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ATFAQ160 Q1. Accessible Gaming Considerations?, Q2. Affordable, Low-tech door entry systems, Q3. Medication and Exercise apps, Q4. Talking financial calculator, Q5. Easier way to activate small buttons on phone, Q6. What delivery services do you use?

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Panel: Brian Norton, Joshua Anderson, Belva Smith, Blake Allee

ATFAQ160 Q1. Accessible Gaming Considerations?, Q2. Affordable, Low-tech door entry systems, Q3. Medication and Exercise apps, Q4. Talking financial calculator, Q5. An easier way to activate small buttons on phone, Q6. What delivery services do you use?

—– Transcript Starts Here —–

Audience:
I have a question.

Audience:
Huh?

Audience:
Like what?

Audience:
I’ve always wondered.

Audience:
What about?

Audience:
Do you know?

Audience:
I have a question.

Audience:
I’ve always wondered.

Audience:
Like, I have a question.

Audience:
I have a question.

Audience:
Oh, I have a question.

Audience:
I have a question.

Audience:
I have a question.

Speaker 1:
Welcome to AT FAQ, 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 answer it on our show? Send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Call our listener line at (317)721-7124, or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. 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 AT FAQ episode 160. My name is Brian Norton and I’m host of the show and we are so happy that you’ve taken some time to tune in with us this week. We’ve got a great lineup of assistive technology questions for you today. Before we jump into the questions, I just want to take a moment to go around our virtual room and introduce the folks who are sitting here with me. So the first is Belva. Belva is our vision team lead. Belva, do you want to say hey?

Belva Smith:
Hey, everybody.

Brian Norton:
And then second is Josh Anderson. Josh is the manager of our clinical assistive technology program and is also the popular host of AT Update, one of our other podcasts here on the accessibility channel at Indata. So Josh, do you want to say hi?

Josh Anderson:
Hi, everybody. Welcome back.

Brian Norton:
Today we’ve got a guest, so Tracy is not with us. Tracy’s usually on here. She’s our Indata program manager, but we have Blake, Blake Allee, who is stepping in and joining us today to give us his take on the questions we have for today. So Blake, I just want to welcome you. Thanks for being here and give you a chance to say hey to the audience.

Blake Allee:
Well, thank you. Hello, everybody. Glad to be on. This is the first show, of course. I’ll try my best to answer any questions I can. I’m just kind of excited to be a part of it and go from there.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. So, hey, just for new listeners, want to give folks just a better understanding of how this show works. So we receive feedback and we come across various assistive technology related questions throughout the week. We gather those all up and put them into a show format. Then from our perspective, we just sit in a virtual roundtable room and we try to answer those questions as best we can. However, we understand that we aren’t always able to fully answer questions, and we know that our audience, you guys, have a lot of good feedback and maybe answers that we should share as well with the folks who are asking these questions. So we solicit your feedback, too. I guess first off, if you have an assistive technology question, and then second off, if you have any feedback, as you listen today, you can get ahold of us and give us your questions and give us your feedback. We’ve got a few ways you can do that.

Brian Norton:
The first is a listener line. Our listener line is (317)721-7124. You can also send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org, or send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Again, those are the ways that you can provide those things to us. We gather those up and we put our show. Also, if you’d like to share our show, we would love for you to do so. You can find our show just about anywhere you can find a podcast, even some of the places that you don’t think you might be able to find a podcast. So Amazon Music, Spotify, other places, iTunes, we’ve got our website set up. It’s atfaqshow.com. You can go to our regular website, that’s eastersealstech.com, Google Playstore, all the places that you find and some of the places that you don’t typically find podcasts, you’re going to find our show there. We’d love for you to be able to share that.

Brian Norton:
We’d also love for you to leave us some feedback and comments there as well. If you enjoy the show, pop a comment into the iTunes or Google Playstore. That just helps us out with our ratings and things like that. We’d appreciate that very, very much. Without further ado, we’re going to jump into a bit of feedback. I’m going to go ahead and play that now for us.

Speaker 2:
Yes. Hello. I just finished listening to ATFAQ episode 159, and I wanted to provide some feedback on the question about how to answer an iPhone hands-free. If you have Hey Siri turned on and you have “change volume with buttons” turned on in your sound and haptics settings, then when a call is coming in, you could say, “Hey, Siri, answer call.” Siri will answer the phone call. You have to say it rather loudly [inaudible 00:05:02] so that Siri hears you over the sound of the ringer. Have a nice day. Thank you so much for your program. Bye.

Belva Smith:
Wow. And that’s why we love this show. I had no idea that Siri could answer a call because I’ve tried to get her to do it. She’s always said that she couldn’t help with that. I wonder what connection having the side switches enabled to … What did he say they got to be enabled to do?

Brian Norton:
So it says having Siri turned on, you have to change the volume with the buttons turned on in your sound and haptic settings. So there has to be something to do with the sound and the haptic settings that is now allowing Siri to be able to answer the phone.

Belva Smith:
Interesting.

Brian Norton:
I’m in your boat, Belva. I didn’t realize it could do that. Again, yeah, this is exactly why we do the show, because we’re going to learn stuff just along with everybody else. This is great.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. I didn’t know it could do that if you didn’t have some sort of headset connected. Because I know with AirPods and stuff, it’ll ask, “Do you want to answer the call?”

