Audio Description Project Announces Call for Nominations

This announcement comes from the American Council of the Blind:

The Audio Description Project (ADP) is a wide-ranging audio description promotion and production initiative with goals that include:

  • building advocacy on behalf of audio description;
  • offering a range of educational resources and working to establish nationally acknowledged user-focused guidelines for quality description in its various genres as well as a professionally recognized certification program for audio describers;
  • encouraging growth of audio description with an emphasis on the involvement of AD users/consumers, especially youth;
  • disseminating information on audio description and provide general support for regional, state, and local forums;
  • encouraging studies on audio description particularly with respect to its efficacy as a technique for conveying visual images and its impact on literacy for children and others.

One part of the project involves the recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of audio description.

The call for nominations ends on Friday, May 29, 2020, with winners announced during a plenary general session of the American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention Tuesday morning, July 7, 2020 (the 2020 Conference and Convention sessions will be held virtually this year via ZOOM and also broadcast on ACB Radio).

Nomination material, criteria and more information follows and is also available on the American Council of the Blind’s website.

 

Corona Virus Statistics Website Accessible for the Blind and Partially Sighted

From Cool Blind Tech:

A Boston-based software developer wanted to make COVID-19 stats accessible

He created a website that would be easily readable by electronic braille readers and other assistive devices used by the blind and partially sighted.

Tyler Littlefield, a software developer based in Boston, has created a database of COVID-19 statistics meant to be accessible to the visually impaired.

Called CVStats.net, the site organizes up-to-date COVID-19 data in simple charts specifically designed to be legible to a range of aid devices the visually impaired use to access websites.

For Littlefield, and many other people with visual impairments, trying to stay updated during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge because many of the commonly shared charts and graphs are inaccessible, including those from the CDC and Department of Public Health.

“For many people with various types of disabilities, graphics and the information conveyed in them is hard to read and understand,” Littlefield told Vice.

“I believe in the idea of open data, data that everyone can access to help make informed decisions. Finding this lack, I created CVStats to present the data to users in a straightforward way, free of ads, click-through news articles and graphics.”

One of the main obstacles in making COVID-19 information more accessible are the conventions of modern web design. With a profusion of autoplay videos, pop-up windows, and animated inserts, many modern websites make it difficult for braille embossers to scan a webpage and convert its content into a braille printout.

“Clutter is the enemy of tactical legibility,” Naomi Rosenberg of the accessibility firm Lighthouse told Vice.

“For each of these, a blind reader is at the mercy of the designer, writer, or educator to produce quality graphics, concise image descriptions, or properly formatted tables,” Rosenberg said.

One possible alternative to visual graphs are ‘sonification curves,’ which translate graph lines into rising and falling sounds to try and convey a similar sense of magnitude, something that an aid device won’t be able to do without simple and accessible data.

Another challenge, according to Sassy Outwater-Wright, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is that many healthcare facilities don’t post clear or accessible information about their policies.

For instance, some drive through testing sites only allow private vehicles, not taxis or other commercial vehicles, which would be important for a visually impaired person who can’t drive themselves to know before planning a visit.

“The moment that I heard everything was going drive-thru I kind of had a cringe moment because, other than in the hospital, there’s really no other way to access that testing, and for many in our community, including myself, who are immunocompromised, that puts us at a much higher risk,” Outwater-Wright said.

“We don’t get the benefit of staying in our car, we don’t get the benefit of trying to continue to social distance. We have to go in.”

For more information see Motherboard on Vice.com…

Relay Conference Captioning

The following information is provided by Debra Bare-Rogers, Advocate, from the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS).

Attending virtual event, is a great opportunity to connect. For attendees with hearing loss, this can bring challenges. Free resources are available to make online meeting participation more accessible. In Maine, deaf and hard of hearing individuals can use Relay Conference Captioning.

What is Relay Conference Captioning?

RCC (also called Sprint Teleconference Captioning) offers live and high quality captioning for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals to participate in meetings (in-person or remote), phone calls, videoconferences and multi-party teleconference calls. There is no cost to use this service.

Please use this link to see a demonstration of how RCC works

How to use RCC

Schedule an RCC event at least 12 hours before the meeting time.

