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 

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.

Webinars June 2019 and beyond…

Maine CITE webinars in June 2019

Assistive Technology (AT) for Medication Management

Date: June 6, 2019
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm

medication bottle

Often a critical skill needed for living independently and maintaining health is the ability to effectively manage medications. This webinar explores available Assistive Technology (AT) devices designed to improve safety and independence for persons with disabilities and seniors to manage their meds. The presenter will outline common challenges with medication management and review numerous available and affordable AT solutions for persons of all ages, needs and abilities.

Presenter: Christine Martin, MS, OTR/L, CBIS

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar Assistive Technology (AT) for Medication Management

‘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 impairment 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

OTHEr Webinars in June 2019

Thank you to the Center for Accessible Technology for the following list. Use this link if you wish to be on their mailing list.

Global Symbols: Design and use of symbols that reflect local language and culture from USSAAC on June 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm Eastern

5 Guidelines for Accessibility Heroes from NC-AEM
June 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern

Twice Exceptionality in the Digital Age: Strategies For helping Students Tap Into Strengths Using Innovative Technology from AbleNet
June 5, 2019, at 3:00 pm Eastern

Aided Language: from Research to Practice (AAC) from AbleNet
June 11, 2019 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Using the VPAT in Purchasing Decisions from NC-AEM
June 11, 2019  at 2:00 pm Eastern

Using Technology to Support Executive Function and Focus on the Job from PACER
June 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm Eastern

 

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 

Innovative AT for Individuals with Autism

The following webinar is from edWeb…

Innovative Technology for Individuals with Autism

Thursday, May 16, 2019 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT

Presented by Christian Karter, M.A., Educational Technology Specialist, Monarch Center for Autism

Program Description

iPadIndividuals with autism benefit significantly from leaps and changes in technologies. Please join Christian Karter, M.A., Educational Technology Specialist at Monarch Center for Autism to learn about the latest in technologies and apps that are being deployed to help further their education and lives. In this edWebinar, Christian will also discuss emerging technologies that are coming to the market in the next few years.

This edWebinar will be of interest to preK-12 teachers, school and district leaders, therapists, and specialists. There will be time to get your questions answered after Christian’s presentation.

About the Presenter

Christian Karter, M.A. is the educational technology specialist at Monarch Center for Autism, a division of Bellefaire JCB, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He holds a master’s degree in community counseling and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from John Carroll University. He has worked at Monarch Center for Autism for 12 years as an associate teacher in the classroom and in his present role. His chief responsibilities include iPad deployment, Monarch’s PAIRS data system management, and introduction of new technologies into the classrooms.

Use this link for more information and to register…

 

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.

Accessible Media and Services for Students

Blind person walking in mall with guide dogThe Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) is a leading national source for accessible educational content, providing services for students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Families and school personnel with early learners through Grade 12 students can register for free access to over 6,000 Educational Media titles on-demand and on DVD. DCMP’s Learning Center contains a wealth of information related to education, accessibility, deafness, blindness, and other related topics. DCMP provides Media Accessibility Guidelines through our Captioning Key and Description Key, used by media professionals as well as amateurs around the world.

The Described and Captioned Media Program provides premium media designed for students with disabilities and leads as a resource for families and teachers, supported by the federal Department of Education.

A recent additions to their website, Is Your Student Ready for What Comes Next? provides a set of resources to assist students in the Transition process. Some of the resources include:

  • Map It: What Comes Next is a free, online, interactive training designed for transition-aged students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • The Getting a Job! online training was developed and designed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and the professionals who work with them.  Focusing on the transition from school to work, the training offers a series of activities, supporting documents and topical videos designed to help the job seeker prepare for the world of work.  All the videos in the modules are presented in ASL, and are also voiced in English and captioned.

Additional videos and resources include:

  • Real Life 101: College Prep – With college just ahead of them, the hosts visit with some people who help students prepare for this milestone.
  • Real Life 101: Vocational Training – In this video a career planner discusses how to find the right career for the right person.
  • Paying Your Way Through College – This video helps viewers understand four-key financial aid sources: scholarships, grants, work-study, and student loans.
  • Biz Kid$ – Public television’s Emmy Award-winning financial education series of 65 videos for teens and preteens. Each video has a lesson guide, and the Biz Kid$ website has many additional ideas for learning activities.

Most of the resources on the website require a FREE DCMP membership which may be applied for on the site.

AT3 Center News and Tips for May

NewspapersThe National Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training (AT3) Center provides training and technical assistance for all AT Act Section 4 State and Territory Assistive Technology Programs, including Maine CITE, and supports a website that makes general AT information available to the public and other stakeholders.

The most recent AT3 News and Tips publication has just been released and may be viewed at this location... Articles include information about new AT devices, AT Reuse and Recycling efforts around the country and information about how to make videos accessible.