Monday, July 15, 2013

Android Platforms: More "E-Accessibility!"

Accessibility features are publicized more for iPhone smart phones and iPads but our Android devices also have  accessibility features for the blind and visually impaired. I agree, there needs to be more but I don't want to short change what Android does have. My own smart phone and tablet are Android based and I have discovered several aps that my students and friends can use.

I use Vlingo on my phone along with the regular speech feature. It gives me hand free accessibility. It senses when I am in the car and comes on automatically based on the movement of the phone.    Vlingo asks me what I'd like to do and then it reads my texts. I an also return texts to senders by voice. However if one is riding in a car while voice texting,  the microphone may pick up extraneous noises from the tires on rough roads and get 'confused.' Of course one has to also make sure no one else is talking in the car and that the volume on the car stereo is turned down or off. Sometimes I use it with the blue tooth I have over my sunvisor for extra volume. The GPS device can be used for driving or walking and it speaks. It can also stay on when one is not in the car because it talks all the time to let me know when a texts arrives and who the text is from. It also reads the sender's phone number and the text itself. I even know when I get a tweet!

Talkback is another cool talking ap for the visually impaired.

My Samsung has a separate keyboard that slides out from under the screen so it can be accessed instead of using the touch screen. One of my former students says she likes this feature because she can feel the keys better. She is currently using an older model phone and is reluctant to get a smart phone. As a braille reader--and a very independent one, I might add--she likes to feel the keys and is used to their placement and functions. She said she might like the GPS function on a smart phone because she travels a lot. Expense may be an issue for some. It is possible to have and use free aps and to use a pre-paid system. I use a Go-Phone and a Lenovo tablet which is less expensive for me as far as having to be under contract.

Once again, I am not promoting one platform over another. I just want accessibility features to be presented for both platforms so that the reader can make his/her own decision about which is best for his/her particular needs.

Here are some other links that will assist in accessing Android features or provide more information:
YouTube Video:

AD/HD: Separating Facts From Fiction

Why am I including this on a blog about blindness and visual impairments? Because, just like sighted children, our children with visual impairments can have other conditions that need to be understood in order to provide the best teaching strategies for them.

Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

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National Center for Learning Disabilities

March 5, 2013

LD News

Dear Kathy,

AD/HD: Facts vs. Fiction
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a source of great debate, occasionally the butt of late-night talk show jokes, and is widely misunderstood. We know AD/HD is no laughing matter, though, especially for the one-third of people with LD who also have AD/HD. If your child is one of them, there are ways to sort it all out.

In this issue, we clearly separate AD/HD fact from fiction and bring you a new video on this topic. Help us spread the truth by sharing these resources with others!

The NCLD Team

P.S. Check out our new e-books section where we bring together all of our e-books, toolkits, and guides so you can access the information you need on a specific topic in one easy download. Our e-books now offer read-aloud technology and can be printed or read on your mobile device.

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Top Features

AD/HD: Separating Fact from Fiction
This video debunks some common myths about AD/HD and reveals the truth about the causes, proper diagnosis, management/treatment, and manifestations of the disorder. Get the straight scoop now. (8:27)
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AD/HD Resources You Can Trust
Not sure where to turn for reliable information on AD/HD? We've carefully compiled a list of AD/HD-related videos, articles, books, and online resources you can trust.
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LD and AD/HD Make Stress Worse
Psychologist Jerome Schultz says, "For kids with LD and AD/HD, stress lives in the space between I need to and I don't know how to. Read an excerpt from his book and be on the lookout for two new articles he's writing for us!
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What Is AD/HD?
This informative video clearly describes the three types of AD/HD, as well as the underlying causes and how the disorder impacts a person's executive functions. Watch and learn. (7:43)
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Using Apps for Kids with LD and AD/HD
An educational advocate doubted that mobile apps would help her daughter with AD/HD and other disorders. She gave apps a try, and she was pleasantly surprised with the results.
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Out-of-the-Box Advocacy
Parent contributor Lyn Pollard extols the power of crafting personal letters and emails to key decision makers who have a say in the education of kids with LD. Read her tips for conveying your message.
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

This is a touching story about two disabled athletes. I saw a story about them some years ago but this video completes their story: One is legally blind while the other lost his legs in a train accident. The continuation of their story is about their relationship with the reporter who became a part of their lives. 
Another interesting part about the story is that the visually impaired wrestler became interested in judo in college and he was coached by my former student Scott Moore who is a multi-medal winning paralympian himself. In this video, as the young wrestler goes to the paralympics, you will see Scott--the coach with albinism-- with him.  
I'm thankful to Scott who shared this video with us on our LSVI alum page on Facebook.  After viewing it, I know that you will be, too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

I'm Excited!!! A New Braille Source in Louisiana!

We order our students' textbooks, some materials and equipment from a lending library hosted by the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired called Louisiana Instructional Materials Resource Center or LIMC. Those of us who are intinerant have to work very closely with the staff there.
Recently, Robin, the lady who runs it mentioned something I had thought of earlier and she's just the person to get it started! She knows I do prison ministry, particularly Kairos Prison Ministry, at Angola and she would like to start a braille textbook industry there like they have at other prisons
across the country.

Lot's of wonderful, productive industries happen at Angola as well as a strong Christian community so I am hoping that Warden Caine approves this idea. I would certainly like to help and would be interested in teaching the use of the computer transcribing programs.

It would make getting textbooks out to our kids a lot easier and bring down the cost of ordering them from out-of-state sources. I'm excited about this!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blind-Friendly Cities in the US

Is your city blind-friendly? Is it easy to get around independently either by foot or via public transportation? If not, perhaps you can work to get something done about that or if you're looking to work and live in a blind-friendly atmosphere the articles to where these links will take you may be  of some help in your decision making:

Top Places to Live:
A list on ehow based on public transit, studies by AFB etc.

Navigating Cities, For the Blind
Claudia Folska, a blind city planner, believes she can find ways to create urban landscapes that are easier for everyone to navigate(Wired Magazine):

Liveable Communities
Here is the list by the American Foundation for the Blind based on 2003 data:
This list also tells specifically why these places were given the ratings they have.