AgrAbility Webinar – October 11

From the National AgrAbility Project

New and Improved Methods of Accessing Large Off-Road Machinery for People with Mobility Limitations

Thursday, October 11, 2018 – 3:00 p.m. ET

AgrAbility logoAgricultural workers in the U.S. sometimes incur disabling injuries or diseases that could end their careers unless specialized assistive technologies are utilized. Advancements in agriculture-specific technologies have made it possible for such individuals to regain the ability to effectively operate large off-road machinery. Remote-controlled lifts, electronic actuators, electric-over-hydraulic controllers, and various types of hand controls can enable operators with limited mobility to resume a high level of productivity within their chosen agricultural careers.

Webinar topics include:

  • Access Lift Design and Selection
  • Lift Styles and Mounting Types
  • Safety Concerns

Also see the new Plowshares Technical Report related to this webinar, Agricultural Machinery Access Lifts: Design, Utilization, and Safety Issues.

Presenters

Dr. Shawn Ehlers earned a Ph.D. from the department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. He specifically focused his studies on agricultural safety with emphasis on the ability of operators to view areas in near proximity of large agricultural machinery. Dr. Ehlers is currently the technology outreach coordinator for the National AgrAbility Project, headquartered at Purdue University, as well as an instructor in the ABE department.

Mr. Steve Swain, ATP, is the assistive technology specialist with the National AgrAbility Project. He joined Indiana AgrAbility as the rural rehabilitation specialist in 2000 and the National AgrAbility Project in 2008. Mr. Swain has conducted accessibility assessments of farms, homes, and rural businesses for Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. He has presented on accessibility and farming with a disability at a wide variety of workshops and conferences.

A question & answer period will follow the presentation. The anticipated length of the webinar is one hour.

To participate in this free webinar, click here to access the online registration form by Monday, October 8.

Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Wednesday, October 10. Please pass on this invitation to others you believe may be interested. Contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or email agrability@agrability.org if you have questions.

Webinar: Accessible Polling Places

US Access Board logoThe the U.S. Access Board…

The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series will take place October 4 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and address polling place accessibility. It will cover access from arrival onto the site to the casting of ballots as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Help America Vote Act. Presenters will review design requirements for accessible routes, parking, entrances, and voting equipment to ensure that polling places and the voting process are inclusive of all.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Preparing for Election Day – Nov 6th

The word "vote" with a wheelchair embeddedThe following is reprinted from the AT3 Center Blog and developed with resources from  American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) 

Concerned about potential barriers at your polling place? Make some inquiries in advance of election day and plan ahead. Begin today! Below are tips and resources:

 

Contacting Your Elections Office

It may be useful to contact your state, county, or local Elections Office in advance of the election to locate and check the accessibility of your polling place, ask about accessible voting machines (and how to use them), curbside voting (and other options), or to inquire about poll worker training regarding voters with disabilities. Find My State or Local Election Office Website

Voter ID Requirements

Some states have strict voter identification (ID) requirements in order to vote. Make sure you are prepared with the proper ID well in advance of election day.

VoteRiders

VoteRiders offers wallet-sized Voter ID Info Cards (in English and Spanish) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each card provides a breakdown of the voter ID requirements in that specific state. They also host a Voter ID Hotline: 1-844-338-8743. Link to Vote Riders…

Spread The Vote

Spread The Vote provides direct assistance to help voters obtain the proper identification to vote in their state. They are currently active in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Link to Spread the Vote…

Getting to the Polls

Carpool Vote

Carpool Vote is a national platform that connects volunteer drivers with anybody needing a ride to cast their vote. The platform is accessible to voters with disabilities and offers rides in accessible vehicles as long as there are volunteer drivers with accessible vehicles. Link to Carpool Vote…

Contact State and Local Political Parties

State and local political parties often help organize rides to get their voters to the polls on Election Day. Visit Vote Smart for links to the following organizations:

  • Maine Democratic Party
  • Maine Republican Party
  • Maine Green Independent Party.
  • Maine Patriot Party
  • Libertarian Party of Maine
  • Unity Party of Maine

More Resources:

GetATStuff website closing

Assistive Technology Exchange in New England & New York - Get AT StuffAfter ten years of service, the Maine CITE Coordinating Center along with the New York and New England Assistive Technology State programs have decided to close the Get AT Stuff Assistive Technology Exchange at the end of September 2018.

No new postings will be accepted after September 20th and the GetATStuff.com website will be closed on September 30, 2018. All postings to sell or give away AT equipment listed on GetATStuff.com will be removed on September 30 and all personal information deleted from the system.

Here are some options for donating or selling your used AT/equipment:

Additional resources and information are located on our Equipment Reuse page…

For further assistance please contact the Maine CITE Coordinating Center at 207-621-3195 V or Maine Relay 711.

 

Webinars – September 2018

computer keyboardThe following listing comes from Accessible Technology Coalition (ATC)...

Assistive technology supports for reading disabilities from ATC
September 26, 2018 – 3:00 pm ET
Read More and Register Now!

