Assistive Technology for Kids who Experienced Trauma — Michigan Assistive Technology (AT) Program Blog

By Aimee Sterk, LMSW, MATP Staff I’m working on a trauma certificate and recently attended a symposium on Somatic Experience therapy for children who have experienced trauma. The presenter, Maggie Kline, LMFT, explained that for young children (birth to 18 months) who experience trauma, the body holds the memory and that therapy needs to focus…

via Assistive Technology for Kids who Experienced Trauma — Michigan Assistive Technology (AT) Program Blog’

This is an interesting post from the Michigan Assistive Technology Program Blog describing movement tools as AT for individuals with trauma in their history. It shares great information and also expands the concept of AT by including sensory equipment to support individuals with social and emotional disabilities.

Thanks to MATP for their informative post.


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Portable Reading Tool Options, Smartphone or Handheld Device – What’s Your Pick?

image of C-Pen reader and smartphone

C-Pen Reader or Smartphone?

A variety of portable reading tools are available with fairly good recognition and improved text to speech voices for quick access to print using text to speech.  While many individuals rely on their smartphones for accessing print with text to speech these days, for some it is not always the preferred solution.  A recent evaluation demonstrated use of apps on a smartphone, such as my favorite, on-demand Claro Scan Pen app for individuals with a learning disability, and the handheld C-Pen Reader upon requested. While this is an infrequent request, as it may be considered  “older technology”, it remains an preferred option for some clients. .

For this particular client, using the C-Pen was strongly preferred. The reason for the  clients preference included:

  • Reduced level of distractions when using the pen compared to the potential distractions of a smartphone’s messages, texts, alarms, phone calls or other alerts occurring (even with Airplane mode on)
  • Simplicity of use
  • Perception of others (classmates or instructors) when using a smartphone that use is for entertainment purposes.

Despite the somewhat lower text to speech quality, for some clients this lower tech tool continues to be their choice for listening to text read aloud from paper sources.  Interestingly, a number of clients recently serviced have been adamant about not using a smartphone to access print due it being perceived as entertainment rather than an assistive tool in work or educational environments.

While many options exist for accessing text to speech using portable devices such as  smartphones with scan and read apps other portable devices like the C-Pen remain a solution for accessing and reading text. Hang on to it, it may be the tool of choice for one of your clients!

What has been your experience or preferences of portable reading tools?

More for your AT Toolkit!

Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR, ATP, CATIS

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, Learning Disability, Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The NEBO EYE shared by Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

The folks at Easter Seals Crossroads shares another low tech AT tool for low vision clients or children as well as for older adults. Both low vision clients typically benefit from the right type of task lighting. Older adults over the age of 60-65 years and gradually experience visual changes in their eyes requiring brighter light levels. The AT specialists at Easter Seals Crossroads share out the NEBO Eye, a flexible, portable light that can be used for a variety of tasks, placed in a variety of positions and offers a bright and a milder or lower brightness level.

Check out the review by Easter Seals Crossroads on the NEBO Eye below.

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! If you’re looking for a simple solution to light up a dining room table, closet, bathroom, desk, and more – check out the […]

via AM341 – NEBO EYE — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

H/T to Easterseals Crossroads for their AT curating!




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Visual or Vibrating Alert Devices — AT3 Center News & Tips

Ten gadgets to help you stay safe, on time, and informed with a hearing impairment

via Visual or Vibrating Alert Devices — AT3 Center News & Tips

Great list of suggested devices for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Reviewing the list there are also other individuals with or without a disability who might benefit also from some of these devices!

Thank you to AT3 Center for sharing their expertise!


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ATU422 – Morphic with Gregg Vanderheiden — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

Thanks to Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads for sharing information on Morphic in their regular blog posts. Morphic is a universal design for access in development for 10 year and is now coming to fruition! Truly a universal design technology tool offering accessibility tools and language translation capabilities for every computer.  To learn more, visit AT at Easter Seals Crossroads for more information about this exciting universal design tool or see the video and links to Morphic below.

Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Show Notes: Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden PhD – Director of the Trace R&D Center at the University of Maryland College Park More on Morphic:——————————If you have an…

via ATU422 – Morphic with Gregg Vanderheiden — Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads


H/T to Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads for their curation of AT tools and resources!


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“On-Demand” Apps for Reading

On demand scan and read apps image

On demand scan and read apps for mobile devices

Many individuals with reading challenges are faced with difficulty reading the information in their environment. Whether text in a technical manual at work, written directions and a handout provided in a class or meeting that may be difficult to read. While computer-based scan and read software have been around for a long time, mobile devices now become a scan and read tool for “on demand” access to print for struggling readers whether for school or work.

On-demand access to print is a topic often addressed with students with significant reading challenges during the assessment of their AT needs. While these apps have been around for a while, new apps, upgrades continue to offer additional options for struggling readers.

