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ATFAQ136 – Q1. Glassouse experiences, Q2. One-handed keyboard or One-handed typing, Q3. Smartwatch for executive functioning, Q4. Buy, Sell and Exchange AT sites, Q5. Chrome Apps for executive functioning, Q6. Wildcard: Screen Time

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Panel: Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo. Q1. Glassouse experiences, Q2. One-handed keyboard or One-handed typing, Q3. Smartwatch for executive functioning, Q4. Buy, Sell and Exchange AT sites, Q5. Chrome Apps for executive functioning, Q6. Wildcard: Screen Time

—————— transcript starts here ———————–
Brian Norton:
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 where 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 to answered on our show, send us a tweet with the hashtag at ATFAQ. Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org.

Brian Norton:
The world of assistive technology has questions and we have answers. And now let’s jump into today’s show.

Brian Norton:
Hello, and welcome to ATFAQ, episode 136. My name is Brian Norton, and I’m the host of the show. Today we’re so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. We have a great lineup of assistive technology questions for you today. But before we jump in, I just want to take a moment to go around the room, our Zoom Room that is, and introduce the folks who are here sitting with me, Belva, Josh and Tracy. So, Tracy, I’ll start with you. Tracy is the INDATA Manager. And so Tracy, do you want to say hey to folks?

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah. Hey, everyone, thanks for listening in.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then also we have, Belva Smith. Belva is our vision team lead on our clinical assistive technology team. Belva, you want to say hey?

Belva Smith:
Hi, everybody.

Brian Norton:
And then we also have Josh, Josh Anderson. Josh is the manager of our clinical assistive technology program. And also the popular host of Assistive Technology Update, one of our other podcasts here with Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA Project. Josh, you want to say hi?

Josh Anderson:
Hi, everybody. Welcome back, or if it’s your first time, welcome now.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Yeah. So for our new listeners, if you’ve just joined us this week, want to take a moment to just tell you a little bit about our show and how the show works. So we come across different feedback and come across various assistive technology questions throughout the week, and then we turn that into a show. So we have a listener line and a few different ways for you to get us questions. We’d love to hear from you, as folks who are listening, you can call our listener line, that’s 317-721-7124. Send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, or send us a tweet with the hashtag at ATFAQ, we’d love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
And again, without your questions, we really don’t have a show. So help be a part of it. If you’ve had something on your mind, a question that you wanted to ask, there are no dumb questions, we take all questions. And so let us know, love to hear from you. And you can send us those in those ways. So through again, that listener line, that email or through the hashtag ATFAQ.

Brian Norton:
If you’re looking to share our show with other folks, we have a variety of ways for you to do that as well. You can go to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Store. You can go to our website, it’s atfaqshow.com, and find us there as well, really any place that you can find a podcast, you can find us. So check us out, we’d love to hear from you, love for you to be able to listen to our show.

Brian Norton:
So without further ado, we’re going to jump in. We did have a bit of feedback today. And so I’m going to go ahead and play this feedback. And so here we go.

Speaker 14:
This is a regards to the latest ATFAQ question regarding trustworthy guides. I just checked on the independentliving.com website. And they have three different versions or models or whatever you want to call it available there. There’s the regular standard personal checks and one for the business checks. You can check it out, they range in price from about $1 half up to about I think it was four something.

Brian Norton:
Excellent, yeah, thank you for that feedback. We did have a question a couple of weeks ago regarding check writing guides and wanting to be able to fill out business checks or personal checks from home. And so great website Independent Living website is a great place to go to find all things for independent living aids, all things that you might find yourself doing at home from cooking, other kinds of things. We are on video calls and Belva is holding up her check writing guide right now. So that’s cool. Yeah, so there’s lots of great ways to be able to get those checks written and thank you for sharing about the Independent Living website. That’s a great website to find all things for aids for daily living. Appreciate that.

Brian Norton:
Alright, so the first question is, does anyone have any knowledge or experience with glassouse? And so for those that don’t know, glassouse is a way for you to be able to operate your mouse and to be able to click buttons and other things. It’s head worn glasses that allow you to then move the mouse by moving your head. And then it also has something that comes down, I believe you can then either, I think it goes into your mouth, and it has a little rubber tip and allows you to be able to bite down on it to be able to do button clicks and other things.

Brian Norton:
And we’ve used it for all sorts of applications using the computer. I’ve heard folks that have maybe used it for doing things with augmentative communication devices. One of the things that I have heard about the glassouse, was just talking with a colleague here in Indiana, and he’s been having a lot of difficulty getting it to work with augmentative communication devices, and they’ve used a couple of different ones. There was a first generation they really had some difficulty with. And they were shipped the second generation product. And were still having a little difficulty with.

