The ConnSENSE Report (formerly the ConnSENSE Bulletin) began in 1984 by Chauncy Rucker, Ph.D. Dr. Rucker, Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut, served as director of the Assistive Technology graduate program. He is a former president of the Technology and Media (TAM) Division of the Council for Exceptional Children and is the author of many articles on special education and assistive technology. Dr. Rucker served as the Executive Editor of the ConnSENSE Bulletin until his retirement in 2014.

Chauncy N. Rucker, 80, of Mansfield Center, died September 12, 2018 at Brookdale Buckingham Alzheimer’s Disease Researchs and Dementia Care in Glastonbury, CT. Born in Kansas City, Kansas to Annalou (Turner) Rucker and Vance Mather Rucker, Chauncy grew up in Wichita and graduated from Wichita East High School, Baker University, Emporia State University, and the University of Iowa. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Nancy, and his family, Vance Jason Rucker and Caitlin Schwarzman, and grandchildren Arlo and Alma of Alameda, California, and his son Christopher Neil Rucker of New York City. Chauncy felt privileged to see his family grow up and to enjoy their activities and accomplishments. He was predeceased by his sister, Mary Lou Weaver, and leaves Robin and Marcia Weaver and family of Plano, Texas, and Lou Anne Ward and family of Wichita, Kansas. Chauncy was in the Special Education Department of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut for thirty years, as coordinator of the Special Education Administration Training Program, director of the A.J. Pappanikou Center Technology Lab, founder and editor of the ConnSENSE Bulletin, and project director of the ConnNET and Daedalus Projects. He was involved in the Council for Exceptional Children and the Technology and Media Division of the CEC. Chauncy and his family were active in the Storrs Congregational Church on campus and value the support of many friends there and throughout the area. Retiring in 1997, Chauncy enjoyed continuing the ConnSENSE Bulletin online, and developing the Assistive Technology Oral History Project,  publishing podcasts and recordings. He built two small sailboats and sailed off the New England coast with family and friends. Traveling to visit family and grandchildren was important, as well as travel to Assistive Technology Conferences in the United States and abroad, especially the European Schools Project. He was happy that he could experience the use of assistive technology in helping individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential. The family is grateful to the Brookdale-Buckingham family and to Vitas Hospice for their excellent care and support. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the CT. Alzheimer’s Association, 200 Executive Blvd, Suite 4B, Southington, CT 06489, alz.org/ct, or the Storrs Congregational Church (Accessibility Fund), 2 N. Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT. 06268. A Memorial Service will be held at the Storrs Congregational Church on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM. Handicap parking and accessibility is located on the right side of Church. For an online memorial guestbook, please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com

Published in The Hartford Courant on Sept. 18, 2018

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Get Out…. and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

Posted September 7, 2018 By Lee Learson

The cool fall weather has arrived and it’s a great time of year for outdoor activities. Beach, lake, mountains, parks, hiking, biking and all kinds of sports…. it’s all there for you.

You can rent or buy adaptive equipment and join a local sports program, or just have some outdoor fun with family and friends. The following are resources for organizations and adaptive equipment that will get you what you need to enjoy the great outdoors and some indoor sports too!

Disabled Sports:

Disabled Sports USA’s mission is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs.

 

Sports Abilities: Sports Abilities has a comprehensive resource list for

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4 Expert Tips for Getting Your EdTech Budget Approved

Posted September 3, 2018 By Lee Learson

By Alec Sears (Reprint from EmergingEdTech)

Experts Weight in on Critical Steps for Getting Those Budget Requests Approved…

Proper training and education are vital to success in today’s world. Everyone from students to employees need effective, efficient learning processes to help guarantee continued growth. And whether it’s a K-12 school, local college, major state university, or Fortune 500 company, up-to-date technology has become an important part of that learning process.

Unfortunately, education budgets are almost universally getting tighter, and getting a new EdTech budget approved can be tough. Educators often have to negotiate and compromise in order to get any budget pushed through at all, much less the one they feel is ideal for their students or employees.

It’s not all bad news, though. There are strategies you can use to significantly improve your chances of getting a budget approved. Here are four favorites, as recommended by experts in the field.

  1. Have a Curriculum Planned for Your Equipment

As a general rule, it’s always easier to make a case for an expense when you have a concrete plan for its use. “I’ve seen so many school administrators go out and buy equipment, and then the teachers don’t know how to use them as tools in the education process,” says Sarah Boisvert, founder of Fab Lab Hub.  “Technology only works if it is integrated into the curriculum.”

Instead of creating a proposal that just asks for equipment, put together a sample curriculum demonstrating the potential value the new tech could bring to

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Accessible Locks for School Lockers

Posted August 28, 2018 By Lee Learson

You’re back at school, you’ve wandered the halls looking for your locker… you finally found it…. only to realize that the standard locker padlock doesn’t work for you…. now what??

Moving up to middle school or high school often means that you will have to use a locker. And for kids with disabilities, that can be a challenge.

Standard locks require confusing number combinations or keys. There are a variety of products available including tactile locks, simple word or directional access locks and locks that work with an app on your smart phone or iPad. Take a look at the resources below for the latest in accessible locks!

WorWord Combination LockdLock: No keys or number combinations needed. WordLock uses the alphabet to set your own combination with your favorite words. Visit www.WordLock.com to learn more.

 

Master Lock® Master Lock® (ADA-Inspired Portable Locker Locks) makes locks aimed at making studens as independent as possible.

