Panel – Brian Norton, Craig Burns, Josh Anderson, and Wade Wingler | Q1 Accessible project management systems Q2 DISH network & audio description Q3 VoiceOver training for Mac Keynote and Numbers Q4 App for reading playing cards Q5 Foot switch to read text Q6 AT certifications Q7 Adapters, cables, and cords, oh my
WADE WINGLER: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology, the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives. Have a question you’d like answered on our show? Send a tweet with the hashtag #ATFAQ, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The world of assistive technology has questions, and we have answers. And now here’s your host, Brian Norton.
BRIAN NORTON: Hello and welcome to ATFAQ episode 73. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. We are so happy you tuned in this week to join us as we dive into some questions about assistive technology that you sent in. But before we do, I want to take a moment to go around the room. Today we have a guest that we’ve had in the past but someone who is taking Belva’s spot this week. Craig, do you want to say hey to folks? Brian McKay folks, how are you doing today?
BRIAN NORTON: Craig is the team lead for our mobility cognition team here at Easter Seals Crossroads. So we are super excited while Belva is out that he is stepping into her stead and helping us out with the show. We also have Josh Anderson. You want to say hey to folks?
JOSH ANDERSON: We almost got my name wrong.
WADE WINGLER: Justin Jeremy James.
JOSH ANDERSON: Somewhere in there. Hi everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Josh is the manager of our clinical assistive technology program. We also have in the studio Wade Wingler, the popular host of AT Update and also running our soundboard today. You want to say hey?
WADE WINGLER: You always say my name. You don’t call me Wayne or Duane or anything like that.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s unique. It’s a “W” name. I feel like there is a lot of J names.
JOSH ANDERSON: There are a lot of J names. It’s not an excuse though, Bob.
WADE WINGLER: Bart. Hey everybody. Glad to be here.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. For new listeners, I want to take a moment to talk about the show and tell people how it works.
WADE WINGLER: Like you know.
BRIAN NORTON: Sometimes it’s a little more put together than others. Typically we receive feedback and come across various assistive technology related questions throughout the week. Then we format that into a show where we take your questions and set around here as a group and try to answer those. If you have questions that come to mind as you listen to the show today, feel free to take a moment and send those to us. We have a variety of ways for you to send those our way. We have a listener line set up that is 317-721-7124. We also have an email address, tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Or we have a hashtag set up on Twitter, hashtag ATFAQ. Those are always that we monitor information or look for ways or feedback and collect those throughout the week.
Also if you have friends that you think might want to listen to the show, you can find us pretty much anywhere these days. You can find us in iTunes, stitcher, Google play store, all of the place. We also have a show web address, ATFAQshow.com. That will take you directly to our website where you can learn more and figure out how to download those as well. If you have folks who would want to listen, send them our way or send them to those places and have them look up ATFAQ to find us.
Under the thing coming up that we are doing is part of Easter Seals Crossroads and as part of the INDATA Project, we are putting out a webinar for web developers coming up on May 9. That’s a where we have Dennis Lembry, a guru when it comes to accessibility for folks who are developers to build into websites. He is going to be talking to folks all day. It starts at 11 in the morning and goes two four in the afternoon. If you are interested in that, you can find out more by going to our website at EasterSealsTech.com/A11Y. That will take you to the registration page for that webinar. If you are interested, it would be a great opportunity to learn more about how to build in accessibility to the websites you are designing. Take a look out for that as well.
Jumping in today, we are going to jump into our first bit of feedback. This was talking a little bit more about Android apps, talking about Seeing AI, and some different things that folks who are using Android devices can use since Seeing AI is not part of the Google play store. With take a listen.
SPEAKER: This is Mary, assistive technology consultant in Bulloch County Kentucky. I’m calling for ATFAQ. I’m going to try to get to the point this time. Sometimes I’m rather long-winded and get cut off at the end. I wanted to tell you about some Android apps that are working for my students who need something that will read anything. If they have an Apple phone, I use Seeing AI, which I heard about on ATFAQ. It works beautifully. It will even take pieces of things on their Chromebooks screens and read that text back. It almost always works very well, thankfully, because the Chromebooks screens resolutions is not very good.