Blake Allee:
First time hearing about it as well. So that’s pretty neat.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Thank you so much for the feedback. Really, really appreciate that. Again, this is just a great example of why we want your feedback, because again, that wasn’t something that we were aware of, and now we’re able to not only share that with others, but also learn something ourselves as well. Thank you so much for that feedback. Really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Brian Norton:
Great. Without further ado, we’re going to jump into our first question for the day. This question came to me through email, and it says, “I’m look looking for help and input about creating an accessible space for gaming. If you have any experiences with this or have suggestions or resources to share, let me know.” I guess, I’ll just jump in on this one. There’s lots of resources. I don’t know, I’ve seen adaptive gaming setups and things like that. The first thing I’ll mention to folks is when you think about adaptive gaming, it’s not necessarily as easy as just setting a simple controller down in front of somebody. A lot of times in accessible gaming, you’re using lots of different switches and really a setup can be kind of messy or a little disorganized just based on the person’s needs. Where can they access a switch? Where do you have to place them? How big of an area do you need to have for them to be able to get access to all those different switches?

Brian Norton:
It can get quite complicated. There’s a lot of wires. There’s a lot of this, that, or the other in the person’s workspace. I don’t know, not necessarily one setup is going to fit all. So having in my mind flexible space, along with different things that you can pull out for different users, might be helpful. The things that really came to my mind, when you’re thinking about designing something that can be universally accessible for somebody would be, think about having an adjustable table, something that goes up and down, so that if the user’s in a wheelchair, they can get up and underneath whatever table. They all come in different shapes and sizes, widths and heights. So having an adjustable table available for folks. Having monitor arms or different types of mounting arms for the controllers themselves or the switches themselves could be helpful for folks. An adjustable chair, simply an adjustable chair for anybody who has, maybe they can sit in a regular chair, but it just needs to be adjustable. So they’re comfortable in it for longer periods of time.

Brian Norton:
I’ve also heard bean bags can be really helpful for folks. I’ve never used that before, but I thought that was kind of an interesting thing, but again, something that’s super, super flexible would be really, really helpful for folks in that environment. I think also having some other kinds of things in there could be helpful, too. I’m always interested in some of those lower tech types of things, like having Velcro or Dycem, double-sided tape, zip ties, clamps, electrical tape, all those different things. Because I don’t know if you’ve dealt with switches before or other types of situations where you’ve got a lot of moving parts and there’s a lot of fast movements. Things move on you, and the minute they move out of your region or the area for which you access that particular item, if it’s a switch, you bump it and it moves an inch to the right. Well, that might be out of reach for somebody. So you want to find ways to be able to lock those down on a table.

Brian Norton:
I thought of having some sort of an on-the-fly fabrication kit, something with all of those different types of things that you can just put right there for somebody and make things stick to a particular spot. Again, that can be accomplished with lots of different options. Again, Dycem, Velcro, double-sided tape and some of those types of things.

Belva Smith:
I like that rubbery shelf-liner stuff for keyboards and mice. Usually if you put a piece of that down and set your device on top of it, it’ll keep it from moving around.

Brian Norton:
Yep, absolutely. I mean, I’ve got a whole roll of it in my office and I use it all the time for folks, especially for keyboards, on a flat surface. Mice, not really mice because you got to move those around, but trackballs, other kinds of things for computer access. Super helpful for those types of things. I also just wanted to mention an organization that you may want to become familiar with, especially if you’re really trying to take a deep dive into accessible gaming. That is Able Gamers. Able Gamers has been around for a while. It’s really advocated for the accessibility of gaming for folks with disabilities, of all disabilities, whether that’s a visual impairment, a mobility impairment, just cognitive access to some of the controls and menus and other types of things. So familiarize yourself, you can look up able gamers, if you can Google that. They’re a great organization that really goes to bat for folks, as they are wanting to make sure that games are accessible for folks with disabilities.

Brian Norton:
I think we have seen significant strides in the past few years. Microsoft came out with an accessible controller a couple of years ago and quite frankly, it opened the eyes. I think when you start getting bigger companies, especially ones with game consoles like the Xbox, starting to think about adaptive controls and designing their own and selling their own. That really raises the, I don’t know, what am I trying to say? Raises the profile for making games accessible and the accessibility of those games. So with that Xbox adaptive controller, it’s really, really great in and of itself, but then it also comes with switch inputs that you can just simply, for all the directionals, all the buttons, all the button combinations, those types of things, you can just have a switch plugged into those and just with a single press of a button, you can activate all of the different controls for those particular Xbox controllers. So just really lots out there. Again, from my perspective, being flexible, having a flexible workspace, something that’s adaptable to a person’s needs with lots of different options is helpful.

Blake Allee:
A little bit different from what you were talking about, but something that I was thinking about with your just trying to condense space. Something with Eyegaze or Pointer Control on your computers, I know not every game allows those currently, but a lot of games are trying to work into that. That’s just being able to do things with your eyes, you know, takes up not very much room. Some people, they don’t have a lot of movement. That can help out a lot as well. Once again, not everybody’s fully on board with that, but I do think that that’s technology that could be something in the future that could really be helpful.

Josh Anderson:
No, that’s true. A lot of games are starting to come up with new kind of accessibility controls, more than just the closed captioning or maybe the dimming the bright lights. So depends on what kind of games you want to play, might have that eye control support, or even other supports built into them that you can check out. Really just depends on what it is you want to play, what system you’re using. And Brian, like you said, what kind of space you’ve actually got to build the whole system.

Brian Norton:
Right. Something that also makes me think of, as we are dialoguing on this is, just even thinking about traditional ergonomics for folks. The things that, it’s not necessarily about the seating and positioning all the time, but when you start thinking about Eyegaze, thank you for that mention because that’s super important. Also if you’re thinking about Eyegaze and you’re thinking about just traditional gaming, indirect lighting, I wouldn’t have direct lighting, something that’s overhead or those kinds of things. Use indirect lighting so that you can see things more easily. So definitely taking a look at that type of stuff.

