posted on: June 28th, 2013

Creating Accessible Content is a one page resource guide with illustrated hints for creating accessible web pages. The Center also has cheatsheets for program-specific instructions (e.g., Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat)  designed for less-technical individuals, which might include faculty and staff.

posted on: June 28th, 2013

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has released a study comparing four popular learning management systems as to accessibility. They looked at Blackboard Learn version 9.1 Service Pack 6 and 8, Desire2Learn version 10, Moodle version 2.3, and Sakai version 2.8. Although done in early 2013, the study is already out of date due to a major release from Blackboard. The protocol used should be useful in evaluating other systems, however.

posted on: June 28th, 2013

AbleNet University has archived a 5-session webinar series from Spring 2013, on AAC Developing Participation.  Presenters Lesley E. Mayne, PhD, CCC-SLP & Sharon M. Rogers, Ph.D., CCC-SLP cover basics and implementation. 

The archived webinar series can be accessed from AbleNet's PD page, under the "Recorded: Communication" tab.

posted on: June 24th, 2013

California State University Dominguez Hills now offers the entire graduate level Assistive Technology Specialist Certificate Program online during the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter semesters. All of the courses offered meet the professional development hours for licensure renewal as required by the California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board.

posted on: June 8th, 2013

An archived Webinar from 3/19/13 is available from ISTE's SETSIG.

Description:

What is “Assistive Technology”? This session is designed for people working in Special Education and new to the field of Assistive Technology. It will provide a cursory fundamental overview of assistive technology (AT) as well as a snapshot of AT supports for people of different abilities, ages and environments. Topics to be covered will include: Consideration, Student Assessment, Access Issues, Mobile Learning Devices, Accessible Instructional Materials, Intellectual, Sensory and Physical Impairments and will be highlighted through real-world examples. A wonderful opportunity to increase your general awareness about assistive technology and have your questions answered.

Webinar handouts:

Presenters: http://setsig.iste.wikispaces.net/i/a.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; padding-right: 10px; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; ">mike.marotta.atp@gmail.comhttp://setsig.iste.wikispaces.net/i/a.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; padding-right: 10px; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; ">kbehnke@esc4.net

Mike Marotta is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Practitioner and Assistive Director for Outreach and Training for the Assistive Technology Services Department of Advancing Opportunities. Mike was a national trainer for California State University at Northridge (CSUN), providing practical and in-depth training to professionals interested in specializing in assistive technology through the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP). Mike has provided an array of trainings, both nationally and internationally. Mike is also the Immediate Past President of NJCART (http://setsig.iste.wikispaces.net/i/a.gif); background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; padding-right: 10px; background-position: 100% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat; " target="_blank">www.njcart.org). The New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology (NJCART) is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to promote the appropriate applications of technology for individuals with disabilities, assure access to resources and provide continuing education to its members and the community at large.

Kirk Behnke is the Senior Education Specialist for Special Education Solutions at Region 4 ESC. He holds a Master's of Education degree from Temple University and a certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from the University College in Dublin, Ireland. He also possesses a credential as an Assistive Technology Professional from RESNA. Kirk developed the "Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) for California State University, Northridge and has presented since 1989 at national AT and disability conferences throughout the US and overseas with a high concentration of Assistive technology, accessible curriculum design in both live training and online curriculum venues regarding AT, universal design and web 2.0 tools.

posted on: May 17th, 2013

According to the L.A. Times, UC Berkeley has "agreed to a number of improvements, including providing digital versions of textbooks within 10 days and course readers within 17 days and encouraging instructors to identify course materials earlier. In addition, Berkeley will provide scanning machines to allow students to self-scan materials and implement a library print conversion system, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, to enable students to request a specific library book or journal be made available in a different format within about five days." This agreement came about as a result of a suit brought by Disability Rights Advocates on behalf of three students.

posted on: May 17th, 2013

Archived webinar  from SSBBart Group provides a high-level overview of core web accessibility concepts such as non-text elements, page structure, navigation, keyboard access and forms. Related webinars can also be seen at their site.

posted on: May 16th, 2013

Amara has announced new features to their caption platform services.

