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New Affordable Tablet-Based Intelligent Game Helps Children With Learning Disabilities

Those who work with children and adults with developmental and language disorders are constantly looking for tools to help boost performance through training.

GeoBee! from new tech start-up VisionMechanic, Inc., is a new intelligent, accessible, and affordable tablet game for training basic skills needed for success in the classroom.

OKOTOKS, Alberta, Sept. 1, 2015

Reggie and Anita live in a small community. Like many other families today, they are affected by obstacles to learning and reading: Their son T. is a very smart very capable boy in Gr 3, but he struggles with making sense of words on a page. While they appreciate the support they get from local sources, they are always looking for additional tools to help their son move forward.

Students Create 3D Printed Tactile Map of Campus for Visually Impaired

by Bridget Butler Millsaps · May 10, 2015

While 3D printing has most definitely blasted open a new world for designers and hobbyists, specific areas like cartography have received a real boon in progress. Because a map is all about being able to place yourself somewhere and visualize everything in a particular spot, it can be frustrating doing so only in 2Drequiring your mind to add the imaginary 3D element.

With new technology, and especially 3D printing, mapmakers are now able to put geographies and locales into tangible form. While this is extremely helpful and exciting to the general layperson, imagine how incredibly useful such maps are to the visually impaired, truly taking some of the darkness out of traveling on foot.

Improving Online Accessibility for Students a Major Issue for Schools

By Bridget McCrea
March 27th, 2015

Getting schools onboard with accessible learning is a struggle that Kara Zirkle is all too familiar with. As IT accessibility coordinator at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., she says resistance to change, particularly in the cultural senseis fairly natural and tends to stand in the way of even the best intentions on the assistive learning front. To overcome this obstacle, she says schools should institute solid policies and procedures that address all federal (i.e., ADA) and state accessibility requirements.

On the K-12 front, she says the board of education, principal, and technology directors should be part of an effective “top-down” approach to accessibility. Without these key players on the team, Zirkle says such initiatives can quickly become fragmented and ineffective.

Why Online Ed Accessibility is not a “When We Get to It” Issue

By Bridget McCrea
March 3rd, 2015

As several high-profile lawsuits surface around accessibility of web content, colleges and universities must take the steps necessary to shore up their own approaches to online accessibility of web content.

accessibility-universities-onlineIn the era of online learning, colleges and universities are quickly learning that it’s not enough to provide online contentthe content must be accessible for all. But how can institutions provide online accessibility; and is it a legal requirement?

Harvard, MIT Sued Over Lack of Closed Captioning Online

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Feb 12, 2015
Associated Press

Advocates for the deaf sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, saying the universities failed to provide closed captioning for online courses, podcasts and other educational programs.

The National Association for the Deaf filed class action lawsuits in federal court, saying Harvard and MIT discriminated against the hearing impaired and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The association said much of Harvard’s and MIT’s online content was not captioned, was inaccurately captioned or was unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible. Advocates for the deaf say they’re not seeking a financial windfall but rather permanent injunctions against the universities mandating that all their online materials include closed captioning, interpretive text displayed onscreen.

Higher Education Websites Unsuitable for Special Needs Students, says Report


A new study has found that poorly-designed Irish higher education websites could be contributing to significant dropouts among students with particular disabilities because they cannot access certain assignment services.

The study which was undertaken by Siteimprove analysed 20 Irish higher education websites with every site failing to meet 44 basic international standards to allow students with disabilities access the same online materials and tools that those without disabilities can.

Quoting the Institution of Education Sciences, the report says that the number of students with disabilities dropping out of higher education before completing their degrees is nearly double that of the average student.

New iBooks® Textbook Helps Visually Impaired Visit the Stars Through Touch, Sound

SAS, Space Telescope Science Institute Inspire Passion for Science in Students CARY, NC–(Marketwired – September 04, 2014)

A free, multitouch iBooks Textbook for iPad® is now available to inspire students of all abilities to pursue futures in science. Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn (opens in new window/tab) incorporates new, assistive technologies so children with visual disabilities, too, can experience striking deep-space images like never before.

Free for download from Apple’s iBookstore(SM), Reach for the Stars (opens in new window/tab) was created for iPad by analytics provider SAS and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

Deaf-Blind woman Tests Canada’s Equality Guarantee: Goar

Jasmin Simpson, who is deaf and blind, says it’s unfair that she had to pay 60 per cent more than non-disabled university students for the same education.

Jasmin Simpson, 39, overcame her deafness, her blindness and her lupus, to earn a master’s degree in social work. By: Carol Goar Star Columnist, Published on Tue Jul 29 2014

The government of Canada can outmuscle, outspend and outlast Jasmin Simpson. But it can’t deflect her from her goal.

Education Dept. Issues New Special Ed Rules

WASHINGTON Jun 24, 2014
Associated Press

The Education Department announced Tuesday that it will begin to look at graduation rates, test scores and other measures of academic performance to help determine if states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities.

The department called the change a “major shift” in the way it assesses special education programs, since such benchmarks weren’t stringently applied to special education students previously. An estimated 6.5 million children and youth have such disabilities, the department said, and have lower graduation rates overall and don’t do as well on average in reading and math as their peers.

