Technology for Sound Sensitivity – Follow- up Success Story!

LiveMusic! Ear Plugs image

LiveMusic! Ear Plugs

An earlier post Technology for Sound Sensitivity dated February 2, 2019 shared a case study of a student with auditory overload when in noisy environments. A variety of noise reduction options were researched and presented. While the Vibes noise cancelling ear plugs were implemented initially with the student,  there continued to be occasions that noise levels caused the student to seek the quiet of the resource room to each his lunch.  While the Vibes worked the majority of the time, the student reported whistling and noise levels that were not tolerable. A better solution was needed.

As researched and presented in the Technology for Sound Sensitivity post, additional high frequency noise cancellation ear plugs are available. Further research found flanged ear plugs recommended –  (what’s that??), which look like this:

flanged ear plugsThose flanges, which you have all seen on inexpensive ear plugs, provided a better seal in the ear.  The LiveMusic HearSafe earplugs which are flanged ( triple flanged!), were trialed with the student. The LiveMusic HF ear plugs come in sets of two,   one set with 29 db NRR (noise rating reduction) and other 23 db NRR. With application of the 29 db NRR the ear plugs were found to be comfortable and resulted in the student able to consistently stay in the lunch without being challenged by the noise or whistling sounds. With these HF noise cancellation earplugs, you are able to hear conversations with peers and teachers blocking only the loud, high frequency noises. For this student it worked like a charm!

The only challenge encountered was the student had difficulty getting the earplugs out of the tiny, narrow container provided. A different container was provided and all was good! The student now is ready for high school using inconspicuous ear plugs, able to hear conversations while tolerating the inclusive lunch or other noisy environment. Fortunately, this student was very organized and has been able to maintain the ear plugs without misplacing the tiny things! What a win!

LiveMusic! HearSafe Earplug – Available on Amazon for $28.95.

For this student, this was a great low cost, low tech solution! I wish all solutions were this simple and low cost!

More for your OT eToolKit!

Carol – OT’s with Apps & Technology

 

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How AI is Changing Writing: Check out Robot Don — Ask a Tech Teacher

Thanks to Jacqui at Ask a Tech Teacher for sharing a new AI proof writing tool! I am pretty excited about AI, much less a tool to help individuals with written production. Second to solutions for reading, writing solutions are needed when completing AT evaluations or for students with learning disabilities at the middle school, high school or college levels. AT solutions for employment in the area of writing are frequent needs.  New tools and options to support struggling writers are always welcomed!

On Ask a Tech Teacher’s website, Robot Dan, a new AI tool to support writing is reviewed.

Find out more about this new tool via How AI is Changing Writing: Check out Robot Don — Ask a Tech Teacher

H/T to Jacqui at Ask a Tech Teacher for sharing her school based tech tools!

Carol

 

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Styluses for Dexterity Challenges with Touch Screen Tablet Use

Tablet and Stylus image

A inquiry from a blog reader requested suggestions for a stylus that would help with challenges with dexterity causing problems grasping writing tools. While standard grippers are currently available, additional research was needed to check current options of styluses. My search reminded me of the different options of styluses available for mobile devices:

  • Passive Styluses – these are standard, non-electronic styluses and can be capacitive (iOS) or pressure sensitive (Android)
  • Active Styluses require connection and charging linking the device and the pen for additional electronic functions to write on the surface of a tablet (e.g. Apple Pencil, other active pens).  Requiring charging with use.

Passive Stylus Suggestions

For simplicity, passive styluses were researched to identify possible solutions for an individual with dexterity challenges. In the advent of the many active styluses now available, the “The Best Styluses for 2019” from The toptenselect.com website  was one of a few that offered a current review of passive styluses. It was interesting to find a few of my favorite standard styluses previously reviewed still listed among the top 10:

  • Cosmonaut Stylus – this is a chunky stylus with a large rubber tip. It has a large shaft and is quite sensitive. Sells for 24.99 on Amazon. This can be used with an iOS or Android touch screen.

