This isn’t quite new but a new use. There are now a few free and low cost AAC apps for Android. Read more on the “Talking Android” page.
An easy way
to input your email address or things that are a pain to type. I got an email from a fairly new iPhone user who is blind. He said it takes him about 30 minutes to input his password, and do I know an easier way? Yes, I do. This is my suggestion. Open your settings. go to general, then keyboard, then down the list in keyboard to shortcuts. You can make a shortcut which will insert your whole email address or one to insert your password. The shortcut can not be a word which you might ever type but you can use anything that is easy for you to type. As an example, if you thought you would never type the word toothpick, you could use that as the shortcut to insert your email address. You can then use the dictation and say,, toothpick,, and press the spacebar; the iPhone would then insert your email address. If you are using voiceover, you will hear “auto correction, followed by your email address. This way you can easily insert those items which are a real pain to type. I have a shortcut CNT and it inserts,, can’t talk now.
My Soap Box I’m exasperated by the high price of specialized technology for people with disabilities, and frustrated because government agencies, at least the ones I know about, frequently recommend the most expensive of all the available options. The people making the recommendations seem to have a one track mind, or possibly an agenda, never looking for free or low cost alternatives, and they are rarely knowledgeable about more recent products and software. The current state of technology is demonstrated in the video below. In a little over a year, more than 10,000 people have watched this video and I’ve gotten some very nice comments and emails from all over the world; thank you.to let me know what you think.
My newest rant
is with the public school systems in my area. The “technology specialists” seem to continue to suggest large, bulky devices of limited use, like the GoTalk9 and GoTalk20, when an ipad mini is close in price with so much more functionality, and the iPad has so many more uses than just to be an electronic replacement for picture exchange. Why use a device which can only have 20 phrases at a time, with 100 phrases in total when the iPad can have as many phrases and words as the user wants and is customizable for a new need, within seconds. Read about one family’s experiences helping their child “speak”.
My specialty is teaching adults, though sometimes children, with disabilities how to use computers and other technology devices to better their lives and give them a chance of getting a job or going to school. I was, for nine years, the Technology Manager at a disability agency based in Nashville, TN. During that time I’ve had plenty of opportunity to explore various specialized devices and software for people with disabilities. While much of this software and hardware is very good, the cost is so expensive as to put it out of reach for the people who really need it. Even if the insurance company will buy the device, the family is left with the $500-800 a year repair contract. This brings me to the point of my site; a place to explain how mainstream software and devices can be used for those with disabilities without paying the exorbitant prices for specialty products.
Most of my students are blind or have low vision. Some have no speech, some have little or no use of their hands, while others have intellectual challenges. The thing that all these people have in common is that using a computer can help them communicate and learn in a way that was only a dream 10 or 15 years ago.
I’m available for speaking engagements. In June 2014, I gave a short talk titled “A Better Way to Read”, and was on the e-publishing discussion panel at the M-Enabling Summit held in Arlington, VA. This is a world wide summit with participants from 34 countries; a total of nearly 600 people. The focus is on communication for the elderly and people with disabilities. My talk was a comparison of the major ebook readers: ibooks, Kindle reader, Nook Reader and VoiceDream. I discussed the pros and cons of each of these apps and how they help people with disabilities to read more material, more easily.