Webinars – December 2019

computer keyboardThe following is a list of December webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility. The list is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Advancing AT Processes: AT in the IEP from SETC
December 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm Eastern

(Job) Accommodations… Practical Solutions for Complex Needs from JAN
December 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm Eastern

I Have (an AAC) Device, Now What? from AbleNet
December 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern

 

road sign with word diabetes

Smartphones, “wearables” and diabetes management

ZD Net has published an interesting article about recent advances in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices that can be used with smartphones and wearable technology like the Apple Watch.

The article, Diabetes monitoring is having a smartwatch and smartphone revolution, notes the long standing problems (and expense) associated with blood glucose management in people with diabetes costing Americans $327 billion a year.

The article states:

Technology aimed at insulin-using diabetics became mainstream a few years back with the arrival of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. These are small readers that sit on a diabetic’s body, taking their blood sugar levels constantly and relatively unobtrusively. This technology is transforming diabetes control for its users. By giving them a better view of what their blood glucose was doing, CGMs enabled insulin-dependent diabetics to take steps to keep readings in the right range.

One manufacturer of these devices Dexcom, is “… looking to exploit the potential of wearables and smartphones. Users can get their readings sent over Bluetooth Low Energy to hardware including iOS and Android phones and watches…” the article adds and ends with, “…the future of CGM is going to be tightly tied to the development of consumer tech like smartwatches or other wearables. ‘There’s a good possibility that you’re going to have even tighter integration than we have today with those types of products…'”

Read the entire article from ZD Net…

View Maine CITE’s webinar ‘Wearables’ as Assistive Technology…

 

Transition: Creating Great Job Candidates workshop

From Employment for ME – Workforce Development System

Transition: Creating Great Job Candidates

with Marsha Threlkeld

January 23, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (registration 8:30 a.m.) 
Le Club Calumet, 334 West River Road, Augusta, ME

Vision: Every student can work and is ready before they exit school.  School-to-Work that really works to launch all students into the Workforce. Focus on adopting individualized employment goals leading to IEP content, creating individualized community based work experiences, Discovery and Job Development while still in school, informing and working with families, training special education aides and others to support students in work experience, and all members of the student’s team involved in employment pursuits, landing jobs before exiting school.

Presenter: Marsha Threlkeld is a consultant and trainer from Washington State working in School-to-Work, Employment First, Person Centered Career Planning, and Assistive Technology to include handheld devices and Smart Environments.  Marsha has worked on behalf of School-to-Work for the last 25 years and designed and implemented School-to-Work Projects in several states.

Registration Fees: Cost is $100 per person which includes materials, morning coffee & lunch. If you are registering as part of a group of 3 or more contact noelle@syntiro.org for a discount.

Use this link for more information and to register…

 

Aphasia Caregiver Support Group Research Project

The University of Maine Communication Sciences and Disorders Program is seeking participants in an online aphasia caregiver support group as part of a research project. The purpose of the research project is to determine if caregivers of people with aphasia can benefit from participation in a telepractice aphasia caregiver support group.

People will meet with the group facilitator, guest speakers and other caregivers of people with aphasia from their home computers once a week for 12 weeks. Each meeting will last approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Participants will also be asked to complete online questionnaires before the meetings begin, after the meetings have been completed and 3 months later.

For inclusion in this study, participants must:

  • be (at least) 21 years of age
  • be the primary caregiver and communication partner of person with aphasia
    for at least 1 year
  • have normal or corrected hearing and vision
  • have computer, laptop and/or tablet
  • have high-speed Internet access

For more information, please call Dr. Judy Walker at 581-2003 or email: judy.p.walker@maine.edu

 

Technology as a Meaningful Employment Support

The folks at Employment for ME are offering this workshop. Please contact them directly for more information:

Technology as a Meaningful Employment Support

with Marsha Threlkeld

Person holding smartphone

January 24, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (registration 8:30 a.m.)

Location:

Le Club Calumet
334 West River Road
Augusta, ME

Description:

How can handheld technology and more assist a job seeker to be as productive, included, and communicative as possible? Focusing on not over supporting with technology but leveraging it to assist all job seekers to be their best. Learn about built in features which offer assistance, apps, accessories, and use of environmental or smart home devices in the work place.