Brian Norton:
I’d also, another thing that just came to mind, is tabletop power, making sure that in order to turn it on, you know, sometimes you can put the console on top of the desk or on top of the table. Sometimes you can’t, but making sure that that person with the disability, as they pull up to the machine, that they have access to that power button, whether that’s through a power strip or through the power button that’s on the machine itself. Just think about that as well, maybe tabletop power. Obviously there’s a lot of things, and so there’s storage and those types of things. Making sure that you’ve got plenty of that because you’re going to have a lot of pieces and parts and different things that you’ll need to pull out for different needs. Making sure that you have some of that storage would be helpful, too.

Brian Norton:
Boy, I would love to just open this up to our listeners. Do you have any feedback or maybe you’ve set up a machine, maybe you’ve set up a gaming system for somebody and have some other suggestions. That would be really, really great 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. Thank you so much. All right. Our next question is a voicemail that we received. I’m going to go ahead and play that for you. Let’s take a listen.

Speaker 3:
Hi. My name is [inaudible 00:15:45] Hagen and I have a question. I have, my husband has a physical disability. He uses a wheelchair, and he has an issue with his upper mobility, so he is unable to reach very far or very high. So when he opened the door, he would have to go up on a ramp, so he’s in a slant. He’d have to reach the door handle, which is a lever handle, but he doesn’t have enough trunk strength to get himself forward enough to be able to reach. So my question is, I know there are some systems out there that can help with automatic door opening, except that most of them are not very … They’re quite expensive. They’re not very affordable. I was wondering if you have some ideas of affordable systems that could do that, or maybe even a low-tech solution to that. His current low-tech solution is using a dressing stick, but that also takes some strength to push it down and pretty precise aiming. If you can assist us with that, we’d really appreciate it. We appreciate your show and thank you so, so very much for what you do. Bye-bye.

Belva Smith:
Brian, I had a consumer many, many moons ago who had a service dog, and that service dog for her did many, many, many things. One of the things that he did is opened the front door for her. They had a rope. It was the same kind of handle that she was just describing, like the lever handle. They had a rope attached to that handle. Whenever anybody would ring the doorbell or knock on the door, of course she would then ask who was there. If she wanted the dog to open the door, then he would open the door. I remember the very first time I went to see her, of course I had no clue. All of a sudden the door is slowly opening, and this big black nose peeks out at me. It was the dog just checking.

Belva Smith:
That, I don’t know, as again, that dog did many things for her. He turned the lights on and off because she too was in a wheelchair and things were just not always reachable for her. He could turn the lights on and off. He could go to the refrigerator and get her a drink, just lots of different things that he did. That would be something that might be worth looking into. Then, affordable for one person to another person is very different. But I did quickly just look for automated doors for people with disabilities. It looks like Amazon has a kit that you can put on any type of door, an entry door or a door from room to room or whatever, that has the little pushbutton things like you see everywhere. And those can be programmed for time.

Belva Smith:
So as I envisioned her question as she was asking it, it sounds like he has a ramp that goes up to the door. There could be a post at that ramp, at the bottom of the ramp where he could push the button, hopefully. I mean, maybe something like what she was describing using the dressing stick or something to get that button pushed. Then the timing can be adjusted. Now this is where I say affordable is affordable for some and not others, but at Amazon that kit, and it looks like it’s about a seven or eight piece kit, and it says that they’ll give you guided assistance to get it set up and everything, is 699.

Brian Norton:
Wow. That’s actually really inexpensive compared to what most residential door openers are, for sure.

Belva Smith:
Right. That’s kind of what I was thinking, especially when I look at, because it really looks professional and probably I don’t, I know they say they’ll give you support, but you might want to try to find a handy person that could actually … I know I would. I’d want somebody professional to try and install it for me, which will probably cost twice as much as the kit itself.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. I think you’re right. As you said, you were conceptualizing what she was talking about specifically. First off, this is a really great question, because if your ramp is going all the way to the door, you’re going to be leaning back a little bit and not necessarily sitting straight up, so that it’s easier just to reach out and grab something. You’ve probably added, I don’t know, maybe six inches to the reach that you would have to have to be able to get to that door handle, maybe even longer, depending on where your foot pads are on your wheelchair and what that distance is. It’s I would say at least six inches, if not more, which would make it really difficult to be able to grab that lever, to be able to pull down and open up.

Brian Norton:
I’m not sure exactly where this accommodation, if this is a residential issue at your home, if you’re in an apartment or other places. Obviously making any kind of accommodations, you want to make sure you’re the owner or you know the landlord and you’re working through the landlord or the facility that you’re in to be able to do that. I’m not sure if in this particular situation, if you could maybe not have the ramp go all the way to the door. If you can build a platform and then have the ramp come off the platform, that might be an option. Again, if it’s already been built, it may not be easily added to. So that might not be a solution for you. Belva, that is a pretty amazing option because most of the ones that I’m aware of, like I’ve directed people to Open Sesame before, opensesamedoor.com.

Belva Smith:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Those are like 2,400 bucks for theirs, for their residential openers. I think you can probably work with them on pricing and maybe payments and those types of things. They say, “Call us,” at their 1-800 number, but if you go to opensesamedoor.com, you can find out more from them. Again, it’s what you talked about. It’s got the buttons, it’s got the door opener. You’d have to find some way to mount the button on the outside for it to be able to open up for you. Yeah, I would think about maybe building a platform if you’re are able to, or talking directly to the landlord, if you’re at a facility or an apartment, you want to definitely involve them in any modifications that you make.

Brian Norton:
Then, there are all the low tech and more affordable things out there. I don’t know. One of the things I love about my job is when I get to go to Lowe’s and I start walking around and I try to find things would be helpful. I would assume you could probably go to those places and find something. You mentioned a dressing stick. That actually came to mind, for me, I’ve seen dressing sticks at OT stores and things like that. I’ve used them for all sorts of applications, but maybe there’s some way to design or create something else that could do that, as a low-tech solution for you. Just by going to Lowe’s, you can oftentimes find an associate or you can also work with a professional, like here at Indata or in our clinical program to identify other solutions and supports. That’s a real interesting thing, and I could see where that could be a real problem.