Brian Norton:
So again, I’m not sure exactly what the issues are, I haven’t played with their particular setup myself. But from what I’ve experienced, it’s worked pretty well for the things that we’ve had to use it for. It’s a part of our loan library. If you’d like to get your hands on one, you might check with one of the AT Program, State AT programs, whoever is your local State AT program, there’s 56 of us. If you’re looking for your local program, you can go to eastersealstech.com/states. But it’s an interesting application to be able to help folks who have limited dexterity, fine motor or even gross motor movement with their arms and hands and fingers to be able to use the mouse just using it with head movement a little bit.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, because Brian is I just looked it up today, I’ve not seen it in person, I’ve not had any real experience with it. I am excited to know, though that I was informed that we do have one in the lending library because I am excited to actually see it. But the way I understood it, it’s a pair of glasses or look like glasses with the thing that, the little thing that comes down and then fits in your mouth. But I don’t like the name. Where did they come up with the name? Because that doesn’t …

Tracy Castillo:
I don’t like it either. It’s hard to say, isn’t it?

Belva Smith:
Well, no, not only that, but it doesn’t give me any indication as to what it is, except I guess the ouse, for mouse. But …

Brian Norton:
Well, I think glass stands for glasses, because they look like a pair of glasses. And the ouse is supposed to be for mouse. And so I think that’s where they got it. It’s a little hard to say, but [crosstalk 00:07:35] so confused, like you are about what it’s actually referring to.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I think it makes it hard to give you any idea as to what it really is. And then when you look at it, it doesn’t really give you any indication as to what you’re going to do with it either. So I think it’s almost one of those types of things where they’re going to have to demonstrate it for people to fully understand it. Now, I will say that the video that they have on the website, fully explained it. After I watched the video, I had a good understanding as to what it was. I was not able to locate the price anywhere, though. So how expensive is this?

Brian Norton:
It’s 600 bucks for the glasses, and about 50 bucks for the bite switch. And I will say you can use it with other switches as well. You can use it with buttons, Jelly Bean switches, other types of things, split switches. You can use it really with any type of switch, you don’t have to use the one that you use within your mouth. But the actual glasses piece is about $600. Which is in line with some of the other head mouse options out there. So the head mouse extreme, I think that’s over $1,000. So it’s pretty expensive. So it’s in line with what other devices in that device category would cost.

Belva Smith:
And then I would assume that you probably have to buy replacement, especially if you’re going to use the biter part, right? Imagine you probably got to buy replacements for that.

Brian Norton:
I would assume so. Yeah, those are I think you can buy new tips, but let me look here. The actual bytes, which is $49, but I’m looking to see if you can just buy extra [crosstalk 00:09:18] bite on, on, yeah. Hold on one second while I look.

Belva Smith:
So if it’s in our lending library, Tracy will we be loaning it with a different alternative types switch, or what?

Tracy Castillo:
Well, I will say yes, it is in our lending library. I did not realize that it had a byte switch on it. I would not assume that we are giving out the byte switch though.

Belva Smith:
No, I wouldn’t think so.

Tracy Castillo:
Do we? And Brian you …

Brian Norton:
You can buy silicone switch covers, which will swap out on that.

Tracy Castillo:
I’m still not going to use it after someone. I’m not going to use it with someone. But Brian, you did mention each state has a ATFAQs such mine. If you go to our website, eastersealstech.com/states, you can put in your information and bring up your states ATFAQ and see their demo and loan libraries worth.

Brian Norton:
They do give you a 15 day money back guarantee. So you can purchase it, play around with it for a couple weeks, in addition to either borrowing it from a library, or you could go directly to the manufacturer, and they might send you one and then you can try it out for a couple of weeks to see if it really works for you. I mean [crosstalk 00:10:31]

Belva Smith:
That’s a pretty big deal, you usually don’t get a 15 day trial with the assistive technology stuff. So that’s pretty big deal.

Brian Norton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. And to be honest with you, I’ve used this type of technology for a while as a supplement to Dragon if you have, I always try to find for Dragon’s voice input program. And for folks who use that type of technology, I’m always looking for an alternative. So if you’re sick, or your voice isn’t all that great one day, you have something that you can lean on. And so sometimes a head mouse is a great option for folks to be able to use an on screen keyboard in addition to the HeadMouse to be able to be operated and do some text input when they’re speaking voice isn’t great or they’re having difficulty getting Dragon to recognize them.

Brian Norton:
And so this is a less expensive option compared to some of those other ones that are out there, like the HeadMouse Extreme and other types of devices. But yeah, if anybody has any experience with glassouse and their preferably with that particular type of product, let us know, give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Or you can send us an email at tech@easterseals crossroads.org. Love to hear from you. So thanks.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is, “Hey, there, I have a student with very limited power in one hand, which would be his right hand. Can anyone provide advice of a good one handed keyboard, or do you think it would be better to promote one handed typing?

