ATFAQ Feature Image Logo

ATFAQ 166 – Q1. Phonetic spelling tools, Q2. Accessible card games, Q3. Accessible pill boxes, Q4. Accessible Gardening tools, Q5. Mouse solution for quadriplegia, Q6. Wildcard: Your search engine preference

Play

ATFAQ Feature Image Logo

Panel – Brian Norton, Josh Anderson, Belva Smith, Tracy Castillo

ATFAQ 166 – Q1. Phonetic spelling tools, Q2. Accessible card games, Q3. Accessible pill boxes, Q4. Accessible Gardening tools, Q5. Mouse solution for quadriplegia, Q6. Wildcard: Your search engine preference

 

——– Transcript Starts Here ——–

Speaker 8:
I have a question.

Speaker 9:
Huh?

Speaker 8:
Like what?

Speaker 9:
I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 10:
What about, do you know?

Speaker 11:
I have a question. I’ve always wondered.

Speaker 12:
I have a question.

Speaker 13:
I have a question.

Speaker 14:
Oh, I have a question.

Speaker 15:
I have a question.

Speaker 16:
I have a question.

Speaker 2:
Welcome to ATFAQ Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions with your host Brian Norton, director of assistive technology at Easterseals 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 ATFAQ episode 166. My name is Brian Norton and I’m the host of the show. And we’re 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. But before we jump in, just want to take a moment to go around and introduce the folks who are here with me. First is Belva. Belva is the vision team lead for our clinical assistive technology team. Belva, do you want to say hi?

Belva:
Hello everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then we also have Tracy Castillo. Tracy’s the end data program manager. And so Tracy, do you want to say hi?

Tracy Castillo:
Hey everyone. Thanks for joining us.

Brian Norton:
All right. Next is Josh Anderson. Josh is the manager of our clinical assistive technology program. Also the popular host of our AT update podcast here at the end data project and a part of our accessibility channel. Josh, do you want to say hi?

Josh:
Hi everybody. Welcome to the show.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. For folks who are new listeners to our show, I just want to spend a moment just talking to you about how our show works. And so we come across various assistive technology questions throughout the week, and we’ve got a variety of ways for you to be able to ask those questions. We’ve got a listener line set up there’s (317) 721-7124 or an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Or you can send us a tweet with the hashtag ATFAQ. Those are all great ways to get us your questions. We also would love your feedback.

Brian Norton:
So as we go through our questions this week, we’d love to be able to hear from you. If you’ve got anything else to be able to contribute to make us and allow us to be able to have full well rounded answers, would love to be able to have you contribute. You can also provide your feedback through those ways as well through that listener line, that email and through either a tweet. Couple of different ways to find our podcast. Obviously you found it today, but if you’d like to share it with other folks, really, you can go just about anywhere you can find a podcast these days. You can go to iTunes, our websites, ATFAQshow.com, Stitcher, Google play, Amazon Music, Spotify, all sorts of places where wherever you typically find your content, your online content, come find us as well. We’d love for you to be able to like our show and help us out in that way.

Brian Norton:
So without further ado, we’re going to jump in to our first question today. And that question is from Dan. It came through email and the question is, “I’m looking for a spell checking tool for a phonetic speller.” He mentions his son is dyslexic and would benefit from an app or program that could help him with phonetic spelling. Any suggestions. So just a couple of things that I use on my own. One would be Ginger. And I also use another program called Grammarly. And those two programs help me quite a bit when I am working on writing for different projects of whether it’s creative writing or really just simply checking my emails to make sure when I send something I’m not leaving incomplete sentences and other kinds of things. They do a really nice job of not only doing the spell checking, but also the grammar checking for me as well.

Brian Norton:
Just a little bit of information about both of those. Ginger is a program. I have it as an add-on to my Chrome web browser. And so you can go to the Chrome store, be able to look that up. It does cost. So I think the free version, there’s a free version of it, but if you want some of the more advanced tools, there’s a monthly cost to those. And so it looks like you can be billed monthly at $7.49 if you sign up for a yearly bill, or if you want to make payments quarterly, there’s some different payment points for that. But within Ginger, the program that’s, again, an add on to Chrome, it gives you some grammar checkers, definitions, synonyms, sentence rephraser, translation. But again, that grammar checker and being able to kind of spell check’s kind of a nice tool that’s built in there. Kind of helps with readability of your documents as well.

Brian Norton:
And then another one I use is called Grammarly. And I use these side by side, depending on what I’m writing in, whether it’s Microsoft Office 365 online or other tools. These are all pretty, pretty helpful. There is a free version of Grammarly as well. And then you can also pay for a premium or a business copy of that. The free copy allows for grammar, spelling and punctuation checks. It’ll also look for clarity. So it kind of looks for things to help your writing be more concise. So it takes out some words or suggests some words to be able to kind of just rephrase something to make it more concise. It also helps with looking at delivery. So they call it tone detection to make sure you’re not implying something that you wouldn’t want to be implying with how you’re phrasing things.

Brian Norton:
And then again, for this one, I also use that as a Chrome web extension because I do a lot of my writing online. That works pretty well for me. But if you really wanted to kind of up that, there’s a whole lot though, with the premium version again, it’s going to be probably a monthly fee to that, but you get beyond just the grammar, spelling and punctuation. It looks for consistency in spelling and punctuation and then also some fluency and then a whole bunch of other things under that. Clarity, kind of a overview and then engagement and delivery as well. So again, these are some just tools that are out there. They’re not extremely costly, but they do offer some level of support for folks. And then I would also just suggest folks use things that are built in. I think a lot of the tools out there have spell checking for folks.

