New AT Collage Banner

Assistive Technology Tuesdays

Easterseals Massachusetts has been educating, teaching, and innovating in the field of Assistive Technology (AT) for 30 years, longer than anyone in the state!

Assistive technology Tuesdays

We launched a social media campaign called #AssistiveTechTuesdays to make sure the public has access to the best-kept secrets in the growing world of AT. Whether we share an inspiring blog post, sales on devices, or funding updates-this info is sure to help people with disabilities become independent and accomplish their individual goals. From our many years of experience, we've found that the general public and our clients often feel overwhelmed or simply have trouble using their devices whether at home, school, or work.  Don't worry! We've got you covered!


Everyday Devices

Amazon Alexa

  1. Check out this article on how to expand the functionality of your smart home using Alexa's Echo Buttons: http://ow.ly/zxwA50jWKgw
  2. If you have an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or some other Alexa-enabled device, you can control Fios, Frontier, Optic Hub, Tivo, and Dish systems using nothing but your voice. You just need to link your Alexa device to the cable box: http://ow.ly/lX5W50jWKhZ

Xbox Adaptive Controller

  1. Check out Microsoft's new holiday ad for the Xbox Adaptive Controller featuring Owen, a nine and a half-year-old boy with Escobar Syndrome and a passion for gaming. This device is now available at retail stores!; http://ow.ly/1MyX50jWKlN 

Modular Hose

  1. We all love ModularHose, the innovative device "most commonly used in assistive technology applications to hold or position a switch, tablet, or light weight communication device." Now this awesome company is releasing a hands free drinking system as well as a phone/small device mount using the same technology. Here at Easterseals Massachusetts, we love to see companies continue to push technology further and come up with creative AT solutions that we can share with our community. Check out the new products at http://www.modularhose.com/

Emojis

  1. In 2019, the concept of accessibility has so many different dimensions due to the various ways we communicate with each other. Have you ever thought of what emoji conversations are like for someone with a disability?? Check out this important and intriguing blog article about the Do's and Don'ts of Including Emojis in Texts and Emails for people with disabilities. http://ow.ly/f6uX50khERN

Ikea Smart Blinds

  1. Exciting news in the AT world! Swedish furniture giant IKEA is bringing their innovative smart blinds to the US in April. These remote controlled blinds are perfect for individuals with mobility impairments, and are much cheaper than previous smart blind models at only $150. They will be available in stores and online April 1st! We love to see big companies like Ikea continuing to make tech-related developments in their products that can be very beneficial to people with disabilities. Check out this article for more information: http://ow.ly/qBTg50kiDWy

Smart Glasses

  1. Here in New England there's no shortage of Superbowl stories to get excited about, but we found an inspiring story not being talked about enough. The Superbowl is supposed to be when the country comes together to enjoy sports, pop culture, and music, but it's easy to forget how many people don't get to fully share this experience.

    This blog is a fantastic example of how assistive technology is becoming integrated into mainstream culture so that people with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work, and play. Read the short blog here: http://ow.ly/w2Oh50lnZ7z

Workstation Ergonomics

  1. Do you spend several hours a day sitting in front of a computer? If so, you may benefit from checking out Cornell University's Ergonomic Workstation Advisor. It is a checklist that helps you evaluate the ergonomics of your workstation and make adjustments if needed. Here at Easterseals Massachusetts, we know many people with and without disabilities are seated in front of computers at their jobs for extended periods, and an improper workstation setup can cause unnecessary injury or strain. Check out the resource here to see if you should make any adjustments: http://ow.ly/8OlH50kDcQK

Google Live Transcribe & Sound Amplifier for Android

  1. Google is adding two new features for Android phones to help individuals with hearing loss - Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier! Live Transcribe takes spoken words and transcribes them into captions. Sound Amplifier filters, augments, and amplifies sounds from the environment with customizable levels. As leading providers of Assistive Technology services, we always get excited when we see new developments like these in the field! Check out this article for more information about the development of these great new apps: http://ow.ly/lwmY50kCXJi

Apple Head Tracking

  1. Apple is introducing "head tracking" as a way to interface with the new iPhone or iPad Pro using their True Depth camera, an infrared camera that maps your face. This will be a great accessibility feature for individuals with various disabilities, such as ALS, as it will allow them to use facial and eye movements to navigate through their device. As an organization that has specialized in Assistive Technology for 30 years, we always get excited to see these kinds of developments in the field and can't wait to continue to see what the future holds for AT. Check out this article to learn more about the apps that will be utilizing this feature: http://ow.ly/O9xU50mCCPy

