woman using digital magnifier

New Technologies for Older Adults

From time to time we have recommended articles and blogs from Laurie Orlov’s Aging In Place Technology Watch. This one caught my eye:

Announcements of new offerings are arriving – will they/can they be used?  Hopefully these 5 will offer benefit that can and will be realized by older adults. Writers of these 2019 articles about the topic are not so sure that new technologies for this population may not be reaching their intended audience. That can be due to a variety of barriers, including fear that they are not using them properly (UCSD study), lack of internet access (which would limit awareness), low technology literacy (TechCrunch), including lack of familiarity with terminology, and physical challenges (research from MPDI). Here are five new technologies that could provide benefit to older adults – content is from the companies…

Read the whole article on Laurie’s website to learn more about these new technologies…

BTW, you can subscribe to Laurie’s blog and have new articles sent to you via e-mail! See information on her blog (upper left hand corner).

State Plan on Aging offers “Listening Sessions”

Woman preparing a mealThe Maine Department of Health and Human Service – Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) wants to hear from older adults, adults with a physical disability, caregivers, pre-retirees, veterans and service providers to learn about their experiences!

As OADS begins to design a strategic plan to address our communities’ needs they are hosting eight sessions around the state (at the local Area Agency on Aging centers) to gather input on the priorities and strategies that are important to Maine citizens.

The Maine State Plan on Aging Listening Sessions are as follows:

Area Agency on Aging Center Date Time Location
Aroostook Agency on Aging 10/02/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM Ashland Town Office
11 Bridgham St, Ashland
Spectrum Generations 10/08/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM VFW Hall
50 Mill Street, Waldoboro
Eastern Area on Aging 10/15/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Area Agency on Aging
240 State St, Brewer
Spectrum Generations 10/16/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM Spectrum Generations Muskie Center
38 Gold St, Waterville
Eastern Area on Aging 10/16/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM University of Machias, Performing Arts Center
116 O’Brien Avenue Machias
Seniors PLus 10/22/2019 1:00 – 3:00 PM SeniorsPlus Offices
10 Falcon Rd, Lewiston
Seniors PLus 10/23/2019 1:00 – 3:00 PM Comfort Inn & Suites
1026 US-2, Wilton
Southern Maine Agency on Aging 10/24/2019 2:00 – 4:00 PM USM, Glickman Library, 7th Floor
314 Forest Ave, Portland

Questions

Please contact:

James Moorhead
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Aging and Disability Services

Phone: 207-287-9200
james.moorhead@maine.gov

Audio Description in Education – Student Contest

Benefits of Audio Description in Education Contest – “BADIE”

Young People Who Are Blind Write Reviews of Film and Video

Audio DescriptionSeptember 9, 2019 – The American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project (ACB-ADP) and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) are continuing their co-sponsorship of an exciting opportunity for blind and visually impaired young people, in four categories from ages 7 to 21: the Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE) contest.

Kids love movies!

Movies, videos, and other forms of multimedia are, these days, integral to public, private, and special education curriculum. If you’re a young person who can’t see or can’t see well, audio description provides access to all the visual images of the movies that sighted young people enjoy.

Students choose an audio-described film or video from the more than thousands of titles available through DCMP – visit www.dcmp.org. Or a young person who is blind can borrow an audio-described video or film from a library, and dozens of audio-described films videos are available for purchase through the ACB-ADP’s website.

How to enter the contest…

Reviews can be submitted in writing, in braille or via an audio recording.

Use this link to Register for the contest…

Entries can also be submitted via e-mail or postal mail (submissions from outside the United States are fine) to:

ACB-DCMP Benefits of Audio Description In Education
1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311 USA

E-mail: jsnyder@acb.org
Phone: (202) 467-5083

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: Friday, December 6, 2019

Contest winners in each category will be chosen by January of 2020, and the grand prize winner will receive an iPad Mini! Each first-place winner will receive a $100 iTunes gift card. Second-place winners will receive a $50 iTunes gift card, and third-place winners will receive a $25 iTunes gift card. Each supporting teacher who has a first-place winning student will be awarded a $100 Amazon gift card.