New On-Demand Captions: You can now order captions from Amara with 2 or 5 day turnaround and outstanding quality.  You can also order translations in from Amara in dozens of languages, with 3 to 5 day turnaround.  They claim translation pricing is up to 80% less than traditional service

New Volunteer Subtitling Communities: They’ve launched about 10 new volunteer translation communities in the past few months. They are translating hundreds of hours of captions and subtitles each week. I
 
And Amara is now working with companies like Udacity, Art21, Twitter, film distributors, tech component companies, colleges and universities, and more.  And of course TED, Netflix, and many others are long-standing customers.
posted on: May 16th, 2013

The ODE-OEC, through its contract with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), is pleased to announce two new Assistive Technology Internet Modules. One is  titled "Overview of AT" and the second is "Implementation of AT Goals". Modules use video, articles, and interactive testing to convey in-depth information.  The full list of current modules include:

  • AT Assessment Process in the School Environment
  • AT Assessment Tools
  • AT Consideration in the IEP Process
  • AT Supports and Services in the IEP
  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)
  • Overview of Assistive Technology (AT)
 
Membership to the OCALI is free and once you log on, you can see the full list of modules at www.atinternetmodules.org. Under the tab "AT Problem Solving Across the Lifespan", this module is a comprehensive review of assistive technology (AT), beginning with the definition of AT and continuing with laws that influence AT implementation.  Readers will be exposed to the AT field through descriptions of AT devices and services.  This module also covers the low-mid-high tech continuum of AT as well as standards of practice, professional growth opportunities in the area of AT and AT program and self-evaluation tools.
posted on: May 7th, 2013

AbleNet presented an overview of the use of visual scene display app, Scene & Heard on the iPad. Attendees will understand the manner in which visual scene displays can be created on the iPad using this app. They will be introduced to some of the ways visual scene displays may be used with different client groups and the principles in designing scenes. The presentation will cover the ways that Scene & Heard can be used with one or two switches using a Bluetooth switch interface; and the customisations possible within the app, to allow for access by a range of clients. The archived version is here.

posted on: May 7th, 2013

In March, 2013, Rob Groenendaal, RSA Assistive Technology Project Officer; and Brian Bard, RSA Assistive Technology Project Officer demonstrated how the Assistive Technology programs offer potential cost savings and enhanced services for VR agencies/counselors, and people with disabilities. Archived materials are at the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials.

 

posted on: May 3rd, 2013

TapTapSee lets you take a picture with your device, and get a suitable description in just a few seconds, spoken by iOS's VoiceOver. TapTapSee uses a combination of a database algorithm and cloud-crowdsourcing to identify images and return the most useful information. More than 10,000 people have downloaded it in the first 3 months of 2013, and it won the Royal National Institute of the Blind's App of the Month award for March. The reviews are quite positive.

posted on: May 2nd, 2013

In the archived webinar on YouTube: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Evidence-based Principles and Practice, Kristen Carroll and Bonnie Mintun discuss the basics of choosing and using communication devices and strategies for those who experience speech disability to the extent that they have significant difficulty being understood by others. Series: "MIND Institute Lecture Series on Neurodevelopmental Disorders" [1/2013] 

 

posted on: May 2nd, 2013

AbleNet's Action Dictionary app for iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch lists 75 verbs with suggestions for how to modify the activity so that a student with a physical and/or cognitive disability can participate. Verbs include clap, predict, record, stamp, etc. Each is defined and illustrated. Although the suggestions rely heavily on products from AbleNet, similar switch-activated and simple communication devices can be subsituted.

posted on: May 2nd, 2013

The ADA requires that State and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden. A rule proposed by the Department of Justice, to be considered this July, would require these public websites to

  • work with assistive technology,
  • provide captions to video and audio materials, and
  • allow users to use browser features that facilitate mouse-less access, provide text to speech, etc.

posted on: April 25th, 2013

On Friday, April 12, 2013 , SETDA (State Ed Tech Directors Assn.) hosted an interactive webinar called Instructional Materials: Making the transition from print to digital. It showed how states and districts are moving from print to digital instructional materials and shared a demonstration of the State Education Policy Center. Geoff Fletcher, SETDA's Deputy Executive Director facilitated a discussion during which state and district leaders shared examples of their use of digital content in schools and classrooms. Sarah Young, Science Specialist, Utah State Office of Education and Dan Funston, Assistant Superintendent, Plymouth Community School Corporation, Indiana shared examples of shifting to digital materials in the content areas.

To view the event recording:  http://www.setda.org/web/guest/sepc_events

posted on: April 25th, 2013

CanAssist at the University of Victoria has developed a new app for the Phone, iPad and iPod touch devices. CanPlan is a task management aid that helps people with a range of cognitive challenges to complete activities with greater independence and confidence. Virtually any activity can be broken down into a sequence of easy-to-follow steps, illustrated by photos and reinforced with optional text and audio. Scheduling and reminder components ensure each task gets done on time. 