Inclusive PDFs by Design from AEM
September 18, 2018 – 2:00 pm ET

Online Video Accessibility from EARN
September 20, 2018 – 2:00 pm ET

Is Your State, District or School Website Accessible? from AEM
September 25, 2018 – 2:00 pm ET

How Do I Determine What Type of Switch the Student Can Use? from AbleNet
September 18, 2018 – 3:00 pm ET

Switch it Up! from PACER
September 19, 2018 – 12:00 pm ET (90 min.)

Tech Tools for Students: Researching & Organizing for School Projects from PACER
September 20, 2018 – 5:00 pm ET

Accessibility in Mobile Devices: Updates from the Field from AbleNet
September 26, 2018 – 3:00 pm ET

And one, so far, in October…

Feature Match… What’s That? from AbleNet
October 4, 2018 – 1:00 pm ET

The Accessible Technology Coalition is possible with generous funding from the Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley, CA.

US Access Board Webinars

The following announcement comes from the U.S. Access Board…

Federal Facilities & the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standard (ABA)

US Access Board logoIn honor of the 50th anniversary of the ABA, the Board will conduct a webinar on the law and the accessibility standards that are used to enforce it on September 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET).

Enacted in 1968, the ABA is the first law passed by Congress to address accessibility and applies to facilities funded by the federal government. The Access Board was created to enforce the ABA and will use this webinar to explain how it ensures compliance through the investigation of complaints. It will also review the most common barriers raised in complaints. The Board will be joined by a representative from the General Services Administration, which issues standards under the ABA, who will review the ABA standards and their application to federal facilities.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register for the September 6 webinar.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar

The Board also offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will take place September 25 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will address how to integrate accessibility into the IT lifecycle. It will cover strategies and best practices for incorporating access into the engineering and deployment of large IT systems and explain the Agile Development process, and how agencies can deploy it while addressing accessibility needs.

For more details or to register for September 25th session, visit accessibilityonline.org. 

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.

 

Defining Moments in Brain Injury Conference

People in auditoriumThe Maine Chapter of the Brain Injury Association of America has announced their 9th Annual Conference will be held

Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM

at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Portland, Maine.

Conference Description

This conference has been developed to meet the educational needs of health care professionals, service providers, and individuals with brain injuries and their families. The goal of the conference is to share current information, techniques, and strategies with attendees and to identify trends that will shape future brain injury services provided by area organizations.

Who Should Attend

The conference is appropriate for physicians, mental health care providers, nurses, care coordinators, case managers, social workers, speech language pathologists, educational professionals, and physical/

Conference Fees:

$125 for professionals; $60 for survivors, their friends and family members, and students.

Scholarships: For information, please contact Sarah Gaffney at sgaffney@biausa.org

Use this link for more information and to register…

Needs of Persons with Brain Injuries in Maine

Woman with child speaking at public hearingThe Maine Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council (ABIAC) has announced a series of Public Hearing on the Needs of Persons with Brain Injuries in Maine. 

The ABIAC will hold public hearings to receive information from persons with brain injuries, their families, rehabilitation experts, providers of services and the public in an effort to generate greater understanding of this growing public health issue. The ABIAC is seeking responses to the Council’s published priorities, *the rights of recipients receiving brain injury services, the Brain Injury Waiver, and the unmet needs of persons with brain injuries and their families.

Dates and Locations of Public Hearings

Friday, September 7, 2018 – 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Department of Health and Human Services
30 Skyway Drive, Unit 100
Caribou, Maine

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
NeuroRestorative
234 Northeast Road, Suite #1
Standish, Maine

Thursday, September 13, 2018 – 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Maine Center for Integrated Rehabilitation
95 Skowhegan Road
Fairfield, Maine

The Maine Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council welcomes either written or spoken comments at the hearing.  In addition, written comments will be accepted through close of business on September 28, 2018 and should be submitted to:

Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council
Neurobehavioral Services, OADS/DHHS
11 State House Station, 41 Anthony Ave.
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Derek.Fales@Maine.gov

PRIORITY AREAS FOR BRAIN INJURY IN MAINE

The ABIAC established the following priorities for 2018*:

  1. Enhance Maine’s brain injury neurorehabilitation system to respond to current needs.
  2. Address the workforce shortage of qualified brain injury professionals.
  3. Expand care coordination and neuronavigation in order to meet the needs of all individuals with brain injuries in Maine.
  4. Prevent brain injury through education and public awareness.
  5. Strengthen family and peer supports.
  6. Improve employment opportunities.
  7. Addressing the needs of children with brain injury.

* For copies or additional information, please contact Neurobehavioral Services, at (207) 287-9295.

——

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Wikimedia.

Tech4Good Awards 2018

From E-Access Bulletin, July 2018…

From smartwatch wayfinders to robot farmers…

Tablet showing the definition of the word "access"Earlier in July, the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards took place in London, showcasing everything from tiny farming robots to an innovative new way of contacting emergency services.

Now in its eighth year, the event was created by technology access charity AbilityNet to celebrate digital technology projects designed to improve people’s lives and benefit society. Entries can be new or existing ideas, and can come from anyone, such as a charity, business or individual.