 

Humanware: Braillant BI 40 refreshable braille display

Mainebiz mag discusses Accessibility

This week’s Mainebiz, a statewide magazine for Maine’s business community, published an article, How to make your website accessible to everyone written by two attorneys from law firm Brann & Isaacson in Lewiston.

The article minimally notes the merits of web accessibility and perhaps over-emphasizes the legal perils, focusing on the fact that  “…in recent years, thousands of ADA lawsuits have been filed alleging website inaccessibility — more than 2,000 such federal suits were filed last year.”

The article is short on providing any real guidance to Maine business owners, so we took the opportunity to add a comment to the article noting the significant free resources Maine CITE makes available on the topics of Accessible Web Design and Accessible Digital Documents.

The article briefly mentions how “…it (accessibility) should increase sales…” when in fact, accessible websites provides opportunities for more customers, perhaps millions of customers worldwide, to readily access the products and services of Maine businesses.

Free resources for Web Accessibility may be found here on the Maine CITE website…

Free resources for Accessible Digital Documents may be found here on the Maine CITE website…

Vacancy Notice: Administrative Specialist

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) is seeking applicants for the part-time position of Administrative Specialist Career Level 2 (CL2) to perform clerical support work at the Maine CITE Coordinating Center.  The position is currently open and is located in Augusta, but not on the UMA campus.

Maine CITE Coordinating Center logo

Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • opening and closing the office;
  • serving as the initial point of contact for the Center;
  • providing complex administrative support;
  • screening calls, visitors, and mail;
  • answering inquiries via telephone, in-person, and through various other technology;
  • monitoring and maintaining Assistive Technology and office inventory and equipment;
  • assisting with meetings, conferences, webinars, and other events;
  • attending conferences, meetings, and events as necessary;
  • preparing and editing correspondence and documents, assisting with reports;
  • making travel and hotel arrangements;
  • making purchases, issuing purchase orders, making credit card payments;
  • processing invoices and other expenses;
  • assist with the production of at least ten webinars each year;
  • maintaining and coordinating multiple calendars.

This is a part-time, twenty-hour per week position.  Specific hours to be determined upon hiring. This is a soft-money funded position. Continuation is contingent upon continued funding and the needs of the University.

Please use this link for more information and to apply for this position…

Groups Call on the FCC to Improve Quality of Live Captions

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Groups and Researchers Call on the FCC to Improve the Quality of Live Captions

Closed Captioning logoOn July 31, ten national organizations, including the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address long-standing quality problems with captioning for live television programming. The petition was supported by the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB).

As the petition explains, consumers routinely report serious problems with the accuracy, timing, completeness, and placement of captions on live programming, including local news, sports, and weather. The petition asks the FCC to build on its existing standards for the quality of captions by setting metrics for acceptable quality of live captions. The petition also urges the FCC to provide guidance for new captioning systems that use automatic speech recognition, which have the potential to provide captions with improved timing and lower cost but also routinely cause significant accuracy problems. Consumer groups and researchers also will be submitting additional feedback to the FCC, including an analysis of hundreds of consumer responses gathered by HLAA in a recent survey.

The FCC has asked for comments from the public about the petition. If you’ve had experiences with captions for live TV programming that you’re willing to share with the FCC, you can do so online.

Submit your comments to the FCC by September 13

Use this link to read the petition

Use this link to enter your comments online and remember to enter 05-231 in the “Proceeding(s)” field to make sure that your comment is added to the record.

 

Public Comment Wanted: Guidelines for Onboard Wheelchairs

U.S. Access Board Releases Voluntary Guidelines for Onboard Wheelchairs for Public Comment

US Access Board logoThe U.S. Access Board has released for public comment, advisory guidelines for wheelchairs used on commercial passenger aircraft during flight. These onboard wheelchairs are provided by air carriers as a means of facilitating the transfer of passengers with disabilities to aircraft lavatories since personal wheelchairs cannot be used in the cabin. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has expressed its intention to supplement its regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) to include performance standards for onboard wheelchairs on covered aircraft. 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.