Vitals App

  1. Check out this "game-changing" new app that will help police interact with people with disabilities: https://thevitalsapp.com/ 
    The Vitals App allows users to input information about their disabilities and needs and provides them with a fob to wear on their shoelaces, watch, necklace, etc. When police come within 80 feet of a Vitals fob, they get an alert on their phone with the information the user provided. The information is only used when necessary, but can be extremely beneficial in helping police understand how to best interact with an individual with a disability.
    This app is not only "game-changing" but potentially life-saving. As leaders in the field of disability services, we are always striving to educate and bring awareness to the public about disabilities. The Vitals App is another example of the great innovations being made in the #AssistiveTechnology and #DisabilityServices fields lately, and we hope to continue to see technology like this so that individuals with disabilities can lead happy and safe lives! Read more about the app in this article from Disability Scoophttp://ow.ly/BPGq50pxhhp

Recovery4Us App

  1. The BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation is announcing the public launch of its new app, Recovery4Us! Recovery4US provides hope-inspiring activities for a community of people who are on the road to mental health recovery. These include receiving daily hopeful images and messages directly on your phone, the ability to create your own hopeful message to share with others, suggestions for types of experiences you can photograph to inspire yourself and others as well as a function to meet others registered on the app.
    Learn more about Recovery4Us and download it here: http://r4us.bu.edu/


Adaptive Equipment

DIY Doorknob Adapter

  1. Eric Oddleifson, our VP of Assistive Technology & Community Support Services put in this DIY doorknob adapter for a client using foam tubing and zip ties. It was a success and can be very useful for individuals with arthritic joints: http://ow.ly/lMRZ50jUSb8 

Wheelchair Accessible Scales and Pressure Mapping Systems


  1. MassMATCH hosted several open houses at the Assistive Technology Regional Centers in Worcester, Boston and Pittsfield to showcase their new scales and pressure mapping systems for wheelchair users. As leaders in the field of AT, we are excited to be able to offer these important devices for use by those who need them. Learn more here: http://ow.ly/wYST50jWJIJ

Bear Paw Assistive Eating Aid

  1. Sometimes simplicity is best. The Bear Paw Assistive Eating Aid is a perfect example of that. Check out this article about a simple yet extremely effective AT device; http://ow.ly/2uVW50k35LW

Independent Living Program

  1. Our Independent Living Program helps individuals with moderate and severe disabilities live more independently in their homes. Through a contract with Mass Rehabilitation Commission, we provide assistive technology and training to those who need it. And, don't forget we have new alternative financing programs for people to create more affordable access to #assistivetechnology!! Andrew Pilkington has been using AT at home for years to be an award-winning filmmaker. He uses various AT at Home to help him write, edit, and produce! Learn more about your options, financing, and the program here: http://ow.ly/Yt5E50knXh3

Adaptive Equipment for Snow and Ice

  1. We all know how brutal the winters can be here in New England. Navigating through snow and ice can be a difficult task for individuals with and without disabilities. Here at Easterseals MA, we are always looking for resources to share with our community that can make their everyday lives easier. Check out this article highlighting some unique and innovative assistive technology devices that can be useful during the winter months: http://ow.ly/EzZI50kD2uN

AT Devices for Eating Independently

  1. As leaders in the field of assistive technology, we are always eager to share resources to help our community. AT is an expansive field that can be utilized in every area of life, including eating. Check out this article that showcases 10 unique AT devices that can be used for eating: http://ow.ly/IMFh50kDiG2

Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

Proloquo2Go

  1. The popular augmentative communication app Proloquo2Go recently released version 6. It has several useful new features. As experts in assistive technology, we are eager to share the latest updates in augmentative communication technology. Check out the new version here: http://ow.ly/QcCk50jYB9z

Social Pages in AAC Apps

  1. Need extension files that update “social” pages in various Augmentative and Alternative Communication apps? Check out this resource that expands the availability of vocabulary for AAC users. Here at Easterseals Massachusetts, we are always on the lookout for new assistive technology resources to share with our community. http://www.talcaac.com/pages.html

Acapela Group's Voice Banking

  1. This is incredibly exciting and a game changer for those who use iPads for AAC. Acapela Group has created a new voice banking system called "My Own Voice," which creates a digital copy of the users own voice. It can extremely useful for people diagnosed with conditions such as ALS, that cause voice loss over time. We are very excited to share this innovation with our community at Easterseals MA. Click the link for more information and to read testimonials from the individuals involved in the creation of the software: http://ow.ly/Y2pD50k5LrX


Stories & Interviews

Leah Smith - "Far From the Tree"

  1. Check out this interview with Leah Smith, star of the documentary "Far From the Tree." Leah and her husband both have different forms of dwarfism and have two average-height children. In this interview she discusses her journey to becoming a parent, and the assistive technology she and her husband use in their day to day lives with two young children. http://ow.ly/HDjo50jYB6J

