posted on: January 30th, 2014

You may have heard that a coalition of e-reader manufacturers consisting of Amazon, Kobo and Sony, filed a petition requesting the FCC waive the rule requiring e-readers to have text to speech capabilities. 

The FCC has made a decision and the National Federation for the Blind has shared the following:

The FCC issued its final order on the e-book reader waiver petition this week.  They granted the waiver, but limited it to only one year despite the e-book reader coalition’s request for an indefinite waiver.  Our collective opposition efforts had much to do with this overall very good result, as you will see in the order (attached and links below).  A summary of the FCC’s decision is excerpted below:

“We grant a waiver from the Commission’s ACS rules for the class of “basic e-readers,” as defined herein, until January 28, 2015. We limit the term of the waiver to one year from the expiration of the temporary waiver, rather than grant the Coalition’s request for an indefinite waiver. We believe that, given the swift pace at which e-reader and tablet technologies are evolving and the expanding role of ACS in electronic devices, granting a waiver beyond this period is outweighed by the public interest and congressional intent to ensure that Americans with disabilities have access to advanced communications technologies.”
 
Links to the Order:
Word:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-95A1.docx
PDF:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-95A1.pdf
Text:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-95A1.txt
posted on: January 30th, 2014

The Assistive Technology Conference of New England returns on November 20th, 2014 in Warwick, RI. You can keep up to date on developments by visiting their website.

posted on: January 30th, 2014
Window-Eyes is now being packaged with Windows running Office 2010 or higher. The version of Window-Eyes available to Office users is a full version, available globally and in eighteen languages. It comes with Microsoft speech and eSpeak, and is available from WindowEyes
 
According to the National Federation for the Blind blog post,
 
If you already have a license of Window-Eyes, that will still work, and unlike the bundled version, it entitles you to unlimited tech support. Window-Eyes extended apps will continue to work. If you are using the bundled version, you will have to pay on a per incident basis for tech support, or per twelve incidents in twelve months. Installation CDs, GW Connect, better speech synthesizers, and hotkey lists will also be available for an additional charge.
posted on: January 30th, 2014

Creating institutional guidance for faculties and staffs on captioning can be a tricky issue. This NCDAE blog post shares what others in the field have to say. It's based on a discussion on the Educause ITACCESS list and shares perspectives of several institutions.

posted on: December 12th, 2013

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) has a resource on their site called Web Accessibility and Accreditation: A Blueprint for Regional Agencies. The blueprint is a set of materials that can be used by regional accreditors to introduce web accessibility into their documents and processes, assist review committees in assessing institutional web accessibility, and aid them in providing support for their constituents.

It was developed as part of Project GOALS (Gaining Online Accessible Learning through Self-Study) is a FIPSE funded grant program.

posted on: December 12th, 2013

Nov. 2013: As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Legislation introduced on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives would require colleges either to make instructional technology accessible to disabled students or to provide them with equivalent, alternative resources.
 
Rep. Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican and senior member of the House education committee, said his bill would ensure that disabled students were given equal treatment as technology plays a larger and larger role in instruction. The bill is called the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (Teach) Act.
 
The legislation also calls on the government to develop guidelines for electronic instructional materials used in higher education.
The National Federation of the Blind and the Association of American Publishers released a joint statement calling the legislation long overdue.
“Every day, blind college students face devastating setbacks to their education because of inaccessible technology,” Marc Maurer, president of the federation, said in the statement. “The use of e-readers, web content, mobile applications, and learning-management systems by educators is more prevalent than ever, and disabled students are being needlessly left behind.”
posted on: December 12th, 2013

According to a press release from the Justice Dept. in late November 2013: 

The Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced today that they have moved to intervene in National Federation of the Blind et al v. HRB Digital LLC et al, a private lawsuit alleging disability discrimination by HRB Digital LLC and HRB Tax Group Inc., subsidiaries of H&R Block Inc.  In the memorandum and proffered complaint filed by the United States in support of its motion to intervene, the United States alleges that the H&R Block companies discriminate against individuals with disabilities and that their website, www.hrblock.com , is being operated in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), notwithstanding well-established and readily available guidelines for delivering web content in an accessible manner.  The motion, attached complaint in intervention and supporting memorandum were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts’ Boston Division.
 
