Books Aloud is an independent nonprofit organization located in
San Jose, CA. Books Aloud tapes can be mailed anywhere within the
United States. There is no charge for our
services. We provide free audio book library services (via
U.S. mail) for people who are unable to read printed books on their
own, due to a physical, visual, or a learning
disability. We try to make sure that we have "required
reading" (core curriculum) books. Through
our growing Sight & Sound program, we can often --
but, not always -- lend the printed book along with the audio book.
Blind, visually impaired, learning or physically disabled individuals
who are unable to read conventional print, hold a
book, or turn the pages are eligible.
Michigan Alliance for Families has teamed up with Michigan Integrated
Technology Supports to produce a parent/educator friendly AT guide.
Computer and Software Accessibility for the Disabled
Up - Developed in
Turkey, the Tek device allows paraplegics - those without the use of their
legs - to perform everyday tasks from shopping in the supermarket to ironing
Creature Comforts: Assistance Animals Now
Come in All Shapes and Species -
What’s most striking about Ann Edie and her miniature guide horse,
Panda, is that after the initial shock of seeing a horse walk into a
cafe, or ride in a car, watching them work together makes the idea
of guide miniature horses seem utterly logical. Even normal. So
normal, in fact, that people often find it hard to believe that the
United States government is considering a proposal that would force
Edie and many others like her to stop using their service animals.
Software That Opens Worlds to the Disabled - One computer
program would allow vision-impaired shoppers to point their
cellphones at supermarket shelves and hear descriptions of products
and prices. Another would allow a physically disabled person to
guide a computer mouse using brain waves and eye movements.
Technology Fact Sheets - New fact sheets from the Family
Center on Technology and Disability, include an AT Glossary,
Assistive Technology 101, Assistive Technology and the IEP, and
Assistive Technology Laws.
Robotic Suit Helps Disabled Walk - A robotic suit that reads brain
signals and helps people with mobility problems became available this week to
rent in Japan for •220,000 ($2,100 U.S.) a month — an invention that may have
far-reaching benefits for the disabled and elderly.
- "Simplifying augmentative communication evaluations with one-of-a-kind
toolkits, online resources, and workshops." Free product search and information
available on site.
w/Disabilities Gaining Independence Through Video Games -
Today’s video games serve a multitude of functions ranging from
entertainment to exercise and even education. Now, three graduates
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Class of 2008 have created a
game with an even more important purpose—to foster independence
among disabled individuals.
Word for the Blind - Microsoft has
joined with Sonata Software Ltd. and the Digital Accessible
Information System (DAISY) Consortium to launch an initiative
to make Word documents more accessible to
blind and print-disabled users.
GBKids.com - "As parents, we
are motivated to provide our children with the best opportunities
for play and learning. As a parent of a child with multiple
disabilities, I have selected products for my child that allow her
to fit in with her peers at school and around the neighborhood. We
feature those same products on our website."
Iowa School District Pioneers iPods for Special-Ed Testing -
Sandwiched between two of Iowa's more rural counties, the
Louisa-Muscatine Community School District and its centralized campus,
nuzzling Highway 61 and currently barren crop fields, may not seem
like the type of educational facility that would gain international
notice for technological advances. Looks, however, can be deceiving.
Undergraduates Invent Braille Writing Tool -
A group of U.S. undergraduate students has created a
lightweight, portable Braille writing tool for the blind that requires
no electronic components. The invention was born in a Johns Hopkins
University class called the Engineering Design Project. Four
mechanical engineering undergraduates were asked to produce an
instrument that would cost less than $50 a copy.
Robots Help Sick Kids Stay In School - Lying in his hospital
room on a mattress designed to protect his fragile skin, 13-year-old
Achim Nurse poked his bandaged fingers at an orange button on what
looked like a souped-up video game console. Half a second later, in a
social studies class discussing the Erie Canal, a 5-foot-tall,
steel-blue robot raised its hand. "You have a question, Achim?" said
the teacher. Achim is using a pair of robots — one, called "Mr.