Belva Smith:
Hey, Brian, looking at this kit a little closer. It comes with two keypad, what do you call them? The keyless things like we have on our [crosstalk 00:24:07].

Brian Norton:
Oh, key fobs? Key fobs.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, so he could probably attach one of those fobs somewhere to his wheelchair, which would mean that he wouldn’t have to reach. But of course he’s still got to be able to push that button.

Brian Norton:
Okay. What’s the name of the product on Amazon? Does it have a name?

Belva Smith:
Well, no, I found, it looks like it’s “handicapped door opener for disabled people.” It looks to me like that’s the name, but it does have a store that it says you could also visit, which is O-L-I-D as in David, E-A-U-T-O.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. That’s the same one I found was that store. Yeah, and it looks like they have them anywhere from $530 to 1,300, just depending on how big and how much door you have to move. Maybe this isn’t something that’ll actually help this individual, but what are they called, T-pull door closers and door openers? I don’t know if you’ve seen those. Because a lot of times a major difficulty can be, and this may not actually help with turning the doorknob or anything and it really depends on the dexterity, but if you’re trying to close a door while in a wheelchair, the door, let’s say, swings in, you got to get into that doorway to grab the handle and be able to bring it out. If you don’t have a big landing or a lot of space, it can be a little bit of a challenging thing.

Josh Anderson:
So they make these things called T-pull door closers. Again, I don’t know if this would work for this individual, but it’s still a good thing to have. Essentially it’s a piece of metal, looks like a T that attaches to the door so that you can kind of pull that out. As you’re rolling away from the door, it just closes behind you. It gives you just a little bit more reach and a little bit more use in closing and opening doors. They’re like 40 bucks. So they’re a lot less expensive, but especially for maybe interior doors or something like that, might be an option to help out with some of those.

Belva Smith:
So I’m surprised that we don’t have a inventor-type person that hasn’t already developed something that could be controlled with your assistant. Where you could just say, “Hey, Alexa, open the door,” or “Hey, Alexa, close the door.”

Josh Anderson:
I think you can integrate the Open Sesame, can’t you, Brian?

Brian Norton:
I believe so. I believe, I do know that there are options out there where there are Alexa skills to be able to operate those types of door openers. I’m not exactly sure which manufacturers work with Alexa, but I would be, I know there are options out there. I’ve talked to other folks who have had that work for them. I’ve even seen people hook up their garage doors and other kinds of things through Alexa.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I’ve got my garage door connected that way. But I’m sure that that’s probably a lot more expensive.

Josh Anderson:
Well, and also, that’s only going to work when you’re in the home. You don’t want somebody to be able to walk up to your house and say, “Alexa, open the front door,” and it just opens.

Belva Smith:
Right, right.

Josh Anderson:
You’d have to actually be inside, kind of closer to the device, I would think, for that to work.

Blake Allee:
Yeah. I think you guys covered pretty much better than I can think of. Smart locks of course are a great option, but if that’s too much money, that’s one thing. Also once again, that door handle, even if it’s unlocked, it might be hard to turn that knob. I don’t know if those are going to be really too much help into the conversation, but yeah, I like everybody’s examples, though.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. Well, hey, to Belva’s point, maybe we do have an inventor low-tech AT person. I mean, obviously that’s stuff that we’ve done in the past and we’d have to kind of know specifically, more specifics about the individual and the door and the weight of the door, those kinds of things that we’re looking at, but man, maybe folks have come across this and have other low-tech solutions for folks. I would love to hear from you. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)721-7124 or send an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is, “I’m working with an eight-year-old boy that is on a Keto diet for medical reasons. Are there any recommendations on an app he can use to manage his diet? Also any kid-friendly apps for medication management as well.” So I guess there’s two questions here. One would be, is there a diet application, so a person can help this child manage their Keto diet. Then also looking for a friendly app for medication management. Just open that up to folks.

Belva Smith:
Of course I haven’t ever tried this, so I don’t really know, but I did, and we don’t know what our platform is, whether we’re talking iOS or Android. I’m obviously on the iPhone. But immediately when I put in kid-friendly med reminder, I found an app called OnCure medicine. It is a kid’s medication tracker. It says, it talks about keeping them healthier and safer. So I don’t know, it’s free. That’s my advice is try to look through here. I can only imagine how many there must be, but you know what? I don’t know. This one does say that it can also track their symptoms if they’re not feeling well or whatever. It’s for short-term and long-term medications. I don’t know, it’s like a whole system and you can do a journal on it. Again, it was called, it’s free, and it’s called OnCure medicine in the app store.

Brian Norton:
Cure as in C-U-R-E, cure?

Belva Smith:
Yes.

Brian Norton:
Okay. OnCure medicine, right?

Belva Smith:
No, OnCure … Oh yes, yes. You’re right. OnCure medicine. Yes.

Brian Norton:
Okay. Interesting. So I use actually an app because I am notorious for walking out of the house in the morning without taking my medications. So I use an app called Medisafe. Medisafe is an app that I just love because you can put alerts on your phone. It’s an app for, it’s for iPhone, but I think it’s for Android as well. I don’t think, I think it’s cross-platform. But the really cool thing that I like is you can put medication and when you set up the medication, you can choose the kind of shape and color of your pill. You’ve got some visual reminders there. You can also set up the schedule for the day about when you need to take that particular medication. When you do, you can set alarms so that beforehand you’re going to get a reminder 15 minutes, half hour, hour before you’re supposed to take it. So you can be mindful that, oh, the time is getting pretty close when I need to be able to take that particular medication.

