Assistive Technology Tools

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This week, I am taking a brief break from summarizing webinars. Since technology plays such a crucial role in my life, I am focusing on it today. Specifically, I will highlight 3 assistive technology tools which I find particularly beneficial. In this article, I will share information about some assistive technologies and where they can be purchased.

One of the most useful skills I learned early in life was braille. For those who don’t know, braille consists of 6 dots and is a tactile reading/writing system for visually-impaired people. One assistive technology I place high value on is a braille labeler. Braille labelers can be purchased from a variety of sources. I found them on

MaxiAids,

Braille Superstore

And

Independent Living Aids.

Basically, the device enables braille labels to be created on adhesive or magnetic tape. Braille is produced by turning the dial to desired letter or symbol, then squeezing the handle. When the label is complete, the user turns the dial to cut symbol and squeezes. I squeeze lightly while focused on that symbol to make a space, and harder when ready to cut the label. If interested in this product, I suggest buying two of them. A backup can be useful if one labeler becomes full of tape or blades break. I will now focus on an item which talks.

Although I am stuck at home most of the time due to the pandemic, it is always important to know the time. Although I have Alexa and my talking watch, I also place high value on having a talking clock. For many years, there have been a variety of talking clock products from a variety of providers. The clock which I currently use is a

“Extra Large Button Talking Alarm Clock from Speak To Me Catalog”.

Unlike some other talking clocks which I have used over decades from other sources, this one speaks all settings. I also like the device because of simplicity. One button is used to navigate the settings menu, instead of a dizzying number of buttons. To change the hour, for example, I press the small settings button on the bottom, then press the time button to move forward. The same process is used for setting minute, month, day, year and alarm. It is also worth noting the clock has loud speech with no volume control. Although the loudness accommodates my slight hearing loss, it is a fact of the device which is worth anyone being aware of when considering this particular talking clock. The final item discussed here is a tool which can help users physically identify items.

Whether you are familiar with braille or not, there are times when braille is insufficient or too cumbersome to identify something. In those situations, tactile bump dots can be useful. They can be purchased from a variety of sources, including

Braille Superstore,

Walmart

And

MaxiAids.

They stick adhesively to items. For example, on my dryer which does not have physical buttons, I have one bump dot below on/off and another on start. I also have a bump dot on the microwave to indicate where I press to heat something for 30 seconds. For bump dots to be effective, it is necessary to remember the purpose of each one. The dots come in packs, so if one begins falling off it can be easily replaced. Bottom line: a variety of assistive technologies exist for a variety of purposes.

Question for readers: What technology do you find particularly useful? I shall return with another article.

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