wondering if this is viable if one is visually impaired and also if the testing center should be able to make accomidations (United States citizen). By federal law here, if accomidations Can be made, then they MUSTS be made or there can be a discrimination suit made against them. Let me clarify this a little bit. I will not be able to see anything at all, not even with any sort of screen magnifier. I use screen reading tech on my computer at home (System access very rarely and JAWS primarily for Windows and Voice Over for Mac OS 10 for anyone familiar with them). I am sure that I can do most of what is needed (and can already do some of the basics on home routing and switch systems), with the inability (I believe) of making and reading diagrams of networks.

    The questions arise because I can only think of three ways that the testing center could accomidate, and they aren't very viable. One is to have someone read me the test and have me give what to do/answer them (very time consuming). The second is to have them install the test software on my machine with my screen reading tech on it, and then remove it when I am finished (which is not going to happen, I know). The third is to either have them provide a computer that has a screen reader on it, or for me to bring one with me (which is very very costly). And for the previous two options (install test on this machine, or instal reader on their machine), would the testing program even interact with the readers? Also, they provide you with laminated "paper" and dry erase markers/eraser, which is another item that I can not use. Will they let me use the computer and Wordpad/Notepad as my "note/calculation" paper?

    I am honestly not trying to play the blind/handicap card. I do not plan on getting sue happy if they tell me no. I am just wondering what, if any, accomidations I should prepare to make on my own, and what they should take care of. I am one of those people that when they get their mind set on something, they do all that they can in their power (and in all legalness :P) to get it done.

    Thank you very much.

    Contact VUE and Cisco directly about these matters. There should be dispensation available in terms of extra time on tests etc if you need a reader. Certainly getting your head around any diagrams in a test would be challenging for a visually impaired or blind person. Let me know how you get on because I have often thought about what provision is made available for folks with sight problems. Not only for testing, but learning materials. How do you get on with IOS? Do you find that JAWS will read it back to your properly? It must be very challenging trying to understand a routing table output with JAWS. Are there braille versions of Cisco Press materials?

    This whole subject is something I have thought about and I hope one day to perhaps have the time to make some sort of contribution to helping out.
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Wow. You're hardcore. You've got a lot of great advice here. I have nothing to add, but I just wanted to say what you're during is really impressive and inspiring.

    Keep up the good work, and good luck!

    P.S. How's the quality of your text to speech software? I haven't used it in awhile. Has it progressed well? Can you set it to use some sexy female voice instead of that jerky robot voice?
  • AldurAldur Juniper Moderator Member Posts: 1,460
    dynamik wrote:
    P.S. How's the quality of your text to speech software? I haven't used it in awhile. Has it progressed well? Can you set it to use some sexy female voice instead of that jerky robot voice?


    This, without a doubt, would be the most important part of ANY speech software!

    but seriously now, if I had to rely on speech software I'd want a nice female voice then a monotone jerky robot voice.
    "Bribe is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The X makes it sound cool."

    -Bender
  • kctxaukctxau Member Posts: 130
    This doesn't really address the accomodations question, but using Jaws for the testing.
    Jaws 9x doesn't seem to have any problems reading the multiple choice questions on the practice tests by Preplogic and Transender. Additionally, Jaws 9x seems to be able to read the entire practice test pages if the Configuration Manager is setup correctly. The User Options menu should be set to Screen Echo = Echo All Text, the Say All Options menu set to Say All = Paragraph, and the Graphics and Symbols menu set to Graphics Mode and Graphic Verbosity = All Graphics.
    This appears to work well for the practice tests.
    The Windows key commands however, are different between the Preplogic and Transender. Preplogic multiple choice use the A B C D answer format. You first TAB over to the answer field and then use ALT A B C D to select the desired answer. Transender does not use the A B C D format. The answers are just listed next to the radio buttons. To navigate between them, you TAB to the answer field, Spacecbar to high-light the first answer and alternate the Spacebar and UP Down arrows to select the desired answer.
    I don't know which type the testing centers use. Also, there maybe questions that are drag and drop. I don't have a sample drag and drop test to experiment with.

    Hope this helps,
    Keith
  • Doctor MidnightDoctor Midnight Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you all for the help. I am still far off for the testing (even for scheduling it). As for training material, I am currently using CBT Nugget CCENT/CCNA training materials that a friend gave to me to use. As for other training, that is another question I have. I understand it is best to use the Cisco training router packages that one can buy online from sites and ebay, and also simulators/virtual labs, but is it possible to use non Cisco hardware (Linksys routers/Netgear switches)? I know that is like sacreligious and all that, but I can't afford the router/switch bundles at this point, and the sims that I have demoed don't really work with the screen reader.

    As for what interaction I have had in the past for setting up networks, I am not sure how in-depth the screen reader will go. All of my experience has been household setup with a router and a switch or three.