Brian Norton:
You’ve got some timers, some reminders, you’ve got some visual cues to it, but the thing I think that’s most valuable about it is you can set up what are called Medifriends. So essentially what happens is if I get an alarm to take my pill and I don’t say I took it, it’s going to email me. It’s going to not email me, it’s going to email one of my friends that I’ve set up as a Medifriend, to say, “Hey, if you didn’t take your pill, I’m going to call your wife. And your wife is going to call you to say, hey, take your pill.” So there’s extra motivation to take your medication because the last thing I want is my wife calling me to tell me to take my pill over and over again, because that’s going to get pretty annoying pretty quick, not just for me, but for her as well.

Brian Norton:
Again, this Medifriends, it’s just, it’s helpful to have other people to remind you or to call you if you didn’t take it. So if you don’t mark it down as taken within the app when it alerts you, it’s going to go ahead and call one of your Medifriends. As far as it being kid-friendly, I think an adult would need to set it up because you do have to pick the color. You do have to put the medication in. You do want to put the times in, you might want to have someone help set that up. But again, once it’s set up, I think it’s pretty routine and easy to use. I don’t think there’s a lot that happens or would need to happen behind the scenes. It would just, man, if they don’t acknowledge that they took a pill, it’s going to call somebody and that person can then call and remind them to do so.

Brian Norton:
So Medisafe would be a really useful tool for somebody. I’ll also throw out two other apps, Chronometer and Myfitnesspal. These are diet apps. Again, whether they’re kid friendly or not, they’re pretty good diet apps, and I think they might fit the bill for those things. With Chronometer, I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at that before, but they tout theirs as a way to eat smarter and live better, where you can track your calories, your exercise and other health data. Gives you, allows you to log meals, log your exercise. If you like to get into fasting, diet support, whether you’re Keto or vegan, it’s got some diet support to be able to look at certain things and really keep people on track with stuff.

Brian Norton:
The same thing with Myfitnesspal. That is a free calorie counter, diet and exercise tracker as well. Again, I’m not sure of child friendly. Certainly from a parent’s perspective, to be able to help manage some of that stuff might be helpful. To have a parent involved or an adult involved, but could certainly be beneficial, couple different diet apps to be able to look at as far as those are concerned.

Blake Allee:
Yeah. I had some friends that used to use Myfitnesspal. They seemed to love it when they were trying to get in shape or count calories and things like that. But once again, like you were saying, as far as for kids, I’m not sure if it’s easy to set up for a child or not. I personally have not used it myself. But I do remember them talking quite a bit about it and they could link to each other as well. So everybody could keep track of each other’s progress, which was a nice feature as well.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, that’d be fun, especially for maybe that would be motivational for kids, to be able to see if you have a group working together on something and some friendly competition maybe, in and amongst themselves. So yeah.

Josh Anderson:
I think that doesn’t just breed healthy competition, but it makes sure they’re actually doing it, I think is a good thing, too.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. No, that’s great. That’s awesome. Well, hey, I would love to open this up to folks. If you have any information on a friendly, I’m sorry, let me say that again. Kid-friendly medication or diet app. Those are what we’re looking at. 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. All right. So our next question is, “I’m looking for a talking financial calculator or a talking graphing/scientific calculator. Any suggestions?”

Belva Smith:
Well, I would direct them to start out by looking at MaxiAids because they do have a lot of different talking calculators there. They can be quite expensive and a little complicated to learn to use, but the one that would probably fit their needs is probably going to be the Science-plus series, the 2300. But then also if they happen to have an iPhone or an iPad, there are lots of also different apps that can be used as a talking scientific. Pretty much any kind of calculator you need is available in the app store, and most of them will work with voiceover. We also just found that the calculator that’s included with your Apple device works with voiceover. We knew it worked with voiceover. We didn’t know if the scientific part did, but it does. That’s inexpensive option. If you’ve got a device, look for an app, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android. I’m sure that there’s just as many available in the Google Playstore, but expensive standalone device, MaxiAids. You could look at LS and S, too. I’m sure that they probably have some, but MaxiAids seems to have more of this type of a device.

Brian Norton:
Gotcha. I also was playing around a little bit with the scientific calculator. I don’t know if folks know, but on your iPhone, when you pull up the calculator, if you go to a landscape mode, if you flip the orientation of your phone into landscape, it turns itself into a scientific calculator. It doesn’t do, I don’t know about graphing. It obviously doesn’t do that, but it will be the scientific calculator. You can just use voiceover with the built-in one, if you’re comfortable. Now, one thing is you got to be comfortable in that landscape mode. I know a lot of the folks I work with use it in the portrait mode when they’re using voiceover. It changes orientation, gives you a lot wider of a region to be able to use with voiceover, but it does work. It does say what you’re pressing and give you feedback for when you’re on certain types of scientific or mathematical, I don’t know, what do you call them? Equations or functions or those types of things. It’ll go ahead and give those to you and be able to give you feedback to be able to use those as well.

Brian Norton:
Again, for me, to your point, Belva, MaxiAids, LS and S, Independent Living Aids, all those places have lots of resources with regard to that. I think there was also, isn’t there a Texas Instrument calculator like a T-8, 13, I don’t even know what it’s called. I think there’s a Texas Instrument one that does graphing, but also talks as well. I don’t have that one listed or didn’t find that one in my research, but I do remember that there is a Texas Instrument one that does talk to you as well.