Online College Learning for Students with Disabilities Database

Online programs today benefit from advances in technology and offer rigorous curricula that rival those of in-classroom programs. The freedom to learn from anywhere at any time, and often at a student’s own pace, is attractive to many. But for students with disabilities, online learning can offer additional advantages. The College Database gathered input from more than 20 college and university disability services and online learning experts to compile the latest information on:


The Case Against Assistive Technology

Posted March 24, 2014
by Ben Johnston

It’s hard to imagine not using technology every day in the real world.

I can’t think of many jobs that don’t require it.

In the real world, using technology is seen as being “tech-savvy.” And yet in our schools, technology is often seen as giving an unfair advantage.
Only a few percent of students with disabilities ever use technology beyond word processors, web browsers, and SMART boards.

It’s disheartening to see non-verbal students struggling to communicate despite the advances in augmentative communication devices. Likewise, it’s difficult to see students with dysgraphia struggling to write simple sentences with pencil and paper despite the advances in word prediction software.

College President Offers Disability Advice

By Daniel Vance Posted Jan. 6, 2014 @ 8:43 am

You could say Dr. Richard Davenport, president of Minnesota State University, has a great deal of personal experience with and an open mind toward people with disabilities, especially communication disorders, such as stuttering, and also voice challenges caused by cleft lip or palate, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, deafness, brain injury or stroke.

UMass Boston and IBM Advance Technology Accessibility Research

Office of Communications | December 03, 2013

UMass Boston students will develop the necessary skills to become a massive force of inclusion.

The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new research initiative to advance accessible technology solutions for people with disabilities, the growing elderly population, those with low literacy and novice technology users.

As part of IBM’s Academic Initiative, IBM will provide access to technology and industry expertise to students, professors and researchers at UMass Boston’s newly formed School for Global Inclusion and Social Development.

Therapist Introduces iPads as Educational Tool for Children with Special Needs

St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) November 06, 2013

St. Louis Children’s Hospital occupational therapist Nicole Weckherlin says the tablet devices help special education students on multiple levels.

The iPad enables Emma to complete school work more efficiently.

The universal access to the iPads really levels the playing field for regular ed and special ed kids.

“I have that app. But I don’t use it all that frequently.”

Listening to St. Louis Children’s Hospital patient Emma Allison speak, the only giveaway to her age is the high-pitched voice of a little girl. According to her mom, she’s 8 – going on 18. But the fact that she’s swiftly navigating advanced technology is nothing new.

Justice Department Settles with Louisiana Tech University Over Inaccessible Course Materials

Jul 23, 2013

The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with Louisiana Tech University and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The settlement resolves allegations that the University violated the ADA by using a version of an online learning product that was inaccessible to a blind student.

The student’s lack of access to the course materials persisted nearly one month into the University quarter, at which point the student was so far behind in his coursework that he felt compelled to withdraw from the course.

iPad Use With Blind and Partially Sighted Children

Last updated: 18 April 2013

Birmingham University researchers have published the findings of a survey of teachers training to become qualified teachers of children with a visual impairment. The report “The use of Apple iPads amongst Trainee Teachers of Visually Impaired Students” provides a snapshot showing how 49 teachers are currently using iPads to support their work with children who have a vision impairment.

The questionnaire gathered data about the use of the Apple iPad:

  • in the teachers’ own work
  • by other professionals and colleagues they knew of, and
  • by students with visual impairments.

Disability Rights Advocates and Publishers Push for National Standards for Ed Tech Materials

Ed Tech Accessibility
June 14, 2013
By Ry Rivard

Disability rights advocates and book publishers are pushing for federal regulations to ensure higher education technology is accessible to tens of thousands of students with visual impairments.

A federal study in 2011 found college students with a range of disabilities face “unintended and nearly impenetrable barriers” thrown up by some new technology products. Now, the National Federation of the Blind is floating a draft bill designed to ensure students with disabilities are not left behind on college campuses by a wave of new technologies.

The proposal has the support of other disability rights groups and the Association of American Publishers.

Press Release: Fedora Outlier LLC Launches The Old Hat Guide to iPhone Accessibility

Purchase your copy Today!!

April 16, 2013

“The Old Hat Guide to iPhone Accessibility” chronicles the most common challenges a new user faces when picking up Apple’s revolutionary, accessible technologies for the very first time. But as our guide will demonstrate–once conquered, blind and low vision users will unlock a limitless number of possibilities on the job, in the classroom and at play.


Accelerated Reader Student App Update Gives Visually Impaired Students Quiz-taking Independence

April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire
Renaissance Learning™ announced today that the newest update to the Accelerated Reader™ (AR™) Student App for iOS includes VoiceOver support to enhance learning for visually impaired and blind students.


The Old Hat Guide To iPhone Accessibility

March 2, 2013

In conjunction with the release of the first ever multimedia ebook created for the blind, by the blind, Fedora Outlier, LLC, is offering an opportunity to win a free 16GB iPad Mini to those who
enter the giveaway and answer the question, “What was your biggest challenge when learning to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch?”