Friday Research Spotlight: Text messaging for people with multiple disabilities

“This study extended the research on a special text messaging system, which allows persons with multiple disabilities to (a) write and send messages to distant partners and (b) have messages from those partners read out to them. The study involved two women with multiple disabilities (including blindness or minimal residual vision). The system comprised a net-book computer, a mobile communication modem, and an input microswitch, and relied on special keyboards (not used before) to allow the women to write their messages. One of the keyboards included (a) two rows of 10 and 11 keys, respectively, reporting the 21 basic letters of the Italian alphabet arranged in alphabetical order and marked with Braille labels and (b) a space bar and an enlarged back/erase key. The other keyboard had Braille cues on the initial, central, and final keys of the letter rows. Moreover, most function keys were covered (cut out from the usable space). Both women learned to use the messaging system with the special keyboards successfully (i.e., to write their messages, to send them out, and to listen to incoming messages). These findings are analyzed in relation to preliminary data with the system and the need to adapt the writing technology to the participants’ characteristics.”

Read the entire study: Lancioni, G.E., O’Reilly, M.F., Singh, N.N., Sigafoos, J., Green, V.A., Oliva, D., Alberti, G., & Carrella, L. (2013). Two women with multiple disabilities communicate with distant partners via a special text messaging system. Research on Developmental Disabilities, 34(1), 397-403. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.08.024.

In Virginia’s Superintendent’s regions 1 and 8? Contact us at the VDOE T/TAC at VCU and we’ll get you a copy!



For music lovers with visual impairments

The following links were retrieved from Flying Blind, LLC

Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday, January 17, 2013 – Volume 388

BlindTunes Version 4, JAWS scripts for iTunes Version 11, is now available for around $6 to enhance the usability of iTunes.

The author also has low-priced accessibility solutions for Rhapsody:

And for Spotify:

Let us know if these are helpful!


Get Connected to Flying Blind, LLC

I have been receiving the RSS  feed of Flying Blind, LLC’s weekly newsletter in my email box, but now see I can also keep up on Facebook or via audio/video by following them on YouTube.

Here’s the info. from their site.  Sign up!

Are you on Facebook? Stop by and “Like” Flying Blind, LLC to begin receiving Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday as part of your Facebook News Feed at . If you prefer an RSS Feed, you can access Flying Blind, LLC Publications as they become available using And finally, if audio / video is more your style then you can follow Flying Blind, LLC on YouTube at .

AbleGamers Holiday Wish List

What I love about this field is that something new is always coming out, new inventors are always coming in and it’s change is a good thing and we can count on it in the field of technology.  The AbleGamers Foundation has release it’s Holiday Shopping Guide for 2012.  The Foundations works for accessibility to the digital world for people with disabilities to improve the quality of life and expand the social network of individuals participating.  Check out their website to seed the holiday list and more!

Learn how to teach technology skills to people with vision challenges

TechVision is a company that supports those who work with individuals with vision or reading challenges by providing lessons about the technology and skills necessary for success.  Many of the lessons are free or available for a small fee.  The technology topics are current and include iPad access, Microsoft Office programs, Braille and others.  Check out what TechVision might be able to do for you:

OMG Duct tape is amazing!

For the creative folks out there, I found a cool post and challenge for creating a something for your home with duct tape.  These are ideas we can use as we think about adapting the workplace or home for better access. Check out this post:

Ten cool new features of iOS6 that haven’t been mentioned

Apple has added some cool new features that make life a little easier.  For instance you can ask Siri to open apps for you.  If you are someone that has tons of apps and don’t have them organized within pages, Siri can help you out.  Another feature is the ability to sync your text expansion across your i-devices or you can easily refresh your mail with a simple swipe downwards.  Check out this article to find out more!

Voice Book app used to access Facebook for those with visual impairments

With this app, Facebook is finally accessible to users who are blind, have low vision or have print disabilities. Voice Book VO is a Facebook application designed specifically for those who use the Apple iOS Voice Over accessibility features. Voice Book is continuing to add new features and improvements and the developers would love to hear from you with ideas and comments.
Get more information at
Let us know what you think!

Use your MAC without a mouse

I have never been very good at remembering shortcuts for cut/paste or tricky keystrokes used to interact with the computer, but some people rely on these for easier access. I was reading a blog post at that was about using your MAC with our using a mouse—and it’s not a touchscreen either! Again this type of AT works for everyone—whether you want to do your work more efficiently by keeping your fingers on the keyboard or if you have a disability and need as little extra movement as possible, these tricks might work for you. Read MacWorld’s article and see what you think