Sunday, November 22, 2009

AT module #2

Discovery Exercises:

  1. Browse through online sites like EnableMart and discover other types of assistive technology solutions. Write an entry in your journal or post to your blog about solutions that would be useful additions at your school or workplace.

We have a student who was in a car accident last year. She is in a wheelchair and unable to move. After a year she is able to move her wheelchair using a straw to blow in and is sometimes able to use her hand to move the chair. She does have the ability to move her head freely so a computer addition that tracks head movements would work really well for her. In addition, she is an avid reader, so I think that some audiobooks or ebooks would be good for her. I would get her a set of headphones which cancel noise to go with voice recognition software. There are also voice recorders that are compatable with the software.

  1. Discover how to implement simple accommodations in various situations. Write about three (3) such situations and how you might change the environment to assist your student or co-worker.

After looking at all the devices out there, there are lots of simple ones that can be used. For a student with impaired vision, there is a desktop magnifier that plugs right into the usb port of a laptop enableig them to read anything. There are also microphones for use with students with hearing difficulties, the teacher speaks normally with the mic around their neck and the student receives the amplified sound. None of the other students are effected. There are keyboards with larger keys and programmable keys to help students with limited control of their hands.

  1. Write a needs assessment and justification for hardware that would be suitable for use in your Library or Classroom. Include it in your school or district technology plan.

Identified Student:

We have a high school student who was in a car crash last year. She is now a quadriplegic and is returning to school. She has extremely limited movement in her right arm/hand and can somewhat use it to guide her motorized wheelchair. She generally uses a blow straw to get around because she has greater control. She has no learning disabilities, just physical obstacles.

Identified Needs:

She will need assistive technology so that she can take notes in class, search the web, write papers and do her homework. With assistive technology she will be able to do many of the above activities herself which will give her greater independence. Currently she has to dictate to another person and they do the typing. She will be able to do her own work at home and at school with the identified tools. She will be able to communicate with others via computer.

She is also going to need to do readings which she will be able to access on the computer instead of having someone hold a book and turn the pages for her. Her textbook readings can be scanned using a high resolution scanner the library already owns. In addition, she can access ebooks from the library.

Hardware Choices:

Sony ICD Digital Recorders


  • Includes 5 message folders
  • Dictation correction and Add function
  • Alarm feature
  • Super High Quality (SHQ) mode
  • Selectable microphone sensitivity
  • Easy file transfer via USB allows saving and sending recordings; perfect for use with Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • Voice Operated Recording; starts and stops recording automatically
  • Battery life: 12 hrs recording & 34 hrs playback

Sony ICDDUX71 Recorder

  • Built-in 1 GB memory
  • Weighs 1.7 oz
  • Package includes:
    • ICDDUX71 Recorder
    • Stereo headphone
    • USB cable
    • 1 AAA battery


This voice recorder will enable her to dictate notes for papers, homework, etc. at home. It is fully compatible with the Dragon line of software which will translate voice to print. This will give her the freedom to do some of her work even when she is not hooked up to a computer. At $99.99 this is also a middle of the line device which will hopefully give the quality needed for it to mesh with the software with a minimal amount of frustration.

Cyber Acoustics Speech Recognition Stereo Headsets

Cyber Acoustics AC-850

  • Incorporates both of Andrea's patented Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) microphone technology.USB Connectivity with 7' shielded cord
  • Direct Noise Canceling Microphone
  • Stereo headset
  • Adjustable headband
  • 180 degree microphone
  • Leatherette ear pads
  • Adjustable boom arm
  • Inline Mute\Volume Control
  • Wear on right or left side
  • PC / iMac Compatible

These computer headsets enable more accurate and reliable communication as well as high performance speech recognition in noisy office environments. $44.99.


These headsets will work with the voice recognition programs to help her with her written work. Because they cancel out background noise, she will be able to use them in the classroom or library when others are talking. This will allow her to be an active participant in group work and other similar activities.

Headmouse Extreme


HeadMouse® Extreme is a leading solution for wireless head-pointing on the PC or Mac. The HeadMouse is a perfect solution for people who cannot use or have limited use of their hands.

Online Price: $979.00

bookmark this page

The HeadMouse® sensor replaces the standard desktop computer mouse for people who cannot use their hands.

  • The HeadMouse is a device that translates the movements of a user's head into directly proportional movements of the computer mouse pointer.
  • The HeadMouse is a wireless optical sensor which tracks a tiny and disposable target that is placed on the user's forehead or glasses. When this capability is combined with an on-screen keyboard, such as SofType, or KeyStrokes the HeadMouse can completely replace the functions of a conventional keyboard.


  • On-screen keyboards provide an image of the keys on the computer display, with key selection made by positioning the mouse pointer over a key. The actual key press is implemented by dwelling over that key for a set period of time or by using an adaptive switch.
  • A Remote Switch Transmitter is available for wireless transfer of adaptive switch inputs from a wheelchair to a desktop computer.
  • The HeadMouse will track the user's head with the user located in any comfortable viewing position relative to the computer display. Resolution of the HeadMouse is sufficient to allow a user to control the mouse pointer down to the minimum resolution of the computer display, the picture element (pixel). This precision allows a user to perform tasks such as drawing or Computer Aided Design (CAD).
  • When the HeadMouse is used with an on-screen keyboard, all the standard personal computer applications are available to the user who has a disability.

The HeadMouse will track the user's head with the user located in any comfortable viewing position relative to the computer display. Resolution of the HeadMouse is sufficient to allow a user to control the mouse pointer down to the minimum resolution of the computer display, the picture element (pixel). This precision allows a user to perform tasks such as drawing or Computer Aided Design (CAD). Package Includes -

• HeadMouse Extreme
• Notebook mounting bracket
• Right-angle 6’ USB cable
• Straight 3’ USB cable
• 50 target dots
• Dual-lock mounting kit
• 2-year limited warranty

Technical Specifications -

• USB mouse interface
• No power cable needed
• Pocket size: 3.7 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches
• Light weight: 3.5 ounces
• Built in receiver for wireless switches
• Standard 3.5 mm input for wired switches


Student has good control of her head and can move it freely and with enough control that she should be able to use head movements to control the mouse. This devise is not obtrusive and unlike a giant pointer stick strapped to her head to push big keys on a keyboard, will allow her to work amongst her peers with a minimum of obvious adaptations. It is a piece of technology that will take some training for her to use efficiently but will allow her to control the keyboard on her own. It is an expensive piece of equipment at $979 but allows a lot of flexibility in use by our student.

These devices were all through I liked the site as it was easy to navigate and well organized. It also allows schools to purchase equipment without having to purchase through the internet, which is strictly taboo in our district.

4. Identify and comment, in your own words, about any of the websites referenced above that you found particularly helpful in developing your knowledge about assistive technology.

I thought that was really helpful. It was organized by population which made it easy to find materials instead of sifting through masses of information. It also put devices that complement one another on the right sidebar so it was easy to put together devices that would work together.

5. What are your thoughts about the different types of hardware. Comment on each on your blog or in your journal.

I don’t know why but I was amazed by the different types of assistive technology hardware out there. I was also surprised by the costs of various devices. For example, a large and bulky machine that does nothing but hold and turn pages of a book is over $5000 while a scanner that scans a page and then reads it to you costs less than $1000. Somehow, it seems that the price tags were reversed.

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