As alleged in the filings today, H&R Block is one of the largest tax return preparers in the United States.  Its companies offer a wide range of services through www.hrblock.com , including professional and do-it-yourself tax preparation, instructional videos, office location information, interactive live video conference and chat with tax professionals, hybrid online and in-store services and electronic filing.  Their website, however, is not accessible to many individuals with disabilities and prevents some people with disabilities from completing even the most basic activities on the site.
 
Today’s filings further state that many individuals with disabilities, including, among others, people who are blind, deaf or have physical disabilities with an impact on manual dexterity, use computers and the Internet with the help of assistive technologies.  For example, screen reader software makes audible information that is otherwise presented visually on a computer screen; captioning translates video narration and sound into text; and keyboard navigation allows keyboard input rather than a mouse to navigate a website for individuals with visual, hearing or manual dexterity disabilities.  Such technologies have been widely used for some time and there are readily available, well-established, consensus-based guidelines – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – for making web content accessible to individuals with disabilities.
 
The complaint in intervention seeks a court order that would ensure that tax services offered through www.hrblock.com are fully and equally accessible to individuals with disabilities.  The department also seeks an award of monetary damages for aggrieved individuals, including the two named plaintiffs and a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest.
posted on: October 30th, 2013

The ODE-OEC, through its contract with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), is pleased to announce a new Assistive Technology Internet Module (ATIM), titled "AT Assessment Tools".  Found at the their site, under the tab "AT Problem Solving Across the Lifespan", this module is a comprehensive review of both free and commercially available AT assessment tools.  Some of these tools offer guidance for every step of the AT assessment process while others focus on specific components of AT such as evaluation of AT supports for reading and writing.  It begins with a video introduction done by Penny Reed. This module concludes with a review of user satisfaction tools and checklists that measure the effectives and perceived usefulness of implemented AT. 

Note: The content is free but you do have to create an account and log in. OCALI will send you an email when new modules are posted. Modules include short videos, text, a pre/post assessment tool.

posted on: October 16th, 2013

The Hadley School for the Blind has over 40 archived webinars on topics of interest to visually impaired individuals including cloud computing basics, how to choose a notetaker, iOS access, internet search, Skype, and many more listed below.

 

iFocus 3: Tips on Using the Vision Accessibility Features in iOS

Learning to Put the "You" in YouTube

The New Victor Reader Stream - Smaller, Smarter, Simpler

LinkedIn-New Look, New Features

iFocus: Spring Tips and Training for the iDevice User

Simplifying Internet Searching

iFocus: A New Quarterly Series Focusing on Tips and Training for iDevice Users

Travel Applications on iDevices

iDevices: What’s New?

Accessing the Printed Word with DocuScan Plus

Surfing the Web with SAMNet

Accessing Facebook on Your iPhone

iReading on the iPad and iPhone Using the Bookshare Read2go App

Is the iPhone/iPad the Right Technology for Today’s Veterans and Seniors?

Tuning in with BookPort Plus

A Brailliant Way to Stay Social

Movies and More on the Apex

NLS/BARD: Downloading Done Easy

The Keys to NLS/BARD

Cloud Computing Basics - DropBox and Apple iCloud

Skype Me! Using Skype From Your PC and Mobile Device

Preparing Powerful PowerPoint 2010 Presentations for Blind Users (Part 2)

Preparing Powerful PowerPoint 2010 Presentations for Blind Users (Part 1)

Blindness on the Job

Going Ape for Apps - Hot New Accessible Apps for Your iDevice

Everything i

Horizons for the Blind and the INNOVATIVE directionsforme.org!