For students who benefit from test to speech and seeing the document in its original format, the following apps are solid apps for adults and students with a learning disability and mild intellectual disability:

Claro Scan Pen app (iOS and Android; smartphone/tablets; $9.99 for iOS) – While this has been around for several years, it remains my favorite of the quick access scan and read apps for its stability, accuracy, and access. Claro Scan Pen allows the user to scan (OCR, optical character recognition) a worksheet, menu, form or document, provides a replica of the document scanned and allows selecting any text read aloud. A variety of voices are available, options to change speed, and the color of the selected text read. For individuals with significant reading challenges, the visual representation of material scanned is critical to navigating within a document. Loss of formatting for individuals with vision can create difficulty orienting to the contents of a form or worksheet. Claro Scan Pen can batch scan, offering several scanning pages of a document or worksheet. Images from the camera or Photos can be used to and processed with OCR. Additional features allow sharing the document with other apps and services as well as copying to the clipboard.

Claro Scan pen process image

Claro Scan Pen Video Review:

Prizmo Go (iOS app for iPad and iPhone; free, in-app purchases) – Prizmo Scanning app with text to speech has been around for years. However, the Prizmo Go app offering quick scan and text to speech options, is a newer app producing “quick capture” scan and read using OCR. The app offers options of taking a picture with the camera or importing an existing image from the Photos library using OCR. Single page scanning and batch scan of multiple pages are options available in the app. Prizmo Go offers the ability to crop an image after importing, selecting the text and listening using text to speech, highlighted text when read as well as navigation using the play and forward/back buttons. The OCR’d text can be translated, shared and copied. The app is compatible with Voiceover.

Handwriting recognition is also present, however trials were marginally accurate. Other features include speech output to assist with orienting the device when scanning.  Prizmo offers two views of the scanned text,  one showing the original document layout (pictured above in below image) with a second dialog box showing text only and controls for reading, sharing and settings. Prizmo Go offers a more features than Claro Scan Pen app which might be confusing for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Prizmo Go app image

Video Review of Prizmo Go:

Voice Dream Scanner app (iOS; iPhone/iPad 3.99 sale limited time) – The developer of Voice Dream Reader app recently debuted the Voice Dream Scanning app, offering quick scan and reading of documents with a mobile device. The OCR scanning was very accurate, detecting print labels in documents with images. Voice Dream Scanning app allows instant access of documents scanned with text to speech, the option of text-only document view, options of a variety of voices and the ability to share the scanned information to Voice Dream Reader, as a text or PDF document or copy the text. Batch scanning is an option as well as cropping the initial image before performing OCR to select specific text in the scanned document. Images from the camera or from Photos can be used to process the document using OCR. Navigation within the text and playing text to speech is accessed using the play or forward/backward button.

voice dream scanner app image

Voice Dream Scanner app review:

Comments: Accuracy of the OCR when used with the same document were all good but not perfect. Voice Dream Scanner app was the most accurate when compared with the Claro Scan Pen and Prizmo Go. Although less features, I find the Claro Scan Pen preferred for clients with intellectual disability to instantly process, simplified tools and easy access to any text desired to be read. When accessing forms or worksheets, Claro Scan Pen allows the user to view and access the line of print exactly as the original copy. Although the apps work on iPhones, when scanned text is small, selecting the text to be read aloud can be a bit tricky and requires good vision and dexterity. Using the scanning apps due to the detail, is easiest generally when on an iPad Mini tablet or larger in my experience.

As always however, accuracy of the text to speech is dependent on the quality of the document scanned, steadiness of taking a picture and higher quality camera used. The free Prizmo Go app is a bargain however the other apps are well worth the cost, depending on the needs of the user.

As device capabilities and apps improve, accessing text on demand for struggling readers becomes more and more possible!

What are your favorite apps for quick access to print “on-demand”?

More for your OT eTool Kit!

Posted in Accessibility, Adults with LD, Android, App Reviews, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Intellectual Disability, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Learning Disability, OCR, Reading, Text to Speech, Vocation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

EyeMine Is A Free Software That Lets People Play Minecraft With Their Eyes — Assistive Technology Blog

EyeMine software offer individuals with mobility impairment access to Minecraft hands free. Read Venkat’s review on this new access method for playing Minecraft!

There are many young people and children who love to play Minecraft. However, some, because of their disabilities, are unable to do so, especially if they cannot move their arms or fingers to control the mouse. To make Minecraft accessible to people with disabilities, SpecialEffect, a charity organization based in the UK, has developed EyeMine…

via EyeMine Is A Free Software That Lets People Play Minecraft With Their Eyes — Assistive Technology Blog

H/T to Venkat Rao from Assistive Technology Blog for sharing information about access for gaming for individuals with mobility impairment!


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