 
The free version of CanPlan supports a maximum of 3 tasks, while the full version supports an unlimited number, and is available for purchase from within the free app on Apple's online App Store.
posted on: April 23rd, 2013

Quixey.com is a new search engine for apps that moniters blogs, tweets, review sites, and articles in order to find out what each app can do. You can search by type of device and free vs. paid. You can search for Chrome extensions and apps, add ons for Firefox, Safari, and IE. It will find web apps and Salesforce apps as well. You search by a function, such as Text to Speech, Enlargement, or Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Here's how it worked for me:
I tried enlargement and web apps, and learned about a Chrome extension called Hover Zoo and a good number of choices for enlarging photos.
 
I did a search for iPad apps that do Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and got over 20 titles with ratings and descriptions, including some well known titles: Proloquo2go, Verbally, TouchChat, Locabulary, Scene & Heard. About half were free apps. I compared this to the same search on iTunes App Store, where only eleven apps were returned, including one in Japanese. None of the well known titles above were included.
 
A search for Chrome extensions and Text To Speech brought at least 6 valid choices. Using the Chrome Toolbox, I also found 6+ valid choices, but with only a single overlap with Quixey. Both search utilities produced some erroneous choices.
 
Conclusion:
Quixey outshines the iTunes app store, which is not a surprise, but is still not the only search utility you need for apps and extensions. It's worth using now and may get even better.
 
 
 
posted on: April 22nd, 2013

ATHEN (Access Technology Higher Education Network) and EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) are working together to revive the Information Technology and Disabilities Journal. The first issue came out in April 2013. It is a free publication, with articles on access to voting and higher education.

posted on: April 18th, 2013

The Digital Public Library of America, a collection of digital resources from US libraries and museums,  will launch a new website on Thursday, April 18, 2013 and officially become an independent nonprofit with the goal of pulling together vast resources for the public. Over the past two years, committees created a workplan for the Digital Public Library of America with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. By launch day, the organization will have aggregated about 2.5 million resources, with plans to add more resources quickly.

posted on: April 16th, 2013

Google's Chrome is a browser that has many extensions to improve and enhance access. The Chrome Toolbox is a place to find and share these extensions, especially to support inclusive education. Chrome also allows a personalized set of tools that you can access from any computer, working towards the vision of universal access. You can search tools by task, disability, and keyword. The Forum tab is a place where people are sharing extensions they've found useful. For example, there are extensions that will read documents or websites to you, give word definitions, simplify the text at a website, or even do speech recognition.

posted on: April 6th, 2013

ADA Online archive materials are available, giving an overview of web accessibility evaluation and how the WAVE tool (http://wave.webaim.org/) can facilitate human evaluation. The WAVE tool is a popular and powerful accessibility evaluation tool that provides easy-to-use feedback on the accessibility of web content for people with disabilities. Presented Fall 2012.

posted on: April 6th, 2013
David Dzumba, Chair of the Accessibility Working Group of the Mobile Manufacturer's Forum will take the lead in providing an insight into and perspective on the status of accessibility in mobile devices. David currently serves as the FCC Emergency Access Advisory Committee co-chair and is senior manager of Accessibility at Nokia. ADA Online Learning's archived webinar and materials are here. Archived Fall 2012.
posted on: April 1st, 2013

HandySpeech supplements or replaces speech for people with spoken language difficulties.  The application can help people with speech or language impairments, including autism, stuttering, stroke, expressive aphasia, throat cancer, head and neck cancer, dysarthria, aphasia, muscular dystrophy among others. Users write what they want to say in any one of 13 languages and the software converts the handwriting into speech. HandySpeech was created by 12-year-old software developer Eric Zeiberg, who was inspired to create the application by his sister -- an autistic individual with speech disabilities. 

posted on: March 26th, 2013

It is important that employers understand new technologies, accommodation strategies and best practices to assist and support employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Technology Act States and ADA Regional Centers have valuable free services to assist employers and employees with job accommodations. Each individual employee accommodation solution requires research and time. The RESNA Catalyst Project and the SW-ADA Center presented a webinar on how Assistive Technology (AT) demonstrations, equipment loans, and ADA support and technical assistance from the ADA Network may enhance the interactive accommodation process. From January 2013.

