My Experience with AI-powered Digital Writing Assistants: An Illustrated Autoethnographic Study — Peace & Quiet


As an assistive technology practitioner, concerns regarding spelling and grammar are frequent. Of the many grammar editing services, Grammarly is typically recommended to clients for the extended editing tools offered. While MS Office’s spelling and grammar checkers have improved, they do not provide the indepth editing Grammarly Premium offers.

This repost of a teacher’s experience using Grammarly to edit student work was insightful. His post also supports what I have found when using Grammarly, offering additional assistance for my grammar errors when writing. With repetition, it also is teaching me a few grammar rules I should have learned many years ago!

Here is a first draft of my Research Proposal. I still need to develop the Literature Review. I look forward to your feedback. Thank you! Introduction: Although online grammar checkers have gained popularity in recent years, there has been limited research conducted on the impact of AI-powered assisted digital writers on students’ revising and editing […]

via My Experience with AI-powered Digital Writing Assistants: An Illustrated Autoethnographic Study — Peace & Quiet

H/T to Peace and Quiet for sharing their experience and insights regarding Grammarly.

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Assistive Technology, Grammar, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

OrCam Read – A Handheld Scan and Read Device with Amazing Accuracy!

image of OrCam Read device

OrCam Read

Artificial intelligence is providing a whole new set of remarkable assistive technology tools. One new device is the OrCam Read device. With similar reading functions as the OrCam MyEye  glasses mounted scan and read device, the OrCam Read device is a small, discrete, handheld device that instantly reads scanned text with incredible accuracy.

OrCam Read device image

The OrCam Read device measures 5” in length by 1” height and ½” width, just the right size to hold in your hand, carry in a pocket or attach to a lanyard. Lightweight and easy to handle, control buttons are easy to access with point and shoot operation to scan  desired test.  The OrCam Read device uses a laser light beam to capture what text you are scanning. Two different red laser beams are used, one showing a frame capture and the second a laser pointer capture. The frame capture scans a whole page on text information, whereas the laser pointer option identifies reading from a specific point in the text.

OrCam laser capture

The point and shoot feature is easy to start, pause and stop with the button controls resulting in instant text to speech once print is captured. The + and – buttons allow the user to navigate within the text by moving up/down a line. Both navigation and point and shoot features are fast and immediately responsive without any lag experienced.

Testing the OrCam Read with several different hard print sources found the accuracy of the text read to be extremely high. Trialed with a magazine article, a business letter, textbook and post card print information resulted in OrCam Read text to speech accuracy on targeted text to be at 99%. An error when reading an abbreviation of APR, recognized as April was found when used with a business letter.  Using trials, the device accurately read text as small as 6-8 point to large titles and headings on hard copy print. The Orcam Read will tell you when the text is unable to be read, or in the case of word art graphics or handwriting, it does not process it.

Having trialled and texted many devices and apps with text to speech capabilities to support client needs, the OrCam Read device using standard typed text is the best I have experienced.  Its speed of processing was fast, accurate with a point and shoot type of control. Practice with the point and shoot was needed to understand the parameters of where and what it will read as would be expected.

Other features of the OrCam Read include Bluetooth capabilities to connect wireless speakers and headphones. A standard jack headphone jack is also available. Using Wi-Fi, updates can be downloaded to the device when available. The device menu is accessed by pressing the power and volume buttons simultaneously to control volume settings.  Menu and prompts for operation of the OrCam Read are provided by spoken voice to guide the user in its functions. The OrCam can operate for 4 continuous hours, however it has a suspended mode after a few minutes of non-use which will automatically power down after another short period.

Initial trials of the OrCam Read device found it easy to use, small, discrete and highly accurate in reading standard hard copy print through its scan and read processing.  For individuals with low vision and dyslexia, this device will provide an exceptional on demand tool to access print in work, education and community settings.

Here is an overview video of the OrCam Read device:

For more information, check out the information and tutorials on the OrCam Read website or contact Adaptive Technology Resources for trials, demonstrations or pricing in the Midwest.

More for your OT eTool kit.

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Adaptive Devices, Adults with LD, Artificial Intelligence, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, Reading, Vocation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

More Talking Books, Please! — Low Vision Tech

Having difficulty getting electronic books due to the COVID Pandemic? 

The Low Vision Tech blogger shares instructions regarding downloading books using the BARD service. Check out the Low Vision Tech’s post to help you out.