Brian Norton:
I know they’re looking for phonetic spell checking. Sometimes that’s a little bit more challenging. Co:Writer I believed had some phonetic spelling options. That’s actually a program that helps with writing, comes with word prediction and some other types of things, but it can help with phonetically helping people choose the words they want to use in their documents, but also, and just improve their writing that way. But that would be Co:Writer. I think it’s C-O: W-R-I-T-E-R would be how you would spell that. But then again, the built in stuff too, in Microsoft Word, some of the other Office applications, they all have built in spell checkers. And I feel like they’re getting better and better at being able to help people kind of identify grammar, spelling, punctuation checks, those types of things, to be able to be helpful in that way.

Tracy Castillo:
I agree with you, Brian, they are getting better. However, if you are really stumped on a word, then sometimes the spell checkers don’t work. So I’m going to tell a story. Everybody sit down for a story. So the other day you emailed me and you said that you wanted to… I had a review and I was wondering how bad the review was going to be. And I said, “Brian, do I need to bring a handkerchief?” And I didn’t know how to spell handkerchief. And you might wonder why I want to bring a handkerchief to my review. However, I don’t know how bad it’s going to be. So I tried spelling it several different times. It never could understand me. So I went to my old trustee AI, and I asked Alexa, “So how do you spell handkerchief?”

Tracy Castillo:
And she told me, and so I was able to spell handkerchief, and you were able to tell me, “No, you’re not going to need a handkerchief. There will be no crying in this meeting.” So thank you very much. Yes. I made that story up, but another thing I use, I know that you said about the grammar check and that was a cool one because you know your Word does do the grammar check as well as the spell check. But a new thing I’ve been using in my Word is the read aloud. So not only can I correct my grammar, but maybe I didn’t make any grammar problems.

Tracy Castillo:
Maybe I just repeated the same sentence over and over and didn’t realize I had done that because I was just writing on the fly. So with the read aloud, you’re able to have your messages or your Word document read back to you. And that’s a really good way of checking yourself of saying, “Hey, is this clear? Is this concise?” And no, I’m not going to need a handkerchief after I sent this email to somebody because of my embarrassment. So I hope you enjoyed my little story. I made it up today.

Belva:
So Tracy, I like your idea of using the personal assistance because that’s exactly what I do too. But what I have done is I’ve put the show on my desk here at home because when I ask it to spell a word for me, then I can visually see it as well. So it spells it out nice and slow for me. And I can even have it spell it out extremely slow if I want it to, but then I also can visually see it on the screen, which that’s not necessarily phonetically, but I think hearing it and seeing it does help.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. I would tend to agree with that too. I think it becomes really, really helpful. I mean, there’s a term called multimodal learning and that’s just giving options for folks to be able to again, see it, hear it, and really kind of combine some of those different senses as they try to learn different aspects in this case, how to spell, how to write and those types of things. And so that’s a really good point, I think-

Belva:
And if you use Siri… I’m sorry, Brian. But if you use Siri for spelling, she will also give you a definition so that you can be sure that you’re using the right version of word for the sentence that you’re trying to put it in. So I think that can be helpful too.

Brian Norton:
Good, good point. Yeah. And I think really one of the real challenges I think that I’ve seen with some past cases of mine where I’ve been working with individuals and they really were challenged with spelling is it’s one thing to be able to plug a word in and to be able to get the phonetic spelling of it and, or just have it spelled correctly. But if you’re really challenged and maybe you don’t even know how to write the word into your web browser to be able to have it spit out the correct spelling, sometimes you’re really kind of struggling with how you’re trying to write something. You’re just trying your best. You think it sounds like one thing and you write that, but it’s not even close to the way the word’s really, really spelled.

Brian Norton:
It becomes hard to be able to kind of narrow it down. And I think that’s where some of these programs can be helpful and be able to kind of help decipher what words you’re really looking for and connect it to the right word and then to help you spell that right word. One thing I love about Co:Writer, I mentioned that program earlier, is it actually through its dictionary can really help folks who are really bad at spelling just try to put the word in as best they can. And really the majority of the time it’s going to come up with the right or correct spelling for the word you’re looking for even though you might have really messed up or butchered the word as you were putting it into the program. And so it’s pretty good at trying to kind of take what people think it might be spelled like and be able to find the right word that’s associated with it.

Brian Norton:
So definitely would love to connect people to Co:Writer as well. Hey, I would love to just open this up to our listeners. You can give us a call on our listener line or send us an email. Our listener line is (317) 721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. We’d love to hear from you. If you have come across cases or individuals who struggled to be able with spelling, significant spelling needs and needed something like a phonetic speller, we’d love to be able to pass on some other programs or apps that would be able to help this person or this person’s son really address that need in their schooling. And so let us know. Again, give us a call on that listener line or send us an email. Thanks so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is from Sandy. This was left in a voicemail, but she is looking for accessible cards, so her friend who has low vision can play solitaire or other card games. She asked if we had any suggestions. And so just a couple suggestions that I have for folks. We actually have this in our loan library. So INDATA for folks who are new operates a loan library for folks here in Indiana, where you can borrow equipment. And so this particular product is called Cards That Talk. You could borrow these for 30 days to see if they really work for you. And then if you are interested in purchasing them, once you’ve had a chance to trial them, we can tell you where to go, who manufactures those and how much they cost and connect you to a place where you could actually purchase those.

Brian Norton:
But the product that we have in our library, it’s something that’s called Cards That Talk. And so that’s a deck of cards that have QR codes on them and using your iPad or tablet, can be I believe iOS or Android, as you are playing cards, you can scan those QR codes. And it’s going to tell you what card it is. Now, if you’re playing with other people, probably not a good idea just to have the speaker on because everybody will know what cards you have. And so they do allow you to wear Bluetooth headsets connected to the tablet. I mean, I would encourage that just so you can keep that private, but as it would speak what the card is, it’s the ace of spades, it would actually then speak into the earbud that you have plugged into your tablet or smartphone device.

