Friday May 17, 2013
As assistive technology expands in education, healthcare, and publishing, certification through RESNA -- the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America -- has become a crucial requirement for aspiring and established AT professionals.
Certification helps ensure persons with disabilities receive a consistently high level of service whenever the evaluation, procurement, and implementation of technology can enhance independence and quality of life.
RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professionals (ATP) help students at all education levels, working adults with disabilities, and seniors seeking to increase mobility, communication, and social interaction.
The main obstacle en route to becoming an ATP is the certification exam -- 200 multiple choice questions on all aspects of technology assessment and implementation -- one takes after meeting specific education and work experience standards.
Anyone in this field should strongly consider applying for certification, before technology's rapid evolution adds more interconnected complexity to what one must know.
Sunday May 12, 2013
Persons who are blind or visually impaired in the Seattle area can learn the latest in assistive technology at Insight: A Low Vision Expo created by SightConnection.
The Insight expo -- which takes place Saturday, June 8, 2013 at the Lynnwood Convention Center (Lynnwood, WA) -- is one of the nonprofit's top educational offerings. It features low vision experts, breakout discussions, a vendor fair, and an Assistive Technology Learning Lab -- this year sponsored by Enhanced Vision (makes of the Pebble and other video magnifiers) and Freedom Scientific.
Other vendors exhibiting and presenting at this year's show include app developers: Voice Dream (text-to-speech), TapTapSee (blind-accessible iPhone camera), and Earl (print news read).
One keynote speaker this year is Dr. Imran Kahn speaking on the low-vision rehabilitation of French impressionist painter Claude Monet.
The entry fee, which includes a box lunch, costs $20 before May 31st and $25 at the door. Approximately 250-300 persons attend Insight each year.
SightConnection is a direct service nonprofit that offers low vision rehabilitation, including orientation and mobility and assistive technology training, client services, clinical care, and an online store that sells assistive products.
While SightConnection serves clients of all ages, its primary focus is persons aged 55 and older.
Visit SightConnection online or call Claire Tadych at 206.204.6164 for more information.
Saturday May 11, 2013
Learning Ally offers a growing list of titles with its new VOICEtext feature that highlights text so users can read along as they listen to the audio.
Following highlighted text one hears -- a feature of literacy programs such as Read&Write GOLD -- improves focus and presents proper spelling and pronunciation of words. This context can make word and sentence meanings more apparent and enhance one's ability to absorb information.
This multimodal reading can improve both the comprehension and enjoyment of books -- especially for readers with dyslexia, visual impairments, and physical disabilities.
Learning Ally currently offers its members over 1,000 VOICEtext tiles, including Biography and Autobiography, Fiction (juvenile and adult), History, Language Arts, Social Science, and Sports & Recreation.
Members can download and read books in three ways:
- On a computer equipped with ReadHear software (free to members)
- On an iOS device equipped with the Learning Ally Audio app (free to members)
- On a DAISY book player such as the Victor Reader Stream.
Learning Ally has over 75,000 digital audiobooks with a focus on textbooks for students at all educational levels. Annual membership costs $119. Apply online or call 800.221.4792.
Tuesday May 7, 2013
The National Braille Press has released iOS Success: Making the iPad Accessible to help students who are blind to maximize their use of the popular Apple tablet that's playing an increasing role in education
The book, NBP's sixth guide to iOS devices, provides step-by-step instructions for iPad setup (including all accessibility features), using VoiceOver and Zoom, connecting to external devices such as braille displays, find and download apps, and use services such as Dropbox.
NBP has done a remarkable job enabling persons who are blind or visually impaired to orient themselves on and learn to use iOS devices -- keeping them current and on the same page as their sighted classmates.