News You Can Use
When we find useful information related to assistive technology or disability, we'll post it here.
December 4, 2001: Data Regarding Wheelchairs
We received this from Chris Swift, a student at Harper Adams University College in the United Kingdom: "I am a research student in the UK currently looking into powered wheelchair vibration during use over different surfaces. I am particularly interested in discovering what design improvements could be made to the cheaper chairs (< Â£4,000 UK) to make them more comfortable to use outdoors. As part of the background research I am collecting data regarding wheelchair usage, makes & models, together with peoples general opinions on wheelchair ride comfort. In order to collect this background data I have put a survey form on the project site, http://www.va17.dial.pipex.com/wbv/ ."
Link to source: http://www.va17.dial.pipex.com/wbv/.
November 27, 2001: Writing Legally Correct and Educationally Appropriate IEPs
On December 6, 2001, the American Council on Rural Special Education (ACRES) continues its series of teleseminars on issues critical to special education in rural school districts. The next teleseminar, "Writing Legally Correct and Educationally Appropriate IEPs", will be presented by Dr. Mitchell Yell, Professor in Special Education at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Yell will present an overview of the legal requirements of the Indevidualized Education Program (IEP) planning process, including the changes in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997. The required contents of the IEP, focusing on measurable annual goals, benchmarks and short-term objectives, and behavior intervention plans, will also be discussed. Additionally, a framework for developing legally and educationally appropriate IEPs will be proposed. This ACRES teleseminar will be of interest to educators, administrators, parents, and other concerned professionals. Please share this information with your colleagues in schools, on school boards, and in State Departments of Education (a flier is attached for forwarding). The teleseminar is presented via telephone. With a simple telephone call, participants can receive quality, low cost information without the hassles of travel, lodging and large registration fees; AND, for one registration fee and the use of a speakerphone, many people can participate. If you are unable to participate, audio tapes will be available following the teleseminar presentation.
Link to source: http://www.ksu.edu/acres/teleconf_news.htm.
November 13, 2001: SignTel., Inc. Announces Signing Video Clips "On Demand" for Internet Sites
SignTel, Inc. announced today a new service, bridging global communications between the hearing and the deaf. The Sign Language Video Clips service by SignTel enables any business or individual to purchase, for a nominal fee, video clips that sign desired sentences to visitors to web sites, or enable usage with material presentations such as Microsoft's Power Point. Webmasters, or web designers, can now include on their site any chosen sentences to appear in sign language on their web site, by submitting such selected text to SignTel's Signing Video Clips engine. The respective generated signs are sent back as e-mail with attached video clips ready for use. When used in presentations, users who acquire SignTel Video Clips can easily integrate them into any presentation material. SignTel Video Clips are fully "508 compatible", that is, they can be used by all groups, whether they are deaf, blind, deaf-blind or deaf low vision. The Clips include descriptive text portions that make them accessible for screen readers. There are two price tiers of this inexpensive service: $14.95 for any signed sentence for a business or individual and $9.95 if the purchasing entity is a not-for-profit organization. A reasonable length of sentence is considered not to exceed 24 words. "Our aim is to provide to as many web sites as possible, the capability of being Deaf friendly" said Raanan Liebermann, President and CEO of SignTel. "To enhance wide use of the service, SignTel also enables its Video Clips to be used with such products as Microsoft Power Point and in addition offers commercial incentives" added Dr. Liebermann. The incentives allow for an automatic referral fee paid by SignTel to any web site that previously purchased such service and from which a new order comes through a link to its web site (signtelinc.com). Under the incentive plan, any request for Signing Video Clips will automatically credit such linking web site with 15% of the collected amounts. Furthermore, any purchase of one or more Signtel Interpreter(s) orders received through such linking web sites will credit these sites with 3% of the collected amounts. SignTel, Inc. introduced the Signtel Interpreter earlier in August this year and also announced this month a consumer version of that product at a greatly reduced price of $499.95. The Signtel Interpreter translates speech and text to seamless sign language and is conceptually accurate, and recognizes over 30,000 words, including over 1000 idioms. The commercial version of the Signtel Interpreter is sold either as a software only product or mounted on a laptop.
October 26, 2001: Cochlear Implant Presentation on Capitol Hill
The Deafness Research Foundation and the National Campaign for Hearing Health will make a presentation to the Congressional Health Caucus on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. in Room B339 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. The presentation/discussion will address the technology behind cochlear implants, as well as the pros and cons of implantation. Lunch will be served promptly at noon and the presentation follows.
October 19, 2001: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
President Bush has designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. As part of this event, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the Presidential Task Force on the Employment of Adults with Disabilities are sponsoring Disability Mentoring Day: Career Development for the 21st Century on October 24. Many public and private employers will be taking part in this day.
