Thursday, June 23, 2011

Effective Practices Conference 2011 in the AT Lab

Clarissa helped the Special Ed teachers during the 
conference make a project in the AT Lab.
The device helps students sit up straight in class.

The group also learned about the computer
software in the Lab's computer center.

Monday, June 13, 2011

iPad 2 Apps for Accessibility - Compiled by Clarissa Barnhill

iPad 2  $500.00

iPad 2
Proloquo2Go $189.99
Proloquo2Go™ is product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, close to 8000 up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a large default vocabulary, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Pictello $14.99
Pictello is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Stories can be shared using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server.

Eye Glasses $2.99
The Eye Glasses app is ideal for farsighted individuals, those with reading glasses or bifocals, senior citizens and anyone that just needs to see more clearly. Eye Glasses clearly displays text or imagery. To use Eye Glasses, choose between 2x, 4x, 6x or 8x magnification and hold the iPad camera about five inches away from the item you want to see magnified!
TouchChat HD $149.99
TouchChat HD is a full featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. TouchChat is designed for individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, apraxia, stroke, or other conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech. TouchChat enables you to subscribe to iShare, an online server where you can share customized pages with an online community.

Digit Eyes $29.99
Digit-Eyes is the application that lets you use your device to scan bar code labels and to voice the results of the scan to you.  You can scan the manufacturer's codes (UPC / EAN / APN / JPN / codes) on items and find out what those codes mean; and scan bar code labels of your own that you make using this website.  To do so, you just request bar codes from this website and, using the printer attached to your computer, print the codes on inexpensive address labels.

Tap Speak Sequence $29.99
TapSpeak Sequence for iPad revolutionizes how parents, speech therapists, vision therapists, schools, and institutions create and use message sequences to help disabled children learn to communicate. Use TapSpeak Sequence instead of sequential message switches to record and customize messages without losing any previously recorded sequences. Kids with cerebral palsy, autism, cortical vision impairment (CVI), pediatric stroke, or any disability that impairs their ability to communicate can make use of this app.

TASUC $15.99
TASUC SCHEDULE for iPad is a very simple, picture-based schedule application for iPhone/iPod touch, especially for small children to easily create his/her own daily time-table by using image cards with sounds & voices attached. This application was, above all, developed for verbally disabled children and people with developmental disabilities such as autism, so that they can manage their "want-to-do"s simply and in order. As a result, an intuitive user interface and experience have been realized, thus this application can also be used for ordinary children and adults as well.

Sound Amp R  $5.99
Amplify the world around you discreetly with iPhone and iPod touch. Sounds are sent to your earbuds in real time. Hear what you’d like to hear. Record what you’d like to record! Works in many situations, around the table at home, watching TV, in lecture halls, at parties, wherever you’d like to hear, or overhear, the people around you! We have tuned soundAMP to provide you crystal clear sound at the maximum volume possible. And with its advanced technology, it even reduces volume over the limit.

Tap To Talk FREE OR $99.95 to customize
Give your non-verbal child the portable, customizable, affordable, socially acceptable communication device. You customize what your child sees and hears in TapToTalk with an online program called TapToTalk Designer. With it, you build "albums" that fit your child's needs.

Grace $37.99
A simple picture exchange system developed By and For non-verbal people allowing the user to communicate their needs by building sentences from relevant images. It can be customised by the individual using their picture and photo vocabulary.

Sign 4 Me $9.99
A Signed English Translator" is the ULTIMATE tool for learning sign language. The ONLY app that provides sign language instruction in 3D! Our 3D character can be zoomed in or out and rotated to give you the best vantage point for every sign. YOU control the placement of the character – not us! No other product lets you do this!The library includes more than 11,500 words. Type in sentences, phrases, words and even the alphabet. Everything you enter will be saved in your History. Easily locate your entries by date or alphabetically. You can delete whatever you don’t want to keep.Use the controls to speed up or slow down the signing; turn on or off the looping feature; and send the character to his “home” or default position.

Scene Speak $14.99
Scene Speak provides a framework on the iPad to create visual scene displays. This application allows an image can be edited with active “sound areas” that can be selected and used as a means of communication. Images then can added into “books” by theme or area of interest. Scene Speak is a wonderful communication tool for those with Autism, Aphasia, Apraxia, developmental disabilities or anyone wanting to enhance receptive language or visual memory.

Remembering Helen Roth, Disability Rights Leader

Click to see story at AAPD's Justice for All Blog

From American Association of People with Disabilities (6.10.11):

It is with that a sad and heavy heart that AAPD reports the passing of Helen Roth. Helen played a key leadership role in AAPD’s development –Board Member, Committee Chair, Officer and Board Chair.  In every role, Helen did it with grace, intelligence, passion and always with a kind and caring heart.  She will be sorely missed.

Helen Roth
Helen was born in 1927 in Logan, Utah, the fourth child of Alta and John Coburn. Helen contracted polio in 1939, thereafter spending several years in children’s hospitals. This experience never dimmed her spirit and energy, nor did the resulting quadriplegia.