  • TruGlide Stylus by Lynktec – this has a standard pen-like shaft with a mesh tip. I have a strong preference for styluses with mesh tips which I find have better connectivity and consistency with drawing/writing lines (connection) from different angles on a tablet. Sells for $9.99 on Amazon. Adding a gripper to this stylus is possible for ease of grasp. See gripper suggestions below. This can be used with an iOS or Android tablet and may offer replaceable tips.

  • Adonit Mini Stylus – this stylus uses a disc tip for precise contact with a touch screen. Sells for $12.92 on Amazon. For a precise input method, this mini stylus is a great price and writing control on a tablet.

Other options not listed in the Top 10 Select Review, but which I have used which may aid gripping a stylus are listed below:

  • Elago stylus – this stylus has a slightly larger, triangular shaft for better gripping. The tip on the Elago stylus is rubber, which is replaceable if damaged. Sells for $13.99 on Amazon.

  • The Pencil Grip Ergo Stylus – This stylus offers an integrated, large ergonomic grasp. The stylus has a rubber tip although is not replaceable.  Although comfortable to grasp, this stylus is a bit heavier than most styluses. Sells for $14.01 plus shipping on Amazon.

Other Stylus/Active Stylus Options:

The Apple Pencil, while an electronic pencil and compatible with iOS only, is also an option as an exceptional writing tool. It is unmatched in its precision and responsiveness in my opinion and significantly more expensive.   It’s shaft is narrow and may be difficult to grasp if strength and finger dexterity is a challenge. It is  however for individuals who use their iDevice for handwriting, drawing and precise selection highly recommended. The Apple Pencil now comes in two versions, Apple Pencil (1st generation) for iPad Pro, 9.7, 11.5 and 12.9 (1st, 2nd generation) and Apple Pencil (2nd generation) for iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 (3rd generation).   While expensive (94.88 and 129.00 for 2nd generation), for individuals who write extensive notes on their iDevice(s), draw or prefer a precision tip to select on a iOS tablet, it is highly recommended.

Grasps are also available for the Apple Pencil improving the comfort of holding and manipulating or writing with it (see below). Grippers are available only for Apple Pencil pending whether it is a 1st or 2nd generation:

  • Finite Silicone Grip Holder – offers two different ergonomic grippers for the Apple Pencil ( Apple Pencil 1st generation). Sells for $7.99 for 2-pieces.
  • UPPERCASE Nimble grip for Apple Pencil 2 – A hexagonal ergonomic gripper for the Apple Pencil 2. Note that Apple Pencil can not be charged with the gripper applied. A variety of colors are available.

Other Gripper Options:

Other standard grippers can also be used on styluses. I trialed these options on most of the passive styluses above and they do not interfere with the capacitive connection when applied. Here are some typical pencil or tool grippers offered in a variety of sizes and shapes that might be considered for use with standard styluses:

  • Egg Pencil Grip – While very big, clients with arthritis find these grippers helpful on pens, pencils or styluses. They foam and very light weight. Cost is under $10-20 for pack of 3-6.
  • The Pencil Grip Assortment Pack – A variety of styles of grippers for pencils/pens can also be used on some styluses depending on the size of the shaft. This pack of grippers is low cost and offers a variety of sized grasps. These grippers can also be purchased in small quantities in each style. Cost is under $10.00 on Amazon.

  • Foam tubing (grips) foam tubing is a standard for building grasps of handles of tools or implements for individuals with strength or dexterity challenges. The foam tubing comes with different sized diameters pending the tool shaft and can easily be cut to any length. Cost is under $10.00 for a pack of 6 on Amazon. Tubing can be found in a variety of different sizes.

Conclusion:

A variety of stylus options and grippers are available for individuals with dexterity challenges. Along with the choice of the stylus and gripper, it is important when using a stylus to make sure it is compatible with the type of electronic device you are using. Generic grippers for tools and writing implements can be applied to many styluses to improve grasp and comfort. If you have more questions, consult with an OT for suggestions.

