News Archive

Reprinted from AbleGamers Charity

We utilize fun to bring inclusion and improved quality of life for people with disabilities through the power of video games. 

With a combination of technologies such as mouth controllers, eye gaze, and special custokids playing video game mized controllers, we find a way for people to play video games no matter their disability. When our accessibility experts give assessments to determine the right set of equipment for each individual, we’re using the latest, bleeding edge technology to bridge the gap between ability and desire.

How We’re Making Fun… Read the remainder of this entry »

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ABLEnow, the Virginia-sponsored ABLE savings program, opened for nationwide enrollment in late 2016. Virginia is among the first states in the country to open an ABLE program for eligible individuals living with disabilities.

 
On November 1, the State of Michigan launched its “MiABLE” program. MiABLE is a part of a national program each state is supposed to launch, offering enrollment to qualified individuals with disabilities both in Michigan and throughout the country. MiABLE allows qualified individuals with disabilities to save up to $14,000 a year in an ABLE account without jeopardizing their eligibility for Read the remainder of this entry »

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By Aviva Rutkin

No braille? No problem. A new device lets blind people read by popping a miniature camera on their fingertip.

To read printed material, many visually impaired people rely on mobile apps like KNFB Reader that translate text to speech. Snap a picture and the app reads the page aloud. But users sometimes find it difficult to ensure that their photo captures all of the text, and these apps can have trouble parsing a complex layout, such as a newspaper or restaurant menu.

figure1b“We want to empower end users to accomplish these activities of daily living through technology,” says Jon Froehlichat the University of Maryland.

Froehlich and his colleagues have developed a device, nicknamed HandSight,  that uses a tiny camera originally developed for endoscopies. Measuring just one millimetre across, the camera sits on the tip of the finger while the rest of the device clasps onto the finger and wrist. As the user follows a line of text with their finger, a nearby computer reads it out. Audio cues or haptic buzzes help the user make their way through the text, for example changing pitch or gently vibrating to help nudge their finger into the correct position. Read the remainder of this entry »

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NASA Internships for Students with Disabilities

Posted November 7, 2016 By Lee Learson

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through their regular internship programs. This is not a program for students with disabilities.  NASE is trying to recruit more students with disabilities into their regular internship programs. Disability means both physical and mental disabilities. Internships are a good way to get real-world experience. However, this is not an employment program. NASA jobs can be found at <http://www.usajobs.gov>. Students can apply for Summer 2017 internships now! The deadline for submitting applications will be Wednesday, March 1, 2017. NASA will begin extending offers to students in mid-to-late January and will continue until all positions are filled. If you would like to subscribe to an announcement-only list about NASA internships for persons with disabilities, please send an E-mail to nasainterns-request@freelists.org with ‘subscribe’ in the Subject field, OR by visiting the list page at http://www.freelists.org/list/nasainterns. Read the remainder of this entry »

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More and more government services are going online, but if the website isn’t accessible to people with disabilities, then millions of Americans are being excluded from vital civic services.

by Kevin Rydberg; GT (Government Technology) www.govtech.com 

Unplug your mouse. Now, try to log into your website and use your keyboard to navigate — try to fill in a form or download a document. How did that go? If you were on one of thousands of state, county or city government websites that are not accessible, it was probably quite a challenge. For reasons of practicality and efficiency, more and more government services are going online. But if the website is not accessible to people with disabilities — the country’s largest minority population — then millions of Americans are being excluded from vital civic services. Why Web Accessibility Matters… Read the remainder of this entry »

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BeSpoke™ Voices for Millions Who Cannot Speak

Posted August 26, 2016 By Lee Learson

VocaliD Launches First Personalized Digital Voices for Assistive Devices Company.

BELMONT, Mass/PRNewswire/ — VocaliD, Inc., a speech technology company that creates personalized digital voices for those living with voicelessness, launched its online BeSpoke™ voice studio.  The announcement was made at the Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) in Toronto.

Supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, VocaliD’s innovation is based on a discovery by Founder and CEO Dr. Rupal Patel and her colleagues that even a single vowel contains enough “vocal DNA” to seed the voice personalization process.

The BeSpoke™ process captures a recipient’s unique vocal identity and blends it with recordings from a healthy speaker — matched by gender, age and accent — within the company’s Voicebank of 14,000+ contributors. This blended voice is then used in the recipient’s electronic communications device — creating a BeSpoke™ voice. Read the remainder of this entry »

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Facebook launches “Automatic Alternative Text”

Posted April 6, 2016 By Lee Learson

Social media platforms may be a great way of telling the world about your life, but not everyone can appreciate these moments in full.