 

Archive Materials:

Click on the following link to access Webinar Recording

Assistive Technology and the Interactive Process of Employee Accommodations Archive

Presentation Materials:

Assistive Technology and the Interactive Process of Employee Accommodations Handout - (RTF)

Assistive Technology and the Interactive Process of Employee Accommodations Handout - 2 Slides Per Page (PDF)

Assistive Technology and the Interactive Process of Employee Accommodations Handout - 3 Slides Per Page (PDF)

posted on: March 26th, 2013

According to the ALS Association: "The concept of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology is a topic of interest for many individuals and the families of individuals who experience significant physical limitations, including those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This technology is known by many monikers, including Brain Computer Interface (BCI), Brain-Machine Interface (BMI), Direct Brain Interface (DBI), and neuro-brain transmission. Traditional assistive technology and computer input devices depend on small but reliable muscle movements that patients lose as the disease progresses. BCIs detect small changes in brain signals to provide a path of control for devices that does not depend on muscle movement. BCIs do not communicate or interpret thoughts, however, they do detect minute changes in brain signals to enable a path of control that does not depend on muscle movement." View this Feb. 2013 webinar here.

posted on: March 26th, 2013

Many people do not realize that assistive technology is a continuum of devices and tools, from low-tech to high-tech. However, everyone agrees that the right assistive technology tools can provide a person with a disability the opportunity for increased independence and access to their community. This presentation will focus on low-tech and free tools that are available for older students and adults with developmental disabilities. This presentation will provide the attendees with resources and ideas for 50 free or low-cost assistive technology tools they can implement quickly. The areas of focus are: scheduling, communication, cooking, accessibility to the computer and the internet, and tools for fun. Find it on YouTube.

Presented in 2012 by Debbie Drennan and Janet Nunez, Parents Helping Parents iTECH Center 

 

posted on: March 26th, 2013

From the Association of University Centers on Disabilities - April 4, 2012, there is a 60 minute webinar, The Use of Assistive Technology in Early Intervention, presented by Philippa H. Campbell on March 27, 2012, and now available online. The webinar provides information about how Assistive Technology (AT) is used with infants and toddlers in early intervention and includes information on resources that are available to help providers or caregivers increase children's learning and participation. 

posted on: March 26th, 2013

 

This is a DigitalGov University Course from 1/2013: Usability professionals routinely use the Think-Aloud protocol (TA) during their tests—encouraging test participant to vocalize their thoughts, reactions, and frustrations. It's a great way to find out what your participants are thinking. There are many different kinds of TA protocols, however, and some can have unexpected effects on usability test results.
This webinar will review an empirical, between-subjects study the presenters conducted on the use of TA protocols in usability testing of a federal data-dissemination website. This double-blind study used three think-aloud protocols:
  • Traditional protocol (no comment from facilitator except "Keep Talking")
  • Speech-communication protocol (facilitator can ask for elaboration)
  • Coaching protocol (facilitator can actively probe and offer help if participant is struggling)
posted on: March 26th, 2013

 

Making websites and software applications 508 compliant has gained a reputation for being expensive and time consuming. This myth is one of the biggest barriers to accessibility. Critical elements for developing accessible sites includes understanding what people with different types of disabilities need; building in accessibility from the project inception; and testing and remediating in increments. By planning carefully, selecting the proper tools, and using practical methods, testing for accessibility can be fast, inexpensive, and effective. In this course from DigitalGov University (June 2011) , you'll learn about some of the best tools, and see them in action. Plus, you'll learn how to build an accessibility testing plan, what to test, and tips for a successful outcome.
posted on: March 26th, 2013

DigitalGov University webinar from 12/20012: Have you ever observed how people with disabilities are experiencing your content on social media? Is someone who uses a screen reader or other assistive technology able to understand your content on Twitter or Facebook? Join us for a 20-minute sprint where you’ll learn specific tips for making your agency’s social media content more accessible. We’ll go through tools and tactics you can use to help make sure your social media engagements are readable for all your communities.

posted on: March 26th, 2013

FCC regulations have gone into effect in 2013, requiring programs that were broadcast on TV after 9/30/12 to have clossed captions if uploaded to YouTube or other internet sites. (There are some exceptions; it has to be posted basically as broadcast. So, for example, just the highlights from a program would not need to be captioned.) YouTube has been formulating a response to this, which has included:

  1. Improving the captioning tools they offer on the site.
  2. Referring people to universalsubtitles.org and allowing you to link your YouTube videos to that site.
  3. Providing a complaint form for people to report programs that were broadcast but lack captions.
  4. Notifying posters that their videos need to be captioned and reporting them to the FCC if there is no response.

YouTube has posted a list of companies that are certified by The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP). They've included links that take you straight to the YouTube captioning rates and information for each company. Rates tend to include a minimum of $70 or so and hover around $7-8 per minute for longer videos. Transcripts are cheaper, which would work for folks who can put the time into to upload and synch the captions.

posted on: March 25th, 2013

 Fujitsu has designed an Android-based smartphone, the Stylistic S-O1, with a number of features to improve functionality and reduce frustration for seniors.