Spike," at his bedside, and its mate, "Mrs. Candy," in the classroom —
to keep up with his schoolwork and his friends during the months he
will be bedridden at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y.,
just north of New York City.
Assistive Technology News Portal
Thinkronize Introduces netTrekker d.i. with Innovative Text-to-Speech
Support - netTrekker d.i., and internet search engine, takes
differentiated instruction to the next level with new Read Aloud
feature to support special needs learners.
High-tech to Disabled Students - Britt Allen is an ace when it
comes to zapping aliens - with his eyes. He may not have laser-beam
sight like Superman, but just one glance sends the intruders to
oblivion. On Monday, the 24-year-old - whose cerebral palsy has him in
a wheelchair and inhibits his speech - shot down video-game aliens
with perfection as he demonstrated a new eye-based technology to
faculty at Oakridge School.
Assistive Technology Contacts by Region in Michigan
Wheelchair Bike is Star
of Show - A new British-made motorcycle for wheelchair users
was the start of this year's Mobility Roadshow in the UK.
Program Shows Early Success -
Supporters of Michigan's one-to-one computing project are citing
marked improvements in standardized test scores in reading, writing,
science, and math as reasons to restore funding to the program.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, had eliminated most of
the program's funding from the budget she proposed to state law
Computer Aids for
Special Needs Children - Because computers today are made to be
“user friendly”, kids generally master the skills necessary to use
them quite easily. Children with learning differences, hearing or
visual impairments, developmental delays or physical challenges might
have some difficulties---but they can be overcome by using a few
Access: Resources on Accessible Multimedia - "The aim of the
project is simple - to create an online resource providing informed,
practical and pragmatic advice and information on multimedia,
accessibility and learning. This is supported by a series of general
articles by experts in the field and case studies documenting real
life experiences in creating multimedia to enhance the accessibility
Disabilities Dealt Blow by President's Budget -
Millions of Americans with Disabilities were dealt a huge
blow yesterday with the release of the President’s FY 2006 Budget. The
blow was especially painful because it was just last October when the
disability community was celebrating Bush’s signing into law the
Assistive Technology Act of 2004.
- iAbida is a company specializing in individual communication management, was founded in 2004 by a team of software veterans and the parents of an autistic son. They have developed a
web-based service that lets parents, caregivers, teachers, and medical/service professionals, communicate with each other regarding a
child’s care and needs. The service costs $9.95 per month. For a demonstration of how it works, visit
Bill Headed to President for Signature -
The full U.S. House of Representatives passed the Assistive
Technology Act of 2004 on October 8, 2004, sending it to President
Bush for his signature. The Assistive Technology Act primarily funds
state programs that provide assistive technology (AT) devices and
services to individuals with disabilities.
Special-ed Pupils Learn Via High-tech Inspiration
- Severely learning disabled children at Desert Mirage
Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona are
using technology this school year and making great educational gains
beyond what teachers and parents predicted, even hoped.
Learn to Use Devices That Help Them Speak With Others - For
12-year-old Zachary Bryant of Hampstead, attending summer camp is
about more than having fun. He is learning to master a device that
helps him do something most children take for granted:
He’s Driven to Help
Others - As a child growing up in Michigan, Gary Talbot used to
sit on the curb in front of his house and, without looking, try to
guess the models of passing cars by the sounds of their exhausts.
Talbot’s childhood dream was to open a car dealership, and he
eventually became a Honda specialist in the mountains of Colorado.
Websites with info on Assistive
Technology Resources, Equipment & Services:
Adaptive Environments Center,
Inc. - Alliance for
Technology Access -
Disability Resources -
Assistive Technology Online -
Center for Universal
Design - Closing the
Gap - Computer Access
Expertise - DO-IT
- Equal Access to Software
& Information -
Information and Access Technology Services -
Matching Person &
Technology - National
Center to Improve Practice -
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of
North America - Tech
Connections - Trace Research &
Development Center - United
MSU Mechanical Engineering Students Design Bicycle for Kids
w/Cerebral Palsy -
Zackerie Kerley couldn't conceal his gap-toothed grin as he
strapped on a blue-and-red helmet and test drove his school's new
bicycle Friday. Zackerie, a kindergartner at North Elementary School,
is one of the students with cerebral palsy who will benefit from a new
bike designed to strengthen muscles and bolster self-confidence.