But I desperately needed something for Android. I cannot get talkback to work on their mini [Inaudible] phones that they have successfully for them. Here’s what we are using right now. [Inaudible] because they have to switch between apps. But we are using Office Lens, the whiteboard feature. I believe we also heard that on ATFAQ. Take the picture. We send it out to Microsoft Word because that is the OCR feature that Office Lens goes to. Along with that, they need an app called Talk Free Text to Voice. What we do is the open office lens, take the photo, send it out to Microsoft Word. At that point they copy and paste into talk free. Then just push play. That’s working really well for us. Office lens will also perform that OCR feature on their Chromebooks screens. That’s our fix for now. It’s working in our school system. They needed all the apps to be free because I’m putting them on student phones, and most of them are broke.
If anybody has a better solution, I would love to hear it. If there is one app like seeing AI, that would be a delight. Things very much.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. I always find it hard to find comparable apps across platforms. There may be a great app like seeing AI, which is only for Apple devices. I was look for other options for Android because I know a lot of the folks we work with have Android devices. Sometimes there is not a quick fix or single out. You have to tie one or two or three apps together to be able to get something to work for folks. It sounds like with office lens, which we’ve talked about here on our show. It’s a Microsoft app. You can take a picture of something, it’ll convert it to text, and you can sit there and take it and copy it into talk free text to voice and have that talk free app read it to folks. Interesting way for folks to do OCR.
BRIAN NORTON: Our first question for this week is from Lindsay. This was an email we received. She asked, our company is in search for an online project management system that is compatible with JAWS. Are there any that you would recommend? I’ll throw that out to the group. And I’m going to get some crickets.
JOSH ANDERSON: What do you guys usually use for your system?
WADE WINGLER: People roll their eyes at me because I’m a Basecamp guide. I use Basecamp for all kinds of project management stuff. A year ago, I would’ve said Basecamp doesn’t work very well with screen readers and their accessibility is in very good; however, they are changing that. In fact, there is a blog post where one of the heads over at Basecamp is working on accessibility. They are one of those groups that do sprints. They do six we develop it cycles on their product. They have had some sprints recently focused on accessibility. There is a really good blog post that talks about the reason why, and they talk about their acquaintance with NLS and should have a lighthouse. They talk about how it’s not a traditional business case for them to build in accessibility because they don’t get a bazillion customers looking for that but how they had sort of taken it on themselves to make accessibility a big piece of it.
The guy that writes the blog post it talks about how he turned on voiceover one day and was appalled at how things work reading in the correct order. He just realized that it was a bad business decision for them for them to not have accessibility built in the Basecamp. They are working on it. They don’t have a full list of the features and things that have done, but I tried it recently, and it is definitely getting better.
If you haven’t used Basecamp, it is a pretty good online version of the product management system. You can run it via an app on iOS or on your desktop computer, or you can run it in the web. It has calendars and places for people to talk and chat. It is a place to deposit files. It also has a pretty good to do list system that allows you to manage the different task and assign them and schedule and prioritize them. They say they are not done, that the accessibility isn’t 100 percent, but they are really working on it. Basecamp.com is where I would recommend that you go if you are looking for one of those, that at least is getting better.
BRIAN NORTON: We use it a lot. It’s good to hear that they are becoming more accessible. I know some of the tools I’ve used in the past, Omnifocus used to be my project management tool. I’ve kind of gone away from that. Now I use something called Evernote and also — what is the —
WADE WINGLER: Todoist?
BRIAN NORTON: Todoist. I use Todoist as well.
WADE WINGLER: That’s what I use for my day today.
BRIAN NORTON: I know Omnifocus didn’t have good reviews. It wasn’t very accessible. I don’t know if that’s changed. It’s been a while since I’ve used that. I’ve also heard from Evernote reading some different blogs that it is not very accessible either. There is a web version of it but also an app version as well. But I’ve heard some things don’t read very well. I did hear some good reviews, and it is something I haven’t used in the past and I’m interested to know if our listeners have used it. It’s called Toodledo. I’ve heard some good reviews. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard as far as a project management system, it does fairly well. Then I also think about the web-based tools, Todoist, some of the things, and I’m wondering if, because those are web-based options, if there may not be some better accessibility built into it, based on it being in the web and not an app itself. The only thing that concerns me more about accessibility would be the usability of it. If it is accessibility it may not be all that usable with how things to read and how it might move around the screen to be able to navigate the system. I’m just wondering about those online tools.