She went on to earn a BS in Psychology from USU, and later received an MS in Psychology from Penn State. This was followed by graduate studies at Harvard. After Harvard, Helen’s life was one of service to others. She worked for several social service agencies including the Office of Economic Opportunity in San Francisco, serving under future U.S. Rep. Ron Dellums.

After returning to Logan in 1971, she worked for the Bear River Association of Governments and later founded Options for Independence, a non-profit Center for Independent Living which served people with disabilities in Cache Valley and beyond.

Helen’s advocacy extended beyond state and local efforts to movement-building on a national scale. Helen’s was deeply involved with the leadership of the National Council on Independent Living, serving for several years as internal vice-president.  As Helen’s activism sought to build bridges between various social justice movements, she was also involved in organizations such as the League of Women Voters, ACLU, and Common Cause.

During her time with AAPD, Helen assumed key leadership roles for our organization. After taking up various officer positions and leading the membership and governance committee, Helen went on to serve as AAPD Board Chair for two years. She made an indelible impression upon AAPD as both a dedicated colleague and an inspirational friend.

Helen once said “I will never abandon the effort on a national level (or any other level) to improve conditions for people with disabilities. I encourage you to put at least some of your energy into advocacy efforts on a national level. National advocacy is the most effective way to make needed changes for vast numbers of people with disabilities.” AAPD seeks to honor Helen’s legacy in our work every day.

 Helen received much recognition for her work, culminating in a presentation by Senator Harkin of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award. A live spark of joy and inspiration to all who knew her, she will be remembered for the passion, kindness and inspiration she shared with everyone she knew.

She is survived by her son, Peter Grieve. A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12:00 noon at the Logan 11th Ward Chapel, 195 S 100 East. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Check out UATP's Assistive Technology Lab Blog!

Need help with Assistive Technology? Looking for a certain device? Check out the AT Lab blog to see if they can help!

AT Lab coordinator, Clarissa Barnhill.
From the AT blog: "The Assistive Technology Lab at Utah State University provides assistive technology demonstration, training, services, and research throughout the intermountain region. The purpose of this blog is to assist the community by listing the AT inventory available at the Lab for the public to borrow, test and train with as well as to allow public feedback on the Lab and its assistive technology. Also, we hope to provide helpful information about AT for the general public."

Stimulation walls built by Assistive Technology Lab of USU are a success

By Storee Powell
June 7, 2011
Snoezelen can be costly these days, up to $5,000. And that doesn’t mean taking an expensive nap.
Snoezelen is a multi-sensory environment therapy for people with developmental disabilities created in the Netherlands. The room or wall is specially designed to deliver stimuli to various senses using lighting effects, color, sounds, music, and even scents.
Cache Valley-native, Julia Lyman, the mother of 16-year-old Haley, has never been able to get a diagnosis for her daughter’s disability.
Julia Lyman (right) with her 16-year-old daughter Haley.
“We don’t know what she has; it is just kind of a big question. She does have significant delays and she’s very sensory oriented,” Lyman said. “She has to be twisting or pulling or something, and she doesn’t get enough of it from her everyday environment. She is starving for sensory, and trying to give her something to do has been really hard,” Lyman said.
Most of the time, activities last ten seconds for Haley, her mother said, and then she throws it or gets bored. Lyman learned of Snoezelen therapy from a friend who is an occupational therapist aid doing work at Logan’s Sunshine Terrace rehabilitation center, where a wall is patterned after Snoezelen products for Alzheimer’s patients.
“We went and saw it and Haley loved it. She could go from activity to activity to activity and it was things she liked to do,” Lyman said. “We and thought it would be perfect for Haley, but we couldn’t afford to order something that was $5,000 and wasn’t 100 percent custom to Haley’s needs,” Lyman said.
The solution was much closer than a product bought out of a catalog from Europe. Lyman, who works in the Special Education department at Utah State University, remembered taking peer tutors on tours to the University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities where they saw the Assistive Technology Lab.
The lab, located in the Janet Quinney Lawson building on the USU campus, is a part of the non-profit Utah Assistive Technology Program. The lab houses a state-of-the-art computer lab and fabricating shop. Individuals can test various software and hardware devices or find assistance to design, fabricate, modify or repair AT equipment to enable a person to be more independent.
Lyman approached the AT lab to see if they’d build a stimulation wall like the one they built for Sunshine Terrace.
“They said they’d love to do it, and it would be customized just for Haley,” Lyman said. “And it was so affordable at $150.”
Haley Lyman plays with her stimulation
wall in her room built by the AT Lab.
The wall took about nine months from beginning to end so that it was made perfectly for Haley including the size and activities.
“She’s very destructive so it had to be made out of super human strength, but I haven’t seen anything as Haley proof as this wall. They did so great,” Lyman said. “This wall has been a wonderful place for her to go and hang out and get the sensory needs she has.”
The wall is made out of everyday household things like light switches, a paint roller and bungee cords. That’s a big deal to Haley, Lyman said, because she’d rather play with normal things than things that are structured.
Clarissa Barnhill, the AT Lab coordinator, said the client only pays for the basic materials needed to build the stimulation device.
“We put in all the labor and design it and build it, making it very affordable,” Barnhill said.
In order to design the stimulation device, Barnhill said she with the client to learn of their likes and dislikes as well as things they may need to work on. Then she brainstorms ideas with co-workers and looks in AT magazines to see what other people have done to develop stimulation for certain needs.
“Not only do these devices stimulate senses providing therapy,” Barnhill said, “But they can develop someone’s fine motor skills helping them to do things better such as write. They also help with larger skills requiring muscle stimulation which can translate into someone being able to feed themselves.”
Age doesn’t matter when it comes to stimulation devices, Barnhill said, but rather the need of the individual. Currently, Barnhill is working on a vanity stimulation device for Sunshine Terrace’s Alzheimer’s unit. The vanity will include personal grooming materials such as towels and brushes to help patient’s losing memories recall how to do things.
A latch stimulation board made in the AT Lab by Mike Moreno
will go to the Sunshine Terrace rehabilitation center.
Also in the works is a recreated car dashboard that will include a faux radio, AC control, and blinker.
“These devices are for older people who still have a lot of memory, but they’re cognitively digressing so this is something that hopefully they will be able to use to stimulate those memories of how to do everyday tasks,” Barnhill said.
The stimulation walls for Haley and Sunshine Terrace have been such a success, one is being made for the Bear River Activity and Skill Center (BRASC) so more people can access it. BRASC is located at 809 N. 800 East in Logan (
“We see a problem, someone can’t do something, and we help them figure out how to do it, and that’s the best,” Barnhill said. “Everybody’s desire is to be independent, and we get to help people do that by being creative.”