Brian Norton:
So anyways, you just need to be able to have a camera, a smart device. You can scan those QR codes. It’s called Cards That Talk. Another one that I haven’t had a lot of experience with, but another one of our team members did. They mentioned to me something called Blindfold Solitaire. And basically this is designed for the iPhone. So it’s an app, but I believe it recently came out and is available for an iPad. And basically it has a comprehensive user guide, could talk to you about how to operate it. It is able to be used with voiceover on the iPad and/or your iPhone. It’s a little bit different than basically how you might have played solitaire before. And so you might need someone to help initially guide her as she uses it. But again, it is something that’s available for the iPad or iPhone. It does work with voiceover and would allow them to be able to play solitaire on their device. And so again, those two are Cards That Talk and Blindfold Solitaire.

Belva:
So Brian, MaxiAids also has large print playing cards. I noticed Amazon does too. So that might be worth a shot just to see. I know that she’s saying that her friend has very low vision. Well, I know that can mean lots of different things. So I would start out with a large print set of cards. They’re under five bucks. Give that a try. And then also you mentioned the smart devices. Well, if you happen to have a computer or a tablet or something, I have a lot of consumers that play solitaire using the Windows magnifier as well as just the zoom on their tablet or whatever. So that might be an option.

Belva:
And then the last idea, especially for playing solitaire because you’re playing that by yourself is if you have a CCTV, that’s got an X, Y table, you can spread those cards out on the X, Y table. And then of course change your contrast and your size and all that stuff. Probably not going to run out and buy a CCTV to play solitaire. But if you happen to have one you just may have never thought about that would be a way for you to be able to play.

Brian Norton:
No, that’s a really good suggestion to start with the basic low vision cards. I will say we do have some of those decks also available in our loan library. We’ve got three or four different sets of those low vision playing cards that folks can borrow. They’ve got really big symbols, really big letters, numbers on those cards. And so, yeah, that would be a great, great place to start as well. And then the CCTVs, we have those as well. If you want to try one of those out for this particular person as well. Great, great point.

Belva:
They also have playing cards that are in Braille. If the person actually knows how to read Braille and I’m telling you, that’s a pretty interesting game. I’ve played some Euchre and different card games with individuals that are using Braille cards. So I always tease them and say, “These cards are marked,” because they got the bump dots all over them. But yeah, they do have cards that are in Braille.

Brian Norton:
That’s great.

Tracy Castillo:
And you guys both mentioned things that you can get from our lending library, including the low vision cards and the Braille cards. And it’s real easy. If you go to our website, eastersealstech.com/states, you’ll be able to locate your state’s lending library. And once you get there, all you have to do is type in accessible cards or low vision cards. You mentioned the large print cards and do you know what you didn’t talk about? And I’m so surprised because I think we’ve had it the longest are those UNO cards. Maybe you did Belva, spoke about the UNO cards with the Braille bit on them. But yeah, you could borrow… If you were planning to have a good card night, you could just borrow all the devices from us and then play. Hopefully you can win. If not, sorry, but you can borrow it from us and tell us about it and let us know and give us some feedback.

Brian Norton:
Yeah, we’ve so we’ve got those Braille UNO cards. We also have all sorts of types of games. So we’ve got Braille Scrabble and other, bingo, I believe we’ve also got, lots of different types of games that folks can borrow and use for folks who are low vision and or who are blind. So great, great point. And those state AT programs that do have other loan libraries. So all of us do. The different states have one. Tracy gave you the web address earlier. Those places, if you’re not able to find it on their website, give them a call and they can probably help you find those or figure out where those would be available to you if you live outside of Indiana.

Brian Norton:
So yeah, I would love to just open this up to our listeners. If you have any feedback for any additional information to be able to pass along about accessible playing cards, let me know or let us know. I would 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. Thanks so much. All right. So our next question is an email from Jill. She is wondering if there is a pill box that could be used easily by a person that has two hands yet only one hand works well due to CP. When using a pill box, there are times that this individual drops one or more of their medications. And so looks like an accessible pill box that may be used one handed. And so I’ll just kind of open this up to the group.

Belva:
Yeah, I could see… I mean, that’s an issue for everybody. I think trying to get the pills out of those sometimes very small boxes, but one tip that I would have depending upon the size and the shape of the box, if it happens to be one of those like weekly ones where you just open one compartment at a time, having one of those little paper cups that you get for your bathroom for rinsing after brushing, those are usually very inexpensive, but having one of those and then open your compartment and then just dump it into the cup is a way that hopefully you won’t drop it. Of course, it’s no guarantee, but that’s a tip that one of my consumers had shared with me because she was visually impaired and just was never sure that she was getting everything and not dropping it.

Belva:
So she started using the dispensable cup and that worked out pretty well for her. Another option would be something that is kind of expensive, terribly expensive really, the e-pill. It’s a little device that you could find on Amazon. And what I did is I just went to Amazon and put pill dispenser in, but it actually keeps track of the medications and when you take them, but it’s not a compartment. It’s at a certain time of the day, the device opens up a drawer that has your pills in it. The problem with that then is of course you got to be able to reach in and get your pill out of the drawer, but it’s like $825, but very, very nice in that it helps you make sure that you’re taking the right medication at the right time. And it can also keep, if you have a family member or a caregiver, who’s kind of watching out to make sure that you’re taking your medications at the right time, it can also notify them when you have, or haven’t taken your medications. And it was just called e-pill on Amazon.

