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Contributed by the editorial team at mesothelioma.net

 

The Effects of Assistive Technologies on Cancer Rehab Patients

 

After a diagnosis of cancer, patients can feel overwhelmed. Often, the first order of business is to decide on a treatment plan to slow or stop the progression of the disease, or to alleviate pain. Not only can cancers (such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, leukemia and others) lead to debilitation, but sometimes the treatments do, as well.

 

That’s where assistive technologies come in. Such tech can range from fairly simple items like wheelchairs, walkers, or chair lifters to advanced computing aids like eye-trackers, software programs, and voice recognition devices.

 

Whether it’s a Braille text, a cochlear implant, or weighted eating utensils that help people with tremors to feed themselves, assistive technology devices all have one thing in common. They allow those who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other diseases to function as independently as possible.

 

The value of such independence, and of the ability to perform daily activities as “normally” as possible, can hardly be underestimated. Cancer patients who experience the deterioration of their physical abilities can feel hopeless and frustrated, which in turn may affect their desire to continue treatment.

 

In fact, studies show that people diagnosed with cancer experience more profound psychosocial distress than their caregivers may realize. Naturally, after their diagnosis, patients may experience anger, sadness, despair, and then hope as they begin to pursue treatment. In addition to these common emotions, however, they may be worried about becoming a burden to their families, about the embarrassment of losing their motor skills or control of their bodily functions, about the cost to their families of rehabilitation, and much more.

 

Maintaining independence in daily living is a vital factor when it comes to the psychological well-being of cancer patients, particularly for those afflicted with a rare and terminal cancer. Being able to feed oneself, take care of personal hygiene with minimal help, get dressed, and sleep comfortably are abilities that healthy individuals often take for granted. During treatment for or rehabilitation from cancer, these tasks can become increasingly difficult.

 

While canes, walkers, and wheelchairs have been around for centuries — evidence of the first wheelchair dates all the way back to the 5th Century BC — exciting new advances in super high-tech assistive devices like exoskeletons promise more mobility for paraplegics and others who have lost their ability to walk than ever before.

 

Perhaps even more important than mobility and personal care, however, is the ability to communicate effectively with friends and loved ones. In recent decades, technological advances have made communication easier for everyone, but benefit cancer patients and others with disabilities in particular.

 

Communication devices like the Boogie Board, which is a digital slate that can be used over and over again, or a robotic table that allows bedridden patients to stay connected with the wider world through the internet, can be literal lifesavers for those who cannot speak due to diseases like throat cancer or mesothelioma.

 

There’s no denying that living with advanced cancers is a challenge, but thanks to the software, robotics, and engineering industries that develop assistive devices, patients are able to maintain their freedom and independence longer and more effectively.

 

Contributed by Eric Van Buskirk, Publisher at DOPA

I Write, Therefore I Am: Assistive Technology Bridges The Handwriting Gap

As technology advances, there is help available for those suffering from impairments related to writing. Dyslexia, for example, creates problems for young people learning to write. When others can’t understand what they express with pencil and paper, their broader educational interests may be stifled.  In the context of social communication, writing is even more important than it was 20 years ago. We communicate by text messaging, social media, and email.  Spoken and in person communication is far less common than it was just twenty years ago. New communication driven by keyboards can be more practical for the person with handwriting problems, but keyboards are not the answer for everyone challenged by handwriting.

Click here to read the rest of this blog post to discover 9 AT Tools for People with Dysgraphia.

 

Contributed by Alex Diaz-Granados, Chief Editor at Cerebral Palsy Guidance

 

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that some children are born with due to brain malformation or damage. It is not progressive or curable, and the symptoms and severity vary from one child to the next. The condition largely affects movement and muscles, but can have wide-ranging complications from hearing loss to intellectual disability. Because there is no cure, many children with cerebral palsy can benefit from assistive technology, such as mobility aids.

 

The Limits of Treatment

There are many treatment options for cerebral palsy, and they vary depending on what a child’s symptoms or complications are. But there is no cure for the condition, so treatments are necessarily limited. For instance, surgery can be used to restore some mobility to a child with painful and stiff muscle tone, but she may still not be able to walk easily.

 

Another child with cerebral palsy may go through physical therapy to improve fine motor skills but still be unable to grip a pencil. When treatment for cerebral palsy has done as much as it can for a child, assistive technology can play an additional role in helping that child adapt to and thrive in the world.

