Handi Products 2:
The PopSocket is very handy, inexpensive device, which greatly improves one's ability to hold on to a cell phone or other device. The PopSocket will flatten against the phone when not in use and easily pops out to grasp. Removing the top cover allows it to be attached to many other surfaces for hands free use. Available in a variety of colors and only $10 at Amazon, Wal-Mart and many other stores. This is a good one.
You can now order directly from this website. The site has a lot of products not specifically for disabled but that can be very helpful. I have been buying from it for many years. Many of the tools mentioned in the Tool Kit were purchased from this catalog. The products are well made, reasonably priced and shipped free.
A Useful Inexpensive Product:
This $8.00 broom and dust pan is a true bargain. Not only does it make a great Pick Up "Tool" but also enables an individual with compromised grip and range of motion to sweep up the floor. A large cable tie added to the handles and used as a wrist strap also improves control.
iPad 2 Expensive - But Well Worth It:
The iPad 2 is an amazing piece technology. While not designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, it might as well have been. The features available for the iPad range from entertainment, games, photography, surfing the Internet, YouTube and emailing to social interaction, to mention just a few. While it comes with 10 applications (apps) already installed there are 1,000s of others, ranging from free to $10 and above. For some apps you must be on the Internet for them to function but many, once downloaded, work fine off-line. The touch screen feature and the fact that the screen rotates as the iPad is turned (it can be locked in place) makes it ideal for anyone with fine motor coordination problems, limited dexterity and strength to easily use all of the iPad functions. While the iPad is thin and light weight, it seems to stand up to constant use. Handling can be made easier for individuals with disabilities with some minor adaptions. There is a free app for Dragon, a program that turns the spoken word into written word, which allows iPad to take dictation and convert words to print. Then you can send the document to your computer, email it to a friend, or if you have the proper setup, you can send the document to your printer. Google also has a free app that allows you to search the web using your voice. The iPod app allows you to download music from your computer and iTunes which can be listened to with or without headphones. You can download iBooks from iTunes and an app for Kindle which allows you to download books from Amazon. The iPad can also read books to you. There is a built-in camera which allows you to take pictures. You can send and receive e-mails, download movies from iTunes, download card games such as solitaire and many others. I also have an app for NOAA Weather Radio. To save on internet cost on your iPad, most downloads can be loaded into your computer first and then transferred to the iPad. Currently there is an app in development which, with the purchase of some additional hardware, will allow you to remotely control at least four electric outlets in your home. Again the iPad is expensive (they begin at about $500) but is well worth every cent.
The following information on Accessibility is taken directly from the iPad Manual page 137:
In addition to the many features that make iPad easy to use for everyone, iPad includes universal access features. Universal access features make iPad easy to use for people who have a vision impairment, are deaf or hard of hearing, or have a physical or learning disability.
The accessibility features on iPad include:
Support for playback of closed-captioned content
VoiceOver screen reader
White on Black
Support for braille displays
Zoom, White on Black, and Mono Audio work with all apps. Large Text works with Mail and Notes. VoiceOver works with the built-in iPad apps, and with some third-party apps you can download from the App Store. Closed-captioning works with videos and podcasts that support it.
For more information about the iPad accessibility features, go to Apple iPad Featrures.
A commercial product was recently brought to my attention that combines the features of two my homemade tools. It is called TeleStik which is a portable reacher that requires no gripping ability. It is available for about $40 including shipping. The TS 3040 is an adaptive pick up device that combines a magnet, a hooking feature along with a sticky surfaced disk to solve many an individual’s pick up needs. The unit is approximately 8” long when collapsed, has an 1½”diameter. Two telescoping rods extend to about 30” including the handle. One rod contains a magnet, the other a sticky device and both have a hook on them. The sticky area, which is on a swivel, can be washed in soap and water to renew its adhesiveness. While very helpful for individuals with poor grip or limited range of motion its one major drawback is the manufacturer suggests limiting what you pick up to 1 pound or less.
For years I have been searching for a pair of gloves that would let you grip an obsticle without having to worry about them sliding or loosening. This is is the pair to buy.
The Kindle DX:
I had a problem reading. In order to see the print clearly the book must be a certain distance from my face, and that is very difficult for me because of the weight of the book, my lack of grip and the cumbersome nature of the whole process. I have been very frustrated by my inability to read so have tried magnifying pages and a lot of other different things but with little luck. There is a product on the market now called a Kindle DX. It is a piece of high tech electronic gear. It is about the size of a piece of paper (10.4" x 7.2" x 0.38"). Its weight is minimal, it is only about a third of an inch thick and it will hold 3500 books which you can download off the Internet for about $10 each. Books download in less than 60 seconds. The Kindle allows me to control the size of the print and it controls the contrast between the print and the background. You can have Kindle DX read the book to you either through headphones or outloud. The Kindle is very user friendly. Last week I received my Kindle and it is wonderful. I have already read 4 books. You can read all about the Kindle DX at Amazon. (DX $489)
Logitech Trackball Marble (Computer Mouse):
The mouse ball is on the top as opposed to the bottom. The entire device stays in one place and you just manipulate the ball. It can be setup for right or left-handed people. You can choose what function you want the easily accessible button to perform. Also it enables you to control the speed of the pointer. ($30)
The largest universal remote available today allows you to operate a television, VCR, DVD players, satellite and/or cable. The Tek Partner can be handheld, placed on a table, the arm of a chair or put on your thigh. I have attached a handle on it and taped the battery cover closed so the batteries will not come out if I drop it. It is very durable. ($40)
Allows individuals with very limited dexterity and strength to have at their finger tips (or as in my case knuckle tip) a lot of music and full length movies. The iPod seems to with stand the frequent use it gets. My iPod is made more user friendly by a handle on it. I have over 31 hours of music and several full length movies arranged so I can select what I want to listen to or watch. I often wake up in the middle of the night and find the iPod very helpful. iPod Touch ($250) iPod Nano ($150
Dragon Naturally Speaking 12:
A computer program that converts spoken word into print word. It is rated and advertised as the best voice to text program available today. Not only will Dragon allow you to write e-mails, documents and instant messages using just the spoken word, but it will also allow you to surf the Internet with just your voice. Dragon works with most desktop applications including Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, AOL, Firefox and Mozilla. While I have a lot of problems with Dragon over the years, Dragon 12 has exceeded my wildest expectations. It performs extremely well although there are still some minor problems with pronouns and verb tenses but on the whole I would strongly recommend anyone who is going to use a speech to text program to purchase Dragon Naturally Speaking 12. The update from a previous version is $150, to buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 for the first time will cost $200.