    The screen readers have finally gotten a bit better than the old MS Narrator voices. For Windows, it is stil a bit robotic when I navigate in the usual manner, but I tend to not pay as much attention to that now. For the "Does it have a super sexy female voice?" question... Yes, when I use a command to not navigate, and just read everything from the cursor down. Thank you hot austrailian female voice :) Also this is probably one of my lesser "hardcore" actions (but thank you anyway icon_biggrin.gif) and like I said, is more me not wanting to be beaten and proving to as much myself that it can be done.

    As for setting up JAWS for reading and interaction, I am (a little above) proficient with the setup and use of it. Once I figure out the layout of the page and such, I can easily get around and probably have no problems with checking radial boxes, and such, as long as the program they use is written in a language that the reader understands (which it sounds like, as long as they use the same program as the practice tests, it should be). The only issue is the drag and drop. That one takes a bit more time, and is fairly difficult with the way the screen reader tends to change the layout of things. I do at this point use JAWS 9.x, so as long as they don't change either the program that the test is written in, or the reader before I take the test, I should be okay.

    Thanks again for everything, and for those of you that are interested on how training goes, or how the test goes. I will keep you posted, or you can IM/email me if you would like. It is nice to find such a helpful forum. :)
  • kctxaukctxau Member Posts: 130
    Hi Doctor Midnight,
    Yes, I could tell by your original post, that you are more than proficient with the Jaws configuration setup, by the very fact you are using it to study and take these type of tests. I sometimes over explain in the event another reader wants to accomplish the same thing, but has less experience than yourself. I will try to locate a drag and drop test to see how Jaws handles that format. It may take me a few days to do so, but hopefully I can find something helpful or useful by Wednesday or sooner.
    Good luck on your goal.
    Keith
  • Doctor MidnightDoctor Midnight Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Okay, it is me again. I have a question seeing as I have tested a couple of sims and none are really all that accessible. I currently picked up 3x cisco 1912 switches with power and console cables to start a learning lab.

    I was wondering also: A. what is the earliest model router that can be used effectively? I kep seeing (and also hearing most places) suggest the 2501, but have seen several lots of the 1720 routers up for auction and wondering if those would work efectively. B. What else do you think one would need for a starter lab at this moment aside from routers/switches/cables? I keep seeing lab sets with transcevers, but am not even sure what those are or if they are really needed. icon_sad.gif

    Again, thanks for the help, and thus far, training is going okay. :) I am hoping it'l go better once I can get the lab set up and get hands on learning.

    *edit* I should also state that I am on an extremely extremely tight budget so can't just go and spend whatever on equipment. Yes, it is so tight that it needs two "extremely"s.
  • MultivacMultivac Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    HI Doctor Midnight.
    I've just found this thread through Google, watching with interest. I'm a blind JAWS using guy in the UK, looking to get some IT quals. CCNA 1st level or Comptia A+, Network+. They run these at my local college and I'm trying to get hold of someone there to see how I might take these.

    So watching with interest. Good luck. :)
    Upgrade pending
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    Okay, it is me again. I have a question seeing as I have tested a couple of sims and none are really all that accessible. I currently picked up 3x cisco 1912 switches with power and console cables to start a learning lab.

    I was wondering also: A. what is the earliest model router that can be used effectively? I kep seeing (and also hearing most places) suggest the 2501, but have seen several lots of the 1720 routers up for auction and wondering if those would work efectively. B. What else do you think one would need for a starter lab at this moment aside from routers/switches/cables? I keep seeing lab sets with transcevers, but am not even sure what those are or if they are really needed. icon_sad.gif

    Again, thanks for the help, and thus far, training is going okay. :) I am hoping it'l go better once I can get the lab set up and get hands on learning.

    *edit* I should also state that I am on an extremely extremely tight budget so can't just go and spend whatever on equipment. Yes, it is so tight that it needs two "extremely"s.

    I have a stack of 2500 series routers I use for CCIE labs. They can do most of what I need to do, the things they dont support I rent remote rack time to cover.

    2500's are fine if you are on a tight budget. It took me a long time to assemble this home rack, back in the day a 2503 (to learn ISDN) set me back a whopping 700 dollars on ebay! Given the past investment Im kind of sympathetic to them now and wont upgrade.

    2500's are cheap as chips on ebay these days. You will need a tranceiver (also sold on ebay) to convert the AUI ethernet 10M interface to RJ45. These were about 20 pounds each when I got some off ebay last year.

    If you are going to be using more than four devices, invest in a terminal server as well as money allows.

    HTH!
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    Multivac wrote:
    HI Doctor Midnight.
    I've just found this thread through Google, watching with interest. I'm a blind JAWS using guy in the UK, looking to get some IT quals. CCNA 1st level or Comptia A+, Network+. They run these at my local college and I'm trying to get hold of someone there to see how I might take these.

    So watching with interest. Good luck. :)

    Good luck with all that. Im in the UK too. I heard today that there is actually a Dual CCIE who is totally blind working for Cisco in Belgium. Amazing. I would imagine understanding debug output and routing tables would be a real challenge with only JAWS to repeat all that to you.