Belva Smith:
Hey, Brian, this would probably be a good time to talk about AppleVis. We haven’t mentioned that on any of our podcasts in a really long time, but if you do happen to have the iPhone or the iPad, there’s a website called AppleVis. That’s A-P-P-L-E-V-I-S. Great place to go if you’re looking for specific apps, or if you’re trying to figure out especially before purchasing an app, is it going to be accessible with voiceover or not? This is a website of individuals that are users, so no one’s going to know better than they are as to whether something is going to be accessible and if it’s going to work appropriately or not. You can go there and search for recommended apps or look for new apps, old apps, and also post information. If you happen to find something that isn’t accessible, you can look at, you can browse by category or by device, whether it’s a Mac app or an Apple TV app or an Apple watch app. Depends on what you’re using, but that’s AppleVis, great place especially if you’re using an Apple device to go find out about the different talking calculators and whether or not you’ve got a good one or going to be getting a good one, I guess.

Josh Anderson:
And Brian, you brought up the Texas Instruments one. I think it’s actually an Orion Ti-84 Plus, is the talking graphing calculator.

Brian Norton:
There you go. That is it.

Josh Anderson:
I don’t think it’s actually made by Texas Instruments, but I don’t know. The letters TI maybe. But yeah, I couldn’t remember either, but I know I’d seen it and used it before. It runs about 600 or a little bit more, I believe, for the calculator, depending on where you get it from. It can be a little bit expensive if you can get by with a little bit cheaper app. I know I’ve used them before and they seem to work really well. In a pinch it’ll worked better than nothing.

Brian Norton:
Yep, absolutely. Yeah, you’re right. That is a, the Ti-83 or whatever you mentioned. That’s …

Josh Anderson:
84, 84.

Brian Norton:
84, there you go. Well, I would also, I mean, another option for folks, if you’re looking for one, maybe it’s something that you’ve never used before, and if you want to maybe try to try it out. I know some of these devices we talked, I think, Belva, you mentioned the Science-plus or Sci-Plus 2300 talking calculator. We’ve got a few of those here in our loan library. So if you’re from Indiana, you can look at our lending library. If you go to eastersealstech.com under I believe services, under Indata, you’re going to see a link to our lending library. You can go to our lending library, and look that up and maybe borrow a few of these devices. I know to Josh’s point that Ti-84 device is 600 bucks. So it’s hard to spend the money and then realize it’s not doing exactly what you want it to do.

Brian Norton:
There might be having the option to try it out. Again, we’re Indiana’s state AT program Indata. So we are only allowed to loan devices to people here in Indiana. However, if you’re from another state, every state and every territory has a state AT program, and you can go to eastersealstech.com/states to look up your local program, your local or state program, so that you might be able to borrow. Again, with the state AT programs, that device loan library is a core service of ours. So every state and every territory has something like that. Definitely something to keep in mind and to check out. Again, eastersealstech.com. If you’re interested in looking at our lending library and then eastersealstech.com/states, if you’re looking to connect with a state AT program in another state.

Brian Norton:
What I would love to do is just open this up to our listeners. If you have some solutions looking at a financial calculator or a talking graphic scientific calculator, let us know. You can give a 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:
All right. Our next question is, came through, I’m sorry, let me try that again. All right. So our next question came to us through email. This is, “Due to coordination issues, I sometimes find it difficult to press small buttons on headsets or headphones to skip from one track to another while listening to music or Voice Dream Reader on my iPhone. Are there other devices that are easier to press to skip from one track to another? Thanks for your great show.” I’m not sure if folks have run across other options to be able to navigate music from one track to the other. Voice Dream Reader does the same thing. If you’re not familiar with what Voice Dream Reader is, it’s kind of an e-book, e-pub reader app for your phone, really great one where you can advance the track to different chapters or 15, 20, 30 seconds down the way. I think that’s what they’re getting at with that. Whether they’re listening to music or e-text, how do I, how does that person skip through if they have a real difficult time with small buttons?

Belva Smith:
I would try Siri first, because I know that Siri can skip. She can play previous, she can play next, she can skip when you’re listening to music, but I don’t know about, like in Voice Dream reading a book. I don’t know if it would work with that or not, but I would try Siri.

Josh Anderson:
Well, I was going to say, turn on voice controls or voice commands, Brian, would be something that might work, but I’m not sure if that would work when something’s playing, if it would pick it all up correctly. You can bring up numbers and have that, say, “Click or press four,” if that’s the forward or the back or the fast forward. Then also, I know it says coordination issues. What about the controls actually on the screen?

Belva Smith:
That’s what I was going to say too, yeah.

Josh Anderson:
And change the sensitivity, change the gesture control and things, but just because they’re a little bit larger, they’re not as small. Like I said, I know I’ve had a lot of folks with Parkinson’s or maybe some different kind of disabilities where they’re not great at touching the touchscreen, but you can turn that sensitivity to where you really have to hold it in one spot for quite a while for it to really click. That could be a different way. Then try out some different ones. I think of, I use AirPods for this and for listening to music sometimes and things. I have no idea how to use the little built-in controls on them. I know I can touch it in a certain spot and it’ll turn it up. All I ever do is accidentally call the last phone number that called me. I never ever do the correct thing with them. I guess it would maybe try some different ones out, but a lot of them are going to have those little tiny buttons. I don’t know. I think of the standard headphones that come and have the big buttons on the string, but those are mostly volume control and don’t always give you the forward and back.

Josh Anderson:
So that’s a tough one, but I would say, if you can access the screen, stick with it, is the best way. Even if you can make some changes and be able to control it that way, because then no matter what headphones you’re using, you’re going to be able to control it.

Brian Norton:
Yep. I was going to mention the Flic buttons. Have you guys heard of Flic buttons before? They call them the world’s smallest smart button and they actually have one for simple music control. So I would believe it would, I don’t know if it works directly through Apple home kit or if you can just have it navigate and work directly with, I guess it says, “No apps or voice commands needed.” So I believe you can get it to work directly with your phone in some way, shape, or form with whether that’s Spotify, Voice Dream or those types of things, to be able to forward. It says it can play, mute, and skip. So they’ve got one specifically for that. I would check it out. If you go to Flic, F-L-I-C dot I-O is their website. Check that out. Seems to be pretty useful.