Josh Anderson:
Well, hey, there. So that’s a question we actually get a lot as far as which one’s better. And I guess it depends on what the individual needs to be able to do with it. But talking about different one handed keyboards, one that I know we sold it at AT last year, that would have been, what, eight years ago before lock downs and everything else it feels like, but what we sold there was called the Tipy keyboards, it’s T-I-P-Y. And you think of it, it looks like a baseball diamond. I guess it’s the way that you describe it. So where your wrist is like the home plate, and you go out to the bases. But it worked really well.

Josh Anderson:
And I mean, I played with it, [inaudible 00:12:47] didn’t take that long to, I don’t want to say master, but get the hang up of where the letters and very easy to do one handed without really having to move your hand. So you’re not going to be putting a whole lot of stress on the wrist and things like that. Now the issue with it is that it was supposed to come out sometime this year, but apparently supply chains got messed up for some weird reason. So I don’t believe it’s actually available yet. But it should be very soon. Of all the one handed keyboards, it seemed to work better than most. And it had a much smaller learning curve.

Josh Anderson:
There’s other ones that where they move the keys all around to just the ones that you use the most. But there’s a big learning curve on those. And then the other ones I’ve had the best luck with is just the smaller footprint ones. I believe Adesso makes one I think. And it works really well, it’s a full QWERTY keyboard, it’s just a much smaller footprint. So if you really need to get your fingers to different especially, a shift or a control and another one, it’s much easier to do all that stuff one handed.

Josh Anderson:
But then my other question would be, and this might not be an option, due to the person’s maybe disability or something. But it’s speech to text is an option? Mixing speech to text something like a Dragon or using built ins or something like that, along with a small footprint, or a one handed keyboard can really open up that accessibility a lot if you’re able to do both. If you’re using something like a Dragon or voice control, you can really control the whole computer with your voice and wouldn’t even really have to use the keyboard for much at all. So that’s another option.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, I think it’s important to always think about using the keyboard, small format keyboards where they’ve got the keys very close together. The Tipy keyboard is one that you mentioned. Excellent. I really like that keyboard by the way. I hope it does come out soon. I mean, get our hands on one. I think we put an order in for a couple but haven’t gotten those yet. But anything that’s compact and sized where the keys are closer together where you can almost stretch out your whole hand to be able to touch every key is great.

Brian Norton:
Adesso is another one. Is that the one that you mentioned? Okay, so we mentioned that keyboard. In addition to speech to text, I always also mention things like keyboard abbreviation expansion software. So, text expander on a Mac or word expander on Windows are great ways to be able to type in a few keys to get a whole phrase to type out for you. But then also one handed keyboard is a thing. And you can learn to use and type with one hand, there’s lots of different typing guides, like how we all used to learn the home row and learn how to type using two hands, they have an adjusted version. So instead of using your typical home row, you put your hand on the F and the J key, and then you use the keyboard from the middle of the actual quirky style keyboard part, to be able to then hit all of those different keys. And they work they walk you through a typing guide, learning how to type with one hand. It’s just how much time and effort Do you want to put into learning how to type that way. And I do know that a lot of folks do.

Brian Norton:
I think you should also learn about what’s built into Windows, a lot of times we’re really into all the operating systems. So things like Sticky Keys is really helpful for one handed typing, learning to be able to do keystrokes that have multiple keys built into them. That’s really important. So learn about those types of things that are in your settings menu, or those types of places to learn that, it’s a great place to be able to learn and to be able to use different types of functions or tools like that to be able to type one handed as well. But lots of different smaller keyboards, the Matias 508 keyboard, the half QWERTY keyboard, there’s also something called tap strapped 2 keyboard. But really anything compact I think can get folks closer to being able to be a good one handed typist.

Brian Norton:
And then in addition, learning how to type one handed text to speech and that abbreviation expansion software, are all pretty good options for folks.

Belva Smith:
Right. Is that tap strap too. Is that the tap wearable? Is that the same thing? Because remember, we seen that at ATIA, and I know that we have some of those in the lending library as well. And I noticed that they said that they have limited power with their right hand. But what’s really cool with that tap wearable is you actually slide it onto your fingers, and then you can actually put your hand anywhere you want it to be. So it could be that possibly, if you could get your hands on one and try it, it could be that they could wear that on their right hand and perhaps rest their hand on their leg and have enough usable functionality from their fingers to actually type with both hands. Again, it’s just like little bitty round straps that go over your fingers. Now, there’s a learning curve to learning to use it. But that would definitely be something worth looking at.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, I was just explaining that, it’s like wearing rings on every finger and they’re all connected. I mean, that’s pretty [crosstalk 00:17:51]

Josh Anderson:
It’s like wearing brass knuckles.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I would just like to open this up to our listeners. If you have any experience with one handed typing or teaching someone, let us know what your experiences are. And if you have any preferences in that area between keyboards or other types of software, I’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
Alright, so our next question is, I’m looking for a smartwatch to support executive functioning and school specifically for attention, initiation and task persistence, any recommendations?