CRAIG BURNS: Mindview, the application works well with JAWS. They have a way you can make a Mind Map and send it into a product management Gantt chart through Microsoft Project. It’s supposed to work online with 365. I’m not sure if the project management is on 365.
WADE WINGLER: It is. It’s an extra charge, but you can get Microsoft Project in office 365.
CRAIG BURNS: That might be a roundabout way to get the same result.
BRIAN NORTON: Mind view starts off as a visual brainstorming tool. Is that right?
CRAIG BURNS: Yes.
BRIAN NORTON: So it’s more of a brainstorming out.
CRAIG BURNS: But you can put timelines with it. That’s what it can go —
JOSH ANDERSON: It’s kind of built on Microsoft’s shell, so your alt keys will bring up all of your different stuff. Craig brought up a good point. What about just taking within the Microsoft scope of things? JAWS works very well with Outlook, and you can do tasks in there. With one know and some of the pieces, you can put together a really good project management tools.
WADE WINGLER: I sort of agree, because you could you Word and Excel to manage projects, but one of the things that, as somebody who manages a lot of projects, that really helps is getting the structure that comes along with one of those apps. It walks you through the scheduling and to dues and priorities. In fact, one of the things that tell people is if you don’t understand project management a very well but start to learn one of those project management tools, it sort of teaches you the best practices of product management by using the tool. Here is a place for discussion, here is a place for a to do list, here is a calendar we all agree on, here are documents and reference files related to that. I get it. You can use the Microsoft products to do project management, but I really want a tool that teaches project management and have some of those best practices in a way that is accessible.
JOSH ANDERSON: I definitely agree. The important thing is how many folks who do you have using JAWS. If it is a lot of people on the team, sometimes when a new update comes out for that app, they don’t think about it, so it might be another month before it works with JAWS; whereas Microsoft, they are usually pretty well on it to keep those things together.
WADE WINGLER: True.
BRIAN NORTON: If there is anybody out there using a project management system that we didn’t mention, I do also use a screen reader and find that the system you’re using is very accessible, let us know. We would love to pass that on to folks. It sounds like in wrap up, Basecamp has some things going on with that. Maybe trying some of the online once might provide some accessibility, but not quite sure about accessibility or the usability of those products. Also thinking about the built-in Microsoft stuff that it usually tries to keep up pretty well with screen readers and that accessibility piece. Check those things out. If you have some feedback, we would love to hear from you as well.
Our next question is an email we got. He says, Hi, I’m a totally blind person. I live out in the country. Internet is limited to, and I just subscribed to dish network. I’m not sure if anyone else has a dish. I cannot get audio description to work. It’s enabled. I use NFB news line to check the guide, and it says the program is audio described. It’s on USA network and is called law and order. I wanted to get some information about how to get audio description to work on dish network.
I did some digging in. For those folks who don’t know about audio description, and audio description is an audio narrated description of the programs key visual elements. Basically, those descriptions are inserted into pauses within the show got giving someone who is visually impaired or blind a little bit more information on what’s happening with a particular show.
BRIAN NORTON: Brian Norton, sitting behind a microphone, stumbling through his words today. Josh leads in and laughs. Craig sits in the corner by himself doing nothing. I think he is on his iPhone.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s exactly what that would sound like. Perfect voice too. Very good. I did take a look at dish network’s website. Turning on audio descriptions is all it tells you. It tells you how to turn it on. It doesn’t necessarily tell you much more than that. To be able to turn it on, it depends on the remote you have. I think there are four or five different remotes listed. It’s accessible through the remote in the menu system, so depending on what remote you have, you can find that. That’s all I have.
CRAIG BURNS: Is that a dish remote,
BRIAN NORTON: It’s a dish remote.
CRAIG BURNS: Or your specific television remote?
BRIAN NORTON: Specifically a dish remote that they come with. Depending on the remote, you have a couple of different buttons you push to make sure it is on. The thing I’m confused with, the person who emailed mentioned that it is basically telling him that it is on but is not reading, even though the program says it is audio described. I’m not sure quite what is going on with that.
WADE WINGLER: He is talking about the show law and order, right? Is that an old version of law and order? I wonder if maybe the new ones are going to be audio described, or are they going back? I don’t even know if law and order is a show that is still in production.
JOSH ANDERSON: I think it’s not. I think it is 27 years, they finally quit that.