October 16, 2001: National Organization on Disability
The National Organization on Disability has gathered a variety of resources (links to organizations, article, publications) pertaining to disaster preparedness and safety for people with disabilities.
Link to source: http://www.nod.org/.
October 11, 2001: Spanish Version of Healthfinder Introduced
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently announced the launch of Healthfinder® Espanol, a Spanish-language Web site that helps consumers track down reliable health information quickly and easily on the Internet. Available at www.healthfinder.gov/espanol, this new easy-to-use Spanish-language consumer resource offers over 300 topics from 70 government agencies and nonprofit organizations. A unique feature of Healthfinder® Espanol is the ease with which users of the site can switch between Spanish and English versions of the same information. English-speaking family members or health professionals can use this feature to search in English for information to share with Spanish-speaking relatives or patients.
October 5, 2001: Steven James Tingus Named Director of National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the appointment of Steven Tingus to be the director of NIDRR
Link to source: http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10052001b.html.
September 15, 2001: 711 Provides Nationwide Access to Telecommunication Relay Service
The Federal Communication Commission has announced that on October 1, the familiar calling shortcuts of 911 and 411 will be joined by 711 - the new three digit number for free access to all Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) throughout the U.S.
September 14, 2001: Fred's Head is proud to introduce "Brainwaves"
Fred's Head is proud to introduce "Brainwaves," an online contest for the blind and visually impaired community. Every other week, Fred's Head will post a question. We will post the best answers--that is those that save someone who is blind or visually impaired time, trouble, effort or money on a special web page here at The American Printing House for the Blind (APH). Every month, we will randomly draw one winner from the posted answers; that person wins a $25 gift certificate from APH! Rules & Guidelines: You do not have to be blind or visually impaired to enter. On the first business day of each month, we'll draw a name from the pool of respondents whose answers were posted in Fred's Head Brain Waves the previous month. Winners will be notified by email with instructions on how to redeem their $25 APH Gift Certificate. You can use your $25 APH gift certificate toward the purchase of any APH products excluding those which can only be purchased using Federal Quota Funds. Rules subject to change.
Link to source: http://www.aph.org/fh/fhbwindex.htm.
September 7, 2001: National Institutes of Health (NIH) is beginning a nationwide Call for 2002 Council of Public Representatives (COPR) Applications
The Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is beginning a nationwide Call for 2002 Council of Public Representatives (COPR) Applications. The Director's Council of Public Representatives offers a public forum for discussing such key NIH issues as priority setting, clinical trials and managed care, privacy and genetics, and health disparities among various populations. COPR members review and advise on NIH priorities and mechanisms for public input to NIH decisions. The COPR application deadline is October 23, 2001. The applicants will be notified by December 2001 and the term will begin April 1, 2002. There will also be an announcement about this call for applications in the September 7, 2001, Federal Register. The 2002 COPR Application is available on-line at the Office of Public Liaison/COPR website, http://www.nih.gov/about/publicliaison/index.html. The website also provides background information on the COPR, a description of the COPR mission and its activities, and the biographies of current COPR members. You can request to have an application package mailed to you, if you prefer. Palladian Partners, Inc. will be handling all inquiries from interested COPR applicants so please call them at 301/650-8660 to request an application package or to get additional information.
August 8, 2001: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance CD-ROM
The U.S. Department of Justice is making available a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance CD-ROM. The free CD-ROM contains a complete collection of the Department's ADA regulations, architectural design standards, and technical assistance publications. Designed for easy use on laptop computers in the field, or other computers that lack high speed Internet access, the CD-ROM is intended to make searching documents and identifying appropriate ADA information easier and more efficient.
Link to source: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adatacd1.htm.
July 19, 2001: Assistance needed
Lilly Walters with About One Hand Typing and Keyboarding has been receiving requests for tips on how to be a better a secretary/office worker when you have a disability of one hand. She is interested in creating a report called "101 Productivity Tips for the One Handed Secretary (Office Worker?)." Lilly is looking for tips to include, if you have any to share. Please e-mail her at Lilly@aboutonehandtyping.com with any ideas, however short, that might assist the one-handed office worker.
Link to source: http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/.
