Communication

Broadband Access and How It Is Redefining Quality of Life Issues for People with Disabilities

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

This webinar will present a general introduction and overview of Broadband—both as a public policy agenda and as a quality of life issue for people with disabilities. The training will review the unique ways in which Broadband is redefining health care, education, employment, citizenship, and community participation for people with disabilities.

Description: This webinar will present a general introduction and overview of Broadband—both as a public policy agenda and as a quality of life issue for people with disabilities. The training will review the unique ways in which Broadband is redefining health care, education, employment, citizenship, and community participation for people with disabilities.

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The iPad and Communication Transitions for Young Adults

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
9:00-10:00 Pacific Standard Time

As children who use communication devices become young adults, their environments, needs, and interests are likely to change quickly and dramatically. This webinar will take a look at how the vocabulary and equipment that they have previously used can change accordingly. 

Archived Webinar Description: As children who use communication devices become young adults, their environments, needs, and interests are likely to change quickly and dramatically. The vocabulary and equipment that they have previously used will need to change accordingly.

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Using Assistive Technology with People with Autism

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM PST

This presentation explores various low-, mid-, and high-tech tools that can facilitate organization, information presentation, and communication for people with Autism. This training will be presented in a dynamic graphic style that encourages audience input and direction.

This presentation explores various low-, mid-, and high-tech tools that can facilitate organization, information presentation, and communication for people with Autism. This training will be presented in a dynamic graphic style that encourages audience input and direction.

Login or sign up for a free membership to register for this training.

Hearing Aids and Mobile Phones

Hearing aids and mobile phones don't always get along.  Here's some background on those problems and how to solve them.

Microphones and Telecoils

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Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What Is It?

People may have difficulty speaking due to a physical injury or a disability (e.g., cerebral palsy), a cognitive impairment (such as brain injury or autism), or both physical and cognitive disabilities. Some of these people use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) strategies for communication. This article covers the general principles of AAC; more information about specific strategies is in our article about Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What are the Options?

AAC needs to be matched to the user's physical and cognitive capabilities, but also to the immediacy of their communication needs. If someone is trying to communicate, it is better to quickly provide simple but reasonably effective strategies, such as a sheet of paper with pictures that she can point to, than to wait until more sophisticated options are available.

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Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS)

Telecommunication Relay Service (background article.

">TRS) is a family of free services that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech impaired independently place and receive phone calls.  A communication assistant (CA) "translates" between a text or sign language user on one side and a voice telephone user on the other.

This article covers the various types of relay services and how to use them.

background article.

">TRS includes:

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Mobile Phones and Vision Loss

The main problem for blind and low vision mobile phone users is access to the screen: menus, address books, text messages, incoming call information, etc.  Just like computers, the solutions are to enlarge the text or turn it into speech.  Some phones have these features right out of the box; others require add-on software that may cost as much as $400.

This article will cover some of the options available, and point you to more information resources in this fast-moving market.

Built-in Features

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Free and Cheap Screen Readers

Screen reader software converts text on a computer screen into synthetic speech and/or braille. The software also allows the keyboard to replace the mouse in controlling the computer, and provides other help in navigating. Although the most popular screen readers cost about $1000, this article covers some that are free or at low cost. They work relatively well with the basic popular software applications and general Internet tools, but do not have the "power user" features found on the more sophisticated programs.

Windows

NVDA (non-visual desktop access) is an open-source screen reader for Windows. It works with common programs such as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer.

Thunder is another free Windows screen reader offered by a group in the United Kingdom.

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Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) -- What are the options?

The 'normal' way people communicate face-to-face is through talking. However, many people can't talk clearly, or can't talk at all. These people rely on various tools to help augment their limited talking ability, or to help them communicate in an alternate way --  'Alternative and Augmentative Communication' (AAC). These tools come in all shapes, sizes, and functionalities. This article provides a basic breakdown of the general AAC tool types.

Low-tech

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Apple’s Mobile Products (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch)

In many ways, Apple’s iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch are ideal accessibility tools. They’re lightweight and easy to use. The wide range of applications -- built-in, free, or generally inexpensive -- suit a variety of needs. The touchscreen interface is ideal for many people who can't use a keyboard or mouse. Finally, because they’re mainstream products, people use them without feeling self-conscious or paying a large amount of money. This article covers some of the accessibility features and ways you can use these devices.

Apple has included some powerful accessibility features in the iOS operating system used by its mobile devices:

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