WADE WINGLER: It makes it wonder if it is the wrong episode, that those audio descriptions are to there. It has to be embedded into the show. It has to be something that is built in or bolted on later. It makes me wonder if maybe they are turned on by that particular episode or — law and order has a bazillion different franchises. There are different versions of it. It makes me wonder if that particular episode isn’t audio described.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a good point.
CRAIG BURNS: His email doesn’t say if it is working on other programs. He’s just talking about the one.
JOSH ANDERSON: What I would recommend, just because I went through this before — not with a dish but a different provider when working with someone. If you call them and let them know that you are visually impaired, they usually get you to that department and can walk you through the steps. They are usually pretty helpful about that. I worked with other cable providers with individuals to get that set up. They’ll usually take their time and walk you through.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s great.
WADE WINGLER: There is a bunch of new legislation and regulations coming out that save more and more content on television has to be audio described. It’s like the 20 first century communication regulations or something. I can’t think of it right now. We are going to see more of the all the time. I think there is hope. If this is a particular episode that isn’t, we are going to see more of that overtime.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. If you are interested in more about dish accessibility, you can go to dish.com/accessibility. They will give you a list of all the accessibility features that are built into dish network. That’s a good point. I didn’t think about the age of the show and if audio description would be tacked onto other shows as well as newer ones. Interesting. Definitely something to think about. If there are any listeners who are listening to the show and may have some experience using dish network with audio descriptions, please let us know and chime in if you can. There are a variety of ways to get a hold of us. You can give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Or send us an email at tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. We would love to be able to divide some more information back to this caller.
BRIAN NORTON: So this next question has two parts, one part feedback and one part is a question. The feedback has to do with how to label an app. They’ll walk you through that. It’s a question we had on a previous show a while back, but always good to revisit these as well, and then we will jump into the questions they have after we listen to it. Let’s take a listen.
SPEAKER: Hello. I’m calling for the show ATFAQ. In the last show, an individual called and asked if they could label an app. Yes, that is possible. In iOS, if you do a two-figure double tap on any control, it places you in a text field. Type in what you want that thing to be labeled as and then click on save. That will save it.
One of the questions that I have is, where can I get guides that are voiceover accessible with regards to voiceover on the Mac for keynote and numbers. Thanks, have a great day.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a really good question about voiceover training on Mac for keynote and numbers.
WADE WINGLER: Tricky.
BRIAN NORTON: I did a pretty extensive search, used all the search terms I could think of to look at potential resources for somebody who is getting that training. There really isn’t a whole lot out there that I could find. In fact, most of what returned to me for how to do voiceover was using keynote, not necessarily the screen reader voiceover but to do radio voiceovers like reading a book.
WADE WINGLER: The fact that the term voiceover and keynote and pages mean lots of other things doesn’t help when you’re trying to find this kind of stuff.
BRIAN NORTON: I will say as far as general training on voiceover, you can find a lot of good information from the Hadley Institute for folks who are blind or visually impaired. They have a lot of good online resources, videos that you can watch or listen to, and some testing on the backend of those to test your knowledge. That’s a good place to look up, Hadley school for the blind. The other place we usually send folks with questions like this that we may be don’t have an answer for is AppleVis. That’s Apple V-I-S dot com. That’s a great place where they talk about accessibility, iOS, Apple accessibility, but really anything and everything when you think about accessibility for the blind or visually impaired, whether on Android or iOS. It’s a great place to ask that question. Again, we actually looked at those sites and didn’t find a lot of information regarding that, so I’m wondering where they would turn for that as well.
WADE WINGLER: What you do fine tends to be old. It seems like the people who have addressed these topics — because there are some YouTube videos and blog posts but from to five and 10 years ago where people were addressing these topics. It sounds like people maybe need to dive back into this again.
BRIAN NORTON: Right. The other thing I’ll turn folks onto as well is every state has an assistive technology act. The INDATA Project is the assistive technology act for Indiana. We know your state resources with regard to assistive technology and maybe actually providing and getting one-on-one training with different software and devices. It might be worth a call to look those folks up in your state and be able to reach out to them and sign up for maybe more one on one, customized training course designed for you and what you need specifically to get out of keynote and numbers using voiceover. If you want to find a place to be able to look up your assistive technology act in your state, you can go to EasterSealsTech.com/states and find a list of all the different contacts for those state programs.