Office 2010 Suite for Blind Users

Yahoo! for Web Accessibility

Access to Mathematics & Science for Blind Students

FYI on PDAs: Considerations When Choosing a PDA/Note Taking Device

HumanWare: Reading Solutions for Education and Recreation

Using Apple's iPhone and iTouch

Staying Connected with NFB-Newsline®

Connect and Network with Facebook and LinkedIn Using Access Technology

Office 2007, Windows 7 and Window-Eyes

Accessible GPS Overview and Comparison

Staying Safe Online

The Features of the Victor Reader Stream

Sharing Experiences: High and Low Tech Solutions that Help Make My Day

Surfing the Web with Zoomtext

Features of the PAC Mate Omni Accessible Pocket PC

Mobile Access and Your Adaptive Technology

Bookshare.org, Hadley's Virtual Library

Accessible Technology from HumanWare

Experts in JAWS and MAGic

Digital Accessibility in the Workplace

Online Shopping

posted on: October 15th, 2013

The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technology (G3ict) has recognized AT&T and its Corporate Accessibility Technology Office (CATO) as a company that is empowering aging and disabled employees by providing digital accessibility technology in the workplace and marketplace. 

G3ict’s most recent white paper is titled “AT&T’s Corporate Accessibility Technology Office: An Industry Model.” The paper explores the inner workings of CATO, an organization within AT&T charged with ensuring that AT&T’s product and service develop cycles consider the accessibility of persons with disabilities, and highlights how it enables AT&T workers to continue their jobs and thrive, all while pushing the business forward.
“AT&T has implemented an exemplary proactive policy, both internally and externally, that stands tall in the telecommunications industry,” said Axel Leblois, Executive Director at G3ict. “The company is providing remarkable tools and services that give access to users of all abilities to modern technologies.”
Today, more than 57 million Americans live with disabilities* and control $220 billion in annual discretionary spending power.** That significant share of the economy will only increase over time, given the growing aging and disabled veterans populations. Recognizing those trends and furthering its longstanding commitment, AT&T announced its groundbreaking new accessibility initiative in 2012, when the company created CATO.
“The purpose of CATO is to lead AT&T’s efforts in developing products and services that are accessible to persons with disabilities,” said Christopher Rice, AT&T’s Chief Accessibility Officer. “Accessibility has always been one of our core values at AT&T and the creation of CATO furthered our commitment to meet the needs of all the customers we serve. CATO truly is ‘Accessibility Central’ at AT&T. It works with business units throughout the company to evaluate the accessibility implications of new projects and provides counsel on the design and development of products and services across the enterprise.”
The new white paper explores stories like that of Matt Myrick, who not only is a CATO accessibility solutions engineer, but also has cleared personal hearing hurdles via AT&T’s accessibility technology. That same technology has enabled Myrick to develop the next breakthrough products for disabled people.
“I’ve been hard of hearing since birth and grew up intimately aware of the need for technology that could adapt to me, rather than expecting me to adapt to it,” Myrick said. “I have experienced AT&T’s commitment to accessibility first-hand. In less than six months, I’ve already worked on more than 37 different accessibility projects. I know AT&T cares deeply about the disability community and demonstrates this commitment by not only providing equal opportunities for employees like me with disabilities, but also by working to improve the lives of its customers.”
posted on: October 7th, 2013

Luis Perez is an Apple Distinguished Educator and has provided an excellent run down of the accessibilty features of iOS 7 on his blog: The Website of Luis Perez: insights on Inclusive Learning Technology from a blind techie. Support for switch access, improved voices, global control for closed captions, a larger cursor for VoiceOver, and more.

posted on: October 7th, 2013

ADA National Network has posted an archived webinar on the issues of web-based business, from August 2013.

"As we have moved from conducting business “face to face” to a culture where you can go “on-line” and conduct research, complete financial transactions, track the status of a package or get “real-time” information in terms of when a bus will arrive at a specific location the implications for people with disabilities are significant. This session will address the accessibility issues associated with the explosion of on-line/internet based information and what the future holds in this arena."

 

Click on the following link to access Webinar Recording

Accessibility of Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts Business Archive

Presentation Materials:

Accessibility of Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts Business Handout - (RTF)

Accessibility of Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts Business Handout - 2 Slides Per Page (PDF)

Accessibility of Web Information: Implications for how the Public and Private Sector Conducts Business Handout - 3 Slides Per Page (PDF)

posted on: September 30th, 2013

 

3PlayMedia offers a 22-page white paper on the best practices for creating an accessible university infrastructure based on in-depth research and advice from university administrators, accessibility coordinators, faculty, and disabled students.
 