Josh Anderson:
So I’ve got two, and I’ll give you two because the first one which is the Octopus kids smartwatch, is almost impossible to find. I looked on Amazon today, and it’s in stock on January 3rd. Last time I tried to recommend it for someone it was in stock in three and a half months. So it tells you that either A, really bad supply chain or B, really great product. I think it might be the second one.

Josh Anderson:
But the Octopus, it has tons of different icons on there and stuff. And basically, you can put reminders, you can put reminders with timers. So let’s say this is made for kids, but it’s really got a lot of different things that could help individuals with any disability. But basically it attaches to an app and then you set up things, so like, brush your teeth in the morning. And it can even, when you say that you’re brushing your teeth, it counts two minutes so that you actually have that time in their.

Josh Anderson:
Wake up, sleep, all different kinds of things, really almost anything you can think of you can set in here as something that needs done, and set up when it needs done for how long and all these other things just to keep people on task and just give them those reminders. We’ve used things like this before, especially for folks on the job that maybe need those reminders but can’t pull out a cell phone, because the job they’re not allowed to have a cell phone. If they have theirs out then it’ll single amount. So that again that Octopus kids smartwatch is one but it’s very, very hard to find.

Brian Norton:
I’ve been trying to purchase one for a couple months now for the INDATA projects library.

Josh Anderson:
Yep, because Brian needs to remember to brush his teeth for the full two minutes, not just for those five seconds. That just doesn’t work but [crosstalk 00:20:20]

Brian Norton:
I was going to say not me. I brush for four minutes and I use mouthwash. [crosstalk 00:20:27] keeping COVID at bay, man.

Josh Anderson:
I don’t think that’s … Nevermind. We’ll get [crosstalk 00:20:32]

Belva Smith:
No, it has been Josh, they are now saying if you use mouthwash, you can help fight COVID.

Tracy Castillo:
Who’s saying that? I know Brian said it.

Brian Norton:
Three out of four dentists say that.

Josh Anderson:
Three to four Listerine executives say that if you guggle with Listerine it will kill COVID.

Tracy Castillo:
And two out of four AT professionals.

Josh Anderson:
Apparently, at least on the zoom call. But no then the other one that’s really helpful and I’ve used it quite a few times is the WatchMinder. And it’s simple. There’s a first, second and third generation I think. And really it’s a, they call it a smartwatch, but it’s really just an old school watch that has different information that can pop up on it. And it can be anything from take medication, to remember to take a break, to come back from break, you can set those four different times.

Josh Anderson:
If you’re using it for an individual a family member or something like that, I believe that you can lock it so they can’t change those. I only know that because that’s been an issue before when we’ve tried to use it with folks. But that’s the WatchMinder. And it’s about, I think it’s about the same price as the Octopus kid watch. I think they both run around 50 to $75, give or take a little bit. They’re not as smart as a smart smartwatch, like an Apple or a Samsung. But they do have some really great features in there that can really help out folks.

Tracy Castillo:
Nice.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, another one is the Revibe watch, been trying to add this to our library as well. It’s a watch that tracks attention and focus. It was made by a psychologist, that was their focus of what they’re trying to do. But it uses vibration reminders to help people again, track that focus attention. So if you’re working on a task, it’ll gently remind you throughout that task, it can also track exercise movements and other kinds of things. So if you’re attentive, it kind of knows and you’re stationary. But if you start fidgeting, and other kinds of things it will give you a little vibration to remind you to stay on task and do other kinds of things. I’ve had a lot of good reviews from folks who have used that watch as well, revibetech.com is the website for that particular watch.

Josh Anderson:
Brian, I just looked that up, and this is completely not related to what we’re talking about. But they do have free resources on there as well for virtual learning for families dealing with children with ADHD. So anyway, that’s not related. But it’s cool that it’s there.

Tracy Castillo:
And isn’t it, and also just looks like a Fitbit. The watch itself.

Brian Norton:
It really is, yeah.

Josh Anderson:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Castillo:
I like that.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, it’s small, compact, doesn’t take up, it’s not a big bulky watch that you have to wear around. It’s discreet.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah, it’s very discreet. So if you were wearing at work or even at school, people just think he had a Fitbit on.