Josh:
So another one that I’ve heard of and actually interviewed on the other podcast is a something called Dose Medical. And they have a device that’s actually called a Dose Flip. So kind of the same idea as close to what Belva was kind of talking about, but your medication’s in these little containers. If you don’t have the physical capability of actually opening them and doing that stuff, they make an adaptive flipper that’ll flip it over for you, but it even gives you alerts. And it’ll only open a certain amount certain times of the day, and it can even alert other folks if you’re not taking your medication, haven’t gotten it, do that kind of stuff if it’s some other feature that you need, but I thought it was cool that they actually made a flipper in case you can’t do that independently, it can do that part for you. So that might be another option for them to use as well.

Brian Norton:
So another thing that’s similar to I think what Belva mentioned too, is PillPack. I’ve heard of these pill packs. They come to you through the mail. I think Belva mentioned something else that another kind of version of this that comes to you through the mail. I think those are really useful. A challenge with them is… What I love about them is they organize your pills very, very well because they’ll come to you with what’s in the little package and they’ll tell you and give you a day and a time that you should be taking that medication. So, and some of them come with graphics on them. So if you need to take it in the morning, it looks like the sun is rising. And so they give you some extra information, but it not only comes with the day of the month, but also the day of the week listed, but also the time of the day, as well as the types of pills that are in the actual pack.

Brian Norton:
The challenge with it, I believe would be still opening it. It sounds like that’s what the biggest struggle is because you’re trying to do that one handed. And how are you opening those things? And sometimes for these, I would maybe look at using some sort of a letter opener or something like that to be able to kind of use to be able to open up those packages. But I do love the organizational piece, but I still think you might struggle a little bit with opening it up. I will also mention we also, again, much like the cards in the previous question, we also have several options available in our loan library, as far as pill organizers, pill dispensers, just accessible ways to be able to get your pills out of those organizers into your hands, so that then you can take them.

Brian Norton:
And so if you would be interested in addition to our loan library and actually setting up a loan, if you’re here in Indiana, you could also set up a demo and we could take some of those things to you, let you be able to see them all lined up next to each other, and hopefully find something that would meet your needs, or you’d think you’d like to try out and then we’d be able to loan it to you. So we do have someone here on staff who will go to your door anywhere in the state of Indiana to meet with you to be able to kind of share with you some of the bells and whistles, the things that these particular devices do and how they might be useful, and then allow you to be able to make an informed decision on which device would be helpful for you, and then be able to loan it to you for a few days.

Brian Norton:
And so just something to think about with that. PillPack. EllieGrid’s another one we’ve got. There’s lots of different accessible dispensers or ways to be able to organize your pills. And great. So I’ll just open this up to our listener line. If you want to give us a call, love to hear from you. You can call us at (317) 721-7124 or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Love to hear from you if you have other suggestions for this particular person. Again, being able to one handedly, be able to kind of work with your pills, to be able to take those and keep from dropping those. I’d love to hear from you and be able to some more information to this particular person. So thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is an email from Tom and he mentions, “I am looking for tools and devices to assist with accessible gardening. I’m a veteran and found gardening has been a great way to reduce stress and boost my mood, but I have limited dexterity and strength in my hands. And I’m interested in any suggestions you might have for tools and devices to help me.” And so I’ll open this up to the group. Belva, you mentioned you had something.

Belva:
Yeah. So Tom, I want to throw this idea out here for you. I know someone’s going to need to correct me on the date probably, but I believe it’s July the 21st that we have an INDATA all day training that we offer remotely. But I happen to know that one of our presenters is going to be doing a piece on accessible gardening. And he’s done that before. He’s very into the accessible gardening. So that’s something that’s free to join in. And I think you might find it of interest as long as you have a way to join us through I believe we’ll do it through Zoom. That’s the way we typically do it or have been since the pandemic anyway. But am I correct on that date, Brian? Is it July 21st?

Brian Norton:
Yeah. Thank you, Belva, for mentioning that. Yeah, we are kind of excited about that full day. We’re going to be talking about apps, tools, devices included in that’s gardening and a whole bunch of other stuff. And that’ll get started at nine o’clock that day. That’s July 21st and kind of looking forward to our clinical team, sharing with us a bunch of different things that could be helpful for everyday living, including some fun things like gardening, at least for those who have a knack for that or a green thumb for that. I know it can be frustrating for a lot of folks, but hey, I just wanted to also throw out just a couple other things. And so I think in addition to tools and devices, there’s also different ways to garden that can be really helpful and more accessible to folks. And so there are lots of different tools.

Brian Norton:
I’ll start there since that’s where the question kind of focused, but then maybe I’ll also jump into a little bit of some different ways to garden that can make it more accessible for folks of all abilities. And so I think one of the things people should look at is there’s a lot of ergonomic garden tools. And when you think about ergonomics, you’re looking for things like curved handles to allow for better wrist position to decrease stress on tendons and joints. It can be a pretty physical activity when you’re trying to dig holes and try to keep them spaced and those types of things, and it can be really challenging for folks. And so think about the type of tool you’re using and make sure it’s designed to help alleviate a lot of stress and any pain points and those types of things over prolonged use.

Brian Norton:
And so curved handles are really helpful. Other things, things like pistol grips can be really helpful. So think about hose extensions. You’ve guys all seen those hose extensions that kind of look like a little pistol, but it helps you better hold the hose, be able to water different things. There are things for rakes or for shovels, little hand shovels, even little kind of, I don’t know, they look like little points where you can actually just poke them into the ground and it’ll actually create a hole or produce a hole that you can then plant the seed in, but lots of different ways to use pistol grip type of tools as well. You can also look for ratcheting tools. Ratcheting tools are great because they avoid excessive repetitions or force as you try to cut things. So what you’ll find that often are designed with ratcheting in mind would be things like pruning tools.

