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Contributed by Zoe Chen from Zoomax

Zoomax is a company based out of China, with an online store for people in the US, that provides assistive technology solutions to help people with low-vision.

Zoomax has put together a blog post detailing information about vision impairment, treatment options, and assistive technology considerations for those with low vision.  To learn more about vision impairment and potential treatments or technology aids, click to read more in this Zoomax blog post: ABOUT VISUAL IMPAIRMENT: CAUSE, TREATMENT, TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Contributed by Jackson Lindeke from Best Mattress Reviews

The team at Best Mattress Reviews has compiled information about Autism and ADHD as it relates to sleep disorders and symptoms that are caused by a lack of sleep.

Check out the information as well as tips for improving sleep disorders in their guide: Autism, ADHD, and Sleep

Please share the article with anyone who has trouble sleeping as the tips can be applied to everyone!

 

Contributed by Andy Adrion of TekGear

I would like to introduce the Twiddler, the one-handed Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that lets you type faster wherever you go and is programmable. You can program and change the keys to suit your needs. You can even set it to store blocks of text that can be typed with a single chord, making dreaded data entry as easy as can be.

The Twiddler has enough keys and can easily be configured to represent the entire Braille alphabet and numbers. Read more about Braille configurations here.

With a little practice, average users can type 30-60 wpm. The handy customization features allow you to key in anything up to 260 wpm.

The Twiddler lets you type and navigate faster on your mobile phone, tablet, or wearable without the hindrance of a bulky traditional keyboard.

Please review the site twiddler.tekgear.com for more information.

 

Debra Young, an Occupational Therapist, has created an online resource for accessible design called Nest for Life.  Through a series of growing YouTube videos, she shares tips for making your home easier to use and access.

Check out the YouTube video tips for accessible design.

You can also follow Nest for Life on Facebook.

And on Twitter.

Examples of video topics include, Wide Doors and Doorways, This Kitchen Faucet Makes Life Easier, and Turning on Your Lights…like a BOSS!

Check out the videos and share with someone who might benefit!

 

Contact: Lori Markland 

443-769-1057

lmarkland@maryland529.org

 

Maryland ABLE logo

 

MARYLAND ABLE OPENS FOR ENROLLMENT


Baltimore, MD (November 28, 2017) — Marylanders with disabilities now have a new way to save for the future. Maryland 529 is pleased to announce the launch of Maryland ABLE, an innovative and landmark investment program that offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save money without jeopardizing access to federal and state means-tested benefits. The Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (“ABLE”) is a federal law which allows states to establish and maintain these accounts. The Maryland ABLE Act was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan on April 12, 2016.

Established in partnership with the State of Oregon and Sumday Administration, LLC, Maryland ABLE is now accepting online enrollment to its diverse financial investment options available through an accessible, easy-to-use website. With access to online account customization, account management, online recordkeeping, and a specialized customer service team, Maryland ABLE anticipates reaching a large number of eligible Marylanders with disabilities. 

“The launch of the Maryland ABLE program is a culmination of a bipartisan effort by citizens, advocates, and lawmakers working together to ensure that Marylanders with disabilities have the ability to save money while maintaining access to important benefits,” said Governor Hogan. “This new program will offer the financial security that so many families and individuals need, and is one more way in which we are changing Maryland for the better.”

“I am thrilled to see Maryland’s ABLE program launch after working for several sessions on the legislation to create this much needed financial tool,” stated Senator Brian Feldman, one of the Maryland ABLE bill sponsors in 2016, “ABLE accounts may assist up to 50,000 disabled Marylanders and their families in setting aside money on a tax-advantaged basis that can be used to support their health, independence and a better quality of life.”

ABLE accounts across the nation allow for up to $14,000 in annual contributions (increasing to $15,000 in 2018), the opportunity to save up to $100,000 before impacting Social Security Income (SSI) cash benefits, the opportunity to grow assets tax free, and the opportunity to withdrawal funds tax free as long as the money is used for qualified disability expenses.

“The ABLE Act will make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of Marylanders with disabilities. It will help provide the resources they need to save for the future and be successful” noted Senator Craig Zucker, sponsor of the 2016 Maryland ABLE bill.

Features of the Maryland ABLE plan include the opportunity to save up to $350,000 over the lifetime of the account, access to an income deduction on Maryland State taxes of up to $2,500 for account contributions per beneficiary, and a minimum initial contribution of $25 to open the account. Once the investment options are chosen, there will be a $35 annual account maintenance fee and additional asset-based fees charged indirectly to the portfolio assets. Maryland ABLE will offer one FDIC-insured cash option and three investment options with distinct investment objectives, allowing Marylanders the freedom to pay for today’s needed disability expenses while saving for the future. In addition, Maryland ABLE will unroll a Prepaid MasterCard option in early 2018.

“Maryland ABLE offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to save money in a way not possible before. I believe that for many, this will lead to greater personal empowerment and a financial freedom that was previously not attainable,” said Nancy Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer and Chair of the Maryland 529 Board. “I’m delighted to see this culmination of advocacy and hard work result in a program that will positively impact the personal financial goals of so many Marylanders with disabilities.”

Maryland is among a select group of states offering ABLE programs across the United States. For more information on Maryland ABLE and to enroll, visit www.marylandable.org.

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About Maryland ABLE

Maryland ABLE accounts are a new way to help individuals with disabilities save money and pay for qualified disability-related expenses without jeopardizing federal means-tested benefits such as SSI or Medicaid. Maryland ABLE is focused on helping citizens with disabilities achieve greater financial security, build wealth, and contribute to long-term economic stability. 

Learn more about Maryland ABLE at marylandable.org

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Contributed by Erin Swann, MSE, ATP

With Black Friday quickly approaching, now is typically the best time of year to purchase an Amazon Echo product.  Other than the Amazon Echo, other Amazon Echo product options include the Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot.

You have probably heard about or seen commercials for the voice-controlled device called the Amazon Echo. But have you thought about ways this device could help someone with a disability?

Memory:

  • Using the Find My Phone function, the Echo can cause your phone to ring letting you know where it is located.
  • The Echo can have reminders programmed to let you know when to take your medicine or when to take a stretch break at work.
  • A timer can be set to let you know when your food is ready to come out of the oven or when it’s time to change your laundry from the washer to the dryer.

Cognitive:

  • The echo can tell you the day, time, and weather.
  • Words can be spelled and defined.

Physical:

  • With the use of external devices, the Amazon Echo can be used to turn on lights and fans or control door locks, the thermostat, or the TV.
  • Audiobooks can be read to you so you don’t have to turn the pages.
  • You can add items to your shopping list or to do list by voice as well as place orders through Amazon.
  • You can call, text, or email friends or family in case of an emergency using a voice command.

And that’s just the beginning.  New functions are being added to the Amazon Echo all the time.  If you would like to see a demonstration and learn more about the Amazon Echo, contact the Maryland Technology Assistance Program by calling 1-800-832-4827 or emailing mdtap@mdtap.org to schedule an appointment.

 

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MDTAP | 2301 Argonne Drive, Room T17 Baltimore, Maryland 21218| Voice: 410-554-9230 Toll Free ⁄ Voice 1-800-832-4827|Email: mdtap@mdtap.org