Belva Smith:
With the exception of some schools, most schools anyway, don’t allow you to wear a Fitbit to school.

Tracy Castillo:
Stop Belva, are you serious?

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I am.

Brian Norton:
What’s the reason behind that?

Belva Smith:
I’m not sure other than I think they found it to be a way that the kids could cheat on tests. I bought both of my grandkids, Fitbit, they wanted one so bad. And I bought them one last year for Christmas and they wore to school and the second day they were both told to take their watch off and that they couldn’t wear it to school anymore. So now they wear it when they think about wearing it.

Brian Norton:
Interesting. I would love to open this up to our listeners, if you guys use a smartwatch to be able to help with what they’re talking about, executive functioning skills, specifically in school for things like attention, initiation or task persistence, let us know, we’d love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is, is there a website like eBay, Mercari, etcetera that is set up specifically for people to buy and sell used assistive technology or medical devices? And so just an answer to this question. So they’re the State AT programs. We have a reuse program here at INDATA here in Indiana. A lot of the reuse programs throughout State AT programs also have this, you can you can sell your equipment, they have an exchange site set up, we don’t hear INDATA, but several State AT programs do where you can post whatever you have for sale. And then other folks can come in and try to purchase that directly from you. It’s like an eBay specifically for the equipment that we’re talking about here, assistive technology or medical devices.

Brian Norton:
Unfortunately here and with INDATA we don’t offer that. But you can connect with your local AT program, and learn if they provide that type of service, you can do that by looking on our website, it’s eastersealstech.com/states. And then you can choose your state and it’ll bring up your local AT program, and then give them a call let find out if they do an exchange program, where you can post your equipment, and then put a price on that. And then it basically posts an ad and then people can respond to that ad directly to you. And you guys can work out the deal between each other. So that’s a State AT program would be one use.

Brian Norton:
Another place that I’ve I’ve learned about in the last few years and is really an active place for folks is there’s a Facebook group called disability trading zone, and you can go on there and you can post your equipment, there’s lots of people saying, “Hey, I’m looking for such and such,” and then other folks who say, “Hey, I have such and such, anybody want it.” And so you can go in there and start up conversations and have direct messaging back and forth with individuals who are interested in the type of equipment that you have. But look up disability training zone on Facebook as a way to be able to look at being able to sell your used assistive technology or medical devices.

Brian Norton:
I will also say there’s lots of, if you’re looking just to get rid of those, obviously the State AT programs, we would take that equipment, and I tried to redistribute it. I mean, that’s what that reuse program does, in addition to the exchanging of devices and letting you sell your stuff, we will take it. And if you’re no longer using it, let us have it, we would then be able to recycle it and then be able to refurbish it and put it into somebody else’s hands that might need the equipment.

Brian Norton:
And then the other piece of that too, would be there’s lots of different faith based organization to take any equipment like that as well, to be able to provide it to individuals who are poor, or maybe even fly it to third world countries. And so we get lots of questions about, hey, I’ve got this piece of durable medical equipment, whether it’s a wheelchair, a ramp, a lift, or something like that. And folks don’t know what to do with that equipment when they no longer need it. And so we oftentimes will refer them to these other faith based organizations, they’ll take that equipment and then ship it over to third world countries or here and just our neck of the woods around where they’re located or where you’re located and be able to then put it in people’s hands as well.

Brian Norton:
So lots of different options with that equipment. Again, if you’re looking to buy sell, or your used equipment, start with maybe the AT programs, because I know a lot of them have an exchange program. And then these other places, disability trading zone, and then also faith based organizations, or even your State AT program, we would take the equipment from you, refurbish it, and give it to other folks. But other responses to that particular question.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I’m just going to throw a warning to anybody who’s considering buying somebody else’s assistive technology. Just here, well, I will say within the last year, Josh, I believe you and I both got a phone call from an individual who had bought a very, very expensive piece of assistive technology that was pre registered to the person that he bought it from, we assume. And because of that, he could not get into it, he could not get any tech support on it. And he was really struggling with it.

Belva Smith:
When I say expensive, it was over $5,000, yeah. So just be very, very careful. Now with that having been said, I will say that Todd has bought some used devices where registration doesn’t play such a big role and whether or not it’s going to work, and has had a good bout with that. And that all happened basically with word of mouth, just other folks that he knew that maybe had, well, it was the ID thing the ID mate he knew of someone who had one that had never used it. And again, registration didn’t matter. So he bought it and had good luck with it.

