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Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.

Show notes:

Happy Halloween!

Daniel McNulty – PATINS Project State Director | links from Daniel:

Photographed memories come to life for the blind thanks to a 3D printer : T-Lounge : Tech Times

Creator of Parkinson’s disease app is diagnosed with the illness | Society | The Observer

Steve Jobs Made The iPhone Easier To Use For Deaf People – Business Insider

Web Accessibility Webinar: A11y- Web Accessibility – Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads

TFL Network Webinar Series: C4ATX – Unlocking Communication in the Severely Impaired Child – Thurs Nov 6 at 3:00 PM EST

App: Words with Friends Free –


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——-transcript follows ——-

DANIEL MCNULTY: Hi, this is Daniel McNulty, state director of the PATINS Project in the Indiana center for accessible materials, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.

[Spooky Sounds]

WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology, designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.

Welcome to episode number 179 of assistive technology update, scheduled to be released on October 31, Halloween, of 2014.
[click to continue…]


Zippers, buttons, and tags–oh my!  These features are found on a majority of clothing.  To many, seams and zippers are, well, seams and zippers; but for several children with autism, these are often insurmountable obstacles. Lauren Thierry, the mother of a boy with autism, created the “Independence Day Clothing” line to help children with autism or other special needs be able to dress themselves independently.

Almost 9 years ago when her son, Liam, was 7, Thierry envisioned an easier morning routine. “A scratchy shirt tag, a twisted sock seam, an ordinary wristwatch–that stuff can send someone with autism into tantrums, can make them tear off a shirt while on a school bus or kick off a shoe in a shopping mall,” says Thierry.  She was a former journalist and used her background to research clothing options for individuals with autism.

Years later, she met with New York City-based designer Dalila Anderson to see if her idea for a line of sensory-sensitive, fashionable clothing was plausible.  Anderson began sketching ideas of reversible clothing, seamless, etc.  Ergo, the Independence Day Clothing line was designed.  Thierry initially proposed the line to address safety and dressing issues for the special needs population, only to have focus groups tell her everyone wants stuff that’s easy to wear.

Anderson commented, “Children want to be able to hang out with friends and feel Independence day Clothinglike they are just one of the other kids, not have their clothing unzipped, unbuttoned, or backwards, in a way other people take for granted.”  The ID Clothing line features cargo pants, dresses, tunics, leggings, rugby shirts and hoodies–all of which are seamless, buttonless, tagless, zipperless and either two- or four-way reversible.

There is an even more compelling innovation in this clothing line: GPS tracker.  As mentioned in my previous blog titled Autism Resources in Fiction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently estimates that about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with autism.  And according to the National Autism Association, roughly “48 percent of those children will attempt to wander from a safe environment–a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings.”  So the Independence Day Clothing line features soft, sensory-sensitive, hidden compartments that house a small GPS device.  The device is placed in a way where it won’t bother the wearer and it wouldn’t be visible to someone else.  For more information on the GPS device, visit the Independence Day Clothing’s website on the Phoenix 5 Global Tracking GPS technology.

Applied behavior analysis therapist, Lisa Keane Herrera, attended a focus group for the clothing line.  Herrera, who has worked with children on the autism spectrum, including Liam, for more than 10 years, summed up the benefits of the the clothes:

 “You could see that the kids [with autism] were happier overall.  It’s good for their self-confidence.  A task that may have taken thirty minutes may now take five.  I know parents that spend hours ripping out tags and seams.  This is cutting edge for someone who can’t advocate for themselves.”

To learn more about Independence Day Clothing, be sure to visit their website here.



Disabilities and Employment: Expect. Employ. Empower.

October 29, 2014 Independent Living

Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)?  NDEAM is a favorable time to educate Americans about “disability employment issues and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy, Kathy Martinez stated: “We all have a role to play […]

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Wit: Natural Language for the Internet of Things

October 28, 2014 Independent Living

We may often find ourselves uttering to a stubborn appliance or device.  “Television, turn on.”  Soon, though, it could be more common for those devices to actually listen and obey our commands.  Several large companies such as Google and Apple have their own voice recognition technology; however, smaller companies and independent developers don’t have the necessary budget […]

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Tech Tip: Defender Otterbox for iPad

October 27, 2014 Tech Tips

Steve Carter shows us the assembly of the Defender Otterbox for the iPad.  Check it out!

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Registration now open for FREE Web Accessibility Training for Developers

October 24, 2014 Training

What: Web Accessibility Training for Developers When: December 10, 2014 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EST Where: Online Registration: Description: Join renowned web accessibility professional Dennis Lembree in a full day of training. This webinar begins with a background on disability, guidelines and law. Many techniques for design and developing an accessible website are then […]

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ATU178 – Dan Hubbell from Microsoft, Boy with Autism develops relationship with SIRI, Tablet Computer for Braille Users, Exoskeleton allows groom to walk down aisle

October 24, 2014 Assistive Technology Update

Podcast: Play in new window | Download Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Show notes: Dan Hubbell – Microsoft’s Accessibility Technical Evangelist | How One Boy With Autism Became BFF With […]

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Touchable Memories allows visually impaired to “see”

October 23, 2014 Products and Devices

Birthdays.  Holidays.  Graduations.  Weddings.  Our lives consist of a series of memories, several that we wish to cherish and remember forever.  As we grow older, we may forget these wonderful moments, which is why we often capture them in photographs.  But how could individuals with visual impairments experience the pleasure of “viewing” a precious memory?  Touchable […]

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A Chance to Reach for the Stars

October 22, 2014 Communication

Writer: Tiffany Whisner, Coles Marketing It’s a week-long camp giving visually-impaired students an experience that’s truly “out of this world.” Since it began in 1989, Space Camp for Interested Visually-Impaired Students (SCIVIS) has offered kids with special visual needs the chance to do everything Space Camp® has to offer — from learning how the space […]

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4 facts (and more) about Apple Pay

October 21, 2014 Products and Devices

Well folks, it’s finally here!  Apple’s new payment system, Apple Pay, was released yesterday.  I have mentioned this new payment system in two blogs both last month and last week, when I covered Apple’s two large events.  If you’ve read those past two posts, you probably know how excited I am for Apple Pay. If you don’t yet know […]

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