June 21, 2001: Financing Programs to Aid in the Purchase of Standard Wheelchairs
SpinLife.com offers several financing programs to aid in the purchase of standard wheelchairs, cycle wheelchairs, and scooters purchased through them. An array of financing options is available based on financial preferences and product choice. Programs include: Custom Loans with 12 to 60 month repayment periods Invacare's Product Financing Program Pride's Product Financing Program
June 20, 2001: Freedom Scientific Begins $101,000 Scholarship Program for Students Who are Blind
Freedom Scientific Inc.announced on June 19 that it has launched a program to award $101,000 in technology scholarships annually, beginning in the 2001-2002 school year, to high school and college graduates in the U.S. and Canada who plan to continue their education. This program will be implemented through a partnership with six leading non-profit organizations in the blindness field: American Council of the Blind, American Foundation for the Blind, Braille Institute of America, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. Each partner will be responsible for screening applicants and selecting the recipients for a portion of the funds. The winning applicants will receive vouchers in amounts of either $2,500 or $1,500 to apply toward the purchase of Freedom Scientific's full line of products, including hardware, software, accessories, training and tutorials. Applicants for the award must be U.S. or Canadian residents, who are legally blind and planning to pursue a full-time course of study at either the college/university or graduate school level. Winners will be selected by the partnering organizations based on three areas of consideration: academic achievement; extra-curricular or community service leaderships, and demonstrated personal qualities. The organizations will apply these general guidelines as well as supplement them with their own specific criteria. Application forms and other submission requirements will be available from the partnering organizations' web sites. Four organizations will award to graduating high school seniors in the U.S.: ACB, AFB, Braille Institute and NFB. The CNIB will select the winners among high school seniors in Canada, while the RFB&D will make the awards for college seniors planning to pursue graduate studies from either the U.S. or Canada. Applicants should contact the specific organization's scholarship coordinator for additional information.
June 15, 2001: IndyMac Bank has introduced a telephone banking system that is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing
The new system enables customers with hearing disabilities to call 877-748-0002 daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day) between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time via a modem link and TTY system to conduct all banking and mortgage loan transactions over the telephone in live chat mode. Specially trained service representatives communicate using a similar TTY system on site.
Link to source: http://www.indymacbank.com/.
June 1, 2001: One Hand Typing and Keyboarding Manual
Individuals interested in learning about or improving skills in typing with only one hand may find help at http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/manual.html. This site offers FREE downloads that teach speed touch typing with a STANDARD keyboard. To access the free downloads, scroll down to "how to order"; the free download links are at the end of the chart. Included are the first 39 pages of the One Hand Typing and Keyboarding Manual in a Microsoft WordÂ® document, or as a PDF file. The free portion of the manual includes: where you put the hand how to position the keyboard and screen how to use a mouse with one hand, etc. first few lessons, with the drills: HOMEBASE, which is FGHJ, and the E key some motivational stories. These downloads are intended to give anyone wondering about using a standard keyboard with one hand the tools to get started.
Link to source: http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/manual.html.
May 29, 2001: Exceptional Parent Library
The Exceptional Parent Library extends a "SPECIAL OFFER" for "The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for your Special Ed Child" by Attorney Lawrence M. Siegel and provide free shipping from now until May 31, 2001. This new Second Edition, revised January 2001, is a comprehensive up to date step by step guide through the entire IEP process that provides encouragement to the reader as it takes a complicated process and makes it easier to understand. This all-in-one guide will help you: understand special-education law; identify your child's needs; prepare for meetings; develop the IEP and resolve disputes. Included in this volume are instructions, suggestions, strategies, resources, forms, and much more. This Internet-only offer Item Code: NL001SEO2, costs only $24.95.
Link to source: http://www.eparent.com/.
May 25, 2001: Invacare Power Chair Recall
From a notice mailed from Invacare: "Invacare has recently discovered that, on rare occasion, an electrical short may occur that is not protected by its existing 60 amp fuse. In order to insure the safety of our products, additional 15 amp fuses have been designed into the system. If you have an Invacare power wheelchair purchased between 1988 and June of 2000 please contact the dealer from which you purchased your chair to have the replacement kit installed on your wheelchair. "If you cannot locate your original dealer, please contact Invacare Corporation at 1-800-333-6900 and select Option 8 and we will direct you to an Invacare Service Center."
April 11, 2001: Statistics on Vision Impairment: A Resource Manual
For individuals interested in statistics on vision impairment, check out The Lighthouse's online Acrobat (.pdf) publication, Statistics on Vision Impairment: A Resource Manual
Link to source: http://www.lighthouse.org/research_statistics.htm.
April 10, 2001: Ability Monthly
The Ability Monthly is a large-print format newsletter written by an individual with a disability for people with disabilities. For subscription information, visit the Ability Monthly.
April 4, 2001: World Health Day 2001, "Open Minds, Open Doors"
In coordination with the Pan American Health Organization, The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is co-sponsoring a celebration of World Health Day 2001, "Open Minds, Open Doors," with the following events for April 6: On Friday, April 6 from 9 A.M.- Noon, E.S.T., Surgeon General, David Satcher, M.D. will participate in a live World Wide Web broadcast organized by CMHS, and held at PAHO headquarters in Washington, DC. Later that day, from 2:00-2:30 P.M., E.S.T., CMHS will organize a World Wide Web chat with CMHS Director Bernard S. Arons, M.D., which he will discuss mental health issues including recent efforts by CMHS to address school violence.