Brian Norton:
I think they’re mainly, just to give you an understanding of their product. I think mainly it’s for things like smart home devices to be able to turn on lights and fans and be able to do things like that, maybe set alarms or those types of things, but there are other features and controls that you can do. It seems to work with all sorts of, it does work with apps. It does work with voice commands, but I think it would allow you to do some simple music control, I believe. Definitely. And again, they’re a little bit bigger. They’re, I don’t know, maybe the size of a quarter, maybe a little bit smaller, maybe a nickel. A little bit bigger than some of the smaller controls you might come across. It’s a physical button, you do press a button. It’s not software-related whatsoever. So if you’re in a wheelchair, you can mount it to your wheelchair controller. They’re real small. You can stick it on the side or on the top, in any of the free space that you have to be able to have it in a place where you can get access to it. But definitely check. Flic.io is the website. You can learn more about that there.

Blake Allee:
Yeah, that sounds great, Brian. I was just thinking switches in general, but yours sounds more catered to music and smaller and so that’s probably even better. Then I was also thinking, Hey Google, just with Siri. Really not the best approach, but I’ll try to throw something out there. Is just, if you know you’re going to be listening to music for a long time, possibly create a playlist so you know you don’t have to skip any tracks. I know that’s not really the best option, but just you guys already covered most of the bases that I could think of.

Brian Norton:
That’s a really good option, though. I mean, you’ve got pretty user friendly, intuitive apps like Spotify. I don’t, I hardly listen to regular music anymore. I’m listening to Spotify and I create my own playlists and I’ve got access to all the music I’d ever, ever want, except for the folks that are now banned from Spotify, I guess. But anyways, yeah, I mean, why wouldn’t you want to just play the music you want to listen to and not have all this other stuff on there? Yeah, that’s a great, great point. Skip that all together, for sure. Well, hey, I’d love to open this up to our listeners. If anybody has any feedback on basically phones and devices that come with pretty small buttons, and you’re trying to skip from one track to the other. Do you guys have different things available to you that you’ve set up to be able to get control of those? So things that would allow you to be able to press smaller buttons on headsets or other devices.

Brian Norton:
Let us know about that or other ways to do it. We talked about setting up your playlist and things like that. If you have other ways, when you’re talking about music, to make sure that they’re more accessible for folks, let us know. You can give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)721-7124, or you can send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you. Thanks.

Speaker 1:
And now it’s time for the wild card question.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is the wild card question. This is where I’ve come up with a question today that nobody on the call has had time to prepare for, but we’re going to go ahead and give it a shot and see what folks say. Over the pandemic, it seems more and more online delivery services are popping up like Tide Cleaners is something. I think we may have talked about this before, but it just came to mind again, because I saw a shop set up for it here close to my home, where you can do laundry. They will come pick your laundry up. They’ll take it to their place. They’ll do it. And they’ll bring it back to you. Grocery delivery, food delivery, all sorts of online to-your-door solutions for you have popped up. And my question is (a) do you use these services in your personal life? If so, which ones do you use? I’ll start, I’ll just let folks answer those as they want.

Belva Smith:
I can’t say that I’ve really used any of these, but I can see where they would be valuable and useful for individuals that for whatever reason are unable to get in the car and drive to the laundry or get in the car and go to the dry cleaners. But it’s not just the cleaning. Pretty much anything you want nowadays you can get it delivered. But I got to say that other than ordering from online stores, I don’t use any of these types of services. I don’t even do food delivery to the door.

Brian Norton:
Is there a reason? Just because of you don’t need it or more expensive?

Belva Smith:
Well, when I had my broken hip and I was unable to drive, I was like, all right, we’re definitely signing up for DoorDash and all these places, because I want a cup of Starbucks, I want to be able to get … But I found that setting the apps up or the accounts up was cumbersome. I just don’t like putting all my information into all those different places. That turned me off from it and I’ve just never looked back at it. Fortunately though, again, I can get in the car and go and do those things. Even when I … Now I did use the Kroger and the Meijer shopping app for the groceries, but not for the delivery. We would go ahead, my son or somebody would go and pick it up for us. But I understand now that I believe it’s Walmart and maybe even Kroger will not only deliver your groceries, but they’ll come in and put your food in the freezer if you want them to and put your canned goods in the cabinet.

Brian Norton:
Interesting.

Belva Smith:
Yeah.

Josh Anderson:
But will the Tide Cleaners put away my clothes?

Belva Smith:
That’s a good question.

Brian Norton:
I love it. Love it. Excellent. Anybody else?

Blake Allee:
Personally, I haven’t used a whole lot of them. I mean, the basics like just having, like she said, to make your own list and go pick that up, I did. I just want to throw a little interesting thing. Last time I was in Purdue, I don’t even know where else they do this, but they have all these really small little robots that go all around the campus and deliver food. I mean, I thought they were just very interesting if nothing else.

Belva Smith:
DePaul has those little robots that go around and deliver, too.

Blake Allee:
Oh, they do?

Belva Smith:
Yep.

Blake Allee:
Yeah. They’re pretty neat.

Brian Norton:
That’s unbelievable.

Josh Anderson:
Those are super cool. Brian, no, just like you guys. We’ve done the ordering groceries and go, they throw them in the back of the car. That’s really awesome. But as far as ordering food and other stuff, at home, it doesn’t work because we live in the middle of, not in the middle of nowhere, but just far enough where nobody really delivers there. This is no dis, and I’m sure it’s probably gotten better, but I’ve just heard horror stories about a lot of Uber Eats and DoorDash and stuff where it’s 40 minutes late and the food was done for 40 minutes. So it’s just cold and not good. It would’ve taken half the amount of time, had I just went and got it myself.