Web accessibility is one of the most critical issues facing higher education. New web technologies have been a boon for distance and online education, yet 11% of undergraduates have a disability that impairs access to websites and online content. When creating an accessible infrastructure, many questions abound:
  • How can universities align departments to make accessibility a priority?
  • What are the applicable laws?
  • Where will the budget come from?
  • What is the best approach for allocating resources and responsibilities?
posted on: September 30th, 2013

From the September 2013 WebAIM newletter:

Quick Tip: Ambiguous Buttons

Much is written on the impact of ambiguous links (such as "click here") on accessibility. Modern web pages and web applications, however, seem to be increasing in the number of ambiguous "Go" buttons that are being used. Such buttons do not generally provide a description of what the button does. This is particularly troublesome when multiple "Go" buttons appear on the same page. Simply replacing "Go" with descriptive text (such as "Search" or "Sign In") provides a more accessible experience for all users.

Visit the WebAIM blog for 10 Easy Accessibility Tips Anyone Can Use as well.

posted on: September 23rd, 2013

 

Presented on September 17, 2013 by the Texas AT Network.
 
Topic: With the explosion of portable tablet based computers comes an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of our struggling students. But….not every tablet is right for every student’s needs. Join us as we discuss features of these mobile devices and how to match them to your student’s needs. Resources will be provided to continue the learning after the webinar.
 
Go to http://bit.ly/Rec_Tablets to play the recorded session now. 
Accompanying content website is http://www.tablets4students.wikispaces.com 
 
posted on: September 23rd, 2013

 

AbleNet hosted this event which is archived via their site.
 
Since 1998, the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) Community has focused its efforts on defining a set of descriptors that could serve as over-arching guidelines for quality assistive technology (AT) services. QIAT’s purpose is to guide provision of AT services to improve the educational participation & results for students, ensure quality of services, & increase consistency of services and support implementation of IDEA and other legal mandates. There are basic assumptions that pertain to all areas of QIAT.
  1. All AT services developed & delivered by states or districts are legally correct according to the mandates and expectations of federal and state laws and are aligned to district policies.
  2. AT efforts, at all stages, involve on-going collaborative work by teams which include families & caregivers, school personnel, & other needed individuals.
  3. Multidisciplinary team members involved in AT processes are responsible for following the code of ethics for their specific profession.
 
Presenter: Diana Foster Carl, M.A., L.S.S.P. and Joy Smiley Zabala, Ed.D., ATP
Description: Session Level: Beginner/Intermediate 
 
posted on: September 23rd, 2013

The Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center has posted this archived webinar which concerns infants and toddlers.

posted on: September 23rd, 2013

The ALS Association has archived this webinar from April 2013.

 

posted on: September 23rd, 2013

 

The ALS Association webinar recording on iPads For People With ALS is now available on the WebEx service site. It was presented on Monday, September 23, 2013.

posted on: August 26th, 2013

Here's a preview of the upcoming line-up of webinars from iCATER, to be held Wednesdays at 3:00PM:
1. 9/4/13- ICATER Toolkit
2. 9/11/13- Notability (there have been lots of updates and we expect a larger university student membership this year; it's a great tool for them!)
3. 9/18/13- Outline +
4. 9/25/13- The Newest Features of iOS 7
5. 10/2/13- Co-Writer
6. 10/9/13- Stories2Learn

The iCATER website has been updated as well.

posted on: August 13th, 2013

GlowCaps are a product and service from Vitality that helps increase taking of medication. You can order your medication from CVS with the GlowCap feature. According to the maker:

  • GlowCap® remembers so you don't have to - Light and sound notifications from the GlowCap® escalate from subtle to insistent: devices glow, then make noise, then send a text notification or dial your home phone.
  • GlowCap® features an accompanying reminder light that plugs easily into any visible outlet around the home. This reminder light works in tandem with the GlowCap® by glowing orange at the time of your scheduled medication, and sends immediate updates to you or your caregiver.
  • It also sends email and progress reports sent to your loved ones.
  • Refills are as easy as the push of the "Press-For-Refill" button at the base of the GlowCap®. When pressed, a call is placed that connects you directly to your chosen pharmacist to place the order. 
The GlowCaps communicates via AT&T wireless networks but you need not be an AT&T customer. Pricing is not entirely clear. At the moment it's $79 from CVS. They have also developed a GlowPack with similar features that can store other types of medications, such as blister packs, inhalers, injectables, etc.) that may be coming to market.
 