WADE WINGLER: The last thing I’ll suggest is Apple generally does a pretty good job of making help files and shortcut lists available for their apps. I’m looking at a support in Apple page right now that lists all of the keyboard shortcuts for keynote. It talks about the keystrokes to move one character to the left and right end up and down and to the beginning of a slight or end of a slide. Between the help files for keynote, and if you just look for keynote voiceover shortcuts, or numbers voiceover shortcut, you’re going to find some stuff to get you going. It’s not a conference of tutorial, but at least you can get by with that.
BRIAN NORTON: Get you started on the right track. I will ask if folks have some different training resources for folks with regards to was over with numbers and keynote, please send those our way. We would love to be able to take a look at those it be able to pass those on to our listeners as well. You can do that in a couple of ways. It might be easiest for that to send it to our email address. That’s tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. We would love to be able to pass that on for folks.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is it was my that got left for us. They are asking for an app for identifying and reading playing cards.
SPEAKER: My name is Dan, and I listen to your show regularly since I got started about two months ago. I had a couple of questions. First of all, is there any app on the iOS devices that would allow for reading and identifying playing cards to enable me to play cards again. Secondly, is there an app for which I could use it for switch that would read to me over earbuds or headphones, a line of text at a time for a musician who wants the lyrics for a song spoken to him? Every step on the foot switch would read a line at a time. I appreciate listening to your show, appreciate your research and answers and look forward to hearing if you have anything regarding these two questions. Thank you.
BRIAN NORTON: We’ll tackle the talking playing card question first. There is an option for you. It’s a company called QR Speak. They use QR codes. Essentially what they’ve done is take a deck of cards and put QR codes on them. When you use their app called Cards That Talk, you can have the phone or mobile device that you have over top of the cards that you have in place, and through an ear but you can have whatever card you put underneath the camera your device, it will tell you a card that is. Where you go to look those up, it’s a website QRspeak.com. You’ll get a special deck of cards, and you could download the app called Cards That Talk from the Apple Store and be able to listen and hear what card you’re holding up in front of the camera.
WADE WINGLER: Cool.
BRIAN NORTON: They work really well. It costs around $17 for the cards themselves, but it’s a great way to get back into playing cards if that is your thing.
The next question that he asked was about using a foot switch. That was a tough one. I did a little bit of digging into that as well.
WADE WINGLER: You thought that one was tough?
BRIAN NORTON: I did.
WADE WINGLER: I thought that was one of the easier ones. X-keys, right? X-keys makes foot pedals.
BRIAN NORTON: I know they make foot pedals, but do they work to be able to move through lines of text?
WADE WINGLER: The question is, are you trying to fast-forward and rewind in it audio recording or down through a Word document or something like that? X-keys is a company that makes these a special macro keyboard. You can make a special keyboard and program each key to do whatever you want. They also make foot pedals. They make one called the X-keys XK3 foot pedal that allows you to basically assign a keystroke to three different buns on the foot pedal. Depending on what kind of app you are using, there would have to be some software development, not a whole lot but basically you would have to program the foot pedal so that, when you hit the right button, it would be a right arrow, and if you had the left button, it would be the left arrow or end up arrow or down arrow, dependent however your document is set up. Then you could program the middle button to be read current line so that you could say forward, read. It is macros, see you can make the macros do whatever you want. You can make the right foot pedal go down a line in your document and then do a read all command or read line command. They are not terribly expensive, about $130. They are USB income was all the software you need to do the keyboard mapping. And Mac, Windows, Linux, or Android.
If you are a screen reader user, you’re going to want to be careful about the keyboard mapping. If you’re using a screen reader to do all kinds of funky keyboard stuff to issue your screen reading commands, there may be some compatibility issues you need to work out. It’s Xkeys.com. That was the thing that came to mind for me.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s a good one.
WADE WINGLER: I did a good one? Yay. I know Craig has something better.
CRAIG BURNS: I was looking at the one you listed. Airturn? Which you can buy at Sweetwater Music all through the country.
WADE WINGLER: Fort Wayne, Indiana.
CRAIG BURNS: Not a plug for Sweetwater, although it is a fantastic music store. There is an application called OnSong. He was talking about the music. OnSong handles the music section, so if you have a PDF of a cord chart — in musical terms, that’s the lines of text of music with the cords in them, not the music shoot. It looks like you can scroll through there. The newest one is a flat foot switch that is cool looking. I think it was $69, $70.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s the Airturn foot switch?