As indicated in a notice published in the Federal Register, the guidelines specify dimensions, features, and capabilities for onboard wheelchairs that will allow passengers with disabilities to be more safely and comfortably transported aboard airplanes in flight. In addition, the guidelines include criteria to allow the onboard wheelchair to fully enter the lavatory in a backward orientation and be positioned over a closed toilet, and for the lavatory door to be closed. This feature would afford those passengers who cannot independently transfer to the toilet to have privacy in performing non-toileting tasks related to personal hygiene or medical needs. The Board has posed a number of questions to the public about specific provisions in the guidelines but welcomes input on all portions of the document.

As part of a negotiated rulemaking to improve access for air travelers with disabilities, DOT has put forth plans to supplement its ACAA regulations and require onboard wheelchairs with enhanced functionality on aircraft with more than 125 passenger seats.

Related information, including instructions for submitting comments, is posted at www.regulations.gov (Docket ATBCB-2019-0002).

Comments are due October 21, 2019. In addition, on September 12, 2019, the Board will hold a public hearing that will provide an opportunity to submit comments either in person or by phone. Further details will be posted on the Board’s website.

Those who wish to provide testimony at the hearing should contact Rose Marie Bunales at (202) 272-0006 (voice) or bunales@access-board.gov by September 5, 2019.

For further details on the guidelines or the public hearing, contact Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 (voice) or marshall@access-board.gov, or Mario Damiani at (202) 272-0050 (voice) or damiani@access-board.gov.

Public Hearing on Advisory Guidelines for Aircraft Onboard Wheelchairs  
September 12, 2019, 9:30 – 4:00 (ET)
Remote attendance options will be posted soon
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.

Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

The ATP Fundamentals Course offered

ATP - RESNA logoFrom RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America)

The RESNA ATP Fundamentals Course will continue offering public, private on-site courses, and online, instructor-led courses designed as a convenient, cost-efficient and effective way for busy AT professionals to participate.

Register for the courses in September of 2019 or use your remaining training budget to purchase training vouchers today for a seat.

This training course will help candidates review and refresh their assistive technology knowledge and help identify areas they need to study for the ATP exam.

Course features:

  • Official RESNA course materials
  • Taught by a RESNA-authorized instructor and ATP
  • Collaborate with classmates
  • Real-world learning activities and scenarios
  • Access to online practice exam – complete with diagnostic scoring
  • Copy of “Fundamentals of Assistive Technology, Vol. 4”

The 16-hour curriculum will be covered over four weeks, consisting of eight 2-hour online evening class sessions. All class sessions will be recorded for easy viewing/reviewing over the duration of the class and for 90 days after the completion of the course.

Course Cost

September 4 – 30, 2019

  • $650 – RESNA Member
  • $800 – RESNA Non-Member

Class size is capped at 45 students to allow for maximum interaction and knowledge transfer, so seating is very limited.

Registration and More Information

Use this link for more information and to register for these courses…

Service Animal Resource Hub

Man in wheelchair with dogThe ADA National Network has created a Service Animal Resource Hub that many of you may find helpful. All of the information provided is specific to either the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other federal laws.  Some states may have laws the expand the definition of a service animal and the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Multiple related resources can be found at Service Animal Resource Hub website…

 

Bed-shaker smoke alarms for families

Child wearing hearing aid

Maine Hands and Voices is partnering with the American Red Cross to provide bed-shaker smoke alarms and education for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

If you are the parent or caregiver of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing and would like a FREE bed-shaker smoke alarm installed in your home along with fire safety education, please visit the website and complete the request form.

f you are unable to access the form, you may also message Maine Hands and Voices Facebook page or contact Darlene Freeman by call or text at 207-570-5691.

 

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Pittsburgh Association of the Deaf