GlowCap bottle top, transmitter, and GlowPack image
posted on: August 8th, 2013

Lois Brady is sharing a handy checklist for comparing apps on her blog, Speech Therapy for Autism. Features you might want to screen for include data tracking capabilities, voice output functionality, customization, motor skills required, and more. Lois Jean Brady, SLP-CAS, is the author of Apps for Autism.

posted on: August 8th, 2013

Visus Visual Assist System allows a blind or visually impaired person to utilize the speech capability of an Android phone, with the camera capability, to do a variety of visually related tasks. For example, the system is programmed to recognize the standard symbols indicating a men’s room or women’s room. It's currently being tested at the Carroll Center for the Blind, according to the Boston Globe. The Visus system is set to go on sale early next year. Its $999 price tag will include a Galaxy S4 phone, a wireless Bluetooth earpiece, and a 4G wireless hot spot for sharing the phone’s 4G data service with other devices. An IPhone version may be out in early 2015.

posted on: August 8th, 2013

The IPAT (North Dakota Agency on Assistive Technology) has collected 5 possible AT uses for Google Glass, in a recent blog post.

AssisTech talks about the possibilities for those with a hearing loss:
 
The ALS AT blog covers Sam Sennot and what he may be doing with AAC in mind:
 
BostInno covered the idea of controlling a wheelchair:
 
Martin Hamilton takes a shot at how those with vision loss could benefit:
 
Traumatic Brain Injury Diaries captures possibilities for TBI patients:
 
Here are a few more:
 
Tim Forenski at ZDnet, suggests gait tracking, fall detection, medication reminders, communication with family, and memory aids.
 
includes learning disabilties.
 
A recent Washington Post overview:
posted on: August 8th, 2013

“Disability Exceptions” to the Copyright Act in the UK are now up for review. These are a result of legislation that provides exceptions for people with disabilities, aiming to give them to easier access to copyright works. The Intellectual Property Office would welcome answers to the questions they have posed and any specific drafting suggestions.

posted on: August 8th, 2013

T.H.E. Journal has been providing great content for years. An electronic subscription is free, and special educators will find valuable articles from past issues. Here are two recent examples:

Hunting the Whole Enchilada: 6 Excellent Sites for Free Digital Textbooks

The Top 10 iPad Apps for Special Education

posted on: August 4th, 2013

Families in San Francisco will be able to access Assistive Technology such as iPads from a new iPad Lending Program at Support for Families of Children with Disabilities in San Francisco. Twenty-four iPads will be available to lend to families and there will be workshops in Spanish and English for parents on how to use the devices for their children’s communication needs. The hope is that parents will connect with the technology and find support moving forward to find other resources such as grants, insurance, or other funding to maintain their consistent use of the device as a “talker” or assistive communication device. 

While there are existing iPad loan programs, the challenge is how to reach families who either do not know how the technology can benefit them or how to ask for it as part of the IEP process. With that in mind, by next year SFCD will also offer a Parent Provider Workshop which will include service providers and stress the role of collaboration which is one of the crucial components to the program. 

Parent workshops will start in September 2013, in both English and Spanish on a monthly basis. Topics covered in the workshop will include: how to use an iPad, IDEA regulations, apps for assistive communication, incorporation of the “talkers” in conjunction with speech therapy and occupational therapy and resources in the community for accessing this technology on a long-term basis. 