“I’m out of books, what am I going to do now?” This was the short version of a call I received from a former client a couple weeks ago, when businesses and rehab agencies sent staff home to reduce public exposure to COVID-19. She’d heard a rumor that the Talking Books she looks forward to…

via More Talking Books, Please! — Low Vision Tech

H/T to Low Vision Tech for taking the time to share information on accessing Bard services.

Posted in Accessibility, Book, Low Vision/ Blindness, Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Assistive Reading and Writing Software – Free Licenses Offered Through the End of the School Year

Kurzweil 3000 image    Snap & Read image    ClaroRead Chrome extension image

As the mandatory shift to online instruction for all students occurs amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic, more vendors of assistive technology software have stepped up to support special needs students. The following developers of assistive technology software and apps for reading and writing are offering free licenses for special education staff and students upon request:

  • Don Johnston, Inc. is offering their assistive technology learning software for free for struggling readers and writers. The licenses are offered with a request from students special education staff. Licenses for Snap & Read, CoWriter, Wordbank are among the tools offered. The Don Johnston Learning Academy offers tutorials to learn how to use the software.

These tools will allow access to learning materials as schools close and students learn at home. What generous offerings from AT developers to support of students with special needs and families as they continue their  learning at home during the COVID Pandemic.

Thank you to the developers for their generous support!

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology.

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Dysgraphia, Learning Disability, Reading, Scanning, Word Prediction, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion Software – Free for Home Users (thru 6/30/2020)

zoomtext and Fusion software images

ZoomText and Fusion

The Coronavirus Pandemic has brought challenging situations and many vendors have stepped up and are generously providing free software to help people connect while working or staying safe at home. Freedom Scientific is one of those vendors offering free home licenses of  JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion for home use through June 30, 2020. Information and links to the free software licensing offers are available on the Freedom Scientific website ( ).

Free live webinars to assist with learning features and integration of the software to daily tasks are found online at Freedom Scientific:

On-demand video tutorial webinars are also available from Freedom Scientific:

Thanks to the vendors providing support to individuals with low vision and blindness allowing them access to computer based communications, information and resources.

Carol, OT’s with Apps and Technology

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Low Vision/ Blindness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Disinfecting Your iOS Devices- Updated Apple Recommendations


 image from 9 to 5

With the concerns of the COVID-19 transmission,  Apple has released official instructions on disinfection your iOS devices. As describe below these instructions are a change from past recommendations:

How to clean your Apple products

Get recommendations and guidelines for cleaning your Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, display, or peripheral device.

Apple products are made with a variety of materials, and each material might have specific cleaning requirements. To get started, here are some tips that apply to all products:

  • Use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, or similar items.
  • Avoid excessive wiping, which might cause damage.
  • Unplug all external power sources, devices, and cables.
  • Keep liquids away from the product, unless otherwise noted for specific products.
  • Don’t get moisture into any openings.
  • Don’t use aerosol sprays, bleaches, or abrasives.
  • Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the item.

Is it OK to use a disinfectant on my Apple product?
Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.

If liquid makes its way inside your Apple product, get help from an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Retail Store as soon as possible. Liquid damage isn’t covered under the Apple product warranty or AppleCare Protection Plans, but you may have rights under consumer law. If you plan to visit an Apple Retail store, make a reservation at the Genius Bar (available only in some countries and regions).

Additional recommendations on sanitizing other Apple devices can be found on the Apple website.

Looking for other methods of sanitizing an iPhone? Visit 9 to 5 for additional options.

Stay Safe!

Carol, from OT’s with Apps and Technology

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Avaz Reader Helps Children With Dyslexia Read At Their Own Pace — Assistive Technology Blog

MDA Avaz Reader, built in association with the Madras Dyslexia Association, is an app that helps and encourages children with Dyslexia to read independently by offering various features and techniques, and a clean, distraction free interface. A user can either take photos of a physical book and upload them to the app or even upload existing…

via Avaz Reader Helps Children With Dyslexia Read At Their Own Pace — Assistive Technology Blog

Have you seen or used the new Avaz Reader app? Check out the review on the Assistive Technology Blog

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology.

Posted in Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, iPad, Learning Disability, Reading, Special education | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

WeWalk Is A White Cane Accessory That Changes How Blind People Navigate — Assistive Technology Blog

A new startup, WeWalk, which recently graduated from the Microsoft for Startups program, is making waves in the assistive technology world. WeWalk has invented a product by the same name that attaches to a regular white cane that not only detects obstacles for visually impaired people but also enhances and changes the way visually impaired […]

via WeWalk Is A White Cane Accessory That Changes How Blind People Navigate — Assistive Technology Blog

Check out the new WeWalk, enhance community mobility for visually impaired!

