Google Quick Tip – Voice Typing in Google Slides!

Voice Typing is now available in Google Slides, however, it can only be used in the speaker notes area. A work around for using this feature for writing content for the slide is easy. Create  your text using the Voice Typing in the speaker notes and copy and paste to the slide. Of course, you would have thought of that!

Where’s the Voice Typing? You will find it under the Tool menu just like in Google Docs.

Voice typing slides

Other tool options when writing include use of  text to speech if you have Read & Write for Chrome to review your voice recognition text for accuracy. Other helpful tools available from the Tools menu include spell check, personal dictionary and Explore feature.

Great tools for our students who struggle with writing.



Posted in Assistive Technology, AT for Handwriting, Google Chrome, Voice Recognition, Writing | Leave a comment

Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App


Research on use of visual schedules and checklists has been found to improve independence in completing work tasks and self-care skills for individuals with autism and cognitive disabilities (Koyama, Wang 2011). Use of visual schedules on PDA have also shown significant benefits to individuals with autism.  Identifying appropriate visual schedule apps and the appropriate device require evaluation of the specific needs of the user, supports and environment. Numerous visual schedule apps are available for mobile devices, each requiring match of the app features, user skills, task, environment and available and/or appropriate device for the tasks being completed.

A wide variety of apps including many visual schedule apps currently exist for both iOS and Android devices. Despite having trialed and recommended visual apps for clients, a recent evaluation required additional options for a visual schedule/visual checklist apps. This client who has been using a paper copy checklist but also benefited from  text and images. At appeared that identifying a basic checklist app with images, text and audio recording capabilities would be best and slightly  different from previously used app for   other clients with an intellectual disability. The iOS native Notes app was trialed using the checklist/radio button options with images imported, however use of Speak Selection seemed to be a bit tedious to employ. Audio recording options within the checklist was also desired, but not available in the Notes app. Although many other choices of schedule apps exist, a visual checklist appeared to be a best a best option for the client.

Results of my search for a basic checklist style of visual schedule found Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App developed by Sergio Licea. As the developer of Aida Reminder app, previously successfully used with a different client, I was somewhat familiar with the features of the Reminder app and comfortable with a developer who has continually updated his developed apps. Presented with many visuals and also methods of output, this app for $1.99 as an in-app purchase (for no ads) and no subscription fee or login, was a strong choice for trial.

Trial of the free version found this app matching a majority of the features needed for this client and task. Here are the main reasons and features for the app choice:

  1. The app has recently been updated by the developer allowing it to work on the most current iOS operating systems.
  2. The app will work on iPhone and iPad, depending on the best device for ease of use of the client and environment.
  3. The app is easy to use and features rich for the needs of an individual with an intellectual impairment.
  4. The app also manages customized images, text, audio and symbols.
  5. Its layout is easy to view in a linear manner.
  6. It has check boxes, just like a standard paper check off list
  7. Alarms, notifications, repeated or reoccurring alarms by time, day, week can be set.

Here are some images showing the features of the Reminder, Alarm and Voice Reminders, Remind Me App :

Remind app with voice recorder, images, text pic

iPhone app image

Remind Remind Me app pic2

Remind Remind Me app pic3

The checklist can be viewed individually or from a calendar view during use. Reminders can be turned off temporarily from an editing screen as seen in the bottom image. Editing options allow images and audio to be saved for reuse. A basic symbol library is also available within the apps image library providing a fast method of set up of picture tasks. Using a mobile device with a camera however provides an easy method of customization of the pictured tasks for the user.

One limitation is the app can not be created or editing via cloud based service. It can be backed up by email however, to manage the content if the device malfunctions.

I found this app to meet the needs of the client evaluated. As aforementioned, I believe this app is quite easy to use, however will take some set up time for a job coach, teacher, therapist or parent to develop the scheduled tasks with images, pictures and audio. Once set up however, it should be pretty easy to apply to a work situation with a fairly consistent task routine.