Simple Combo™ For students with difficulty remembering combinations but who don‘t have dexterity challenges. The Simple Combos™ locks use specially selected combinations that use only numbers printed on the dial (no sub-increments) so users can more easily recall and dial their combination. Supervisory access control is available to match your existing system and dials available in multiple colors.

2650 Push Key™ For students with limited dexterity, difficulty remembering combinations or visual impairments. The Push Key™ locks feature a no-turn key operation where the user inserts the key into the lock and pulls down on the lock body to open the shackle. Lock is easy and simple to use with an easy-to-grip flared body. Lock includes four keys – two with large key head covers for easier grip.

 

Tactile Push-Button Combination Padlock: This Tactile Push-Button Combination Padlock is easy to operate by touch with tactile numbers (1-8) and push-button design. Simply identify each tactile number in the 4-digit combination by touch and push down the corresponding buttons. Then toggle the switch on the bottom over and the lock pops open. It’s a handy low vision combination lock for the blind and visually impaired.

LS&S Directional Combination Lock: This Master Lock with speed dial enables you to set your own combination based on directional movements instead of the traditional rotary style. Move the lock button/dial left, right, up and down and it is faster to use than traditional locks.

Locksmart Keyless Padlocks: State-of-the-art capacitive fingerprint sensor allows unlocking in under 0.8 seconds. Stores up to 500 fingerprints for multiple users. Adaptive algorithm means the lock becomes faster and more accurate with each access.

By using your mobile device, you can open your LockSmart padlock without any physical keys, conveniently share virtual keys in an instant, take ‘keys’ away, and track your lock’s use. LockSmart’s keyless Bluetooth padlock is much more than a lock. LockSmart gives you trackable keyless security.

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Reprint from The Tech Edvocate

What makes an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) unique is that it is designed for younger children and is family-oriented. An IFSP is a document that outlines a plan for young children who need early intervention services. It is customized for each child, as well as including a plan for the family. For instance, when children are receiving early intervention services, the family may also need the training to support their child’s needs.

Since an IFSP is customized for the individual, every IFSP will be different. As you begin the process of developing an IFSP, here are some apps and tools to help you.

Anatomy of an IFSP

The Understood Team has put together a complete guide to the various sections of the IFSP. The Anatomy is an

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New from Don Johnston!  Innovations like robot vacuums and self-driving cars are giving people time to spend in more useful ways. Quizbot is ready to do the same for quiz-building.

With Quizbot, teachers can build quizzes automatically from any text (online articles or PDFs) with one click. The accessible quiz is automatically put into Google Forms and scoring is automatic.

Build quizzes automatically from any text with one click. Automatic scoring through Google Forms shows instantly what is being comprehended.

How it Works

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The following are some apps that can help travelers with disabilities smooth the way.

Google Maps (iOS and Android) has an option for “wheelchair access” To access the “wheelchair accessible” routes, type your desired destination into Google Maps. Tap “Directions” then select the public transportation icon. Then tap “Options” and under the Routes section, you’ll find “wheelchair accessible” as a new route type.

Crowd-sourced apps such as AccessEarth will tell you how a business rates on everything from barrier-free entrances, to wheelchair-height tables and accessible restrooms.

Aaron Preece of the American Foundation for the Blind suggests these for people with visual impairments:

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By: Jenny Lay-Flurrie – Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer

Microsoft announces new technology and resources for people with disabilities. The goal of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about accessibility. For us, it’s also about digging deep into how technology can empower the 1 billion people worldwide who have disabilities. Not only is it important that we do this for our customers and our employees, it’s also an exciting area for technology and innovation to drive incredible impact. In 2011, the World Health Organization changed the definition of disability to the result of a mismatch between what a person wants to achieve and the environment or society that he or she lives in. Technology can play a leading role in bridging the gap. It’s both exciting to think about the tremendous opportunity to empower and humbling to think about our responsibility to get it right.

Technology has human impact. It can empower people like Dan, a devoted gamer whose life was changed by an accident; Nori, who is passionate about Japanese culture and public speaking and has low vision; and Joseph, a first-year student who studies biology at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and is deaf.

While we live our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more every day, on GAAD we are pleased to be announcing the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a new technology to help more gamers game. We’re highlighting AI for Accessibility, which provides opportunities for inventors and researchers to use AI to empower people with disabilities. We’re reimagining accessibility as an important issue we can tackle together through a short film. And we’re launching a new Microsoft Accessibility website to make it easy to find, discover and Read the remainder of this entry »

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By John Ramsay for ItProPortal

Innovations in technology are helping support workforces across the globe to become more efficient and alleviate the stress felt by workers. A prime example of this is the introduction of augmented reality to the property industry, as it allows individuals to view their furniture in a properly without physically moving it.

One sector that is under increasing pressure, due to factors such as budget cuts and high staff turnover, is the care sector. However, as technology evolves to become more intelligent, new developments are both reducing the stress of caregivers and giving the people who need care a better quality of life.

In the home

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By Cal Jeffrey (Techspot)

Microsoft just announced a new controller for the Xbox One that will bring accessibility to gaming for those with a variety of disabilities.

It is called the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), and its design is not like anything you have ever seen. It looks a bit like a dual-turntable device that one would use to DJ a party. In fact, that is what I thought it was when I first saw pictures of it.

The minimalist design has two large circular pads, an over-sized directional control crossbar, and a few menu buttons. It has a headphone jack on the side as well as a USB port for connecting a separate joystick, but what sets the XAC apart are the 19 3.5mm jacks on the back of the device.

The ports can be used to connect a wide array of assistive technology including Read the remainder of this entry »

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