Contact information:  Support for Families Phone: 415-282-7494  Web: www.supportforfamilies.org

posted on: July 31st, 2013

Got assistive technology apps? This month the staff at Learning and Leading with Technology, journal of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE),is soliciting apps that educators use for special education students. If you have one or two apps that you love, please include a few words or sentences about why you like the app and how you use it. Send the name of the app along with the platform(s) it runs on and the cost to Diana Fingal at dfingal@iste.org by Aug. 6, and we will consider it for the November issue of Learning and Leading with Technology.

posted on: July 22nd, 2013

 

ICATER (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research) has posted short 10-15 minute webinars that highlight Assistive Technology Applications for iPad. The topics include:
 
  • Getting To Know the System
  • Voice Over and Assistive Touch
  • Proloquo2Go
  • Read2Go
  • Notability
  • iWordQ
  • iPrompts
  • Abilipad
  • ATEval2Go
  • Zite 
  • Voice Dream
  • GoTalk Now
  • PaperPort Notes
  • Autism Apps
  • Clicker Docs & Sentences
  • App Writer US
  • Panther Apps
  • Algebra Touch
  • SoundNote
  • Sono Flex
  • Educreations
  • Text Capturing Apps
  • Vision Apps (iASL)
  • ClaroSpeak
  • Organization Apps
  • Kurzweil and Read and Write Gold
 
 
posted on: July 22nd, 2013

iCATER (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research) presented Accessible Instructional Materials, NIMAS, NIMAC, and Bookshare on Dec. 3, 2012. The 38 minute archive is on YouTube.

 

posted on: July 22nd, 2013

 

iCATER (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research) presented an overview of a number of free and inexpensive assistive technologies and their usefulness in the classroom in the webinar Free and Inexpensive Assistive Technology that took place on January 28, 2013. The 55 minute archive is on YouTube.
 
 
posted on: July 22nd, 2013

A 51 minute video recorded from an online webinar on Reading Tools that took place on February 18, 2013, provides an overview of some helpful reading tools for the computer and their uses for students in the classroom. These tools are valuable to students with dyslexia, English as a second language learners, and students who process auditory information well.  It was hosted by iCATER (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research).

 

 

posted on: July 22nd, 2013

A 49 minute YouTube video, recorded from an online webinar that took place on March 18, 2013, is on the of Principles of Universal Design for Learning and it's impact on the classroom, sponsored by iCATER (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research).

posted on: July 22nd, 2013

iCater (Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research) discusses the uses of the Smart Pen and related software in the classroom in this 40 minute YouTube video, recorded in April 2013.

 

posted on: July 22nd, 2013

Going Further Beyond the "Wow:" iPads and Tablets as Classroom Tools and AT is the title of a webinar from March 2013 presented by Dave Hohulin as part of the Maryland Assistive Technology Network (MATN) Spring Webinar Series. Dave has been an AT specialist for 18 years. The archives and associated Powerpoints are listed below the current webinars. You can go direct to the AdobeConnect recordings for Session 1, Session 2, or Session 3.

Below the current webinars, you will also find links to other archives from 2012

  • Making Curriculum Accessible: The Common Core State Standards, Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning 
  • iDevices: Support for Individuals with and without Special Needs
  • iDevices: Apps for This and That
  • iDevices: Gliding, Tapping and Swiping
posted on: July 5th, 2013

The Swiss National Association of and for the Blind (SNAB), in collaboration with the Access for All foundation and the service provider xyMedia, has developed an important innovation for visually impaired people. The VIP PDF-Reader overcomes a previously insurmountable problem for people with a visual impairment who want to read and work with PDF files. This innovative product is now available free of charge to Windows, Mac and Linux users.

The VIP PDF-Reader has a range of functions which make PDF documents accessible to visually impaired PC users and also to older people and those with learning disabilities. It displays a table of contents that lists all the correctly formatted headings. This makes it easier for users to find their way around documents quickly. The VIP PDF-Reader’s toolbar can be enlarged and can be used both with the mouse and the keyboard, which is very useful for people with disabilities. The font and the background colour can be set to meet each user’s needs. The software includes fonts such as Tiresias, which has been designed for visually impaired people and is used for TV subtitles. The VIP-PDF Reader can store several different profiles so that users can choose a different view during the daytime and in the evening, when there is more glare from desk lamps, for example. 