I will be adding this to my OT mToolkit, feature match and apps lists (hopefully soon). What are your favorite visual schedule apps?

More for your OT mToolkit!


Koyama, Takanori, and Hui-Ting Wang. “Use of Activity Schedule to Promote Independent Performance of Individuals with Autism and Other Intellectual Disabilities: A Review.” Research in Developmental Disabilities 32.6 (2011): 2235-242. Web.

Rani, Nurdalilah Mohd, Rafeah Legino, and Muhamad Fairus Kamaruzaman. “A Theoretical Study on the Influence of Visual Schedule towards Children with Autism Independent Life and Its Chances through Mobile Technology.” Recent Advances in Education and Educational Technology (n.d.): n. pag. Recent Advances in Education and Educational Technology. Web. 19 Mar. 2017. <;.                          


Posted in App Reviews, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Autism, Cognitive Impairment, Customizable app, Executive Function, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Organization, Visual Communication, Visual Supports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

VEST Vibratory Vest for Hard of Hearing

Re-blogged from The Assistive Technology Daily Blog

Can sensory data be fed through unusual sensory channels? And can the brain learn to extract the meaning of such information streams? VEST vibratory vest Yes and yes. Sensory substitution is a non-invasive technique for circumventing the loss of one sense by feeding its information through another channel. We are leveraging this technique to…

via VEST vibratory vest — The Assistive Technology Daily

Thank you to The Assistive Technology Daily for sharing these great innovations.



Posted in Assistive Technology, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Accessing Print on the Fly with Mobile Devices and Apps with OCR and Text to Speech


Apps with text to speech are nothing new. Many apps with text to speech are available for mobile devices to access print on the fly for individuals with visual, learning or cognitive disabilities as may be required in a academic , home setting or in the community. Among the plethora of apps here are a few apps I frequently recommend  to post secondary students and adults with disabilities that need to access print on the fly due to the accuracy of the OCR, fast processing and simplicity of use. Certainly, OCR accuracy is dependent on many factors (hand steadiness, quality of original print, lighting, mobile device camera) however here are just a couple of favorite apps that can be used to quickly take a picture, process with OCR and listen to access:

knfb-reader-iconKNFB Reader (iOS; $99.00 for iPhone/ iPad, Android ). A rather expensive app, however for individuals with a visual impairment, this app provides some of the best OCR and fast scanning and conversion to audio around. It is forgiving and can OCR, some of the smallest print ( 6 point font or less). Scanning a single page or by batch for multiple page OCR is a fast process and even if you import is sideways it will be recognized. When scanning, auditory feedback for orientation is supplied to the user. Features of the app allow scanned text to be read automatically, allows reading in the background, word highlighting and over 19 different recognition languages and over 20 different text to speech languages. For individuals with visual impairment this is an app I frequently recommend given they own a mobile device. .

claro-scanpen-reader-iconClaro ScanPen Reader app (6.99 for iPhone/iPad, Android) – Claro apps are among my favorite apps for their functionality and reasonable cost. Claro ScanPen Reader app is one of their newer apps which primarily  OCR’s images and provides a simple means of reading using text to speech. Tools are limited, but provides a simple, easy method of touch to start text to speech which highlights the text when read aloud. You can move through the text by touching the lines of text to activate. Text to speech modes include word, line and “all”. Seven text highlighting colors are offered. Add on voices in other languages are available for $1.99/voice. I find the scanning is accurate, simple and easy to complete.  The only controls in the app are a X to close the page and the Setting app for choices of voice, voice rate, selection mode and highlight color as aforementioned.

Accuracy when scanning is dependent on numerous factors as above mentioned. Claro software provides suggestions for using images and scanning text on their website post “Tips for Taking Photos on iPhone and iPad”. Although this article may be geared to the Claro app, the tips apply generally to taking pictures for use with OCR apps.