    So it can be done at the highest level. I hope that is some inspiration to you!
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Wow. How did his questions go unanswered for almost a month? Poor guy icon_sad.gif

    Don't be afraid to bump your thread if you don't get a response.

    I think those switches are too old to be of much use. You should go with 2950/2960s if you can. You can still get a lot of use out of the 2500s, but you might need some newer equipment to do absolutely everything. I'm not familiar with the 1720s, sorry.

    Good luck and keep up the good work. Keep us abreast of your progress.
  • darkerosxxdarkerosxx Banned Posts: 1,343
    Slight off-topic, but maybe not: How do the emoticons effect accessibility on these forums?
  • dynamikdynamik Banned Posts: 12,314 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I assume the software reads the alt or title html attribute of the image, but the emoticons don't seem to have those, so it might just read the file name instead.

    Edit: I guess they do have alt tags, but they're just the same as the file name icon_lol.gif
  • Doctor MidnightDoctor Midnight Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Multivac, thanks. I am trying to push this as quickly as i can while still retaining almost everything possible. If you want, I can be contacted on AIM under Hobbgoblin79 and I can share any tips I have learned there instead of clogging up these threads. :)

    As for emoticons, yes there is an alt tag, but like stated it is the same as the file name. I guess one takes what he or she can get. the ": )" which when put together is a smile says something like "Graphic Smiley blah blah blah" or somethign like that.

    and as far as equipment, I am moving up in the world I guess. not too long agter the last post I made, I did a whooooooole lot of research and have gotten a couple more things.here is my setup as is at this moment.

    1x Macbook running OSX 10.5 and dual booting Win XP
    5x Cisco C2501 routers
    3x CS1912 switches
    3x Console cables
    4x DB60 DTE-DCE crossover cables for routers
    10x Cat-5 patch cables
    10x Cat-5 crossover cables (the two lots of ten of each cable were both less expensive than trying to buy a couple of each on their own)

    Still need:

    5x Transceivers (which after I researched, I found out I did need big time, but thanks for the answer to that one :) )
    1x USB to DP9 adapter (probably going to go with offbrand since it is so much cheaper than the Keyspan one that I can live off of the diference for a couple of days :P)
    1x Cisco cable kit (same prices at just geting the rollover cable so might as well for the couple of extras that I may be able to use)
    The last thing I plan on getting is the access server with the oct-whatever-it's-called-because-I-can't-remember cable at some point, but don't know when that is goign to be. for the moment though, what I have is a good start and should be enough to get me the experience for the CCENT before I move upto the CCNA. I think that is it for now, and if I missed anything I am sorry. All the info that has been posted in here has been an immense help (you wouldn't even realize how much of a help). Again, thanks. :)
  • MultivacMultivac Member Posts: 2 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Multivac, thanks. I am trying to push this as quickly as i can while still retaining almost everything possible. If you want, I can be contacted on AIM under Hobbgoblin79 and I can share any tips I have learned there instead of clogging up these threads. :)

    As for emoticons, yes there is an alt tag, but like stated it is the same as the file name. I guess one takes what he or she can get. the ": )" which when put together is a smile says something like "Graphic Smiley blah blah blah" or somethign like that.

    and as far as equipment, I am moving up in the world I guess. not too long agter the last post I made, I did a whooooooole lot of research and have gotten a couple more things.here is my setup as is at this moment.

    1x Macbook running OSX 10.5 and dual booting Win XP
    5x Cisco C2501 routers
    3x CS1912 switches
    3x Console cables
    4x DB60 DTE-DCE crossover cables for routers
    10x Cat-5 patch cables
    10x Cat-5 crossover cables (the two lots of ten of each cable were both less expensive than trying to buy a couple of each on their own)

    Still need:

    5x Transceivers (which after I researched, I found out I did need big time, but thanks for the answer to that one :) )
    1x USB to DP9 adapter (probably going to go with offbrand since it is so much cheaper than the Keyspan one that I can live off of the diference for a couple of days :P)
    1x Cisco cable kit (same prices at just geting the rollover cable so might as well for the couple of extras that I may be able to use)
    The last thing I plan on getting is the access server with the oct-whatever-it's-called-because-I-can't-remember cable at some point, but don't know when that is goign to be. for the moment though, what I have is a good start and should be enough to get me the experience for the CCENT before I move upto the CCNA. I think that is it for now, and if I missed anything I am sorry. All the info that has been posted in here has been an immense help (you wouldn't even realize how much of a help). Again, thanks. :)

    Thanks. If I get up and running with this, I'll probably have to pick your brains. Don't know anyone else in my position over here doing the course. Turgon's anicdote is encurruging though.

    (OT. regarding the emoticons.)
    The version of JAWS I'm using, 6.2, does read the title of the icons. Smile, big grin etc.
    However, tried out JAWS 9, latest stable release, on another forum I use. And it doesn't see them at all.

    Such is progress.
    ;)
    Upgrade pending
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