  1. Use this link to go to the Maine Relay Conference Captioning Event Request form. Complete the form and submit the form.
  2. You will receive an email from Relay Conference Captioning confirming your request along with a link to the captioning.
  3. At the start time of the event, (using a computer, laptop or smartphone) login by clicking on the link provided in the confirmation email. Captioning will appear in real time during the call.
  4. NOTE: During the event, if you have a question or comment you can use the text box in the bottom right corner and the captioner will speak into the call on your behalf.

If you have additional questions about RCC and other relay resources available in Maine. Debra is available via Zoom to provide 1:1 virtual appointments, staff presentations and webinars. Contact her to schedule a meeting.

Debra Bare-Rogers
drogers@drme.org 

Disability Rights Maine
1 Mackworth Island, Bldg. C
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Phone: 207-797-7656 x 113 (V/TTY)
Toll Free: 800-639-3884 (V/TTY)
Fax: 207-797-9791

TRS includes Maine Relay Services, captioned telephone services (CapTel or CTS), and 711.

EWDS Webinar 9 – The Maine AgrAbility Program

The following event is offered by The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Labor and Syntiro as part of the 2020 series of monthly webinars for the Maine’s workforce community.

AgrAbility logo

Cultivating Accessible Agriculture

May 14, 2020
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

with Leilani Carlson and Kelley Spencer – Maine AgrAbility Program, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Program Description

Maine AgrAbility’s mission is to provide education, assistance, and support to farmers with disabilities engaged in production agriculture, helping them and their families maintain optimal production and experience an enhanced quality of life.

Maine AgrAbility reaches its goals through direct service, education, and networking. We provide consultative services and technical assistance, such as suggestions for modifying or adapting the agricultural operation, buildings, equipment, and/or tools. We work with rural agriculture, rehabilitation, and health care professionals to support Maine farmers with disabilities and their families.

Maine AgrAbility is a non-profit collaboration between the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Alpha One in addition to independent contractors and is funded through a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Presenter(s):

Leilani Carlson – is the project coordinator for the Maine. She has a BS in engineering and more than 15 years of experience in the environmental engineering and consulting industry, focusing on health and safety and regulations. She and her family live on a small farm in central Maine. Learning from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, books, farm visits and local master gardeners, she and her husband began farming and providing food for their family. Leilani joined the Maine AgrAbility program in August 2012 as the project coordinator working for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This opportunity allows her to utilize both her engineering and health and safety background with her passion for farming in Maine.

Kelley S. Spencer, COTA/L, ATP, DSP – Kelley Spencer is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant who is also a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Practitioner. She has served people with disabilities all her life. She grew up farming in central Maine. Her family home was also a foster home and day program for adults with intellectual disabilities. She worked as an independent living specialist and regional manager for Alpha One’s Bangor and Presque Isle offices for 17 years. She oversaw the AgrAbility project which worked with farmers with disabilities to continue to farm, in part through the use of assistive technologies. She led her team in the Homeward Bound project assisting so many to move from nursing facilities back into their communities.

Kelley chaired and co-chaired the State of Maine’s Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council for 8 years. She served on the AgrAbility advisory board. She developed Goodwill’s Assistive Technology Program for 3 years before leaving to open her own business. She now owns and operates Maine Assistive Technology Solutions.

Registration fee:

Individual registrations for the webinar are $5.00 per person. There is no fee if you have purchased an agency subscription.

Important: Your confirmation email will contain call in and log in information so make sure you have received a confirmation email. If you do not receive your confirmation email shortly after completing your online registration form please contact noelle@syntiro.org.

Participants will earn 1 hour of continuing education after completing an online evaluation following the webinar. After completing the webinar you will receive a link to the session evaluation. Once you complete the evaluation, a certification of participation will be emailed to you.

Please use this link to register for this event

 

AgrAbility Webinar: Smart technology in agriculture & the home

AgrAbility logo

Smart technology in agriculture & the home: what is it and what is its impact on safety and efficiency?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT

Program Description

“Smart technology” is an umbrella term that encompasses many devices designed to make life easier for the user. Common types of smart technologies include watches, televisions, and a wide variety of other home devices (some that even respond to their own names). While marketed to the masses as the “next big thing,” for some individuals these devices can restore their independence and, in certain cases, even be life-saving. Whether the smart technologies are worn on the body or remain stationary, they can help prevent accidents from happening or assist in contacting emergency services if a crisis should occur. This webinar will discuss how smart technologies can benefit agricultural workers in the workplace and in the home.