Brian Norton:
So as you’re going to prune your tree or prune your plants, those tools, oftentimes if it’s a bigger limb or a stick that you’re trying to cut, a lot of those will ratchet. So you don’t have to use all your force to be able to cut through something. You can simply just ratchet it down and eventually it’ll cut up for you. Other things, things like tools with larger handles, extendable handles, jar grippers if you’re trying to open things, vice grips, all sorts of things for those. And then another thing I often find, I’ve had folks ask about before, how do you determine what’s the right size for me? So a lot of these, you can get bigger grips. So for folks with arthritis and other types of things, sometimes just having a bigger handle, if you have difficulty with gripping strength and those types of things. I think one of the challenges is, well, what size handle do I really need?

Brian Norton:
We’ve all got different size hands. And sometimes that can be really, really challenging for folks. And so one of the things that I’ve always mentioned to folks as far as that’s concerned is to do the binocular method. And so if you hold your hands up over your eyes in a binocular fashion, that hole that’s created between your thumb and your pointing finger is the size of the handle that you would want to use. So that diameter would be the size of handle that would best probably fit your grip for someone. So think about the binocular method to be able to determine how big the handle that you need to be able to get for something. We’ve talked about extendable handles, telescoping tools. Another thing I’ve seen folks do as well is they’ve also taken colored tape. I think this is just ingenious. And so when you’re planting a garden, you want to spread your seeds out by a certain number of inches, so they’re not growing on top of each other and those types of things.

Brian Norton:
And so you can take a piece of tape, just put it on your shovel. So measure out a foot, put a piece of tape there. And then you can just simply as you’re planting, be able to kind of move along using that tape. That’s already on your handle to be able to determine how far away you should be planting the next seed and those types of things. Other things is there’s lots of large print tools we’ve got here in our library, a large print rain gauge. We’ve got garden kneelers or seats to be able to help folks as they’re down on the ground be able to get back up or just sit while they garden. There’s also add on handles and different types of things for people to be able to use.

Brian Norton:
The great thing about a lot of these tools is you don’t have to go very far to find them. You can go to pretty much Lowe’s, Home Depot, these big box hardware stores, ACE hardware, and/or some of the specialty shops. And a lot of those places will have these types of things. You just need to be able to look for them and identify those. So I went and we bought a few things. We’ve been on the air recently, as we’re kind of heading from spring into summer, talking about gardening, accessible gardening specifically. And I was able to find a lot of these things on Amazon or other hardware stores here around Indianapolis. But I also want to mention just a couple things about actual gardening, something to be able to think about to make it maybe easier for folks.

Brian Norton:
The first is I think it’s pretty popular in a lot of places using raised beds. So instead of gardening down on the ground, create a raised garden by bringing the garden up to the user to a comfortable height, you can purchase these things. I’ve seen folks just buy window boxes and put them on kind of a couple of legs so that they stand up two or three feet. So that again, you don’t have to stoop or bend to be able to garden. You’re bringing that garden up to them and making it easier for them, for people to access it. The other thing is vertical gardening puts plants and garden chores at eye level. And so you might have seen a lot of folks is kind of popular nowadays is to build a wall and then garden up the wall.

Brian Norton:
And again, you’re bringing that garden up to the person taking that bending and stooping out of the gardening and helping folks get better access to it. Window boxes are always helpful, mentioned that already. Sometimes just herb gardens, herb gardens are kind of cool. They really kind of help bring the garden a different kind of flavor if you will, or smell, because they’re a lot of times fragrant. It’s an attractive gardening. You can use them in cooking. They’re pretty easy to grow. They’ll pretty much grow anywhere. So think about herb gardens. And then another way to think about gardening too is maybe not specific for this particular person, but always a big advocate for sensory gardens so that for folks who need to experience the garden in a different way, making and purchasing plants that maybe are softer in texture have different types of textures, building in fountains and sounds with wind chimes and those types of things, maybe different walkways so that folks have different textures to be able to experience as they enjoy a public garden or a different garden.

Brian Norton:
And then one garden I just want to mention to you is we had a staff member years ago, he was blind and he had a way of gardening where he had a small deck outside of his home. And on that deck, he would buy just these bags of potting soil. And so you could go out and just buy a bag or two of potting soil, lay them on your patio at different intervals, cut Xs in the middle of them and just stick a tomato plant directly into that potting soil, or maybe it’s a pepper plant or other vegetable plant. And then you just basically water those and wait for them. He called his an instant salad garden, but you could also do a salsa garden or something like that, where it’s just simple.

Brian Norton:
And for again, folks who are blind or visually impaired you buy a bag of soil, you place it at different intervals. It makes it real easy to be able to find them and to be able to use them and enjoy them. And then you get the fruits of your labor by getting a salad or a salsa mix, if you want. So lots of different ways to garden as well that could be really helpful in being able to experience gardening and make it a little easier for folks. Another place I’d love to be able to refer folks to just so if you’re looking for tools again, that’s specifically what this question is about, a place to look is agrability.com/toolbox. And so we’re lucky enough here in the state of Indiana, that the National AgrAbility Project is located at Purdue University and through the National AgrAbility project, they have an accessible farming/gardening toolbox, where they actually spend a lot of time looking at accessible gardening, farming tools.