Vox - "Products mocked as 'Lazy' or 'Useless' are often important tools for people with disabilities"

  1. As the local experts in assistive technology for children and adults with disabilities, we get excited when mainstream media outlets give assistive technolgoy a national voice. We wanted to share this informative article demonstrating just how essential assistive technology devices and programs are for people with disabilities. Read the article here: http://ow.ly/3iLG50k7YQh

Microsoft - "Data guru living with ALS modernizes industries by typing with his eyes"

  1. Check out this great story from our partners at Microsoft and Microsoft New England!

    60-year-old Otto Knoke of Guatemala has lived with ALS for 20 years. ALS causes the gradual erosion of muscle functions. Once a CEO in the banking industry, he left his job and began working from home in 2010 as speech became more difficult for him. Determined to remain independent, Knoke became the first person in Guatemala to use Windows 10 Eye Control, a program that allows users to type using their eyes. With this program, Knoke is able to communicate with his family, friends, and colleagues and remain independent.

    Read Otto's full story here: http://ow.ly/zwIL50kdTmB

Boston University - "Rahul Desikan's Story of Love, Science, and Facing Down Death"
  1. Check out this inspiring story about Rahul Desikan, a brilliant scientist and professor who was researching Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) when he himself was diagnosed with the disease. Desikan utilizes many forms of #assistivetechnology in his daily life which allow him to communicate with his family, friends, colleagues, and students while continuing his research. These include a gyroscopic computer mouse and text-to-speech software. Describing himself as "my own petri dish," Desikan continues to devote his time to researching the causes and possible treatments for ALS. Read his powerful story here: http://ow.ly/UWZn50pDMl5


Financial Resources

AT Loan Program

  1. The Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan Program is here! In conjunction with the Mass Rehabilitation Commission, we recently received an award to administer a NEW Micro Loan Program! Low interest loans between $500-$2000! We are so excited to share this news with our community! Learn more here: http://ow.ly/fWok50k8CQj

  2. Do you know about Assistive Technology loan program?? The Massachusetts Assistive Technology Loan (MA AT Loan) Program offers Massachusetts residents with disabilities, veterans and their families access to low-interest cash loans for the purchase of assistive technology, devices and services that will increase their independence and improve their quality of life. The MA AT Loan Program has many options that can help — even for people who don’t think they would qualify for a loan. Click here to learn more!

    Timothy V, left a recent review with our AT department describing how significant this loan program has been for him as a visually impaired person. Read the full review here: http://ow.ly/k21l50kdaAd

iCanConnect Program

  1. Do you know about the iCanConnect program? Another Assistive Technology funding source for clients with vision and hearing loss. Each person in the program gets an individual assessment to determine what equipment supports their distance communication goals, then they receive training on the equipment. The Massachusetts program is serviced by Perkins School for the Blind. As leaders in Assistive Technology, we are always looking to make our community aware of the different resources they can access. Visit http://www.icanconnect.org/ for more information, including examples of equipment iCanConnect provides.


Educational Resources

Boston Public Library Technology Classes

  1. Did you know the Boston Public Library offers free in-person computer & technology classes? They provide training in a wide range of areas such as computers, tablets, smart phones, Internet, social media, and more! We love seeing these kinds of resources made available to the community to help people become more knowledgeable about the devices they use on a daily basis, including AT devices! Visit https://www.bpl.org/computer-classes/ for more info.

VSA Massachusetts Social Art Experiences

  1. Did you know VSA Massachusetts hosts monthly social art experiences for adults with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)? Participants have the opportunity to engage with the world of art by creating art through studio experiences led by knowledgeable art instructors. Learn more here: http://ow.ly/i7hk50o5PMu

Accessible Literacy Learning App

  1. Have you heard of the Accessible Literacy Learning (ALL) app? It is specifically designed for kids with complex communication needs who might not be able to expressively produce the words or sounds that are being targeted. It starts with really emergent skills like sound blending and letter-sound correspondence, then moves systematically through evidence-based literacy instruction. Learn more about this software here: http://ow.ly/iJ2r50o5W7l

First Words Deluxe App

  1. If you're looking for a great app to help students who are beginning to blend sounds together into words, look no further than First Words Deluxe from Learning Touch.

    “First Words Deluxe is a very straightforward word-building game. Words are either said letter by letter as they are dragged into the appropriate gray boxes or, if chosen in the settings, a smaller set of words can be sounded out with phonics. This makes this game a treat for both pre-readers and early spellers.” --Common Sense Media. Learn more about First Words Deluxe here: http://ow.ly/bobb50ql9af. Click here to learn more about the school-based assistive technology services we offer: http://ow.ly/VOn950ql98Y

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software