Webinar topics include:

  • Types of smart technologies
  • Wearable devices
  • Home devices
  • Implications for agriculture
  • Implications for individuals with disabilities

Presenter

Luke Cain is a student from Indiana Wesleyan University’s occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program. He is currently completing his residency project with AgrAbility with a focus on advocacy for the program and for agriculture workers with disabilities. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and will be graduating from OTD school in April 2020. Luke is passionate about helping individuals with disabilities receive the therapy, education, and any other services they may need to help them meet their goals and be as independent as possible.

A question & answer period will follow the presentation.

Registration

To participate in this free webinar, click here to access the online registration form by Friday, April 3. Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Monday, April 6. 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.

 

ATIA Offers Free Webinars

ATIA, the Assistive Technology Industry Association, has announced that because of the COVID-19 outbreak they will be offering a series of free webinars:

ATIA recognizes that you have questions regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its implications on the assistive technology community. Below is an ongoing list of free webinars in the ATIA Learning Center and resources you can use to learn relevant information and insight from your peers.

This series is just one of the ways ATIA is sharing relevant educational content with our community. We’ll continue to update this page as new webinars are added. If you have a resource, tool or idea you would like to share as part of this webinar series, please fill out this form.

These live courses are presented by your AT community and are free for anyone and everyone. Each course will be recorded for you to access at any time.

Carefully Curating Apps and Software for Young Children-Managing Increased Screen Time
Tuesday, April 7 at 12:00pm CDT/1:00pm EDT
Beth Poss, Speech/Language Pathologist, AT Consultant
Presented by ATIA Member: LessonPix
This presentation will review popular apps and other digital resources using a checklist that outlines what makes an effective app based on research and guidance from respected authorities including the American Pediatric Association, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Supporting Remote Learning with Microsoft Learning Tools
Thursday, April 9 at 11:00am CDT/12:00pm EDT
Rachel Berger, AT Specialist
Presented by ATIA Member: Microsoft
This presentation will showcase Microsoft’s free Learning Tools that can be used to support student engagement and accessibility for users with learning differences.

Recording Online Content
Thursday, April 9 at 1:00pm CDT/2:00pm EDT
Liam Kelly, Manager of North American Sales, Note Taking Express
Presented by ATIA Member: Note Taking Express
This session explores the inbuilt features of Windows, iPhone, iPad and Macbooks that can capture the screens and audio, along with different ideas for recording content.

Supporting Students and Employees with Dyslexia at Home
Tuesday, April 14 at 11:00am CDT/12:00pm EDT
Chris Hughes, Founder, Present Pal; Cara Hunt, Head of Marketing, Present Pal; Euan Colley, Head of Product, Present Pal
Presented by ATIA Member: Present Pal
This course is an informal discussion about strategies and tools that students and employees with dyslexia can use to support themselves while working/studying from home.

AAC Language Lab Implementation Strategies
Wednesday, April 15 at 11:00am CDT/12:00pm EDT
Jane Odom, M.Ed
Presented by ATIA Member: PRC-Saltillo
The AAC Language Lab is now free. This session will dive into how to determine where to start, what is available and how to navigate all the lesson plans, activities and resources.

For more information, please visit the ATIA website…

Maine AgrAbility video highlights students’ learning on the farm

Buxton, Maine — Over the past year, Maine AgrAbility and partner Alpha One integrated agriculture into the curriculum of a peer mentoring program at Massabesic High School in York county. The program, funded by the Maine Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and supplemented with hands-on opportunities, culminated with summer work experiences on a local farm.

Sally Farrell, owner of Rummler Run farm in Buxton and former University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H professional in York County, agreed to introduce three of the students to daily life on her farm in summer 2019. The stories and experiences of those three students — practicing problem-solving, handling small livestock, helping ensure biosecurity practices — are told in the video “On the Farm.”

