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.

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:

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."

 

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.

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.