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology


Posted in Accessibility, Accessories, Assistive Technology, Community Mobility, Life Skills, Low Vision/ Blindness, Occupational Therapy, Visual Impairment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is the Dumb Phone the Smart Choice? — Low Vision Tech

The Low Vision Tech website shares recent information regarding phone choices for individual with low vision. I greatly appreciate Steven Kelley’s shared information from hispresentation at a recent AER conference and his detailed information and resources an experienced point of view. Check out the full post at the links below.

The following is an outline of the presentation on Accessible Flip Phones by Steve Kelley on November 14, 2019 at the NE/AER 2019 conference held in North Conway, NH. 797 more words

via Is the Dumb Phone the Smart Choice? — Low Vision Tech

H/T to Low Vision Tech for the shared information

Carol – OT’s with Apps and Technology

Posted in Accessibility, Communicaton, Low Vision/ Blindness, Phones, Uncategorized, Visual Impairment | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Occupational Therapy & Assistive Technology for Persons with Diabetes and Visual Impairment

November is National Diabetes Month 

Providing Occupational Therapy and Assistive Technology for Persons with Diabetes and Visual Impairment

November is National Diabetes Month, and for OT’s providing services to adults and children, diabetic care may be part of your therapy interventions. As a chronic health condition, diabetics can cause complications of the skin, eyes, nervous system, kidney, heart when uncontrolled (Diabetes Complications, 2019). Diabetic complications may require additional treatment considerations, or adaptive or assistive technology in therapy interventions.

While diabetes complications can affect many bodily functions, vision is one of the systems that can be impaired if diabetes is not controlled. According to the Center for Disease Control (Diabetes Public Health Resource, 2012), in 2011, 20 % of individuals aged 45 years and older diagnosed with diabetes reported visual impairment. Diabetic retinopathy is also reported as the leading cause of blindness in working aged adults (Program, 2018) along with a higher risk of early cataracts, glaucoma and other visual impairments associated with the diabetes (Kleinbeck, 2013). Given the complications of visual impairment with patients with diabetes, treatment may require familiarity with adaptive tools, assistive technology and modifications to support OT intervention of patients with diabetes.

The American Association of Diabetic Educators (AADE) identifies 7 Self Care Behaviors for individuals with diabetes (Resources for People Living with Diabetes, 2019). Each of these self-care areas fall within the scope of occupational performance skills assessed and treated by OT’s. The 7 Self Care Behaviors, as defined by the AADE align with OT scope of practice as listed below:

  1. Healthy Eating (Health Management, Shopping, Meal preparation)
  2. Being Active (Health Management)
  3. Monitoring (Health Management; Personal Hygiene and Grooming; Personal Device Care)
  4. Medication Administration (Health Management,
  5. Problem Solving (Health Management)
  6. Risk Reduction (Health Management; Personal Hygiene and Grooming)
  7. Healthy Coping (Health Management; Social Participation in Community; Education)

National Diabetes Month, OT and Assistive/Adaptive Technology and Resources

Given the incidence of visual impairment with patients OT’s treat, the need for assistive and adaptive devices to compensate for their sensory impairment may need to be explored. So, what assistive technology, adaptive equipment or modifications are available for diabetic patients with visual impairment to help them with health management and maintain independence with their self-care?

While some devices are medically prescribed by the patient’s diabetic team, there are many devices and modifications Occupational therapists that can be considered to support diabetic health management and patients’ occupational goals. Listed below are few assistive/adaptive technology tools and resources that might be considered to support OT intervention of the diabetic in the 7 Self Care areas:

AADE 7 Self Care Behaviors / OT Occupations Assistive or Adaptive Devices

(Low to high tech tools)

Resources to Support OT Interventions in the 7 Self Care Behaviors
Healthy Eating / Health Management, Shopping, Meal preparation


My Weigh Talking scale

  •  MyPlate plate ^ has a high contrast display for educating patients

MyPlate for diabetics

  • Large Print measure cups^ increase visibility for persons with low vision. Tactile markings added can aid identification.

large print measuring cups

  • A variety of reading and writing assistive technology devices are available for individuals with visual impairment**. See suggestions below chart.
The Diabetes Food Hub website has recipes, a meal planning tool and other healthy eating tips for diabetics

MyPlate program provides a visual guide for healthy eating, food and quantity management.