Brian Norton:
And so doesn’t matter how big you’re into gardening. If you’re a farmer, an industrial farmer, they’ve got tools for you, but if you’re just a backyard gardener, they’ve got other things for you as well. And so I would encourage folks to take a look at the AgrAbility website, so AgrAbility, and then they have a toolbox there where you can dig in and learn all about different types of tools. They’ve got pictures of them. They talk about where you can look at them, how much they cost, how they work. It’s a really, oftentimes they’re including a video about those. It’s a great way to be able to connect to some of these tools as well. So, hey, yeah, again, just want to open that up to our listeners. Give us a call on our listener line. If you have any feedback that you’d like to contribute to this question, 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. Thank you so much.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is “I’m a physician who has C1, C2, spinal fusion. I can click a mouse, however, repetitive clicking hurts my neck.” And so it sounds like he’s using some sort of a switch to do that. “On my own personal computer, I use a Dwell Clicker and I found a job that involves a lot of computer use,” and they will not let him download any Dwell Clickers. And so he’s interested in something that we’ve had on our blog before. It’s called the AMA NEO. I don’t know how to actually say it, but it’s A-M-A NEO device that basically states it has an adjustable click timer. And he would like to find out if this device can substitute for a Dwell Clicker.

Brian Norton:
And so just real quickly, just to kind of give people some background on this AMA NEO device, it’s specifically designed for folks who struggle with unintentional tremors. And so it’s supposed to help eliminate some of the tremors that folks feel or experience when they can’t. So as your hands are moving, your mouse is going to move all over the screen too. And so that device is very specifically related to be able to help kind of reduce some of that motion that is experienced when you have tremors, and you’re trying to use a mouse on a computer. But I’ll kind of just open this up to folks and see what they have to say.

Belva:
So, Brian, whenever I have a situation where I’ve got a person who has difficulty with a mouse, one of the first things that I like to explore is because it’s very inexpensive is that USB finger track ball. And it may work for this individual and it may be totally inappropriate, but the idea of this mouse is you slide it onto a finger and then you can have your hand anywhere. I mean, it could be laying on your lap or resting on an armrest. And then you use generally your thumb to kind of get a roller ball to place the pointer where you want it. And then you can just with a click pressing your thumb, make your mouse click. And again, I don’t know, because it worries me that he says that he does experience some neck pain after several clicks.

Belva:
So that may or may not be something to explore. I know that we do have one of those in our lending library. They’re around 30 bucks. So if you could get your hands on one to kind of try it out, that might be something worth looking at. And then the next option that comes to my mind. And again, it may be totally inappropriate for this individual, but maybe a touch screen monitor with a stylus because I have definitely witnessed many situations where individuals have trouble with tapping, especially double tapping with their finger, but I can put a stylus in their hand and they can get it every time. So that might be another option. Just a touch screen monitor with a stylus.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. And if they’re moving their head side to side to be able to click a switch, I’d wonder about their head movement to be able to do some of that. Because C1, C2, they’re not going to have a whole lot of movement below the neck as far as movement. And so, but it sounds like, I mean they might… It would be a kind of a question of how much head movement do they have for that stylus piece.

Josh:
Yeah. And I’d have to go with an AT eval. I mean, if they could and that’s not just because we’re the people that do those kind of things, but there’s so many different things out there. I mean, I think of Smyle Mouse, of Head Mice of all these other stuff you could kind of use. And again, I don’t know what they’d let be put on their computer because it sounds like they’re not allowing them to put Dwell Clicker or some other things on there, but maybe something else, some other kind of access method just to kind of, so they’re not doing that or even a switch. I mean couldn’t switch do it. I mean, I guess then you’re still clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking, clicking. So it might not help too much, but just to try out some different things and different kinds of access methods.

Belva:
Well, Josh, I love your answer. I think an AT eval would be the best place to start with this because I would also like to know what their reasoning is for not allowing him to put the software that may be helpful for him or maybe necessary for him. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience with that particular one. So maybe another one would be an option.

Josh:
Exactly.

Belva:
So yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
Well I’ve got a question for the two of you. Have you had situations where you’ve had to go and talk for the client and say, “Hey, this is the best option and this is why you should use it.”

Josh:
Sure. I mean, that’s what we do all the time. Luckily we’re not like ADA lawyers, so we don’t say or else or shake our finger. But yeah, it is kind of this is what they need to be successful. Then it’s kind of up to the business, I suppose, to kind of whether they go with that or not.

Tracy Castillo:
Because it seems like from what I was looking at Dwell Clicker is like, I think there’s a trial version, but it wasn’t very expensive, so I’m not-

Josh:
And it could just be the way that the program is or things like that. I mean, Belva, you know we run into it a lot where the person could probably get by with NVDA, but it has the word open source in it. So businesses won’t let you put it on there.

Belva:
And that’s what I was about to say. It may not have anything to do with the cost. It’s more probably in a lot of situations, it’s about security and interference with their security systems and stuff like that. So that’s why sometimes just having a conversation with them and maybe doing a little bit of education they’ll get past.

Josh:
Yeah.

Tracy Castillo:
And I’m sure open source as well.

Josh:
Oh sure.

Brian Norton:
When I-

Tracy Castillo:
I’m sorry, Brian, but I was going to also mention, we have that one Head Mouse one that… Did you speak about that? The one that you, I think you bite down on it, would that be an option for some?

Brian Norton:
Yeah. I think Josh mentioned that the Smyle Mouse. You mentioned that one, right? Did you?

Josh:
No, that’s Glasshouse is what she’s talking about.

Brian Norton:
Glasshouse. Okay. Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah. Smyle Mouse is the one that just tracks your face when you smile to click.

Brian Norton:
Yeah.