Visit this page to find links to the free downloads.

posted on: July 5th, 2013

Sendero Group works in collaboration with others to create accessible GPS products. On July 2nd, 2013, they announced The Seeing Eye GPS™ app for cell-enabled iOS devices.  It is designed to be a convenient mobile option to compliment other Sendero GPS products. Version 1.1 is currently in process. As with other Sendero products over the past 13 years, user feedback will drive development of future versions. They will be posting a list of what we think are high priority features and would like users to vote on these plus add other suggestions. They will also work immediately on a UK and European version of the app.

The app is available in iTunes, it is free to download, but when you launch for the first time you will be prompted to select a subscription plan for either $69 for 1 year or $129 for 3 years.

Other accessible GPS products from Sendero and others include:

posted on: July 2nd, 2013

According to a recent press release: "The Swiss National Association of and for the Blind (SNAB), in collaboration with the Access for All foundation and the service provider xyMedia, has developed an important innovation for visually impaired people. The VIP PDF-Reader overcomes a previously insurmountable problem for people with a visual impairment who want to read and work with PDF files. This innovative product is now available free of charge to Windows, Mac and Linux users.

he VIP PDF-Reader has a range of functions which make PDF documents accessible to visually impaired PC users and also to older people and those with learning disabilities. It displays a table of contents that lists all the correctly formatted headings. This makes it easier for users to find their way around documents quickly. The VIP PDF-Reader’s toolbar can be enlarged and can be used both with the mouse and the keyboard, which is very useful for people with disabilities. The font and the background colour can be set to meet each user’s needs. The software includes fonts such as Tiresias, which has been designed for visually impaired people and is used for TV subtitles. The VIP-PDF Reader can store several different profiles so that users can choose a different view during the daytime and in the evening, when there is more glare from desk lamps, for example.

The VIP PDF-Reader can read accessible PDF documents most effectively. These contain hidden additional information in the form of tags. Headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, links and images with legends or alternative text are some of the most important content of the tags. Correctly tagged, accessible PDF files are high-quality documents and provide the most benefits for all PC users.  Formatting PDF files correctly means making your own contribution to creating an accessible Internet. This is why the SNAB, in addition to the VIP PDF-Reader, is providing simple guidelines on how to create an accessible PDF file from a source document such as a Word or InDesign file using correct formatting. On the website of the Access for All foundation the PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) tool is also available free of charge."

 

posted on: July 2nd, 2013

The Assistive Technology Law Center and Duke University are producing AACFundingHelp.com to consolidate resources on funding speech generating devices. The website includes Fast Funding Facts about the need and demand for SGDs; SGD costs to funding programs; history of SGD funding; SGD coverage vocabulary; and why SGDs are medically necessary. The AAC Report Coach, which offers SLPs a unique tool to guide them through the process of writing a funding report to support an SGD recommendation.  SGD Funding Programs provides information about the largest public and private third party benefits programs that cover and provide funding for SGDs.  The programs described here are the most important funding sources for SGDs.They include health based programs (Medicare; state Medicaid programs; Tricare; insurance; Dept. of Veterans Affairs); education programs; vocational rehabilitation programs; and telecommunications equipment distribution programs. AAC Funding General Resources posts information useful to support funding by any funding source.  Letters from the AMA, American Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation acknowledging the effectiveness and medical need of SGDs will be found here.  Information about “coding” of SGDs and current “fee schedules” also will be found here.

posted on: July 1st, 2013

National Institutes on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)  funded the Assistive Technology for Cognition (ATC) Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University to do a 4-year, 50-person randomized trial on deploying iPod Touch as a vocational aid for adults with autism. The study involved  participants who experience a range of autism symptoms. ATC Lab Director Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L, presented initial findings-at an Employment Summit hosted in May 2013, by the RESNA Catalyst Project for the AT Act entities. They gathered data from job coaches who work for the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Coaches for the first 40 participants reported that they spent almost half as much time working with those that had iPod Touches during their first 3 months of employment. Complete results from the study will be out soon. Resources for deploying mobile devices for cognition (not just iPod Touch but other platforms as well) can be found at the VCU Autism Center for Excellence site. Readers may also join the conversation at the Assistive Technology for Cognition Facebook page.