  • It comes with a rubberized skin and is more curved to fit in the hand.
  • The home button stands out and is easy to identify.
  • The touchscreen is less sensitive.
  • It's equipped with an alarm, that when pressed will make a loud noise and call a pre-determined number.
  • The Android interface is simplified with help and design elements familiar to seniors.
  • Built-in apps, such as the camera, are simplified and clearly labelled.
  • Text on the help pages is large.
  • Buttons and text are larger, in general.

So far it's only available in Europe but should be rolled out further. A review with pictures can be found at TechCrunch.

posted on: February 19th, 2013

Title: Apps for Guided Reading - 45 Minutes 
Presenter:Jane Farrall, SLP
Description: Are you already doing Guided Reading in your classroom? Are you interested in using your iPad as a Guided Reading resource? This webinar will begin with a brief summary of what guided reading involves, and then will discuss using digital storybook apps, eBooks and other iPad based resources for Guided Reading in the classroom. A discussion of the characteristics of a good guided reading app will occur, along with criteria for selecting apps for guided reading. The role of word-by-word highlighting in Guided Reading and in literacy generally will be discussed, along with research around student's comprehension of enhanced eBooks. Resources for finding digital storybook apps will also be covered, and access options and alternative access to digital storybook and eBooks on the iPad will also be covered briefly in this presentation from AbleNet.
Session Level: Beginner
Link: Click here to watch webinar

posted on: February 19th, 2013

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence has posted three out a series of 40+ internet-based professional development modules. Topics up now, and free after registration, include:

  • AT Assessment Process in the School Environment
  • AT Consideration in the IEP Process
  • Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

When completed, the ATIM series of online learning modules will include a wide range of topics such as AT assessment and implementation, funding, tools for school, work, and home, data collection, accessible play and many other topics across the lifespan. OCALI staff members have designed modules to be consistent with research on how adults learn. Information is presented at an appropriate reading level, with case studies, video and interactive activities that reinforce knowledge and teach learners how to make the latest research applicable to real life. 

posted on: February 19th, 2013

Title: Switch Access to the iPad - 45 Minutes 
Presenter: Jane Farrall, SLP
Description: This webinar from Ablenet will focus on switch access to the iPad. Access options built into the iOS and into specific apps will be also be discussed. We will cover the range of switch interfaces that offer compatibility to switch accessible apps – and participants will be given links to resources for finding switch accessible apps. More comprehensive alternative access options to iOS will also be covered, including a demonstration of how these offer switch access to launch apps, navigate the home screen and also provide switch access within other apps and to other features of the operating system. These more comprehensive hardware and software alternative access options will be covered – as well as a discussion of the role that the iOS accessibility features of VoiceOver and AssistiveTouch play in alternative access. 
Session Level: Beginner
Link: Click here to watch webinar

posted on: February 19th, 2013

From Ablenet:

Title: Choice making...there's an app for that (and more)! - 30 Minutes 
Presenter: Mo Buti, M.Ed-BD, M.Ed-ADMIN
Description: Many children with autism (and other disabilities) may have a communication deficit. Choice making is a powerful form of communication. Providing opportunities to make choices is an appropriate strategy to use with people of all ages in a variety of contexts (home, school, community). Choice making can also be effective in improving desirable behaviors while decreasing and eliminating undesirable behaviors. Allowing a child to make a choice can promote independence and give a child a sense of control over his or her daily activities. Ablenet's FREE app SoundingBoard not only has many preloaded free boards, but also has the ability to create your own. I will demonstrate ideas of how to use this app (for more the choice making), how to create your own choice board, and other apps as well. 
Session Level: Beginner
Link: Click here to watch webinar from October 12, 2012.

posted on: February 19th, 2013

From Ablenet in Spring 2013 

Presenter: Diane Gerads-Schmidt, M.A. & Jason Backes - OT

Description: Due to the ever increasing number of apps available, choosing the apps you need for your students, has become increasingly complicated. This session will give you the information you need to match student’s needs with iPad apps. Resources for finding and reviewing apps will be provided as well as information on how to manage multiple iPads.
Session Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Link:  Click here to watch webinar

posted on: February 19th, 2013

Presenter: Diane Gerads-Schmidt, M.A. & Jason Backes - OT
Description: Due to the ever increasing number of apps available, choosing the apps you need for your students, has become increasingly complicated. This session will give you the information you need to match student’s needs with iPad apps. Resources for finding and reviewing apps will be provided as well as information on how to manage multiple iPads.
Session Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Link:  Click here to watch webinar