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iOS 7 Accessibility Features

I thought I would share some links on new accessibility features on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch using the new Apple iOS7 operating system. Both of the links lead to About Assistive Technology Accessibility Features in iOS 7 Switch Control in iOS 7
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Braille Writer App for Mac OS

If you have one of the super-duper Macs (geek talk for MacBook Pro or Air with 10.7-Lion or greater and 64 bit processor), there are a couple of apps in the Mac store that are braille writing applications.  Both applications are for those trying to learn braille by using six-key entry on a qwerty keyboard. The fancier one is Braille Writer Pro ($29.99). It can handle both contracted and uncontracted braille.  It can translate braille into English. Braille Writer Pro can also read and write files using the .dxb  (Duxbury) file format. You can email and/or print files either with or without translation.  There is also a dictionary that allows you to look up braille letters, numbers, symbols and contractions by using English or braille. The student version, Braille Writer Student (10.99), does not include the translation feature but does include the dictionary.  This one is good for students learning contractions...
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Roundtable on Social Skills Issues at TAER 2012

In a session on Social Skills at TAER 2012, the participants were asked to brainstorm activity and lesson ideas to help incorporate social skills lessons into their instruction.  In 10 minutes, they came up with  a whole exciting range of proposals.  Maybe these ideas will help spur your creative thinking! Miscellaneous: Table etiquette, social obligations, hosts Make tactile placemat with spoon, knife and fork placement. Have students set table. Go to restaurant (or set up in your classroom). Practice etiquette at the table (e.g. table setting, ordering, manners, tip, pouring, passing food around). Plan a game night. Make phone calls. Invitations. Shopping. Passing food – Utensil placement. Family style serving. Practice polite conversation, contacting a friend. Practice appropriate manners (e.g. utensil use/accessibility, closed mouth while chewing, not everything is finger food, napkin in lap, perhaps pulling out chair for friend) Payment arrangements Phone etiquette Role play in cafeteria Dating: Expresses interest...
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Free Digital Textbooks on Windows 7 using JAWS or WindowEyes

Access Technology Institute are offering two free digital textbooks.  Both books are tutorials on Windows 7 using either JAWS or WindowEyes.  The books are downloadable as .zip files.  When extracting the files, five file formats are available: Word 2007(.docx), plain text (.txt), DAISY, .html, and individual MP3 files.  These are rich resources for students or TVIs who now can access these files using various software and/or devices, such as DAISY playback devices/applications, braille notetakers, or computers.   Cathy Ann Murtha, author of the textbooks, structures her tutorials in a way that makes it easy and pleasant to learn. The same structure could be used to teach students access software applications.  Please take advantage of this free offering.  The website address is:  blindtraining.com.   Pat Van Geem Assistive Technology Consultant
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"mouthing pillow"

While watching a video of a student we see on an ongoing basis, we got the input of one of our local occupational therapists, and what great input she gave!  We watched this student, who has visual impairment and very limited motor abilities, play by continually flipping a pillow onto her face.  While the pillow was on her face, she appeared to be moving her mouth a little bit.  This student, due to motor limitations, has not been able to bring objects to her mouth to explore them.  Our OT suggested creating a "mouthing pillow."  We used a firm, foam pillow that would not be floppy, made a pillow case from "headliner" fabric because it sticks well to the male velcro, and sewed elastic with notebook rings so that objects could be affixed and removed easily for washing the case.  The objects we selected it have characteristics similar to objects that...
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TVIs Needed for AT Survey

Researchers from Texas Tech University and Missouri State University are surveying TVIs in the United States to determine what assistive technology competencies they possess.  If you are a certified TVI, please consider completing the online survey at this link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tvitechnology by October 31st! All participants who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of many wonderful AT prizes.  See the survey for more information.
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