Friday, November 30, 2012

The GReAT Conference!

Are you going? 

Every year since I've been an Occupational Therapist I have looked forward to, and attended NCATP's Assistive Technology EXPO. Last year, they did not hold it. I never was able to find out why, but I imagine it came down to funding. This year, they are back on.

The EXPO is always a terrific place to see and hear about the latest in Assistive Technology.  One of the interesting factors about this conference is you see AT providers and AT users/family members in attendance.

WHEN: December 5th – 7th, 2012
WHERE: Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, NC

This year, attend two motivational and inspirational keynote addresses:

Tom Hartman: Artist living with MS using assistive technology to paint and work and,
Allison Massari: International motivational speaker, Artist, and TBI/Burn Injury Survivor.

Choose from over 30 sessions focusing on rehabilitation and assistive technology:
Tracks: Vision, Education, Employment, Exhibitor, Independent Living
  •   Celebrate award winners for their work in rehabilitation and assistive technology. th
  •   Visit the FREE-Open to the Public-Exhibit Hall on December 6 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM with 50 plus vendors
  •   Network with individuals, family members, educators, counselors, assistive technology professionals, engineers, vendors, and others
    Registration Includes:
    All sessions: opening, closing, breakout sessions.
    Awards ceremony on December 5th
    Evening networking event with Exhibitiors on December 5th Continental breakfast on December 6th and 7th
    Box lunch on December 6th
    Exhibit hall (Thursday, December 6th ONLY)
    Hotel Options: Two options within walking distance:
    Sheraton Raleigh Hotel: 421 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27601 919.834.9900
    Raleigh Marriott City Center: 500 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC 27601 919.833.1120
    Other options from the Visit Raleigh website Convention Center Parking: Decks I and E: (see map insert)

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Technologies merging...

Tildee Tutorial
A resource teacher that I work with just emailed me this really cool link. It is a tildee tutorial for Dragon Dictate on an iTouch that she made. I've blogged about both tools before, and I love that she made this tutorial about Dragon Dictate using Tildee, and is sharing it with staff and parents!

Here is the tildee blog, and here is the Dragon Dictate blog.

Happy Therapy!

And here's an addendum: she just sent me a second tutorial on how to email your Dictation to your self.  Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

AT Classifieds in NC

Need a piece of equipment but maybe your funding is all used up? Want to find a home for a piece of equipment you are no longer using?

It is with this in mind that the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program (NCATP) publishes the Assistive Technology Exchange Post.  Think of it as a Craigslist in North Carolina for Assistive Technology equipment.

Sorry out-of-state friends, only residents of North Carolina may list assistive technology items for sale on the Assistive Technology Exchange Post. Designed to facilitate equipment exchange between individuals the program is not for the use of vendors or distributors.

NCATP does not profit from the sale of listed devices, nor do they warranty items listed, so do shop with both eyes open!

Happy Technology!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Visules: simple, clean To-Do lists

Visules is an app for iDevices that allows caregivers to quickly and easily create picture schedules on the fly. Visules is very simple, streamlined and effective. Retailing for $4.99 it is a bargain. 

Dean Huff, creator and owner of Visules writes that "as a father of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I have learned that communicating visually with my son is often the most effective way.  As a professional application developer and avid iPhone user, I knew we needed to have "an app for that."   The result is Visules, which communicates checklists and individual cues using text, images, and colors.

Visules is very streamlined and has two collections, actions and flows.   

Actions are individual cues.  You can make your own actions using your camera or images you find online.

Flows are series of actions.  Flows let you create a to-do list for the user. When they've finished a step, touching that word or icon places a check in the right side indicating it's done.

List Mode is the setting to use Visules. Actions and Flows are not editable in this setting.

Edit Mode  is the editable mode. 

For a simple, easy to use scheduler, Visules is hard to beat.

Happy Therapy!

Pwning Assistive Technology in School! NCDPI EC OT Institute

On November 14th, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Occupational Therapy Institute, a day long, annual event which is part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children's Conference. My topic was how Occupational Therapists deliver Assisitve Technology in a school environment. I had a terrific time, and think the presentation was successful.

