2nd Annual AT Makers’ Fair

Making Assistive Technology for All Conference and Expo

September 24-25, 2019

Monroeville Convention Center
Monroeville, PA 

The 2nd Annual Assistive Technology (AT) Makers’ Fair will inspire participants from around the country to become creative problem solvers, bringing together makers of all abilities to share ideas, develop new skills and enhance innovations for persons with disabilities. The Fair will empower individuals with the methods, materials and know-how needed to efficiently create everyday just-in-time devices and technologies. Join us! Novice to veteran makers of all ages and abilities are welcome.

Features:

  • Conference kick off with inspiring AT maker movement leaders
  • Hands-on learning workshops
  • AT Invention Contest
  • Make AT Café Makerspace
  • Exhibition hall of vendors and program booths

Attendees:

More than 200 assistive technology makers including individuals with disabilities, family members, caregivers, educators, administrators, therapists, and program directors

Last September, individuals devoted to creating solutions for individuals who experience disabilities participated in the first national Assistive Technology (AT) Makers’ Fair: Making AT for All Conference & Expo in Concord, NH. Participants, exhibitors, and presenters came from more than 20 states, territories, and Canadian provinces, where they learned methods, materials, and know-how needed to efficiently create everyday just-in-time devices and technologies. The AT Makers’ Fair goal remains to inspire participants to become creative problem solvers, bringing together makers of all abilities to share ideas, develop new skills, and enhance innovations for persons with disabilities.

Use this link for more information and to register…

 

Educate-2-Cultivate Veteran Farmers

Maine ArgAbility has made the following announcement:

Educate-2-Cultivate (E2C): Business Development and Assistive Technology Symposium for Military Veterans in Agriculture

Saturday, October 26, 2019
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Augusta Armory
179 Western Ave.
Augusta, ME 

Maine farmWe’ve updated the registration page for the upcoming Educate-2-Cultivate Veteran Farmers symposium on Saturday, 26 October at the Augusta Armory! Please pass the word to veterans interested in farming/gardening.

Every veteran will have a dedicated one-on-one session with a business mentor in the morning, plus a financial management workshop, a locally sourced lunch, an afternoon filled with assistive technology and mind/body workshops, and throughout the day there will be a veteran-specific source fair. Lots of great opportunity to network with other veteran farmers and learn about how  to make your farming efforts more successful.

Please use this link for more information and to register…

ICT Accessibility Webinars

The AT3 Center has posted the following information about these free webinars…

Accessible Information and Communication Technology 101: An Introduction to Accessibility in the Web and Digital Documents

Information TechnologyJuly 18, 2019 at 3:00 PM ET

Presenter: Rob Carr of Oklahoma ABLE Tech

There are a lot of layers to making sure that websites and digital documents from the likes of Adobe PDF or Microsoft Office are accessible to people with disabilities. In this session, you will build a foundation that will help you to better understand what information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility is, how it’s governed and how to start to make your own digital content more accessible.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe at least 4 different interactions that people may have with their devices that websites, software and digital documents should be ready for
  • Understand how civil rights and other laws and policies shape accessibility in technology
  • Specify at least 5 techniques that make websites and digital documents more accessible

Use this link to Join the Zoom Meeting on July 18

Basic Accessibility Testing on the Cheap

August 1, 2019 at 3:00 PM ET

Presenter: Rob Carr of Oklahoma ABLE Tech

You can get started in identifying some common barriers to accessibility on the web pretty quickly. This beginner-level class will introduce you to some tools and techniques that you can use to get high level insight into how accessible or inaccessible a web page is. This class won’t make you an expert, though it will get you started.  All of the tools and resources used in the class are free to use.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand at least 7 elements or attributes that make the web more accessible
  • Use 3 tools and techniques to use to test web pages for accessibility
  • Identify and use 2 web pages that show the same content and interactions in accessible and inaccessible forms

Use this link to  Join the Zoom Meeting on August 1

 

 

Webinars July 2019

Maine CITE is offering two webinars in July…

‘Wearables’ as Assistive Technology

Date: July 9, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 PM ET

More smart watches including Apple WatchExecutive functioning describes the skills that let people plan, organize and complete tasks. Executive challenges can make it more difficult for learners to accomplish their goals, but technology can help. In this session, participants will learn about a number of smartwatches and other ‘wearables’ in order to select the device(s) that best meet their executive functioning and other access needs. Following an overview of the built-in accessibility features of these devices, participants will learn about a number of apps that can assist in improving executive functioning capabilities, including apps for managing time and information, staying on task, and more.