Presenter:

Marsha Threlkeld is a consultant and trainer from Washington State working in School-to-Work, Employment First, Person Centered Career Planning, and Assistive Technology to include handheld devices and Smart Environments. Marsha has worked on behalf of School-to-Work for the last 25 years and designed and implemented School-to-Work Projects in several states. She facilitates Technology Learning Cohorts for employment and residential providers, educators, and government. She has worked to equip job seekers and employment professionals with technology to assist in job productivity, inclusion, marketing, and communication. Marsha has worked to develop Person Centered Planning facilitator training materials and worked in her home state of Washington to draft guidelines for planning facilitators. She has created materials for teachers and others to include: Every Person and Everyday Technology, Person Centered Career Planning, Student Driven Career Planning, Envision Your Future, and See Yourself Working. Marsha worked with the Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE) for 18 years before moving to her own consultancy business: Pivotal Consulting & Training LLC. She is a Subject Matter Expert for Employment First projects through the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, focusing on School-to-Work and Assistive Technology.

Registration Fees:

Cost is $100 per person which includes materials, morning coffee & lunch. If you are registering as part of a group of 3 or more contact noelle@syntiro.org for a discount.

Use this link for more information and to register…

Making Medication Management Smarter

Pill box with days of the weekIn a new posting by Laurie Orlov, Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter, she reminds us that “…medication non-adherence (not filling prescriptions or missing dosages) is a major health issue resulting in 10% of hospitalizations, 125,000 deaths, and costing the healthcare system up to $300 billion/year.”

Orlov offers the following recommendations:

First, a simple app solution can help. Setting a calendar entry (no app required) or downloading a medication reminder app can help users avoid missing their medication. Free apps, like Pill Reminder (iPhone) and PillsOnTime (Android) also track missed doses. Tracker by Medisafe (iPhone and Android), not only reminds you when it’s time for a refill but enables you to track vitals like blood pressure. Davis’ Drug Guide (iPhone) even contains detailed drug information for patients who have questions about a drug, the possible side effects, or its interactions with other medications.

Next, medication dispensing pre-packaged containers can help with complex regimens. For some individuals, a plastic 7-day pill container provides enough structure. But if problems occur as a result of not taking doses, technology-enabled containers are designed to help prevent both missing a dose or taking the wrong pill. Units are easily connected to the Internet for communication to caregivers about whether the unit was opened at the right time. They include PillPack (recently acquired by Amazon) which delivers the packaged medication doses and has an accompanying app to track information about them.  Then there is MedMinder, an automated dispensing box that can be preloaded by the pharmacy.  PillPack and MedMinder charge just the co-pay medication cost. Finally, consider Philips’ Automated Medication Dispensing Service – in which a caregiver loads up to 40 days of doses which are dispensed in small cups per dose at a cost of $59.95 per month.

For more information

Read the entire article Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter by Laurie Orlov…

View our June 2019 webinar Assistive Technology (AT) for Medication Management with Christine Martin…

Access Board to Assess Feasibility of Wheelchair Restraint Systems on Aircraft

From the US Access Board:

The inability to use one’s wheelchair on airplanes makes air travel very difficult, if not impossible, for many people with disabilities. It requires multiple transfers between boarding chairs and aircraft seats, posing injury risks. Airline seats are a poor alternative to personal wheelchairs which are typically customized for the user’s safety, comfort, and specific medical needs. Further, passengers’ wheelchairs are stowed in the cargo hold and often damaged, mishandled, or lost as a result.

To address these challenges, the Access Board is undertaking a study to assess the feasibility of equipping aircraft with restraint systems so that passengers can remain in their wheelchairs on flights. Congress directed the Board to study this question in its most recent reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration. The Board has enlisted the Transportation Research Board (TRB), which is part of the congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences, to conduct this assessment and to issue a report. The Board and TRB will consult the Department of Transportation, aircraft manufacturers, air carriers, and disability advocates in the course of the study, as directed by the act.