Carb counting apps or forms aid learning and tracking daily carb intake:

Mayo Clinic’s Diabetic Meal Plan Recipes  Provides a list of foods and recipes for diabetic meal planning and preparation

Large Print Activity and Food Log (free) from American Diabetes Association

Being Active / Health Management
  • Fitbit® activity trackers are available in some Medicare Insurance plans to monitor activity and heart rate levels. Best Fitbit for Elderly 2019 article recommends Fitbits® for Seniors.
  • Wearable health monitoring devices as the Fitbit or Garmin provide health activity monitoring tools.
  • The Best Fitness Activity Tracker for Seniors / The Elderly 2019 recommends 3 different trackers. The Garmin reviewed offers larger screen for increased visibility.
  •  A variety of reading and writing assistive technology devices are available for individuals with visual impairment**. See suggestions below chart.
Some Medicare Insurances have a Fitbit community to aid motivation for staying active (e.g. AARP Advantage plan Fitbit community)

The Silver Sneaker Program provides online line and community health/fitness programs geared to seniors. Check client eligibility at Silver

American Diabetes Association has Fitness Information for Diabetics.

The National Council on Aging provides a wealth of evidenced based practices on fitness programs for older adults.

A Workout Program for Diabetics from the Verywell Health website offers information and fitness training for Diabetic Type 2 clients.

VisionAware has information on Exercise for People who are Blind or Low vision.

Monitoring / Health Management; Personal Hygiene and Grooming; Personal Device Care
  • Blood Glucose (BG) monitors with large print, talking capabilities are available. devices. BG Monitors with data storage can share date with medical teams for monitoring.

Prodigy BG talking monitor^

Prodigy Glucose Meter

  • Blood pressure cuffs with large print readouts or talking features. BP units that saves data for medical or diabetic team review.

MiBest Talking BP monitor^ has a large, high contrast LCD, offers English and Spanish and saves up to 90 records for 2 users.

MiBest talking blood pressure monitor

  • Recording daily blood sugar and blood pressure reading on with large print log sheets aids persons with visual impairment with diabetic health management
  • A variety of reading and writing assistive technology devices are available for individuals with visual impairment**. See suggestions below chart.
The American Diabetes Association website Device Technology section has an overview of basic devices used for diabetic management.

VisionAware website provides diabetics step by step instructions for monitoring sugar levels in print format and also audio versions.

Information on what to look for in glucose meters is also provided. Information on monitoring blood pressures is also included in this topic which can be found at VisionAware:

Monitoring your Blood Glucose when you have Visual Impairment

Large Print blood glucose and blood pressure log sheets are available:

Large Print Blood Glucose Level Log

Large Print Blood Pressure Log

Medication Administration

/ Health Management

VisionAware website offers information on Products and Devices to Help Identify Medication   including a list of adaptive medication identification systems including talking options. A few medication devices listed:

Talk Script


Other labeling systems:

Pen Friend 2 labeling system^

PenFriend label system

  • Low tech methods of marking meds can include tactile markers, large print labels or other tactile or visual marking systems
  • A variety of reading and writing assistive technology devices are available for individuals with visual impairment**. See suggestions below chart.
The American Diabetes Association has information on medication management for diabetics and caregivers.

VisionAware website has specific medication management suggestions and tools for diabetics with visual impairment – Diabetes: The Basics Taking Medication .

VisionAware website is accessible with magnification tools and audio formatted information for individuals with visual impairment.



Problem Solving /

Health Management

Problem Solving tools can include apps to organize and review diabetes data:

  • Diabetic Connect app for iOS and Android provides tools to monitor blood glucose, medication, meals, blood pressure, weight and diet within the app. Information can be exported to online, computer-based archive system.
  • Diabetes:M app for iOS and Android is a log book for management of diabetic data. Manages blood glucose, BP, insulin, medications, weight, food, graphs the information and provides reminders.


VisionAware Diabetes: The Basics: Problem Solving:   Suggestions for productive problem solving is the focus of the information presented on VisionAware website for individuals with visual impairment. Magnification tools and information in audio recordings offer accessible formats.

National Diabetes Education Program – Lifestyle Change Program providing education, support groups are available through National Diabetes Education Program.

The Diabetic offers a listing of support and educational groups by state.

Risk Reduction / Health Management; Personal Hygiene and Grooming


Monitor and record BP, BG and Cholesterol levels using apps and/or diabetic monitoring forms. Maintaining records can help the diabetes team identify medical needs.