Software - The OAK software makes it easy for you to type with one
hand on any keyboard on a Windows PC. It makes it easier by allowing
you to access all the keys without having to move your hand all over
the place. Whichever side you use, you can access any letter on the
other side by holding down the spacebar. For more information, go to
Inside the Edge: A
Journey to Using Speech Through Typing - Inside the Edge is a
documentary written and narrated by Jamie Burke, a 15-year-old high
school student with autism. In this video, he tells of his personal
experiences with the use of facilitated communication, developing
speech, and inclusive schooling. Jamie has used FC since his
pre-school days; during the past few years, he has become independent
in his typing, has learned to read out loud what he has previously
typed, and is increasingly able to speak meaningfully without
previously typing his words. This video artfully combines images of
Jamie with his narration, letting us join him on his journey. (Running
time: 18:00) To view a snippet of the video, go to
http://www.breaking-the-barriers.org, click on "Personal Stories"
and then click on "Jamie Burke".
For information on the
Hart Walker, visit
Assemblyman Seeks More Funds for Visually Impaired Students -
In front of a watchful audience of media, politicians and educators
Friday, 9-year-old Taylor Rebhahn recited a fictional story she wrote
about an elephant named Rose who needed someone to care for her. The
fourth-grader didn't read her imaginative story from a piece of paper
in front of her or a computer screen. Instead, her little fingers
lightly touched Braille coming out of a computer as she read about
Rose's sad fate of being picked up by zoo keepers.
Garaventa Evacu-Trac, an emergency evacuation chair, will help
move a person with limited mobility quickly and safely down a stairway
during an emergency.
Free E-Text Reader Available for a Limited Time - The E-Text
Reader is designed to be a reading tool. It is an “easy to use” reader
that gives you the ability to change voices, read at any speed, and
even allows you to make notes into the document you are reading. "This
program is important for anyone with difficulty reading and writing as
it will give them reading support as well as visual and auditory
Family Center on
Technology and Disability
The Center serves
as a resource for organizations and programs that work with families
of children and youth with disabilities. We offer a range of
information and services on the subject of assistive technology (AT).
For more information, contact:
Academy for Educational Development
Family Center on Technology and Disability
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Web Opens Up for
Learning Disabled - New software that will make websites
accessible to people with learning difficulties will go on sale later
Teachers, Give Laptop Program High Marks - As state officials
prepared to sift through applications for the 2004 Freedom to Learn
grants, House Speaker Rick Johnson, Superintendent of Public
Instruction Tom Watkins and Michigan Virtual University President
David Spencer announced that those involved with the pilot of the
program would push for its continuation.
Project to Be Accessible to All Participants - Free tool for
creating access to programs for you and your members. DO-IT's new
publication, Equal Access: Designing Your Project to Be Accessible to
All Participants, is designed to help projects make their information
resources and activities accessible to everyone, including individuals
BLIND VISION and POBC of Michigan, January 09, 2004
Since the year 2000, the American Foundation for the Blind has
published "Accessworld," a publication designed to provide latest
assistive technology news and reviews related to blind and visually
impaired individuals. Until now, however, "Accessworld" has been a
bimonthly, subscription-based magazine. Starting with the January 2004
issue (Vol 5. No. 1), "accessworld" is available free of charge on
AFB's web site at www.afb.org. The
easiest web address to use to get to the initial Access World "home"
http://www.afb.org/aw/main.asp which lets you also access back
issues. The January issue presents an extensive section on DAISY books
and the current efforts to bring DAISY into the mainstream disability
community in the United States. The table of contents for the issue
can be found at
What is Facilitated
communication (FC)? A technique used to help some persons with
limited or no speech to communicate by typing or pointing. A
facilitator provides both physical and emotional support. The physical
support functions as an accommodation for neuro-motor problems that
may interfere with independent pointing, which, over time, is usually
faded. Some users eventually communicate without any physical contact
with their facilitator. (University of Maine, U.A.P., 1995)
Communication Institute - Facilitated communication is an
alternative means of expression for people who cannot speak, or whose
speech is highly limited (e.g. echoed, limited to one or a few word
utterances), and who cannot point reliably. The method has been used
as a means to communicate for individuals with severe disabilities,
including persons with labels of mental retardation, autism, Down
syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Established at Syracuse
University in 1992, the Facilitated Communication Institute conducts
research, public education, training and scholarly seminars. It was
created as a way of bringing together the research community, people
with disabilities, their families, and practicing professionals to
examine, learn about, and share information on facilitated
Control Over Motorized Wheelchairs
- A neural system that "reads" minds may some day let
severely disabled people use their thoughts to steer a motorized
wheelchair. Unlike previous devices of this sort, this system does not
require surgical implants. It utilizes a skullcap fitted with
electrodes that monitor the electrical activity of a person's brain,
says a recent story in New Scientist.
