Nov 7th, 2014 by MDTAP Blog
Did you hear the news? MDTAP’s blog, “Where It’s AT,” got nominated for the Baltimore Sun’s Best Health & Wellness Blog of 2014!!! But we need your votes! So, every day between now and November 13th, you can place your vote. Find us listed as Maryland Assistive Technology Blog and vote for us right here – http://contests.baltimoresun.com/promotions/bs-mobbies. And after that, take a couple minutes to catch up on some of this week’s AT news, including a bone conducting headset for the blind, Twitter as a form of establishing memory, accessible voting, and more.
AT in the news for the week of 11/3 thru 11/7
Microsoft’s bone-conducting headset guides the blind with audio cues
SnapType for Occupational Therapy
Mind-Machine Science Will Change Everything
Apple Said To Develop 3D iPhone Display That Doesn’t Need Glasses
EyeComTec Explains how Medical Eye-Tracker may Bring Alternative Computer Vision and Assistive Technology
On Metrorail, a digital lifeline for blind riders
Dancing Dots: Accessible Music Technology for Blind & Low Vision Performers
Man loses episodic memory in traumatic brain injury; Twitter is helping him get it back
Reuse tip of the week for Durable Medical Equipment and Assistive Technology!
Government-backed competition to fund new assistive technologies
Devices for disabled showcased at A*STAR conference
The Center on Technology and Disability Institute Launches Website
Collaborative clinic reviews product design for disabled
ReWalk Motorized Device Helps People with Disabilities to Walk
Technology pioneered by UF researcher provides improved access for disabled
Purdue’s Breaking New Ground Resource Center helps farmers with disabilities continue working
HIMS Inc. to Visit 6 Cities in 3 Weeks to Demonstrate Life-changing Assistive Technology
Accessible Voting for Individuals with Disabilities
Nov 6th, 2014 by MDTAP Blog
FCC BEST PRACTICES
As part of an effort to improve caption quality, the FCC released new closed captioning best practices, which will go into effect on January 15, 2015.
VITAC, which worked with the agency to develop recommended practices, has condensed the 150-page document into a one-page reference sheet.
The new rules address realtime and offline captioning and aim to improve the captioning experience for all users. Quality captions are a team effort, so the regulations are divided into Video Programmer responsibilities and VITAC responsibilities. Highlights of the new responsibilities include:
- Caption prerecorded programs with offline workflow. “Live-to-tape” is no longer acceptable in most cases.
- Provide relevant prep materials for live shows, i.e. guest names, song lyrics, and show rundowns.
- Communicate caption issues to captioners in a timely manner.
- Ensure captions are verbatim, error-free, synched, and include speaker ID’s and sound effects.
- Verify Captioners are prepared and in position prior to their scheduled assignment.
- Monitor captions and alert video programmers of technical issues.
Nov 5th, 2014 by MDTAP Blog
Audio, such as background music, that automatically plays when a user comes to a web page can be very distracting and will interfere with screen reader audio. WCAG 2.0 Level A requires that “a mechanism is provided to stop, pause, mute, or adjust volume for audio that automatically plays on a page for more than 3 seconds”. It is usually better to not automatically play audio, but allow the user to manually play the audio if they choose.
Nov 3rd, 2014 by MDTAP Blog
Contributed by Lori Markland, Director of Communications, Outreach and Development, MDTAP
Right around this time of year, parents and teachers across the country meet for the first time as they begin to map out their students’ academic paths during parent-teacher conferences. This year, in my house, these meetings were met with mixed emotions. While my older child is excelling in her third grade classes, it was immediately made clear that my kindergartener is not. With struggles that include inability to consistently identify letters and numbers, to anxiety and forgetfulness, I left that meeting ready to do what many parents do – practice, practice, practice with her at home. And research online late at night.
And although we don’t know yet whether she has an identifiable learning disability, it is clear my child is struggling. And I need to help her. And help other parents who are walking a similar path. In my efforts to do so, I found Understood, a website dedicated to providing resources for children with learning and attention issues. It includes a plethora of information including school and learning resources, parent coaching based on the child’s individual needs, Twitter chats with experts on a variety of topics, simulation videos to give parents a sense of what their child might be experiencing, assistive technology recommendations, a parent and expert community to live chat, and WAY more.
As a nice aside, the site also includes a Spanish option and text-to-speech built in for anyone who may need it.
Oct 30th, 2014 by MDTAP Blog
Contributed by Provi Sharpe, Director of Emergency Management and Reuse Activities, MDTAP
Home Safety for Families with Children who have a Disability
The Disaster Resistant Communities Group, located in Tallahassee, Florida, provides disaster planning and preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation services to local government agencies and departments as well as community and faith based organizations. Their services include Just In Time Disaster Training videos. This is an on-line video library which provides a single, easy to search source in which individuals, agencies and organizations can access training videos on various topics including home safety and disaster preparedness.
Their video series Just In Time Disaster Training – Home Safety for Families with Children Who Have a Disability, offer:
- Water Safety for Families with Children with Special Needs
- Poison Prevention for Families with Children with Special Needs
- Fall Prevention for Families with Children with Special Needs
- Burn Prevention for Families with Children with Special Needs
- Choking Prevention for Families with Children with Special Needs
Numerous videos can also be found on YouTube – just search for videos on safety tips for families with children with special needs.