Friday, May 6, 2016

BHSM Coffee Break Webinar Series

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) and the Office of Special Education Programs and the Offices of Head Start and Child Care are partnering to join the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in celebrating this year’s theme – “Communication Takes Care.”  Join us for the BHSM Coffee Break Webinar series, May 16-20, 2016 from 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET to learn more about hearing screening and the use of assistive technology to support young children with disabilities and their families.  No registration is required to join the webinars. 

May 16, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
Debunking Common Myths about Using Assistive Technology with Young Children
Presented by PACER Center's TIKES Project:

May 17, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
Don’t Wait to Communicate! Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) 
Presented by FHI360's Let's Participate Project: 

May 18, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
Quality Hearing Screening Practices for Children Birth to Five Years of Age

May 19, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
Using a Multi-modal Approach To Support Children with Hearing Loss

May 20, 2:00 – 2:15 pm ET
Center on Technology and Disability: Free Resources to Support the Use of Assistive Technology in Young Children with Disabilities
Presented by the Center on Technology and Disability: 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TheraTogs Wunzi System by TheraTogs

The TheraTogs Wunzi System is a new washable body hugging onesie for little ones aged birth to 24 months that provides postural support and sensory input.  It can improve trunk alignment for children who have low muscle tone or difficulty holding their body symmetrically or steady.  The Wunzi, which fits like a typical onesie, can be worn over a diaper and is designed to fit children weighing 7 to 26 pounds.  The Wunzi costs $204-$446, depending on size.  Consult your therapist prior to trying.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Using Sound As Assistive Technology

Most people find a gentle melody to be calming, while some people need background sounds to concentrate.  White and pink noise are colors of the noise spectrum that have different audio signals that sound different to yoru ears.  White or pink noise generators are inexpensive and easy to find for iPhones, Androids and on the web.  Another use of sound for calming or aiding with focus is binaural beats, which are paired frequency tones that are slightly different in each ear.  This produces a frequency "Beat" that is perceived by the brain and may induce a neural frequency that occurs in the states of sleep, rest, or alertness.  Two resources for white noise and binaural beats are White & Pink Noise (iOS, Android, web) and Binaural Beats (iOS, Android, web).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Amazon's Take on Home Automation

The Amazon Echo is an exciting new product with the potential to provide greater independence to individuals with disabilities in their home.  It's functions as a home's central command center, allowing someone to turn on lights on or off, check the weather, add items to their grocery list and more. all by using their voice from rooms far away, and will speak aloud any answers to your questions or commands.  It can also connect to other devices and online services (such as your Google calendar), and has a companions smartphone app that helps you control and customize the device.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Seating Options for Early Childhood

Kids like to move around and sometimes have difficulty sitting still.  The Vidget, a new product available for pre-order from Viggi Kids, allows kids to fidget in a side-to-side motion while seated.  The lightweight chair can help improve focus and attention as well as provide sensory stimulation for children ages three to six.  Its modular cube design allows for the Vidget to also become a desk or stool by turning it on its side.

Another seating option is the Safco Runtz Ball Chair to help learners stay engaged and focused in a classroom or other environment.  Movement helps the entire brain engage and work together.  Sitting on an exercise ball activates and strengthens the core or abdominal muscles, which support both fine and gross motor development.  The Safco Runtz Ball Chair provides the movement and engagement of an exercise ball with the addition of a base for stability and control.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A New Wheelchair Accessible Car

The Chairiot solo is an accessible car that came on the market last spring to give people who use wheelchairs more independence when it comes to transportation.  This small, electric car travels up to 50 miles when fully charged, with speeds up to 25 miles an hour.  It's designed more for local use such as going to the grocery store, going to work or seeing a movie.  The Chairiot solo opens up from the back and provides roomf or only one person, the driver.  The starting price of the Chairiot solo is less than $20,000.  Check out their website for a video on how the car works!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Reading with Snap&Read Universal

Do you, your child, or your student understand text content when it is read aloud or modified into simpler language, but have difficulty reading independently?  Snap&Read Universal is one of the many options available that can read aloud, or in other words provide text-to-speech for, digital reading content.  In addition, Snap&Read Universal provides the ability to adjust the complexity of the digital reading content.  Sometimes what appears as digital text is instead an image of text that is not readable by a text-to-speech program; Snap&Read Universal has the ability to capture a screenshot of that text image and convert it to readable text.  Snap&Read Universal is available for windows, Mac and Google Chrome.