  •  Apps as listed in Monitor and Medication sections can help with health management and Risk Reduction.
  • Using low tech such as large print BG and BP log sheets can help with Risk Reduction.
  • A variety of reading and writing assistive technology devices are available for individuals with visual impairment**. See suggestions below chart.
VisionAware website Diabetes: The Basics: Risk Reduction offers information on reducing risks including the following topics:

  •  Regular Skin/feet checks
  • Oral health care
  • Monitor



Coping Strategies / Health Management; Social Participation in Community; Education


Apps for calming, deep breath or meditation can be help as a coaching tool for anxieties or depression



The Diabetic offers a listing of support and educational groups by state. Support groups, activity groups and educational groups are known resources to help with well-being. Some program costs may be covered by insurance.

VisionAware – Diabetes: The Basics: Coping Strategies offers information regarding healthy coaching for diabetics with low vision. Accessible print and audio format of the information is available.

Coping with Your Emotions – University of California – SF offers online suggestions for copying with diabetes.

^ Amazon Affiliate Link

Reading and Writing Assistive Technology Tools for Individuals with Visual Impairment**

A wide range of reading and writing assistive tools and modifications are available to support access and production of print for individuals with visual impairment. These aids can help diabetics with visual impairment maintain independence in their health management. A few of the reading or writing aids to support low vision might include devices as listed below with many more varieties available on the market depending on patients needs and resources:

  • Modifying print and writing tools with large text, high contrast, bold and clean fonts (san serif fonts) as Arial, Tahoma, increased spacing, use bold pens, writing guides can increase visibility for individuals with low vision. A few tools to consider:
  • Increased lighting, such as task lighting, flashlights directed to the viewed text or object and comfortable to the client aids visibility. Flexible task lights such as:
  • Magnification of objects or print using handheld magnifiers, video magnifiers or CCTV’s provide adjustable spot and stationary reading aids. Video magnifiers offer illumination, multiple magnification levels, contrast settings and reading lines for reading print. A few such magnification systems to consider (but not limited to) include:
    • Handheld video magnifiers of different sizes for near and or far distance viewing:
    • CCTV’s:
      • Life Style CCTV – HD CCTV offers a stationary monitor and video camera for reading print magnified on a large monitor.
      • Go Vision CCTV – The Go Vision CCTV provides video magnification and OCR with reading aloud capabilities. Contrast, magnification and connectivity with phones, computers, tablets are among its features.
      • Patriot Voice Plus – A non-visual device that reads aloud text placed under the camera. Simple tactile controls provide easy access to the Patriots features for individuals with blindness or significant visual impairment
  • Computer programs that magnify and computer information also may support clients in accessing health management information. Programs such as:
    • Accessibility options in Windows and Mac operating systems offers magnification, text to speech, high contrast, enlarged pointers/cursors for individuals with visual impairment.
    • ZoomText Magnification/Reader or Fusion software are dedicated magnification programs to access computer print as well as screen reading access (JAWS) in the expanded version of Fusion.
    • JAWS – Job Access with Speak program offers access to Windows computer for individual with blindness.
    • NVDA– Non-Visual Desktop Access is a free screen reader for Windows operating system allowing access to the computer to individual who are blind.


Occupational therapists working with patients with diabetes can support their health management, self-care and iADL skills following the 7 Self-Care Behaviors identified by the American Association of Diabetic Educators. For patients with diabetes who have a visual impairment, there are many assistive and adaptive tools and resources OT’s can consider to support patients in the 7 Self Care Behaviors to help with health management and well-being.

More for your OT eTool Kit as well as other adaptive devices!

OT & AT for Persons with Diabetes and Visual Impairment PDF

Carol- OT’s with Apps & Technology


Diabetes Complications. (2019). Retrieved from American Diabetes Association:

Diabetes Public Health Resource. (2012, September 21). Retrieved from Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Diabetes: The Basics Overview. (2019, November 22). Retrieved from VisionAware:

Kleinbeck, C. (2013, July 25). Diabetes Self Management. Retrieved from Tools and Techniques for Visual Impairment:

Program, N. D. (2018). Guiding Principles for the Care of People with or at Risk of Diabetes. Retrieved from National Institute of Health:

Resources for People Living with Diabetes. (2019, November 22). Retrieved from American Association of Diabetes Educators:

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OT’s with Apps & Technology is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to A percentage of proceeds is donated to charitable organizations.

Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Adaptive Devices, Assistive Technology, Diabetes, iADL's, Life Skills, Low Vision/ Blindness, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation, Text to Speech, Vision | Leave a comment