 

Assistive Technology for Mobility

One of the most important types of assistive technology for children with cerebral palsy is for improving mobility. While every child with this condition has unique symptoms, nearly all have some degree or type of issue with mobility, from over-toned muscles to limited joint movement to involuntary or spastic muscle movements.

 

Some examples include walkers or canes to help with walking and stability, or wheelchairs for those children who really struggle to walk at all. Orthotics, or braces, can help a child walk more easily or move his hands or arms better. A child may also benefit from a scooter, an adaptive tricycle, a special car seat, a stair glide or mechanical lift, or even an adaptive vehicle.

 

Other Types of Assistive Technology

Children with cerebral palsy often have a variety of other symptoms and complications related to the condition but not to mobility and assistive devices can help. For instance, a child may have hearing loss and can benefit from hearing aids and other auditory technology. Assistive educational tools, such as writing implements or computers and mobile devices that are easier to use, are important in school. Communication tools can also be great assistive technology, as some children have speech difficulties.

 

Cerebral palsy comes with many different symptoms, some more severe than others. But children living with this condition can make use of a variety of assistive technologies that make moving, learning, communicating, and just getting involved and participating, much easier and more possible.

 

Contributed by Erin Swann, MSE, ATP

 

It’s mid-August already, which means that the new school year is just around the corner!

In preparing to go back to school, take some time to select a few apps that will make your life easier.  Below are 11 app suggestions for college students with disabilities.  And feel free to share these apps with any college student, because they are useful to students without disabilities as well!

 

App Name Cost Category Platform Description
MyStudyLife

my study life app icon

Free Schedule

Reminders

Organization

iOS

Android

Windows

-Keep track of classes, exams, assignments, tasks

-Get reminders

 

NaturalReader

 

NaturalReader Pro

natural reader app icon

Free

$9.99

Reading iOS

Android

Windows

Mac

-Text to speech (PDFs, Word Documents, eBooks, webpages)

-OCR

-Text to audio file

VoiceDream Reader

voice dream reader app icon

$14.99 Reading

Notetaking

iOS -Text to speech (PDFs, Word Documents, eBooks, webpages)

-Highlighting

-Change text size/color

-Take notes

Voice Dream Writer

voice dream writer app icon

$9.99 Writing iOS -Voice dictation

-Text to speech for proofreading

-Phonetic search

-Meaning search

-Easy outline organization

Fleksy Keyboard

fleksy keyboard app icon

Free Writing iOS

Android

-Number row extension

-One-handed typing extension

-Editing gestures for faster writing

-Auto correct

-Supports 42 languages

Ideament

ideament app icon

Free

$3.99

Brainstorming

Mapping

iOS

Windows

-Switch between mind map and outline views

-Create mind maps, concept maps, flow charts

-Cloud saving/sharing

MindMeister (Mind Mapping)

mind meister app icon

For Students:

$2.50/month

Or

$4.17/month

Brainstorming

Mapping

iOS

Android

Windows

Mac

-Create mind maps

-Real-time collaboration

-Converts mind maps into presentations

Quizlet

quizlet app icon

Free

$19.99/year

Studying iOS

Android

Windows

Mac

-Pre-made study sets

-Create study sets

-Create flashcards

-Learning games

-Study reminders

iAnnotate

iannotate app icon

$9.99 Notetaking

Studying

iOS -Add notes with pen, highlighter, typewriter

-Works with PDF, DOC, XLS, PPT, IMAGE, WEB

-Access documents in the cloud

Evernote

evernote app icon

Free

$34.99/year

$69.99/year

Notetaking

Organization

iOS

Android

Windows

Mac

-Save and organize notes

-Sync between devices

-Forward emails to notes

-Search PDFs and Docs

AudioNote

audio note app icon

Free

$6.99/year

Notetaking iOS

Android

Windows

Mac

-Import slides or PDFs to annotate

-Record audio and add notes later

 

 

Maryland ABLE Information Webinar & FAQs

Friday March 10, 2017, 11am – Noon

 Topics to be covered include:

  • Understanding the basics of the Maryland ABLE Program 
  • Learning more about where Maryland is in the implementation process 
  • Understanding how federal policies affect Maryland ABLE
  • FAQs as identified from the statewide ABLE Listening Sessions

 

This webinar will be recorded and archived.

 

ABLE Webinar Registration is free but limited to 100 participants. Live captioning will be provided for this session.

Maryland ABLE is looking for your feedback! Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey on features and benefits that you would like to see included in the Maryland ABLE accounts!
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MDABLE2017

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