Researchers at the University of Connecticut are studying how robots can help children with autism learn and communicate. While the robot engages the students one-on-one, someone else – right now a researcher, but hopefully soon a teacher or teacher’s aide – guides the interaction from a laptop computer. The sequences are flexible enough to be effective when working with children with different levels of ability: one child delightedly bangs on a drum along with the robot, while another runs through more complex verbal exercises designed to improve his ability to communicate with peers. Read more about this research project: http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2013/04/how-robots-can-help-children-with-autism-learn-and-communicate/
Watch the robot in action:
As many of my colleagues and I are caring for older parents and we share thoughts and observations we see in our parents communication skills as they age, we are constantly trying to figure out how to support them in a respectful manner. It’s difficult because they want their independence, yet skills they had now require more input from those around them.
I found AAC-RERC is a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center http://aac-rerc.psu.edu/index.php/site/index which is exploring the development of AAC technology. Their website has webcasts that demonstrate primary progressive aphasia among other communication challenges. Links to other information and resources are available on their site as well.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all…the web is ever-changing!
The Association Technology Industry Association (ATIA) has developed a nice list of resources for funding AT. Check out this ATIA Funding Resource Guide. You may find some new ideas for funding those important AT devices.
I know April was Autism awareness month but I ran across this great animated educational video on you tube that is a great introduction. Use it next time you need to speak to a group or a class about Autism.
I just love the Internet–what did we ever do without it! Information is right at our finger tips! Just when you think you’ve seen everything on a particular topic, another website or resource pops up!
I found Penn State’s website for literacy instruction for students with complex communication needs. There are explanations of the areas for literacy, as well as ideas, activities and adaptations for students with complex needs. Check it out and let us know what you think:
Mary McCarthy, a teacher of the visually impaired, said she prefers the Smart Brailler to standard Braille typewriters for her young students. “I love it because it’s motivating to them,” she said. “They love hearing that auditory feedback.”
With its video display and speech features, the Smart Brailler could also be a useful tool for teachers and parents who are not Braille-literate. “It gives the teacher of the visually impaired, the sighted classroom teacher, the parent, a window into Braille,” said JoAnn Becker, a trainer and tech support specialist for Perkins Products.
“Our hope is that the Smart Brailler demystifies some of the complexity,” Rothstein said, “and makes Braille cool.”
The Boston Globe
See how it works… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SraqkVRwTgo
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve posted screenshots of my school books stored in the cloud. It’s nice to have access to hundreds of pounds of paper books on a phone, e-reader device like a Kindle, and computer with internet access…but what I rely on the most is something that may seem like a support for the lazy! It’s the ability to easily search (using the “find” feature) and quickly see all of my highlights and personal notes.
Here’s a screenshot of some of my notes and marks. I rarely re-read an entire text–instead I page through a book and look for my marginal notes and highlights.
Using e-text, I don’t bother to page through at all–I simply click on the summary of my notes and marks. Occasionally it’s a sign of laziness (like when I can’t be bothered to re-read a book before book club) but usually it’s a “work smarter not harder” move (like when I have a group discussion for a graduate class and I need to know the quotes the professor is going to bring up).
Interestingly, the professor of the graduate literature class I took last year banned all digital books from the classroom…I had to spend hours transcribing all my digital notes into a paper book the night before each class. Why not skip the digital books for that class? Well, when I wrote my weekly papers, I needed to have my quotes in digital format to drop into the essays…so where this is going? <sigh> We have a long way to go, folks.
Unus Tactus was developed to assist people of all ages with mild cognitive and/or motor deficits by allowing them to have an easy to use cell phone, with a simple set up. It utilizes a one touch photo dialing system to generate phone calls using phone numbers from your existing contacts or ones that are imported directly. The pictures are placed on a 4 X4 grid. There is a large help button visible at all times on the screen that will contact an emergency contact by both phone and email. The app also has a feature called a Geofence. This feature allows you to set up a mileage perimeter between 1- 15 miles outside of which the phone cannot wander. If the phone goes outside of the perimeter it signals the owner that a message will be sent to the person’s emergency contact with a map of where the phone is located. This feature could be useful, especially for those who wander.
This app is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. It requires iOS 4.2 or later. Check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/unus-tactus/id500187253?mt=8
I was exploring Miss Riley’s blog and found a cool program “PageBuilder” that she has developed to create visual boards using line drawings she’s create or imported your own photos from your computer. It very easy to use, just drag and drop onto pre-made templates. The price is subscription based and is available in monthly $5, four months for $15 or 12 months for $45. I think it’s an easy way to get visuals into your classroom, home or other environments.
Check it out and let us know what you think.
The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) and Dicapta announce the release of Isabel Needs Assistive Technology, the first Spanish language video in the FCTD technology awareness series, AT in Action. The 11-minute video introduces viewers to assistive technology (AT) and takes them through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting during which AT is considered. The video is captioned in both Spanish and English. http://www.youtube.com/user/FCTDvideo?feature=watch
To access all of the FCTD resources, please visit the FCTD website http://www.fctd.info .