Josh Anderson:
I don’t know. Sometimes it’s nice, I guess, just to get out of the office. But I suppose Jimmy John’s delivery, pizza delivery and that kind of stuff, I do that at the office all the time. But as far as the other ones and the new stuff, I’m so happy it’s there. Because I know for some folks that was just such a big challenge to get those things done and to be able to take that off your plate and not have to do it is amazing thing, especially for folks who may have a disability and not have a washer and dryer in the home. To be able to have your, just put your clothes on the front step, somebody come pick them up. I know there’s some cleaners that have done this for a long, long, long time. On the south side, I think there’s a place that’s done this forever, but it’s great that it’s expanded a little bit and able to help some folks with some of those things that usually you had to have pretty good transportation to really get to.

Josh Anderson:
Because you think, you’re probably not taking all your laundry on the bus very often or even if you are, that’s a pretty big challenge and a pretty big day’s worth of work. So to be able to just put it outside and have it come back to you clean is a pretty cool accommodation. I’m glad it’s there, but no, I haven’t really taken advantage of it yet.

Belva Smith:
I know a new car wash opened up about probably three years ago, because it was right before the pandemic. Opened up in Shelbyville. And I have a friend who used their service. What they would do is you schedule the day and the time, and they come and pick your car up, take it to the car wash, clean it inside and out, and then bring it back and drop it off.

Blake Allee:
Nice.

Brian Norton:
Wow.

Belva Smith:
Yeah. I thought that was pretty cool, but then I’m thinking, yeah, but who are they sending to drive your car?

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Comes back with 400 miles on it.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, exactly. Yes, Josh, just like you, I’ve heard some real nightmares from the Uber Eats and stuff, where the stuff would get just dropped on the porch and nobody would ring a doorbell or make sure that they knew it was there. They go and get it and it’s full of ants and stuff. So a part two to this question, Brian, would be, will these services be as popular and remain, once we aren’t all terrified of COVID anymore?

Brian Norton:
Right, yeah.

Belva Smith:
I wonder. Because a lot of businesses that were businesses before COVID are no longer businesses. These pop-ups that happen because of COVID, are they going to survive when they’re no longer as important?

Brian Norton:
Let’s use that for our next question, our next wild card question on our next episode, [crosstalk 00:57:53] follow up.

Josh Anderson:
There you go.

Belva Smith:
Yeah, I was actually thinking about that.

Josh Anderson:
All right, I’ll shut up. But Belva, when you were talking about the car thing and we were talking about laundry, I thought you were going to say it was like a car wash place that would let you open your sunroof with your clothes inside.

Belva Smith:
Get your laundry done [crosstalk 00:58:05].

Josh Anderson:
Just do it all at once.

Brian Norton:
I was going to say, I think I’ve heard of that. Wasn’t that highlighted on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Josh Anderson:
Yeah.

Brian Norton:
Someone come take your car, drive it around for the day. Yeah. Well, cool. Well, hey, I want to thank you guys for listening to our show. I would love to just wrap this question up. If you guys use any of these services, grocery, laundry, food delivery, those types of things, let us know what you’re using, what your experience has been with those. I do think, Josh, to your point for folks with disabilities who had difficulty with those things, just think about before these things were available, going to the grocery store would’ve been, can sometimes be like a half a day experience, because you got to get transportation there. You got to get, you got to shop, and then you got to get back on public transportation to get home at times. This has really been helpful services that have come up over the years, over these last few years, that have become more and more popular. I just wonder what folks are using, what their experiences have been to be able to learn more about these different options that are out there for folks. And so want to open that up to our listeners, give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317)721-7124. Send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Thank you so much.

Brian Norton:
Would also just like to say, we’re going to wrap up our show. I want to thank the panel today. I want to give them also an opportunity to go ahead and say goodbye for the week. Belva, do you want to say goodbye to our audience?

Belva Smith:
Goodbye for the week. Goodbye. See you guys next time.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. And then Josh?

Josh Anderson:
Bye, everybody. Can’t wait to see you next time.

Brian Norton:
And again Blake, thank you for being here. I think I forgot to mention and I’ll say it now at the end. Blake is our equipment and demo specialist with our Indata program. Thankful that you’re here. You want to say goodbye?

Blake Allee:
Yeah. Bye, everybody. Thanks for having me. It’s been been fun and look forward to the future. Thank you.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. Well, yeah, thank you guys for listening to our show. Again, don’t forget to provide your feedback. Don’t forget to provide your questions. Without those, we don’t have a show, and so thanks for doing that in advance.

Speaker 1:
It seems like every week we have at least one blooper. So here you go.

Belva Smith:
I think Josh has got a new name. Now we’re just going to call him peanut.

Josh Anderson:
I’m a potato, not a peanut. Come on.

Belva Smith:
Oh, it looks like a peanut.

Josh Anderson:
Oh, it changed me to peanut. I’m a potato. Brian, will my name always be peanut on here? If I have another meeting later, will I come up as peanut? I’m okay with it.

Brian Norton:
So you have lots of good answers then, right?

Belva Smith:
No.

Brian Norton:
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 from Josh Anderson, Belva Smith and Tracy Castillo, receives support from Easter Seals Crossroads and the Indata project. The show transcript is sponsored by INTRAC, the Indiana Telephone Relay Access Corporation. To learn more about INTRAC, go to indianarelay.com. Assistive Technology FAQ is also a proud member of the accessibility channel. To find more of our shows, go to accessibilitychannel.com.

 

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