CRAIG BURNS: Right.
BRIAN NORTON: Very cool.
CRAIG BURNS: It looks different than the picture. I think it’s a new generation of what you had on. I’m always looking at those kinds of things since we play in the band. We want to get to the iPad for sheet music instead of the sheet music itself.
BRIAN NORTON: A little bit of a further application to the Airturn foot switch is it does work with voiceover. You can have it turned a page, so if you are going through a book, you can have voiceover turn the page and start reading the next or previous page using that. There was a whole section on hands-free page turning poor voiceover within that Airturn foot switch as well. I thought that was interesting. I had never thought of the need, except when you think about folks who are up as a musician and are moving through their music and need to see what is coming next or previously navigate through the sheet music. That’s a great way to do that.
CRAIG BURNS: It would be for anybody. I’m playing guitar so I’m using both hands, and then you have to swipe the iPad.
BRIAN NORTON: Wade mentioned the X-keys foot switch, which is a great option. Also the Airturn foot switch is another one. That’s A-I-R-T-U-R-N foot switch. X keys, I believe, there is no hyphen, just Xkeys.com. Definitely take a look at those. That might be a good answer for you. If folks have some feedback on that, maybe you are a musician and need to get through your sheet music as well and are using something different that might serve the same purposes, you can definitely reach out to us and let us know. You can send us a tour with the hashtag ATFAQ, or would love to hear people on our voice line. That’s 317-721-7124.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is a question we get a lot. It’s been probably something we’ve talked about on the show before.
WADE WINGLER: For the people who say it is not frequently asked questions, take that, because this is a frequently asked question.
BRIAN NORTON: We get this question all the time.
WADE WINGLER: They only asked him once. Why are they frequent?
JOSH ANDERSON: Can we change it to once-asked questions?
BRIAN NORTON: There you go. The question that we got is I’m looking to become certified in assistive technology, need to know what certifications are out there and if there is one you feel is a must have.
JOSH ANDERSON: Nope. Do what you want.
WADE WINGLER: You are in AT professional, and you are an AT professional.
BRIAN NORTON: The first place I was in you guys to is a RESNA knowledge center document about some different opportunities for folks to become certified. There are the main ones. I think we are all familiar with some of the main ones, at least here in the studio. The ATP is done by RESNA, which stands for —
WADE WINGLER: A tall person.
BRIAN NORTON: Assistive Technology Professional.
WADE WINGLER: Used to be practitioner.
JOSH ANDERSON: I like practitioner better.
WADE WINGLER: I did too. It sounded a little more hoity-toity.
JOSH ANDERSON: Can we just keep it?
WADE WINGLER: They changed it when they combined the ATS and the ATP. They changed it to professional instead of practitioner.
BRIAN NORTON: Five years ago or something?
WADE WINGLER: I don’t know. It’s been a long time for me. I make the other ones out there, the ATACP. I think that stands for —
WADE WINGLER: Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s another one you can take a look at. One more that we have a staff member here with our program, she has the CATIS certification, which is Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist. Hers is very geared towards vision impairments. and that is the specific population group you work with, the CATIS may be great for you as well.
The other thing I’ll mention with this question is several colleges offer graduate level programs in assistive technology. That’s where, if you go to RESNA.org, go into their knowledge center, and you can look up University programs. They have a huge page full of different universities that offer some sort of assistive technology graduate programs where you can get a certificate or add on to your degree specializing in assistive technology.
WADE WINGLER: There are some undergraduate ones too.
JOSH ANDERSON: Certificate programs and all different kinds. They don’t have to be dragged programs.
BRIAN NORTON: Excellent. There are a variety of ways to get certified. I would say the ones that we really key in on here at Easter Seals Crossroads is we ask our folks to get the ATP, assistive technology professional certification; and/or the CATIS if you are on our vision impairment team just to be able to demonstrate some sort of core competency in the area of assistive technology. Those are the ones I would recommend.
JOSH ANDERSON: One thing that is really important is to look at are you specializing in some portion of assistive technology. You have to think there are a lot of things we don’t do that are associated with assistive technology. A lot of seating positioning, work with wheelchairs, things we don’t get into often. A lot of our team has other certifications as well, certified ergonomic assessment specialist, certified autism specialist, I thought of different things, just to help them learn all those different components of the job. You are not going to go get your ATP and subtly know everything there is no about assistive technology.