In 2016, for example, nine-year-old Arnav Sharma won the Tech4Good People’s Award for his asthma-managing digital device, the AsthmaPi, while in this year’s event, projects from Microsoft and Facebook both made the finals.

Awards are split into nine categories, each highlighting a different strand of digital innovation: accessibility; connected society; young pioneer; ‘Tech4Good for Africa’; community impact; digital health; digital skills; digital volunteer of the year, and; community impact.

A panel of 23 judges from across the technology and charity sectors selected 28 finalists chosen from over 250 entries, while the final category – the People’s Award – was chosen by the public.

Here’s a rundown of this year’s winners.

The AbilityNet Accessibility Award was won by Be My Eyes, a free app for iOS and Android designed to help people with sight loss live more independently by assisting them in completing everyday tasks.

The app works by connecting visually impaired users to sighted volunteers via video link. The volunteers then answer questions from the user, who might want to know, for example, whether the date on a food expiry label has passed, or what a nearby road sign says.

An additional feature is ‘Specialized Help’, which lets companies use Be My Eyes to provide tailored customer service to users with a visual impairment. Users can contact the Microsoft Disability Desk directly through the app to ask for help with Microsoft products.

As reported in e-Access Bulletin earlier this year, Be My Eyes has announced a partnership with transportation app Moovit, to help people with sight loss use public transport around cities.

The winner of the Digital Health Award was TapSOS, a non-verbal method of contacting emergency services through an app. Designed primarily for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, or in a situation where it’s difficult to speak, TapSOS lets users set up a profile with their medical history, which gets shared with emergency services when the user contacts them. GPS provides a caller’s exact location to emergency services, making it easier to send out a response vehicle.

Small Robot Company won the Connected Society Award for their miniature farm robots, designed to automate elements of the planting, feeding, watering and weeding process on a farm in a lightweight, environmentally friendly and cost-effective way.

The Water Watcher was the winner of the BT Young Pioneer Award. The device fits on to a tap and uses an alarm and timer system to alert users if the tap has been left on too long. Powered by a simple BBC Micro:bit computer (a winner in the 2016 Tech4Good Awards), the Water Watcher is particularly useful for people with dementia or dyslexia.

The Unlocking Talent Through Technology scheme, which provides solar-powered tablet computers and literacy apps for schools in Malawi, won the Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award. Led by international development organisation VSO, the Unlocking Talent programme has reached 90,000 schoolchildren so far, and has been integrated into Malawi’s National Education Policy framework.

The Community Impact Award was won by MOMO (Mind of My Own), an app to help keep children and young people safe. MOMO encourages users to record thoughts, feelings and observations, which can help them communicate about difficult or dangerous situations which they might not feel able to discuss elsewhere.

A ‘wayfinding’ app for people with learning impairments was voted for by the public to win the Tech4Good People’s Award. WaytoB helps guide users who may not be able to fully operate other navigation or mapping systems. The app works through a smartwatch, giving users clear directions on a specified journey, and letting them know when to cross a road or which bus to catch, for example.

Crucially, WaytoB is used in harmony by a ‘navigator’ and ‘partner’, such as a family member or friend. Journeys are pre-programmed by the ‘partner’, who can track where the navigator is through the app.

The Digital Skills Award was won by Generation Code, a national scheme to help develop coding skills in young people around the UK. People aged 16-25 who already have coding knowledge are trained to become ‘Code Champions’, who then provide coding activities to people aged 11-19 in their local area.

The importance of coding was also recognised in the Digital Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to Anna Holland Smith. Anna is involved with a number of inclusive coding initiatives, including Manchester’s Codebar, which provides programming opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Read more about all of this year’s winners and other projects at the Tech4Good Awards website…


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Photo Credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by The Blue Diamond

Maine DOE Announces Award for Management of Assistive Technology

From the Maine DOE…

Maine CITE Coordinating Center logoAUGUSTA July 17, 2018 – The Maine Department of Education is pleased to announce that Maine CITE Coordinating Center has been awarded a grant to provide management of assistive technology (AT) services under the federal Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (ATA).

The Maine CITE Coordinating Center has served as the ATA Grant Manager since the federal law was enacted in 1989. Maine CITE oversees a statewide effort to get assistive technology (AT) to people of all ages with disabilities who need it through device demonstrations, device loans and AT reuse. Maine CITE also provides public awareness, information and referral, and training and technical assistance on AT.

Kathy Adams OTL, ATP the Director of the Maine CITE Coordinating Center said, “we are very pleased to be awarded this grant. AT can be essential in education, employment, community living and telecommunications. We renew our commitment to assisting Maine citizens with disabilities to learn about and get the AT they need and want to lead productive independent lives.”

Under this grant, Maine CITE will continue to support the needs of Maine students with print disabilities through the Maine Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Program as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. The statewide Maine AEM Program works to improve students’ access to AEM and to facilitate the use of AT.

Jan Breton, Director of Special Services Birth – 20 said, “we are very pleased to continue working with Maine CITE which has demonstrated over many years its commitment to expanding and supporting the use of technology to assist people with disabilities.”

For details about Assistive Technology (AT) and the Maine Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Program visit mainecite.org or maine-aem.org.

For information on AT demonstrations and loans visit at4maine.org.