“The Board is eager to examine this issue which has the potential to make flying safer and more comfortable for thousands of people who use wheelchairs,” stated Board Executive Director David Capozzi. “We look forward to building upon and advancing the work of other organizations who have provided critical leadership, advocacy, and research on this subject, notably All Wheels Up, Flying Disabled, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.”

TRB will organize an expert panel to assess and evaluate the feasibility of equipping passenger aircraft with in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems. This panel will include experts in aircraft manufacturing, aeronautics, aviation safety, accessibility, disability policy, airline operations, and other disciplines. It will examine the design, engineering, and safety requirements for equipping aircraft with locking or tiedown mechanisms for non-motorized and motorized wheelchairs used as seats. If such restraint systems are found to be feasible, the panel will then assess how they can be used to accommodate passengers using wheelchairs through all phases of flight, from boarding to deplaning. A peer-reviewed report on the panel’s findings will be published at the conclusion of the project and submitted to Congress. The report is expected by October 2021.

For further information on this study, contact Mario Damiani of the Access Board at (202) 272-0050 (voice), (202) 272-0066 (TTY), or damiani@access-board.gov.

Public Weighs in on Proposed Voluntary Guidelines for Aircraft Wheelchairs

In August, the Access Board released advisory guidelines for wheelchairs used on airplanes and made them available for public comment. These voluntary guidelines specify dimensions, features, and capabilities for wheelchairs used during flights to access aircraft lavatories. The guidelines address maneuverability, stowage, stability, back support, restraints, assist handles, and other details. The published notice also posed a number of technical questions to the public.

By the close of the 60-day comment period, the Board received over 40 comments from various interests and stakeholders, including people with disabilities, advocacy groups, aircraft manufacturers, trade associations, manufacturers of onboard wheelchairs, researchers, and others. In addition, the Board held a public hearing on the guidelines in September that provided an additional forum for submitting comment. The docket, which includes all submitted comments and hearing testimony, is available on regulations.gov.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to supplement its regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) to require onboard wheelchairs with enhanced functionality on certain single-aisle aircraft as part of a negotiated rulemaking (PDF) to improve access for air travelers with disabilities. The Board is developing these non-binding guidelines as technical assistance to air carriers and manufacturers of onboard wheelchairs by providing an example of how to meet DOT’s planned performance standards.

For further information on the Board’s development of these guidelines, contact Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 (voice) or marshall@access-board.gov, or Mario Damiani (202) 272-0050 (voice) or damiani@access-board.gov.

UMF unveils special ed master’s program with workforce needs in mind

Theodora J. Kalikow Education Center on the UMF campus.FARMINGTON, ME  (October 31, 2019)—The University of Maine at Farmington, a leader in teacher education, is proud to announce that it is offering a Master of Science in Special Education beginning spring 2020. This program offers pathways for undergraduate students, graduate students and adults working in the field to become certified special education teachers and help alleviate the serious workforce need in schools throughout Maine.

“Farmington has long been a leader in preparing well-qualified teachers for the classroom,” said Edward Serna, UMF president. “Deep-rooted in that leadership is UMF’s ongoing pursuit of how to best serve our students, local schools and the State of Maine, now and in the future. This new special education master’s program is a valuable next step in being responsive to the higher education needs of Maine citizens while helping meet the state’s significant workforce needs.”

The UMF program offers undergraduate students an accelerated 4+1 program, in which they can obtain a bachelor’s and master’s degree in special education in five years instead of six. The program is open to undergraduate students enrolled in UMF’s bachelors in special education program or pursuing a 20-credit minor in special education at UMF. This gives students with a wide array of majors a pathway to certification as special education teachers.

For graduate students, many of whom are in the workforce already, the new UMF master’s degree program features a blended delivery model, offering course work that is 70 percent online and 30 percent face-to-face with in-the-classroom work on the UMF campus three Saturdays per semester. Unique in Maine, this flexible model provides working adults with the benefits of both online and in-classroom learning.

“While students acquire knowledge and skills through online learning, it is still important for them to have the interpersonal learning experience that a classroom offers in order to discuss, evaluate and synthesize what they’ve learned,” said Brian Cavanaugh, UMF assistant professor of special education. “This widely accepted best-practice model has students in the program interacting with faculty and course participants to personalize and enrich their learning.”