Belva Smith:
Same thing with magnifiers. I personally bought a used magnifier from one of our local vendors and had pretty good luck with it. So just warning, if you’re going to buy or even so be very, very careful. And I’m going to throw this out there too, because I know we have this problem in our area, if you’re going to meet up with somebody like that, make sure you do it in a safe place. Don’t meet him down at the gas station to do your deal. We have a lot of our, what do you call them? The little police departments and stuff, they have a special place that you can meet out if you’re selling a used device like that. And because some of these things can be expensive, it could be a pretty good size cash of hand switch there. So just make sure you’re being very careful and doing it safely.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, great point there.

Tracy Castillo:
when you are reaching out to your AT Act, if it is something that you need, and you can’t find it through AT Act, and you can’t find it used, you don’t have any funding for it, you can also look into the alternative financing programs that the AT Acts offer to get those things for you.

Belva Smith:
Good point.

Brian Norton:
All right. So I just want to open this up to our listeners, if you guys have any experience with buying or selling your assistive technology or medical devices, and maybe have a group or place for folks to go to do that, love to hear about it, please let us know. You can give us a call on our listener line that’s 317-721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Brian Norton:
Alright, so our next question is, what are some Chrome apps to help with executive functioning? And so let me just take a moment to describe executive functioning, if some of our listeners aren’t sure exactly what that means. And so executive functioning refers to our command and control functions. So think about our cognitive skills. It helps us manage life tasks, just all sorts and types of those. So think about, when you try to organize a trip, or research a project, or put a paper together for school, without executive functioning, things would be disorganized as you try to put that paper together. Let’s say you’re trying to organize yourself and what it’s going to come out and how you want to put together the table of contents, or the order in which you want to put that paper together in. And sometimes we just can’t make that happen.

Brian Norton:
And so, organization is a really important skill. And it really gets down to some of that executive functioning. And I think we mentioned this a little bit earlier in another question, it also has to do with attention, initiation, task, persistence, there’s a lot of things to get packed into what are considered executive functioning skills. I mean so, chrome actually does have several apps to help with that. And so you can search for some of these that are in there.

Brian Norton:
And so just a couple I’ll mention right off the bat, 1-click-timer is a really great app. So if maybe you just get stuck working on stuff, and you need some timer to, maybe you only have a limited amount of time to work on a particular project. But sometimes you just sit there and you work, work, work, and by the time you look up, a ton of time has gone by and you’ve wasted a lot of time where you needed to be able to move on and work on other tasks. 1-click-timer is a visual timer, works in Chrome, and basically lets you set a time. So if you got 10 minutes to work on a particular task, it’ll give you a color coded timer to work from, it works really well. So look that up, 1-click-timer, simple to find, just type that into Google and it’ll bring it up.

Brian Norton:
Another one is Adblock. Adblock is a pretty good one as well. This basically eliminates all of your ads. So those things that distract you when you’re on the web, things that would grab your attention and take your attention and focus away from what you’re supposed to be working on, Adblock will get rid of a lot of those things.

Brian Norton:
Another one I love is TabsNews. TabsNews is pretty good, too. What it does is basically, lets you save things. So if you come across an article, maybe you’re working on something very specific, but you come across an article that’s completely off topic. I mean, you weren’t really wanting to dig into that and go, maybe go down a rabbit trail with something, you can basically just snooze that tab. And then at a later point, come back to that tab and read it or spend time with whatever information you were looking at there, you can take the time to go down that rabbit trail, if you will, with TabsNews, it’s pretty great.

Brian Norton:
And then another one I’ll mention is Momentum. I actually really love Momentum, it changes the home screen, if you will for Chrome, and it lets you personalize it a little bit. So when I bring up Momentum on my screen, I use this. It allows me to go ahead right there within Chrome on whatever page, as soon as I open up chrome it comes to that’s my homepage. It lets me set up to dos and gives me a motivational quote for the day, helps me put in what’s my main focus for this particular day if there’s something very specific I have to get done for that day. It gives me the weather. All sorts of great things that come with Momentum, I would encourage folks to take a look at that as well. It’s a great little tool or add on that you can use to be able to help with that executive functioning within Chrome as well.

Belva Smith:
I was about to mention the Brave browser, B-R-A-V-E, because it also helps. I mean, it just blocks the pop ups and ads. And it’s just a free browser, it’s just a clean browser, very simple to use. So that might be something else to consider. And I think I recently heard that Chrome is thinking about blocking the blockers, because they actually make their money from those ads. So I think that’s something that they might be looking at trying to do in the future.

Brian Norton:
I hadn’t heard that. But yeah, I would, if you have time, I mean, another one, I’ll just throw this one out, too, because I just find this really useful. There’s an app called Extensity. And so I end up using a ton of Chrome extensions. So all of these things that I’ve mentioned here, and I just find Extensity really helpful. What it does is helps me organize all of my extensions. So if you have, I think I probably have 20, 25, 30 different extensions that I use within Chrome at different points. And this allows me to go ahead and turn things on and off on the fly. So I just have one icon up by my address bar, Chrome, I click on that, and I can just go down the list and turn things on and off, works really, really well, helps me keep organized with all of the different features that maybe we’ve mentioned today with these different apps and extensions, but just makes it a whole lot easier to be able to use Chrome and to be able to turn things on and off instead of different profiles for different folks. And so Extensity is a great, great tool as well, to keep yourself organized.