WADE WINGLER: Although you might act like it.
JOSH ANDERSON: We all know everything there is to know, obviously.
WADE WINGLER: Clearly if you’ve listened to the show more than once, you know that’s not true.
JOSH ANDERSON: Exactly. I cried when I took my ATP.
BRIAN NORTON: We get along as best we can.
WADE WINGLER: It was easier when you took it. When I took it, you had to do it on a stone tablet with a chisel. It was a long time ago.
CRAIG BURNS: I tell people about tablets, you had to hit it with a hammer and chisel. If you drop it, you broke it and that was it.
BRIAN NORTON: I heard a great joke that Moses was the first person to use a tablet and download information from the cloud.
WADE WINGLER: Nice. I like that.
CRAIG BURNS: I saw that.
BRIAN NORTON: I thought that was cute. Back to the show. Again, there are a lot of different ways to get certified in assistive technology. What is your area of discipline? Look at that and figure out what type of certification might make better sense for you. If you’re working with folks who have autism, a certified autism specialist would be a great opportunity to learn more about that. But then dovetailing that with assistive technology professional or the ATACP, some of those others for vocations might be a great thing. If you are in school already and just want to continue to be in school, look out for the graduate level programs or undergraduate programs that universities. They do exist and do a good job of covering the full field of assistive technology so you have a lot of different options with regard to that. Excellent.
WADE WINGLER: And now it’s time for the wildcard question.
BRIAN NORTON: Our next question is wildcard question of the day. This is where I throw the mic at Wade.
WADE WINGLER: Ow!
BRIAN NORTON: Not necessarily throw it.
WADE WINGLER: You always say you are going to do that. One of these days you’ll actually do it.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s right. What have you got for us, Wade?
WADE WINGLER: This may or may not be an issue for some of you. I know it’s an issue for me. When you think about portable technology — laptops, tablets, cell phones, portable speakers, microphones, headsets — how many adapters and stuff like that do you have in your bag, backpack, briefcase, or if you are packing for a trip? And do you keep them all organized, or you like me? You have an organization system, but you just throw them all in the bag. When you need an adapter to go from your laptop to a projector, you think out this snake nest of chords. Along with that, what are some of your go to things you have in your back that are adapters and connectors and chargers and those kinds of things? Any tips or tricks?
JOSH ANDERSON: For my MacBook, I only have one adapter. It plugs into the USB C and has USB ports and HDMI in a place where I can plug in my charger. If I were presenting, and they have a VGA, I am not presenting from my Mac. I don’t have an adapter for it.
WADE WINGLER: Shadow puppets.
JOSH ANDERSON: Shadow puppets all the way. In fact, I’ve run into that. I also have adapter for my iPad so I can connect it from a VGA. Hopefully I can present from it if I would have to. Chargers and everything, system wise, they stay in certain pockets in my back. While they are all throw into a certain pocket, but really I don’t have that many. But at the same time, I’m very limited on what I can actually do it the place I go does not have the connections I need.
CRAIG BURNS: I have the one, HDMI and USB and charging port. And then I have one. I’m trying to think if it’s a VGA or if not, one of the two. They are all in one portion of my back. I have to keep remembering if I make a recommendation for a Mac book, a new MacBook, then I’m probably going to have to get one of those adapters to deal with the USB C port. Sometimes I have to think about that.
BRIAN NORTON: I’m a self proclaimed mess when it comes to cords and cables. Every couple months — in fact, this past weekend was one of those times, where I basically take my back from the bottom and shake it down on the ground and get myself organized again. I have one of those Grid-It’s. I don’t know if you guys have seen these. Have a bunch of elastics on it, and he goes in different directions and you can put your cords and cables and it. I organized those there. As I use things, they never get put back where I got them from, so they end up in a big mess in the bottom of my bag.
The other thing I do which makes even more of a mess is there was one time when I got caught. I had an adapter for a VGA for my iPad, and for whatever reason that day, it did not work. I forever from now on carry to adapters for every situation I might find myself in, knowing that if one doesn’t work, I have another one that will do it for me. You can imagine how many adapters I’ve got. I do most of my presenting for my iPad now, so I have two HDMI adapters for my iPad, two VGA adapters. I also have one of the new MacBooks with USB C ports. I have one of these all the ones that have the HDMI on the side with a couple of USB ports. But then I also have a couple ones that just plug into the USB C normally. I have VGA and HDMI that looks like that as well.