Josh:
Basically. So, and it could very well be that there’s maybe different things he needs. I mean, you could even use Dragon or voice input to click mouse here. That becomes a little bit more tricky, but sometimes you can mix it with a Head Mouse or a Smyle Mouse or some other things. Sometimes it’s more than one, but again, it’s really… All I know from this is just that clicking hurts my neck. So turning your head constantly might hurt it a whole heck of a lot more. So it just kind of depends on how they’re doing things and stuff like that. But I mean, repetitive things hurt parts of your body, you definitely want to change the way that you’re doing them. So it’s just there might be some better options out there. Things that could either speed him up, cause less discomfort or just make it a whole lot easier for him to be able to complete his tasks.

Belva:
Yeah. And I go back to what you just said too, Josh. This is a situation where I don’t really feel like we can make any kind of an educated guess or recommendation as to what might be appropriate. This is really a situation where an individual should sit down with an AT specialist in the environment and have a look, see as to what it is they need to do and try to figure it out from there.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. And I’ll just say speaking from the IT side of things, if they’re concerned about loading software, sometimes that’s where a state AT program can be helpful. A lot of us have access to the software that they may want to try. And I think a lot of times when you’re just letting folks know in IT that you’re going to download something and just download it to someone’s computer, they’re going to get a little freaked out about that. But if you can give the software to them and let them play around with it, do a test trial, do a test download or test install, a lot of times that’s helpful. And I know we do that here with some of our clinical work as well. Being able to let folks borrow a copy of our software, a license of our software, to be able to try it out to make sure it’s working.

Brian Norton:
I mean, it works in their systems and doesn’t circumvent some of the security that they want to implement. This person says he’s a physician. So I’m assuming where he wants to work, they’re going to be dealing with some probably seriously proprietary things. And so I’m sure their security’s super heavy. And again, if you’re just downloading something from the internet, not necessarily a good idea, but if you’ve got a reputable program from a reputable place, like a state AT program, to be able to try, it might be something to be able to think about and may eliminate some of those fears for folks.

Brian Norton:
So, hey, I would just want to open this up to our listeners, again, kind of looking for something that would help eliminate some of the clicking because there is pain. It creates uncomfortable situation for this particular user, looking for something to help with clicking the mouse. I think we’ve mentioned quite a few of those, but anyways, just wanted to open this up to our listeners. You can give us a call on our listener line at (317) 721-7124. Send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. If you have any suggestions for this particular individual, let us know. Love to be able to pass that along to them. And thank you so much.

Speaker 6:
And now it’s time for the wild card question.

Brian Norton:
All right. So our next question is the wild card question. And this question is something that Belva has been thinking about, but we have no clue what she’s going to ask us. And so we are going to sit back, listen to her, and then provide some off the cuff answers. And so Belva, what do you got for us today?

Belva:
So it’s kind of a two part question, I guess. One or the first part is what search engine do you personally use and is there so much conversation going around about how Google just watches and follows and tracks and gathers all this information. So I think people are becoming a little more aware and concerned about what kind of information Google is actually getting when we use their search engine. And I know that there are several different ones that are supposed to be more secure, but again, when it’s not coming from a company like Google, how much faith do we have in some of these other ones that people speak of less and use less. So I guess first part then is what search engine do you use? Do you just use one or do you use several different ones?

Josh:
Okay. So this is going to sound really funny, but I’ll go first. I use Google and I use it solely for the reason of I have to travel all over the state and I like to look up the same thing and see if I get different results. And I’m-

Brian Norton:
Interesting.

Josh:
I’m serious. Depending on where you are in the state or the country, it’s very fun and look up something, anything controversial. Type in gun control and just see what the auto fill is after it. And it will change depending upon where you are. It actually uses your location settings and it’s a little creepy and weird, but really and truthfully it’s just because it’s what Safari automatically does. I’ve used DuckDuckGo also, which isn’t supposed to track you or do anything like that. They don’t sell your information, all those kind of things.

Josh:
It takes maybe another half a millisecond to get your results. And from what I can tell you get about the same results. You don’t get the ads at the top. If you notice, whenever you do use Google, the first two or three things that pop up, have the word ad next to them, which just, I think means that they paid more to be there at the top. You don’t get those, but other than that, it seems to work pretty well. And depending on what kind of internet browser you’re using, of course, I mean, if you’re using Google Chrome, I don’t think you really get a choice of what browser you use. But I use a Mac and I use Safari. You can change the browser in Safari to what internet browser it will actually use or what search engine it’ll actually use to go find your information.

Josh:
So, but if you’re a Google user, just make sure it’s very fun type in those first few words and see what it auto fills with. And it will change depending on where you are at that time, which is really maybe even creepier, but kind of fun.

Belva:
Josh. I am very surprised that Google is the one that you use because I know how you feel about the personal assistants gathering your information. And I mean-

Josh:
They all know where I am anyway, Belva. I’ve just given them [inaudible 00:52:08]

Belva:
Yeah. And recently, I mean, honestly, I’m not one that’s ever really given this stuff too much thought, but recently there’s been so much talk about all of the information that is collected. DuckDuckGo, there’s a commercial on TV. That’s the source behind the question today, because I’ve seen that commercial probably 20 times in the last month where they’re talking about how they don’t track you and trace your searches and stuff like that. So.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. So I use Google solely. I don’t usually… At times I pull out Safari to search for something, but usually it’s just mostly to access a website that doesn’t work very well on Google Chrome, but really-

Josh:
Yeah. Hey Brian, Safari uses Google too.

Brian Norton:
Good. So I use Google all the time. So yeah. So I mean, I don’t go away from Google. I seem to get the answers pretty quickly that I’m looking for. Maybe I think a lot of times when you’re searching for something it’s really more important for the person who’s searching to kind of know how to go about searching well. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it, but you need to know what kind of search terminology to put in it to be able to get you the information you’re looking for. And so, yeah, I use Google all the time and that’s really all I ever use.