What has been your experience, do you have any other recommendations for styluses for individuals with dexterity challenges?

More for your OT eTool Kit!

Carol- OT’s with Apps & Technology

Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Android, Assistive Technology, AT for Handwriting, Drawing, Ergonomics, Handwriting, iPad, Mobility Impairment, Note Taking, Occupational Therapy, Writing | Leave a comment

AutoBrush for Kids – A Smart Toothbrush

The Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads in their weekly AT reviews offers another interesting tool, the AutoBrush for Kids.  As an occupational therapist, tools for self cares are always helpful and learning about new oral hygiene tools always seems to be timely when servicing kids with special needs, whether young or older.

The AutoBrush for Kids is an electric toothbrush that comes in two sizes, one for 3-7 year olds and another for 8 years and up. Brushes lining the inside the mouth piece brush are on both sides which clean the teeth. The mouth piece is placed in mouth and cleans both upper and lower teeth at the same time. Here’s a quick video on the AutoBrush for Kids:

With the purchase of the base unit, replacement mouth brushes can be purchased and both sizes will work with the sam base unit. You have a choice of four animals to choose from. The base charger comes with the AutoBrush for Kids with cost at approximately $89.00 on Amazon. Although the price is a bit steep, it might be worth it for some children when toothbrushing is a challenge due to sensory or motor skills.

Check out this  low tech OT tool for self care, AutoBrush for Kids on Amazon or  via the post AutoBrush for Kids — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

More for your OT Tool Kit!

Carol

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Quha Zona Gyroscopic Mouse — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

Quha Zono head band image

Quha Zono Gyroscope Mouse and Headbands

The Quha Zono Gyroscope Mouse

This gyroscope mouse has a variety of ways it can be mounted or accessed (headband, eyeglass clip, eye wear, on a cap among others. A variety of access methods are also options available to include sip and puff, buttons, virtual keyboard among others. Light weight and easy to connect with plug and play tools.

Check out Easter Seals Crossroads review below, or check out The Quha Zona mouse and access options at Quha.com.

If you or a loved one cannot use a traditional mouse, check out the Quha Zono. The “Quha Zono is the original gyroscopic mouse designed for special needs.” This gyroscopic mouse makes it possible for you to use a computer when you’re unable to use an ordinary mouse with your hands. It translates natural head…

via Quha Zona Gyroscopic Mouse — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

A recent evaluation seeking tools for repetitive stress injury allowed me to check this device out. It was easy to use and connect with its plug and play features. Other tools such as dwell software and management of mouse speed and control were needed with the basic set up.

H/T to Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads for keeping us updated with their weekly AT curations!

Carol- OT’s with Apps and Technology

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SeeBOOST: Electronic Glasses For Age Related Vision Loss — Assistive Technology Blog

Age related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy are the leading causes of blindness in developed nations, and age related vision loss, such as Coloboma, Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Stargardt disease, is an issue for many. 234 more words

via SeeBOOST: Electronic Glasses For Age Related Vision Loss — Assistive Technology Blog

More information on SeeBOOST can be found at: SeeBOOST for central vision loss

H/T to the Assistive Technology Blog for sharing new technology.

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

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AM315 Sidekick – iPad and iPhone mouse adapter — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

Sidekick mouse adapter image

The Sidekick mouse adapter for the iPad is proposed to be available from Able Net this fall 2019. Check out more as shared by Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads.

315-02-15-19 Sidekick – iPad and iPhone mouse adapter Hey there! Welcome to Accessibility Minute, your weekly look at Assistive Technology, those clever tools and devices designed to help people who have difficulties with vision, mobility, hearing or other special needs! AbleNet is a “world leader in assistive technology, curriculum, and services to help individuals with […]

via AM315 Sidekick – iPad and iPhone mouse adapter — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

Thanks to AT Easter Seals Crossroad for sharing news of assistive tech tools!

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

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