The other thing I carry oftentimes for presentations is speakers. I have a Bluetooth speaker. I also have an audio cable for it. I’ll make sure I have that one with me. Along with all of those, I carry probably two or three iPad charges with me, like the little lightning cables. My backpack is probably 35 to 40 pounds of just cables. And you also have to have a stand with you, so you have to get your iPad off the table. I carry a stand with me as well. It’s a mess. I’m a complete mess.
WADE WINGLER: I’m sitting here checking off as you’re talking about that. I carry everything you carry. I also have Grid-it’s that I don’t use. They make a nice divider between the mess of cables. Also, I carry an audio recorder because we podcast all the time. I always have a studio quality audio recorder in my back in case I bump into someone at the airport that I want to interview. What about a battery backup? Do carry a battery backup in your bag so that you can recharge your phone or iPad?
CRAIG BURNS: I do.
JOSH ANDERSON: No.
BRIAN NORTON: I don’t. I usually carry the cable, and extra power cable with me.
WADE WINGLER: For me, it’s a mess. I have an Apple watch adapter so that I can charge my Apple watch if I’m at a hotel. It’s a mess. Like you, I also dump them out about twice a year, reorganize them, put them all back on the Grid-it, and over the course of the next three or four months, they either fall off or I take them off and throw them back in.
The other thing that I do — and I promise I didn’t plan to talk about this. As I now write my names on them, because you still them for me. Do you have an HDMI adapter for an iPad? I’m like, no.
BRIAN NORTON: I presented this morning for a class at a university around here. I pulled one of my adapters out, and it says Wade’s only. I was like, nice.
WADE WINGLER: All Brian’s adapters say Wade on them.
JOSH ANDERSON: He just likes to name them away.
BRIAN NORTON: It’s his problem. He showed me the drawer he keeps them in upstairs.
CRAIG BURNS: I have a couple of — long story. I used to have the Garmin GPS. I went to plug in the thing to connected to the computer to upload, and it was a regular cable and fit the Garmin, but it said I’m not going to do it because it wasn’t their cable, so it wouldn’t let me do the upgrade. And then the other thing I carry that I have a home is the adapter to go to a VGA from a Peter that doesn’t have a graphics card and it. It has to have the graphics card in the cable. Which I am using for AT 101 on the eye tracking system.
BRIAN NORTON: Here’s another thing I do. I also want to be the person in the room when someone brings their laptop that has the adapter. I have old MacBook adapters, the ones with the many display port options. I’ve got the HDMI, the digital.
WADE WINGLER: You also have old iPad adapters, the extra wide ones? I carry those with me too.
JOSH ANDERSON: Brian, when you do hand it to them, today say thank you, Wade?
BRIAN NORTON: Exactly.
WADE WINGLER: He has a name tag that has his picture, but it says Wade on it so that he doesn’t get in trouble for stealing the adapter.
JOSH ANDERSON: That’s what it says on the back of my name tag.
BRIAN NORTON: That’s it for today. I want to thank everybody for sending your questions. If you guys have had questions come to mind while listening to the show today, please chime in. We would love to hear from you. You can send those questions to our listener line that is 317-721-7124. You can send them to our email which is tech@EasterSealsCrossroads.org. Or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. We look forward to hearing from you.
Before we leave today, I want to make sure I give the opportunity for folks in the room to say goodbye. Craig?
CRAIG BURNS: Have a nice day, folks.
BRIAN NORTON: Josh?
JOSH ANDERSON: Have a great day. Thanks for stopping by.
BRIAN NORTON: Wade?
WADE WINGLER: See you next time everybody.
BRIAN NORTON: Things. Have a great one, and we will talk to you in a couple weeks.
WADE WINGLER: Information provided on Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions does not constitute a product endorsement. Our comments are not intended as recommendations, nor is our show evaluative in nature. Assistive Technology FAQ is hosted by Brian Norton; gets editorial support from Josh Anderson and Belva Smith; is produced by me, Wade Wingler; and receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA Project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more of our shows at www.accessibilitychannel.com.
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