Belva:
And Brian, to what you’ve said, it is my understanding that Safari has now got that chromium underlay or base or whatever that is really Chrome. So really Edge is acting just like Chrome. But yet there are still people that don’t feel that Edge is the best one. They still want to use Chrome. But it’s my understanding that they’ve made that change. Isn’t that right, Josh?

Brian Norton:
So are you just saying Edge is now using Chrome or?

Belva:
Yeah. Yeah.

Brian Norton:
Or the Safari’s using Chrome.

Belva:
I’m sorry, Edge. You were talking Safari, but yeah, I think they’re all go to that chromium base.

Josh:
I don’t want hundred percent know. I know Safari still kind of its own. I mean, again, it’s using Google as that search engine, unless you get in and change it. You can change it to Yahoo or DuckDuckGo or some other ones I think. But with Edge, I thought Edge was still using Bing.

Belva:
And you know what? You’re right, Josh. I confused the browser like so many of my consumers do.

Josh:
Oh yeah.

Belva:
There for a moment, I confused the browser with the search engine and it’s two totally different things. So yes you are right, Josh.

Josh:
That’s perfectly fine. I use those words interchangeably at least five times in this conversation. So don’t feel bad.

Brian Norton:
Well, and I’m looking here guys. Again, used Googled to search this, but it says the new Microsoft Edge, this is as of January 15th, 2020 is based on chromium.

Belva:
That’s the browser though.

Brian Norton:
Correct.

Belva:
That’s the browser, not the search engine.

Brian Norton:
Okay. Okay. That’s what you guys are talking about. Yep. So, okay.

Belva:
It’s real easy to do. Yep. Easy to do. What about you, Tracy? What do you use?

Tracy Castillo:
I use Google. I’m sorry. I do. They know everything about me. They always will. I do sometimes go to Bing, and I only use Bing because they have pretty pictures. So with Bing every day you get couple of the top news stories of the day and a nice image. So I have that set as the desktop image, but yeah, I gave… I think the last time I heard this question, I had tried to use DuckDuckGo. And there was a couple other ones, including I think Forest. However they… And Brave. I have Brave right here.

Belva:
Nope. Nope. Brave is a browser, not a search engine.

Tracy Castillo:
You can’t use Brave. Oh, okay. So Google, I’m sorry. I’m trying. I’m trying my best.

Belva:
No, and that’s okay because it is a very commonly confused topic, the browser and the-

Tracy Castillo:
I think inside Brave, I have, and I just opened it up and it looks like you use Q1 as the search engine.

Belva:
Yep.

Tracy Castillo:
And this search engine respects your privacy.

Belva:
So I personally use Google more than anything else. And I’m a creature of habit. It’s because many, many years ago I used Google and that’s just what I’ve stuck with. But what I have experienced because I have been forcing myself to try some of the different search engines. And what I’ve experienced is that Google tends to bring me back the relative information that I’m looking for, where sometimes the other ones… And it’ll bring it back near the top of the search results. Some of the other ones I have to dig a little deeper to actually hit what I want. One of them that I’ve been trying out is Dogpile. That’s been around for 20 plus years. Used to be that I recommended that to a lot of my screen reader users because it was very accessible and it does a pretty good job.

Belva:
I have been using it from time to time recently. And I found that it is still pretty reliable, but I did a quick search because I really thought, what do we have for options? We’ve got Google and we’ve got Bing and what do we have? Well, DuckDuckGo. That’s another one that we’re hearing about, but apparently there’s a whole lot of search engines out there. Startpage is supposedly the number one search engine. I’ve never heard of it. Never used it. DuckDuckGo comes in as the second one. CRX is another one I’ve never heard of. Qwant, that’s the one or Qwant, whatever that one is, that’s the one you just mentioned with Brave. And MetaGer, I guess is one and Moji. Those are all ones that I’ve not even heard of, but they’re supposedly in the top 10 of search engines. So found that to be kind of interesting.

Brian Norton:
Yeah. That’s super interesting. Good question today. I would love to open this up to folks who are listening. If you guys want to let us know, we’d love to hear from you, let us know which kind of search engines you guys are using. Browsers, search engines, those types of things. We’d love to be able to hear from you. Give us a call on our listener line. That’s (317) 721-7124. Or send us an email at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. Yeah. I just want to wrap up today’s show by giving our panelists just an opportunity to say goodbye to folks. Thank you for contributing today, guys. Appreciate you. First, I’ll just let Belva say sayonara. Belva.

Belva:
Well, thanks everybody for the great questions and for joining us today and looking forward to the next show.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then next is Tracy. Tracy, you want to say, see you later.

Tracy Castillo:
See you later, everyone.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. And then we got Josh. Josh, you want to say goodbye?

Josh:
Bye everybody.

Brian Norton:
Excellent. Excellent. So again, let us know if you’ve got questions or you have any feedback, again, contribute those through our listener line or through sending us an email or a tweet with ATFAQ, hashtag ATFAQ. Again, love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to today’s show and we’ll be back.

Speaker 2:
And it seems like every week we have at least one blooper. So here you go.

Josh:
Ooh, Josh Anderson is here. It’s just a black screen. I can’t hear you. I don’t hear you either. Why am I not hearing you?

Brian Norton:
I want to take some time. Ah, screw it. Hold on a second. I need my script. I can’t do anything off script. Hold on a second.

Speaker 2:
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, its editorial help from Josh Anderson, Belva Smith and Tracy Castillo receives support from Easterseals 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.