Brian Norton:
I’m just going to open this up to our listeners, if you guys have any feedback, maybe you guys use some different extensions within Google Chrome to help with executive functioning, we’d love to hear about those from you. Share those with the rest of our listening audience. You can do that in a variety of ways. You can give us a call at 317-721-7124. You can also send us an email at Ttech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Speaker 9:
And now it’s time for the wildcard question.

Brian Norton:
All right, so our next question is the wildcard question. And this is where Belva has a question for us that we haven’t had any time to prepare for. And so Belva, what do you got for us today?

Belva Smith:
Screen time. So with our kids happening to do whatever you call it, online learning at home schooling, whatever, like my grandkids are spending four to six hours a day, Monday through Friday, doing their online learning. And prior to doing online learning, their parents have limited their screen time to like 30 minutes a day or something like that. So this is really blowing that out of the water.

Belva Smith:
And I was talking to my granddaughter, because I’m actually doing one of their classes with him. And we were talking about brick and mortar school versus online school. And I asked her what she would prefer, and of course, she said brick and mortar. And I said why? And of course she had a whole list of reasons. One of them was because I don’t have to sit and stare at a computer all day.

Belva Smith:
So as parents, I mean, I can imagine all of the pressure of trying to work full time and be a teacher full time. Tracy and I don’t know, you may be dealing with this right now. If not, I’m sure you will be very shortly. But what things can parents encourage their kids to do to help reduce some of that screen time but also encourage good learning?

Tracy Castillo:
Hey, Belva, yes, I am starting to encounter that. Recently, there are school districts were given two weeks and then we have to close, go back to online learning. And if you are in this Zoom call, you would have noticed about 30, 40 minutes ago, I put on some blue blocker glasses because my eyes were burning. And I don’t know, we’ve only been on this call for about an hour but it hurt my eyes. So I’ve blue blocker glasses. So I don’t know if I’ll get my son any of those. And I’m still curious about what it’s going to look like on our e-learning, but I would definitely take breaks, just take breaks, take other breaks. I know my son, he loves the iPad and he’s going to be on the iPad for fun, it’s hard for him to take his attention away from that. But he also has a PC that he like games on to. I am a terrible parent. I’m like, “Chris, you’ve been on it for six hours. We got to go to bed.”

Josh Anderson:
I don’t think that makes you a terrible parent. I think it just makes it the, what we have normal right now.

Tracy Castillo:
I know. TV raised me, I’m okay. I mean, I came out all right.

Josh Anderson:
Really poor example, Tracy, let’s not use that. Just kidding.

Tracy Castillo:
[crosstalk 00:40:34] Yeah, go for it.

Josh Anderson:
Belva you bring up a really good point, because my stepson is 12 in sixth grade, and he’s still actually going to brick and mortar school. But all home works on a computer. So it’s still 3, 4, 6 hours a night on a computer, it depends. And he actually had an accident in gym and had a concussion, and had issues from that. And I mean, he just got three weeks behind. He couldn’t do any homework, because there’s no such thing as paper anymore. They shifted it completely. And I mean, it ended up having to be excused, because the doctor’s note said no more than 30 minutes at a time, looking at a screen. And I mean, that almost killed him.

Josh Anderson:
But really the number one thing we do is try to have him take it slow, not try to get a week’s worth of homework done on Monday, or that kind of thing. And sometimes that helps, try to give him lots of other things to do when he’s not working on the homework. Because I mean, it doesn’t feel right to say, “No, you can’t play video games, because you were doing your schoolwork all day.” That’s seems very counterproductive to getting them do their homework, “Hey, I’m going to go play video games, because I didn’t do my homework today,” is the natural place that would end up going.

Josh Anderson:
So, I don’t really know, but I think you’ll see, I mean, just think of the folks we work with and stuff and how some of the problems that you have in life from being on a computer too much from hunching over a screen all the time from doing all these different things. And then think about doing that to a seven or 10 year old’s body. What is that going to do to them when they’re 40? I don’t know. What kind of eye problems is that going to give them? I mean, I guess, the normal things that we might try to do for people, invert contrast, do some other things to maybe help with the eyestrain, Tracy, like you said, blue blockers.

Tracy Castillo:
I got these from Amazon, my daughter she does to go to school all the time. And she bought herself a pair too, relatively inexpensive for what they are. And they get rid of that burning sensation that I was having in my eyes.