March 22, 2001: R. J. Cooper & Associates has relocated
Updated contact information for the company is: R J Cooper & Associates 27601 Forbes Road, # 39 Laguna Niguel, CA 92677-1241 Phone: 800-752-6673 or 949-582-2749. Fax: 949-582-3169.
March 14, 2001: JAWS for Windows 3.7 to Support New Adobe Acrobat 5.0 Software
Freedom Scientific Inc. has announced that JAWSÂ® for WindowsÂ® 3.7 screen reader software will provide users the ability to read Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files directly from within AdobeÂ® AcrobatÂ® 5.0 software. Freedom Scientific will make this capability available as a free download for current JAWSÂ® for WindowsÂ® 3.7 users. This is targeted to coincide with the distribution date of the Adobe 5.0 software in April. When complete, JAWS will be compatible with all MicrosoftÂ® WindowsÂ® operating systems including Windows 95, 98, ME, as well as Windows NT and Windows 2000 Professional. For more information, visit the Freedom Scientific website or contact the company at Freedom Scientific Blind/Low Vision Group 11800 31st Court North St. Petersburg, FL 33710-1805. Phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000 Voice. Fax: 727-803-8001.
Link to source: http://www.freedomscientific.com/.
March 8, 2001: Exceptional Parent Libary Offers Discount on Osteoporosis Video
The Exceptional Parent Library is offering a discount of 33% and free shipping for the recently released video, "The Challenge of Osteoporosis for People with Disabilities: A look at risk factors and prevention." Many of the 54 million Americans with disabilities - including those with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida and other physical disabilities - face special health challenges. Osteoporosis, or thinning and weakening of the bones, can be one of the most critical. "The Challenge of Osteoporosis for People with Disabilities" is a 15-minute, full-color, broadcast quality video that comprehensively explores the impact of osteoporosis for individuals with physical disabilities. Developed as an informational and training tool for a wide audience, including people with disabilities and their caregivers as well as the general public, it features medical experts along with individuals with disabilities. It is narrated by medical news reporter and journalist Dr. Ian Smith.
Link to source: http://www.eplibrary.com/.
March 6, 2001: HalfthePlanet is Back!
HalfthePlanet Foundation was established as a nonprofit organization in tandem with HalfthePlanet.com - a for-profit Internet portal offering information, products and services to people with disabilities, their families and friends. HalfthePlanet.com closed its doors in November 2000 due to market conditions, leaving its assets to the HalfthePlanet Foundation. Among those assets is its site--halftheplanet.com. The site has been redesigned and is currently operated as a program of HalfthePlanet Foundation.
Link to source: http://www.halftheplanet.org/.
March 5, 2001: Bed Side Rail and Restraint Safety Information
ABLEDATAâ??s mission is to provide the full scope of information about assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment. Included in that information are safety notices and alerts. For those interested in searching our database for bed side rails and restraints, please be advised that concerns have been raised about these items posing an asphyxiation, entrapment, or injury hazard when not properly used or monitored, particularly for individuals with dementia or similar conditions or who may otherwise become easily confused. Two important points should be made about these warnings: These concerns are NOT directed at any specific product or company, but at these types of products in general. These products have NOT been declared unsafe and have NOT been recalled. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Care Finance Administration (HCFA) provide information on reducing the use of restraints and on bed rail safety.
Link to source: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/bedrails.html.
January 11, 2001: Adobe Improves Accessibility of Acrobat Files
Putting documents on the web in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf files) enables the document to retain its original formatting, graphics, and photographs; However, these files are often inaccessible for people with vision disabilities and others who use screen readers. Adobe has provided some tools for converting these files to more accessible text or HTML files at their http://access.adobe.com, including an E-mail conversion service. However, if the .pdf files are not on the Internet and the user does not want to submit a file as an e-mail attachment, the Acrobat Access plug-in is the solution. Adobe Acrobat Access 4.0 for Microsoft Windows software is a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat software. The Acrobat Access plug-in converts .pdf files on a user's local system into plain text, which can then be read by screen reading programs. This plug-in is available for downloading free from the Adobe access website. System requirements for use are: 386- or 486-based personal computer (486 recommended); Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows NT(R) 4.0; 4 MB application RAM; 3 MB hard-disk space, plus 2 MB TEMP space available during installation; For Web integration, any Web browser that allows you to configure a helper application by mime type.
Link to source: http://access.adobe.com/.
January 8, 2001: Tash Inc. Moves to Richmond
Tash Inc. moved from Canada to Richmond, Virginia. Its new address is: Tash Inc. 3512 Maryland Court Richmond, VA 23233 Phone: 800/463-5685; 804/747-5020. Fax: 804/747-5224. E-mail: email@example.com
Link to source: http://www.tashinc.com/.