Disability aids, equipment and technology
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Assistive Technology

Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
Hey everyone, my name's Chris. I am Director of The Apogee Project and an assistive technology adviser. I work predominantly with people who have complex physical and learning impairments. This week I am joint hosting a Q&A on assistive technology here on the online community. At The Apogee Project we work hard to make activities and learning resources accessible, engaging and fun. You can read my blog for Scope here: http://blog.scope.org.uk/2015/10/27/disability-innovation-introducing-tech-fortnight-with-eye-gazes-and-music/ Feel free to ask me a question or two and I'll do my best to help!


  • James DevlinJames Devlin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Chris,

    I am a final year design student at the University of Huddersfield and I am looking into the difficulties associated with washing (specifically, but not limited to showering). Would you be able to tell me what you would consider to be the most useful pieces of AT to facilitating washing those with physical disabilities? I would also be very interested to know where you think AT lacks, weather this is current AT that doesn't do everything needed or a problem to which there currently is no solution.


  • simonsablesimonsable Member Posts: 76 Connected
    Hi James, I am sorry I haven't got an answer for you yet.

    I am joining Chris this week so let me introduce myself.

    I am 36 years old and have Cerebral Palsy and no speech. I have been using communication aids nearly all my life. I have had lots of experience in communicating with people with different communication systems. I also attend various communication aids training days through the year.

    I am also have an interest in computers and how the Internet can enhance disabled people's lives and independence, thus giving them more opportunities to feel a part of society.
  • BarclaysAccessBarclaysAccess Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi there. My name is Kathryn and lead the customer and client accessibility programme at Barclays. I would love to hear from anyone who uses communication aids to do their banking. What works well, what doesn't?
  • simonsablesimonsable Member Posts: 76 Connected
    I used to be with Barclays but because they introduced chip and pin. As a disabled person who has no control over my hands, I could not use it myself. I needed help from someone. I considered this as a security issue. When I wrote to Barclays, they couldn't understand my point. After months of conversation, they did not acknowledged that there was a problem.
  • NoraRNoraR Member Posts: 12 Courageous
    Have you seen the work Mastercard are doing to create secure access to accounts through eye scanning? This tech would replace the need for PIN numbers. I think it's in prototype stage at the moment, but have Barclays explored investing in this area?
  • NoraRNoraR Member Posts: 12 Courageous
    Also there is a need for maintenance of current assistive tech (such as electric doors/intercoms/environmental control etc) - the number of times I've been into stores and banks where the accessible tech is broken is so annoying - the attitude is that, if it's not bothering the majority then it isn't a priority to fix!
  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hey Guys, I am here. Extremely busy but fun week!
  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    edited July 2016
    James - With regards to AT supporting people with personal care, I would have to say that it's not really my area of expertise. It would be great if there were any Occupational Therapists who could chip in here...
  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    edited July 2016
    James - I would love to see more accessible learning resources being created. Since the iPad was introduced to the world, it seems as if most of the innovation has been focused there. Unfortunately, the iPad is inaccessible for many of the people I work with. There are of course a few companies developing software activities for people with complex needs and the BBC is doing it's bit with the access options on their website, but it's not enough. Would love to hear of websites and software people may be using for games and curriculum content...
  • EmmaBEmmaB Member Posts: 263 Pioneering
    Hi Chris - not sure if this is something you can help with. I have a physical disability and I'm finding that I'm getting more wrist pain, made worse if I do too much typing or writing, which I have to do quite a bit of for my work... Can you recommend any particular speech recognition software that might help me with this issue? Thanks.
  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    @EmmaB - this is a pretty useful article http://voice-recognition-software-review.toptenreviews.com/mobile/

    I always stick with Dragon software personally.

    What about using word prediction software? Something like Penfriend http://www.penfriend.biz/word-prediction.html

    Tobii also have a really cool new dwell free Eyegaze feature in their Communicator 5 software now, but that's a pretty expensive way to go...
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 357 Pioneering
    Chris, really glad to see you saying that ipad has taken a lot of the focus of current AT and AAC R & D (sorry, too many acronyms!) yet it is just not suitable for many people with complex physical disabilities. My son is in this category and we struggle now to find communication aids that are not capacative screen (like an ipad) as his hand function makes his access on these very patchy. Yet when we have mentioned this to suppliers (and sometimes professionals) who should know better, the most common response is "oh...I hadn't thought of that..." At the moment he uses a DV Maestro, which is resistive, but there are few resistive screens now on the market (techcess Mobi is I think) as all the base tablets being used are now capacative..
  • BusyOTBusyOT Member Posts: 76
    Fantastic question James. I think it might depend on what you mean by AT in regards to washing / showering? I've recommended apps that can help with the sequencing of the activity & I've laminated symbols and created an activity timeline that sticks to the shower door (lo-tech) providing visual prompts. I suspect showers can be controlled virtually or by voice command (I've no experience but I bet it's out there).
    There is a range of different equipment to assist people when washing / showering but I'm not sure that would be classed as AT.
    Anyone else got any suggestions?
  • James DevlinJames Devlin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Thank you all for your replies, I am now looking into the possible solutions for problems particularly associated with transferring into and out of showers/ baths as I have found that this is one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous processes. I have also been able to test out some current and future products to help with this process but I am not convinced any of them solve all the problems in an elegant desirable way. If you know of anything you think it would be good for me to look at or a solution you would like to see that doesn't exist i'd love to know.
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