Presenter: Luis Perez, Ph.D.

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar‘Wearables’ as Assistive Technology

Low Vision Technology in the Home – What Can Be Done to Increase Independence

Date: July 24, 2019
Time 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Screen magnifierAssistive Technology (AT) can help a person with a vision loss live an independent, safe and meaningful life at home and in the community. Interventions include evaluating the environment for modifications to make the most of remaining vision; teaching how to use remaining vision as efficiently as possible; reducing clutter and organizing the environment; improving lighting needed for daily tasks; training to use AT in completing daily activities. Technology plays a key role in vision rehabilitation- ranging from simple to high tech devices. Assessment of appropriate technology and training consumers to use it effectively are part of the role of an OT providing low vision services. Examples of AT will be presented, including non-optical aids, magnification, video magnification, text to speech, and wearable technology.

Presenter: Sherry Boothby, OTR/L, CLVT, M.S

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar Low Vision Technology in the Home – What Can Be Done to Increase Independence

 

And the following free webinars are also available. Thank you to the Accessible Technology Coalition for their monthly update!

(Dis)abling Comics, “Cripping” the Comic Con, and Accessible Technologies from Southeast ADA Center, Great Lakes ADA Center, and Pacific ADA Center
Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm Eastern  (90 min.)

Assistive Technology to Support Employment: Tools That Bring Accessibility to the Workplace from PACER
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 3pm Eastern (60 min.)

How to Create and Test Accessible PDFs from the Access Board
Tuesday, July 30 from 1:00pm Eastern  (90 min.)

 

AT Beta Testers Wanted – CaptionMate

Person holding smartphoneCaptionMate is a free app for your iOS or android device that allows individuals with hearing loss to read both sides of the conversation in real time. CaptionMate is the next generation IPCTS (Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service). It uses ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) providing unmatched speed and accuracy. CaptionMate also provides the first truly private IPCTS experience by removing the need for CAs (Captioning Assistant) & Transcriptionists allowing you to speak freely and openly without any awkward third-party operator on the call.  CaptionMate technology also stands out by providing captioning in 25 languages and a multi-platform system allowing you to view captions on several devices (smart TVs, mobile phones, computers, tablets) simultaneously.

CaptionMate is currently looking to recruit Beta Testers to use the app. Having individuals with hearing loss in real life situations allows us to gain feedback and make any needed improvements before the official public launch. If you are interested in becoming a Beta tester, please contact support@captionmate.com and mention the referral code (AT3Tester).

One last item, to ensure the accuracy & security of the beta trails we need to request that any testers do not work for, have not worked for, nor have any relations with people who work for the following companies:

  • CapTel
  • ClearCaptions
  • Innocaptions
  • CaptionCall
  • Sorenson
  • Sprint

For information about the product, please visit CaptionMate at:  captionmate.com

Assistive Technology Re-authorization Act Introduced in Senate

Casey, Collins Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Assistive Technology for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Legislation Would Help Seniors and People With Disabilities Maintain Independence

US Capitol DomeWashington, D.C. – Today, June 13, 2019, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the Ranking Member and Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, introduced the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act that would increase access to assistive technology—devices or services that help seniors and people with disabilities to maintain their independence and live where they choose.  The bill, which comes following a May 22nd hearing in the Aging Committee on the topic, would also help reduce the low employment and high poverty rates of older adults and people with disabilities by helping them live independently and maintain employment.

“Assistive technology helps millions of people live independently, remain engaged in their community and improves the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Senator Casey.  “It is important that we update this bill to support the advances in assistive technology over the last 15 years, so that those who need it can be full participants in every aspect of their lives.”

“As our population ages, the need for care and support is increasing,” said Senator Collins.  “Advances in technology are working to bridge the ‘care gap,’ improving function in activities of daily living, helping to manage multiple chronic conditions, reducing risk of hazards, and making homes safer for seniors.  The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act would help to ensure that seniors continue to have access to these life-changing technologies to help them maintain their independence.”

The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act (S.1835) Act would update the Assistive Technology Act by clarifying that the program serves all people with disabilities, including veterans and older adults who developed disabilities later in life. The Assistive Technology Act would also increase the funding authorized for programs that serve rural areas. Assistive technology refers to any piece of equipment, product or service that helps someone with a disability or functional limitation accomplish their daily needs such as wheelchair ramps, hearing aids, screen readers and even smart phones.