Josh Anderson:
But it’s so hard to, like you said Belva, limit that screen time because you still, if the kids are doing all this homework and schoolwork, they deserve to be able to do something they enjoy. And most parents, we all have our own rules on how long they’re allowed to spend. But you don’t want to count that time because again, they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. But at the same time, how much is too much, where it’s going be detrimental to us, so, I don’t know. Although I did see on the news that now that there’s e-learning there may never be another snow day.

Tracy Castillo:
Yeah, that’s sad for them. Not really. Because I went to school and there was a lot of snow down. But what I was going to say I’m trying to introduce Christopher, my son, into new tasks, like new hobbies and undoing, or unloading the dishwasher, that’s a fun task. I like doing it. We can teach him to do that.

Josh Anderson:
Tracy can you come over to my house and unload my dishwasher? Because I don’t like doing it.

Tracy Castillo:
No, just [crosstalk 00:43:39]

Belva Smith:
I’ve always thought of the computer, or the tablet as a tool for learning. So I bent the mom and dad rules and was like, yeah, as long as we’re doing this, this is okay. But now with them spending so much time on it to get schooling, I’m not sure how to do that properly. And what like you said, Josh, what is it going to do to him in the future? The only thing I can say and I’ve told both of the kids this, is to take I breaks the same thing I would tell my clients, take your eye breaks and make sure that you’re looking at something preferably outside a window, but something that’s far away. Do that as frequently as you need to.

Belva Smith:
And I also think podcasts are a good way for them to still be learning, but to not necessarily be looking at the screen. And there are, I did a quick research before I used this question. There are lots and lots of podcasts that are educational focused toward the age group. So that might be something that parents could do. I’m just grateful that I’m not raising kids right now, because I can’t imagine. I just can’t imagine. And Brian, your kids are all college now, right? Or do you still have …

Brian Norton:
No, they’re older, I’ve got a 10th grader and a senior this year. So, I mean, I know they’re in school now. And there’s probably some added time on the devices. But, sometimes I go back and I think about it, and I’m not sure exactly how much more time they’re really spending on devices than they were before. I mean, my child’s looking down at their phone all the time, doing social media and other things.

Brian Norton:
My girls, both are into art, and they love to use the iPad for art stuff. So is that really screen time? I’m not necessarily sure, I would consider that screen time, although they’re looking at a screen. I think I agree with all of the guys, finding things for them to be involved in and just monitoring that and checking in with them, having them take the appropriate breaks, I think are all the right things to do.

Brian Norton:
I mean, at some level, you can’t, they’re in school, they’re there to learn, and that’s what the school is requiring of them at this point. You got to do what the school is asking if they’re going to get good grades, and they’re going to be active and participate in class and stuff like that. So you can’t really not do what they’re asking you to do. But there is a concern for that, for sure.

Brian Norton:
I mean, I’m sure we’ve had conversations as a team, Zoom fatigue, and all these zoom meetings and things like that. It’s I mean, it’s hard on us, let alone our kids who are much younger and maybe aren’t used to it as much as we are. But I don’t know. That’s a hard one. That’s a great question. I would love to I’d love to open that up to our listeners to see what their feedback would be on that question.

Brian Norton:
So give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124. Send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ or email us at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you, and what your perspective is on that question. So I want to thank Josh, Belva and Tracy for being here today. I just want to give them an opportunity to say goodbye to everybody. So Tracy, I’ll start with you. Want to say goodbye?

Tracy Castillo:
Thanks, Brian. I love going first by everyone. Be sure to check us out next week.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then Belva.

Belva Smith:
Goodbye, everybody. Thanks for listening.

Brian Norton:
And Josh.

Josh Anderson:
Look way from your devices everybody. We’ll see you next time.

Belva Smith:
There we go.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Put the device down. Alright, have a great one guys. Take care.

Speaker 9:
And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper, so here you go.

Belva Smith:
Little while longer. Yeah, Brian. It looks like you got this one in the bag.

Brian Norton:
Do I really?

Belva Smith:
Looks like it.

Brian Norton:
Did we lose Josh?

Josh Anderson:
No, I’m still here dropping the bucket. Oh, money bag’s over there.

Tracy Castillo:
Dropping the bucket. That’s really my electric bill.

Josh Anderson:
30 human seconds, or 30 Brian Norton seconds? Because there’s four minutes difference between those two numbers.

Speaker 9:
Information provided on Assistive Technology FAQ 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 and produced by Brian Norton, gets editorial help by Josh Anderson and Belva Smith and receive support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the INDATA Project. ATFAQ is a proud member of the accessibility channel. Find more of our shows at wwwaccessabilitychannel.com.

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