Computing With Kids:
Top Edutainment Titles Combine Learning, Fun
After testing hundreds of new titles this year, here's our "Best
Picks for the Holidays" in the category of children's
"edutainment" titles. Edutainment software combines
entertainment and learning.
Michigan's Assistive Technology Project - Provides information
on the Grass Root Education and Empowerment Network, Assistive
Technology News, Local Projects & Coalitions, Assistive Technology and
Cognitive Disabilities, Resources, and more. Our mission
is "To create greater access to assistive technology by building the
capacity of local communities to create genuine systems change. By
supporting the local efforts of persons with disabilities, their
families, and friends, Michigan's AT Project seeks to support local
organizations capable of advocating for the use of technology as a
tool for advocacy and inclusion of all people with disabilities in all
aspects of community life."
WGBH's Media Access Group
Launches Spanish Web Site for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Disabilities
- Media Access Group Also Providing Spanish Captioning for 60 Minutes and 60
Minutes II. (10-03)
Why Computers Have Not Saved the Classroom - What impact has
computer technology had on public education in the US? That's the
question journalist Todd Oppenheimer sets out to answer. His
conclusion: Putting computers in classrooms has been almost entirely
wasteful, and the rush to keep schools up-to-date with the latest
technology has been largely pointless.
Closed Captioning (CC)
FAQ - What are closed captions? How does captioning work? Who
watches closed captions? Who pays for captioning? This
informative FAQ contains answers to these questions and more.
Tech Spotlight: Global Positioning System
(GPS) Locator For Children
Children have a natural urge to explore. Parents have a natural
desire to know their children are safe. Wherify created the
world's first Personal Locator to help you determine your child's
location in minutes. Wherify's GPS Locator helps keep loved ones safe
by combining patented technology with the U.S. Department of Defense's
multi-billion dollar Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites plus
the largest 100% digital, nationwide PCS wireless network. Now
you can have peace of mind 24 hours a day.
Click here for a demo of this product.
transmits sense of touch over Web - Breakthrough by UB
engineers could lead to technology that teaches users how surgeons use
Information and Resources
- "Makoa" is a Hawaiian word that means courageous.
This website provides a listing of disability information
resources and information compiled and maintained by Jim Lubin, a C2
quadriplegic, completely paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on
a ventilator to breathe, using an keyboard/mouse emulator with a sip
and puff switch to type morse codes. He has an extensive listing of
adaptive and assistive technology resources.
Ultimate Talking Dictionary -
A true "talking dictionary" for everyone. It
has a comprehensive dictionary and thesaurus combined that contains
over 250,000 words, as well as historical people, places, technical
jargon and slang....virtually any word that you would see in standard
reading. The Ultimate Talking Dictionary works with any program (i.e.
email, word processing, Internet). Just highlight a word, press a
button and the UTD looks up the word and reads the definition back to
Listen to, Magnify and
Record Internet Web Pages - Opening up the web for many that
have low vision and other reading challenges.