Maine AgrAbility, a collaborative project of UMaine Extension and Alpha One, is dedicated to helping farmers, fishermen and forest workers work safely and more productively. For more information, contact Leilani Carlson at 207.944.1533; leilani.carlson@maine.edu.

More information also is available on the UMaine Extension AgrAbility website.

About University of Maine Cooperative Extension:

As a trusted resource for over 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.

April 2020 Webinars

Maine CITE is offering the following webinars in April

Everyday Assistive Technology for People with Serious Mental Illness – Refresh

computer keyboardDate: April 1, 2020
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

This is an update and revision of a 2017 webinar of the same name. Dr. Gitlow was kind enough to return to discuss the latest information on this important topic.

People with serious mental illness often experience difficulties comprehending, processing new information and acting appropriately. Common issue include difficulty with attention, concentration, memory, and the ability to plan activities.

In this webinar, we Identify common psychosocial motor, cognitive, contextual, and environmental barriers which may interfere with the use of Assistive Technology (AT) and everyday technology (EDT) among individuals with SMI.

Presenter

  • Lynn Gitlow

Use this link for more information and to register for the Webinar: EveryDay Assistive Technology for people with Serious Mental Illness…


The following list of April 2020 webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Creating High-Quality and Accessible Video from AEM
April 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Learn AAC : AAC Resources in 4 Languages! From USSAAC
April 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm EST

We’re All in This Together: Four Cs for Supporting All Learners in the COVID-19 Crisis from AEM
April 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Creating Accessible Documents and Slide Decks from AEM
April 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Making Math Notation Accessible from AEM
April 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Basics of Remediating an Inaccessible PDF from AT3
April 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Aidan’s Path to Braille – An Alternative Approach to Literacy from TSBVI
April 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm EST

UDL in Action: Practical Ideas for the Classroom from SETC
April 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm EST

Learning Ally: Motivating Struggling Readers Through Literature from SETC
April 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

AAC Eval Genie: An Overview from SETC
April 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

GoTalkNow: A Tool for Literacy Instruction for all Learners from SETC
April 14, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Unleashing the Power of UDL: Top Digital Tools for the Inclusive Classroom! From AbleNet
April 15, 2020 at 2:00 pm EST

AAC: Introduction to CoughDrop from SETC
April 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

Working w/Students Using Switches: New and Emerging Technologies! from SETC
April 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm EST

AAC: Introduction to Speak for Yourself from SETC
April 28, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

 

Google Teach From Home

Google logoIn response to the rapidly changing educational landscape, Google has created a new resource for teachers Teach from Home. The new web resource is available in eleven languages and provides teachers with answers to many questions and links to make additional resources found on their Google in Education service. There is a complete section on accessibility that describes how to turn on and use access features in Chrome and on Chromebooks.

The Teach From Home resource is also available to download (in PDF) for teachers who have limited access to the internet.

Google has also created a complementary resources, Learn @ Home a guide for parents and guardians.  Google partnered with learning creators to bring parents and families meaningful resources and activities. These resources are not meant to replace homework assigned by teachers, but meant to complement that work.

Use this link to visit Teach From Home

 

AEM Center offers series of training on accessibility in distance learning

The AEM Center at CAST is offering free webinars on access and distance education for educators, parents, and those involved in remote instruction.

The series of six webinar, beginning on March 30, 2020 are designed to help educators who are now offering all of their lessons online – and parents – to support learners with disabilities, particularly those who use Assistive Technology (AT) and need Accessible Educational Materials (AEM).

Topics and dates are as follows:

Webinar 1: Personalizing the Reading Experience 
Monday, March 30, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

Webinar 2: Creating High-Quality and Accessible Video
Monday, April 6, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

Webinar 3: We’re All in This Together: Four Cs for Supporting All Learners in the COVID-19 Crisis 
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

Webinar 4: Creating Accessible Documents and Slide Decks
Monday, April 13, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

Webinar 5: We’re All in this Together: Communication and Collaboration In-the-Trenches
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

Webinar 6: Making Math Notation Accessible
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET

For those unable to attend the live sessions, all webinars will be recorded and archived.

Use this link to read complete program descriptions and sign up…