Apps with OCR and text to speech tools providing on demand access to print are just one of many assistive technology tools that can level the playing field for individuals with disabilities. Many other low tech to high tech tools provide reading supports for individuals with disabilities.

What are your favorite mobile device apps for on demand access of print?

More for your OT eTool Kit.



Posted in Android, App Reviews, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Learning Disability, Low Vision/ Blindness, Reading, Text to Speech, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LED Handrails for the Visually Impaired

There are a many exciting  innovations emerging for individuals with low vision and blindness, from environmental supports to sophisticated new wearables. The Assistive Technology Daily shares LED handrails that can guide the traveler in the direction of the walkway or stairs in this case.

LED Handrails Collar Assembly Zoon Designs’ LED handrails are both a clever and surprisingly obvious way to light up a staircase. Named the Blind Handrail they are conceived to replace area lighting and put it where it is needed the most. The concept handrails even can be many colors, making the lowly stair well one…

via LED Handrails for the Visually Impaired  — The Assistive Technology Daily

HT to The Assistive Technology Daily for their share of everything AT!


Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Low Vision/ Blindness, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

iPhone Case System with Swappable Modules – An Option for AAC Users?

Otterbox cases have been the mobile device case choice for most of our clients mobile device recommendations. Otterbox cases provide a protection, good quality yet remain somewhat slim.  Of course their is never a one size fits all for our clients pending their needs, however we have had success with Otterbox cases.

One of Otterbox’s newer cases is the Universe Case System, offering protection along with swappable modules to the base case for iPhones (i6, i6 Plus). For those clients who are using a mobile device as an AAC device, battery life, volume/speaker output can be a concern depending on phone use, other services utilized and the environment.

The Universe Case System for iPhones (6, 6 Plus, 7) for $38.21 at Amazon provides modular components that can be easily added or removed to the outside case.


Among the swappable components is a battery charger, speaker and USB storage module that could be easily added as needed. Polar Pro Powerpack Extended Battery module (49.99):


PolarPro BeatPulsar Compact Speaker module (49.99) can also be added to the case, providing sound amplification is in large or noisy environment.

otterbox-universe-speaker                     otterbox-universe-speaker-2

PolarPro Trial Blase Armband for the Otterbox Universe Case is also a positioning option  for individuals with motor challenges  (29.99).


Additional modules can be added such as a card wallet, camera lens and armband to the base case. Although the components can add up in cost, the  Otterbox Otterbox Universe Case system is a protective case that can offer functional components for individuals  with disabilities on an as needed basis. I see this case as an strong option for those with AAC needs for the speaker system if working in a noisy area.

I have not yet had the opportunity to trial the Universe case, however am looking forward to working with the next one ordered.

Have you used the new Universe case by Otterbox?

More for your OT eTool Kit!






Posted in Accessibility, Accessories, Assistive Technology, Augmentative Communication, iPhone, Mobile Device Use, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holiday Apps for Preschoolers

Here are a few apps that provide some preschool educational or mobile app touch learning with a holiday theme. Certainly there are more, however these are currently free (time line for free is unknown…). Whether for learning shapes, focused attention, language or motivation, these apps might be considered for your eTool Kit if you are working with preschool children.

tiggly-christmas-pictTiggly Christmas app (free; iOS) has a Christmas theme while working on shape recognition. Can be used with or without the Tiggly Shapes.



Bogga Christmas Tree app (free; iOS and .99 for Android ) presents a Christmas tree to decorate suited to young children



  Toca Boca Hair Salon Christmas Gift app (free; iOS) is a fun game for all ages.



Cookie Doodle (.99; iOS ) a classic app for cookie creating and engagement on an iPad for developing touch control and language.


Make Cookies app (free; Android) A simple cookie making app for android.


Do you have seasonal apps you use with young children?




Posted in Apps for OT's, Holiday and Special Events, iOS, iPad, Uncategorized | Leave a comment