For more information on AT aid or available AT devices, contact the AT Lab at 435.797.0699 or visit their blog 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bountiful man gets a new hobby with a new scooter from CReATE

By Storee Powell
Even after learning he had blood clots in both legs because of a stroke, Arthur Lifferth decided he would figure out a way to keep doing something in his workshop.
“I just wanted to keep doing something,” Lifferth said, “I love working in my shop. As long as I don’t cut an arm off while I’m working that’s all that matters.”
Arthur Lifferth with his new scooter from CReATE.
Restoring antique cars in his workshop, a long-time hobby of Lifferth’s, was no longer possible because he could not lift the parts. He needed a new hobby he could do sitting since he had little strength left in his legs to stand and walk as well as congestive heart failure. But his two-story rambler home and the steps leading to his large workshop presented a problem.
Lifferth discovered the answer in the newspaper. He saw an ad for CReATE, Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment, a non-profit Utah program providing refurbished mobility devices to the community at only the cost of restoration. The pictured scooter for $250 was a mobility solution Lifferth said he could afford.
Antique cars restored by Lifferth.
“The chair works out great. They came to me with a chair,” Lifferth said. “When my health broke I couldn’t even lift a car wheel, so I had to on a work bench. Now I can move around my shop.”
Once Lifferth was personally fitted for a mobile chair by the CReATE team, ramps were built that connected the front door to the driveway where he could get into the garage, which leads to the basement of his house. Now Lifferth could easily go outside to his shop to get tools, and get back in his home to start his new hobby.
The 18' x 24' village Lifferth built in his garage with 115 model houses.
Lifferth sold some of his antique cars and rearranged the workshop. He built up in sections an entire miniature village filled with 115 Apartment 56 model houses and cars. He even put in 8-10 circus pieces on the 18-foot by 24-foot village. By putting the village in the middle of the garage, he could maneuver around the entire shop to access tools.
“I turned the garage into a museum so people can come and tour and look at the village. I even put a 5-foot passageway to the back part of garage for people to come into. It is a very gratifying thing,” Lifferth said.
Lifferth finished his village and is working on building up his leg strength again on a bike. When he began the excercises, he could only ride 2 minutes a day. Now he is up to 21 minutes a day. But since he still isn’t “100 percent”, he started a new hobby so he could keep working in his shop.
He decided to build wooden cars for the LDS Church humanitarian aid, which distributes the toys to needy children around the world.
“I got to design the cars, and I put a number on each car to keep track of how many I make. So far, I’ve made over 1,500 cars,” Lifferth said. “It is a fun project to do. When my leg went out it was so hard to use stairs, so the power chair allows me to keep making these cars for the kids.”
Since he has started, Lifferth has got pictures of the children who have received his toys in South America and Africa, which Lifferth said is a great reward.
“I got pictures of the little kids playing with the cars I made, and I had no idea if they were just being put in a box or in a warehouse, and I had no idea where they were going,” Lifferth said. “But I learned these kids never had a toy in their life, and they are tickled to death, and so am I.”