Facebook is launching “automatic alternative text”; a tool that uses object recognition technology to identify and describe an image, so that visually impaired and blind people using screen readers will be able to hear-and therefore visualize-what’s in a photo posted on the social network.

“With more than 39 million people who are blind, and over 246 million who have a severe visual impairment, many people may feel excluded from the conversation around photos on Facebook,” Facebook’s Shaomei Wu, Hermes Pique, and Jeffrey Wieland, said in an online post.

Before the announcement, screen readers would only be able to tell users who posted the Facebook post and that an image was uploaded.

However, the tool will now able to say what the image may contain, from simple objects like “car” to “three people, smiling, outdoors”. Currently, the software can identify around 100 types of objects and scenes, including those associated to nature, sports and transportation. Read the remainder of this entry »

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When a paralyzed mother crossed the finish line of the 26.2-mile London Marathon in a bionic suit, it marked a watershed moment for wearable technology; the exoskeleton had arrived.

The recent FDA approval of the exoskeleton, which enables paraplegics, amputees and people with muscle or nerve damage to walk, is the latest milestone in the new world of wearable technology for injured workers, according to Zack Craft, ATP, Vice President of Rehab Solutions and Complex Care Education at One Call Care Management (“One Call”).

Craft spoke on wearable technology and workers’ compensation at the RIMS 2016 Annual Conference held April 10 – 13 in San Diego, California, along with Felicia Amenta, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager for San Diego County and Imperial Schools. Their presentation, “The New Game Changer in Managing Worksite Health: Wearable Technology,” introduced attendees to ways in which wearable technology can benefit injured workers, their employers and payers. Read the remainder of this entry »

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The US Department of Justice just released final regulations regarding the implementation of the American for Disabilities Act. “These rules clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new and updated requirements.” 

The regulations should be shared with ALL schools and workplaces when requesting accommodations. 

  • These clarifications are much needed and address:
  • reduced requirement to re-test if previously qualified for accommodations (prior and outside testing should be generally accepted)
  • students do not need to fail to be provided with accommodations – testing should reflect aptitude
  • students previously qualifying for accommodations should be provided with accommodations for college, graduate school (MCAT, LSAT), licensing, and trade examinations
  • accommodations should be provided in a timely manner
  • individuals receiving accommodations should not be ‘flagged’

The new regulation guide and letter to school districts address problematic policies which have required students and their families to undergo repeated costly testing for documentation of dyslexia, dysgraphia,dyscalculia, and other LDs. The new regulations also address the issue of gifted LD or twice exceptional students; test accommodations should be provided so that tests accurately reflect aptitude or achievement levels.

Please read this full article and view the formal letter of guidance to all public schools that has been written by Department of Education Michael Yudin.

 

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RESNA to introduce new, updated ATP exam in July 2016

Posted March 2, 2016 By Lee Learson

Candidates who take the new, updated ATP exam between July 1 and October 31 2016 will receive a $100 discount off of the regular $500 exam fee. The exam has been updated to reflect current assistive technology practice.  

During the past two years, volunteer subject matter experts representing a variety of AT specialty areas, practice settings and different professional backgrounds have contributed their time and expertise as part of the rigorous process to update the exam. At every step of the way, efforts were taken to ensure the new exam reflects the broad diversity of current assistive technology practice. The exam was last updated in 2009. 

The new ATP exam remains the same length and scope. There are 200 multiple-choice questions that test overall knowledge of the assistive technology service delivery process, including the application and evaluation of a variety of solutions, and the RESNA code of ethics. In keeping with the growing internationalization of assistive technology practice, the new ATP exam no longer includes U.S.-centric funding questions. 

The ATP certification recognizes professionals who have experience working directly with consumers, who have demonstrated a broad knowledge of the interdisciplinary field assistive technology, and who agree to abide by RESNA’s code of ethics and standards of practice. The ATP certification is accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), demonstrating the program’s compliance with the highest quality standards in professional certification.  

“We’re grateful to all of the AT professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds who participated in the exam update. Hundreds of AT practitioners participated in the job validation survey alone, “ said Daniel Cochrane, MA, MS, ATP and chair of RESNA’s Professional Standards Board. “Ensuring that the exam is representative of the diversity of current AT practice is critical to maintaining the ATP certification program’s high standards.” 

Until March 15th, candidates can choose whether to apply for the old exam or the new exam. The discount only applies to the new exam. After March 15th, candidates can only apply for the new exam, which will be offered July 1, 2016 – October 31, 2016. For more information, visit www.resna.org/certification.

 Related materials: Information Bulletin for Prospective Canadian ATP Exam Candidates

 

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