For adult learners who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, are working in schools, and are seeking Special Education 282 Certification in Maine, UMF offers access to the new M.S.Ed. in Special Education through its longstanding Special Education Alternate Route to Certification (SPARC) program.

Especially popular among people who hold a bachelor’s degree and are working in special education settings as Educational Technicians, SPARC offers a set of online courses taught by experienced Special Education faculty and professionals that leads to state certification.

UMF’s SPARC program includes 13 online graduate courses offered on a rotating schedule. Participants in SPARC must have access to students with disabilities in order to complete online course assignments and can elect to take only the number of courses they need to meet the 24-credit requirement for Special Education 282 Certification in Maine. Students who have successfully completed nine credits through UMF’s SPARC program are eligible for admission to the M.S.Ed. in Special Education program.

“Students in the SPARC courses have asked persistently for a master’s degree in special education,” says Erin Connor, associate dean for Graduate and Continuing Education at UMF. “When your students push you to develop their next educational experience, you know you are on the right track. SPARC has taught us about the strong need for continuing education at Farmington. I hope the community will continue to inform our thinking about what programming we can offer that will help them achieve their professional goals.”

The new Master of Science in Special Education program is also designed to provide students with the opportunity to specialize in areas of need within special education, such as assistive technology, inclusive education and leadership, low incidence disabilities or special education administration. This additional course work will be available through UMF or through collaborative options at other UMaine System campuses.

For more information on the new Master of Science in Special Education degree program, For more information on the new Master of Science in Special Education degree program, please contact the UMF Office of Graduate Studies 207-778-7502.

Transition: Creating Great Job Candidates

The following fee-based training event is being offered by Employment for ME

Transition: Creating Great Job Candidates

January 23, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (registration 8:30 a.m.) 
Le Club Calumet, 334 West River Road, Augusta, ME

with Marsha Threlkeld

Vision:  Every student can work and is ready before they exit school.  School-to-Work that really works to launch all students into the Workforce.  Focus on adopting individualized employment goals leading to IEP content, creating individualized community based work experiences, Discovery and Job Development while still in school, informing and working with families, training special education aides and others to support students in work experience, and all members of the student’s team involved in employment pursuits, landing jobs before exiting school.

Registration Fees: Cost is $100 per person which includes materials, morning coffee & lunch. If you are registering as part of a group of 3 or more contact noelle@syntiro.org for a discount.

Use this link for registration…

Webinars – November 2019

computer keyboardThe following is a list of November webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility. The list is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Digital Accessibility – The First Steps from Paciello Group
October 31, 2019, at 12:00 pm Eastern.

Living on Your Own: Taking Care of Yourself – Technology to Support Health and Wellness from PACER
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 3:00 pm Eastern.

Skoog, an accessible musical instrument from AT3 Center
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 3:00 pm Eastern.

APH Products: What’s Available for Students with Visual Impairments from Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
November 14, 2019, at 4:00 pm Eastern.

Tech for Teens Club: Building Websites from PACER
Saturday, November 16, 2019, at 11:00 am Eastern.

Accessibility in the Laboratory from Southeast ADA Center
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at 12:00 pm Eastern.

Nous, a wearable eye blink switch from AT3 Center
December 3, 2019, at 3:00 pm Eastern.

Intro to TobiiDynavox: Snap + Core First for all access methods from SETC
November 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern.

NovaChat vs TouchChat from SETC
November 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern.

Advancing AT Processes AT Assessment from SETC
November 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm Eastern.

Implementation Strategies for Eye gaze Users  from SETC
November 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern.

Chrome Supports for Reading/Writing/Math from SETC
November 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm Eastern.

Vision Supports, Strategies and Tech Tools from SETC
November 21, 2019 at 2:30 pm Eastern.

My AAC Journey: Switches to Eye Gaze to Infinity! from SETC
November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm Eastern.

Switch Access to AAC Apps from SETC
December 2, 2019 at 6:30 pm Eastern.