This bill is supported by the Assistive Technology Act Programs, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc of the United States, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools and CAST.

Please contact Senator Collins office to receive an accessible version of the proposed 21st Century Assistive Technology Act.

Senate Hearing Focuses on Assistive Technology

Woman preparing a mealOn May 22nd, the United States Senate Special Committee on Ageing held a hearing which discussed How (Assistive) Technology Can Help Maintain Health and Quality of Life.

Committee Chair Maine Senator Susan Collins noted in her welcoming remarks, “…with 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, and one out of five Americans set to join this group by 2035, we are in the midst of a major demographic shift. The fastest growing segment of our population are Americans age 85 and older. While aging brings opportunity, it also comes with increased risk of multiple and interacting health conditions that can lead to disability, at times requiring long-term care, and making it more difficult to age at home.” She further noted, “Advances in technology are working to bridge the “care gap,” improving function in activities of daily living, helping to manage multiple chronic conditions, reducing the risk of hazards, and making homes safer for seniors. Not only has technology helped seniors age in place, but it is also making it possible for individuals to move out of nursing homes or other institutionalized settings back into their own homes.”

Witnesses at the hearing included:

Joseph Coughlin, PhD, Director, MIT AgeLab, Cambridge, MA; Cara McCarty, Curatorial/Director, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; Brenda Gallant, RN, Executive Director, ME Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, Augusta, Maine, and; Robert (Bob) Mecca, Executive Director, Life and Independence for Today (LIFT), St. Marys, PA.

Use this link for more information and to view a recording of this hearing…

 

Webinar on Best Practices for Accessible Social Media

From the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials – NC-AEM

Best Practices for Accessible Social Media

Date/Time
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 @ 2:00PM – 3:00PM ET

Presenter

Mindy Johnson, AEM Center

Program Description

Social media iconsEducators are integrating social media into their professional learning routines, their daily communications, and their instructional practices. But how do we plan for variability in our social media followers? Join Mindy Johnson, Director of Digital Communications and Outreach for CAST, to learn easy tips for making your social media posts more accessible and more usable by everyone.

Unable to attend the webinar?  No worries!  The link to the recording becomes available on this same page approximately one week after the webinar.

Please use this link for more information and to register for this webinar…

 


Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Wikipedia 

Change the Way You Approach Accessibility

The following free webinar announcement is from edWeb…

Change the Way You Approach Accessibility

Thursday, May 16, 2019 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Presented by Jason Don Forsythe, Senior Solutions Engineer, Blackboard

Accessible Information TechnologyAccessibility is a topic that schools and districts continue to struggle with as learning opportunities and technologies expand our potential to reach more learners in new ways. District leaders have also begun to consider a more holistic definition of inclusivity as they modify policies, requirements, and professional-development expectations. From websites to learning management systems, we are able to create even more instructional opportunities for our students. The content we create and share must take into account this broader definition of inclusivity—learning needs, access issues, and a more mobile and diverse student population than ever before.

Attend this edWebinar to learn how to provide a more accessible and equitable learning environment and experience for all learners. We will share best practices, tips, and tools districts can use to move toward greater inclusivity. This presentation will be of interest to educational professionals, webmasters, superintendents, tech leaders, special-education coordinators, and principals. There will be time to get your questions answered at the end of the presentation.

About the Presenter

Jason Don Forsythe is a senior solutions engineer with the Blackboard K12 team. Prior to working at Blackboard, Jason worked for state government for a decade overseeing distant education initiatives, accessibility compliance, and instructional design projects. Jason resides in San Diego, CA with his wife Brandie and their three children.

Use this link for more information and to register for this webinar…

Updated VPAT Now Available from the IT Industry Council

US Access Board logoFrom the US Access Board:

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) maintains a free reporting tool known as the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to help determine whether information and communication technology products and services satisfy accessibility requirements, including the Section 508 Standards. ITI recently released revised editions of the VPAT (2.3) based on the Board’s revised 508 Standards (VPAT 2.3 508), including the referenced Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). It also offers VPATs for WCAG 2.1 (VPAT 2.3 WCAG), the European Union’s ICT requirements (VPAT 2.3 EU), and another based on all three (VPAT 2.3 INT).

Visit the ITI’s website for further information or send a message to info@itic.org.