Here is the link to my Prezi presentation. Enjoy, and feel free to comment or ask questions!

Happy Therapy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Join Me: Intervention for Visually Impaired Individuals

I have long been a fan of LogMeIn, software which allows me to help my wife or sons when they are struggling with something on their computers (say adding a printer).  LogMeIn was designed for remote management over the web.  So, I can be at work, and my wife at her work, and she may call to ask for help. Sometimes I can talk her through a process, but other times, I really need to drive the computer. LogMeIn allows for that, even if her laptop is across town.

The folks at LogMeIn have taken their remote management and streamlined it to allow users to share what is on their computer screen with other users, specifically on iPads. The beauty of this is that the viewer can view, but cannot edit. JoinMeIn was originally designed with a business user in mind, but really is an amazing tool for our students with visual impairment (VI).

Imagine the teacher using the SmartBoard, and all the students are engaged watching the lesson unfold. Some VI students might follow along by pointing their closed circuit tv at the SmartBoard Screen, but this is not ideal because the image quality is not great (CCTVs are not really designed for this use).  Now imagine that the VI student is able to watch the lesson on his/her iPad, even taking screen shots of salient images. The student is able to expand, and hone in on anything they deem important. Watch the "how-to" video here.

JoinMe is free. To use it, first download the iDevice app here. Or, if your an Android user, get the app here.  Then get the software for your computer. PC users here, and Mac users here.

Happy Therapy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

iPad Success Story

I shared this story at the NC DPI EC Conference on the 14th, and thought I'd share here as well.

One student we are involved with has significant visual impairments. Lets call her Adison. She's a smart middle-schooler who works hard.

In school Adison uses a laptop with ZoomText, a portable CCTV and an iPad with Read2Go and Learning Alleys to access her curriculum.

About a month ago, Adison's mother shared with me that all her life, Adison has been reluctantly attending her brother's soccer games. Adison is reluctant because she can not see what is going on, and the noise gives her headaches. So, there really is very little pleasurable about the experience for her. However, at one particular game, of her own initiative, Adison got out her iPad, opened the camera, zoomed in on the game, and watched her first soccer match ever! Pretty powerful stuff!

More recently, Adison's mom shared with me that Adison used her iPad to view pH strips in Science class, when her CCTV was unavailable.

What a tremendous tool the iPad is proving to be for this young student. I especially love that Adison thought of these uses on her own.

Do you have interesting success stories such as this one? I'd love to hear some!

Happy Therapy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

OT Institute: Greensboro, NC

Hey Tech Ninjas!

Occupational Therapy Institue, Nov. 14, 2012
My writings have been a bit sporadic of late. Apologies for that.  I have been preparing a presentation for Occupational Therapy Institute at the NC DPI 62nd Annual Conference on Exceptional Children.

I have been so excited about the technology that we've been working with here in our district, and the impact it is having on our children, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm and ideas with other Occupational Therapists in our state.

At this point, I'm ready, and I'm filled with a mixture of excitement and a wee bit of OMG's at the notion of presenting in front of such a large crowd.

So, after tomorrow, I will be back to sharing ideas here, and hope you'll be back to read and share yours with us.

Happy Therapy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Keeping Tabs: Addendum

Hey folks, so I have had mixed responses to the prior posting about "respecting our children's privacy". I appreciate everyone's feedback, and realize that as parents we have to make difficult decisions about how we monitor our kids.  What works for one family may not work for another. All I can really say is good luck! Parenting can be challenging to say the least.

A parent emailed me and asked what to do if her child's phone number wasn't appearing in the list of options. Follow these steps to address this issue.

Remember from the prior post how to open your Settings, and go to Messages? Refer back to the prior blog if need be. You need to get to "Messages", than "Send & Receive", at the bottom in "Start New Conversation From" (circled in red), check the phone number.

Now on your computer, open up "Messages". 

Next, click on "Messages" in the top left menu, and click on "Preferences".  

When the "Preferences" window opens, click on "Accounts". On the right side of the window, click on "Add Email". Add your child's phone number is the following format: 999-999-9999.

You will then be prompted with a message about a verification email. This email will be sent to the phone 

Email with questions!  Happy Parenting!