We have been taking time to highlight various jobs for quadriplegics. This months featured job is teacher/instructor. Probably one of the most famous instructors who was a quadriplegic was Stephen Hawking. Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, Hawking never let ALS define him. Not only did he become an esteemed and prolific professor, but his scientific research opened doors to new horizons. As his ALS progressed, he used a speech generating device to communicate. Advances in adaptive equipment for quadriplegics helped him continue to write, lecture and teach until his death earlier this year.

Customized environmental control units for disabled individuals are crucial for independence. They allow individuals with disabilities to perform tasks such as turning on the lights, controlling the television, using a computer and accessing the Internet. Advances in environmental control units have afforded quadriplegics the opportunity to enjoy independence and work in the teaching field. And, like Stephen Hawking, even when speech is affected, a speech generating device can be introduced for communication. The automoME, for example, is an integrated speech generating device/environmental control unit for disabled individuals who desire both features in one convenient package.

Teaching is one of those jobs for quadriplegics that can take on many forms, including primary, secondary and collegiate education. Some people even develop curriculums in their area(s) of expertise and offer instructional classes and seminars online or in conjunction with organizations in the community. If teaching is your passion, the sky’s the limit!

Are you a teacher or instructor living with a spinal cord injury or debilitating disease? If so, we would love to hear your story!

Grid 3 Software UpdateGrid 3.0.32 Available in Early Access

The latest Grid 3 software update is available in Early Access and will be available soon to everyone.

New features include:

  • “Forward” command for SMS users
  • Significant improvements to Gewa Environment Control
  • Improved corner access as zoom to click now zooms in off the edges of the screen
  • New switch allows you to choose to accept your switch on press rather than release.
  • “Accept on switch press” features a more natural feel and is now the default setting for new switch users
  • “Show only when available” – this command hides a cell if not configured or available on your device. For example, if you do not use eye gaze, you can choose to hide eye gaze cells.
  • Online Grids features the ability to add grid sets created in The Grid 2 to Grid for iPad
  • Grid for iPad settings feature new back-up and restore settings
  • Ability to import grid sets into Grid for iPad from other apps such as Dropbox or email.
  • Language support for Arabic

Fixes include:

  • Scanning does not continue after releasing switch
  • Alea eye gaze software no longer sometimes interferes with touch screen in Grid 3
  • Word list items now always save when using the “Add to word list” command
  • Grid sets no longer temporarily lose their thumbnails
  • Grid for iPad won’t crash when removing a word list items using the search filter
  • Able to add new pronunciations

Content updates include:

  • PCS symbols are now available in Super Core
  • Grammar for vocabulary improvement in People, Jobs, Family, Friends and School grids
  • Widget symbol for “go” has been updated

Note: If you are using Super Core, you will need to re-add the grid set to get the latest Super Core features (version 1.3) once you update your Grid 3 software.

The Grid Pad Eye is a communications device that also acts as an environmental control unit for disabled individuals, specifically quadriplegics.  The Grid Pad Eye is an advanced piece of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, featuring a 13”screen and equipped with the powerful Grid 3 software. This high spec tablet operates on Windows 10. Perhaps the most attractive feature of these quadriplegic assistive technology devices is the integrated eye gaze access, which allows users to operate them using their eyes.

Let’s look at the specifications for the Grid Pad Eye:

Grid Pad Eye 13

  • 13” display
  • Intel Celeron 1.4 GHz processor
  • 8GB of memory
  • 256 GB solid state drive
  • Rugged case
  • Spare hot-swappable battery
  • Bluetooth
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • SD card slot
  • Available integrated eye gaze cameras: Alea Intelligaze and Eye Tech TM5 Mini

The Grid Pad Eye feature flexible mounting, easy editing, advanced sound and Servus environmental control.  Contact ASI today for a complimentary consultation and demonstration.

Featured Job: Software Developer

Quadriplegics with a passion for designing software solutions can find exciting jobs in the software development field. Software development is among the most popular jobs for quadriplegics because it does not require any physical labor and can be performed at a desk using assistive technology and a computer.  And, there are companies who are willing to hire creative and dedicated quadriplegics. Microsoft, for instance, is well known for their many jobs for quadriplegics, including those in software development and design.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) develops customized environmental control units and speech generating devices to help quadriplegics gain independence and achieve their lifelong goals.  We play an integral role when seeking gainful employment because the types of quadriplegic assistive technologies we offer can be personalized based on needs and extent of your disability. For instance, a person desiring to become a software developer, but has no use of their hands, may require a special switch or input method such as head tracking or eye gaze.

When it comes to environmental control units and speech generating devices, there is no “one size fits all” answer.  ASI can develop a customized solution designed to help you achieve your career goals and objectives.  If you are considering a career in software development or any other field, give us a call to see how we can help.

Jobs for quadriplegics – next month’s featured job is a writer/blogger.

Stephen HawkingThe world recently lost a great physicist, cosmologist and author. Stephen Hawking’s scientific work and theories will live on forever, as will his brave fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which he was diagnosed with at age 21. Hawking never let his diagnosis hold him back from having a family and successful career. One of the most recognized scientists of our generation also became one of the most recognized quadriplegics. Hawking was able to excel despite his disability thanks to advances in assistive technology for quadriplegics. He had a speech generating device which allowed him to communicate via alternative augmentative communication (AAC). It has been widely reported Hawking’s response to the speech generating device/AAC was, “I can communicate better now than before I lost my voice!”

Defying the odds and living nearly 55 years with ALS, Hawking was an inspirational individual who effectively used quadriplegic assistive technologies to not only excel in life, but to become one of the world’s most renowned physicists. We salute Hawking for being an encouragement to others, especially quadriplegics who looked to him to for motivation. The Accessibility Services (ASI) team is passionate about helping quadriplegics achieve independence. We customize environmental control units and speech generating devices to meet the needs of each individual we serve. And, as assistive technology for quadriplegics continues to evolve, you can count on ASI to stay one step ahead of the curve.

Stephen Hawking showed us all that nothing is impossible. He also demonstrated how quadriplegics can not only lead independent lives with assistive technology but can literally reach for the stars and beyond.

Image Source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stephen_Hawking.StarChild.jpg

Grid 3 Software UpdateGrid 3 software’s latest updates include a number of added features and improvements.
Here’s a rundown of what’s new:
Update 3.0.31

  • Added option to change the color of a cell when a word list is selected; this is especially useful for grid sets with multiple word lists on the page.
  • Smart grammar improvements make it easier to form questions
  • Support for the smaller RF-only version of the BJ Control transmitter
  • Improved purchase history screen
  • Copy and delete buttons no longer remain grayed out when editing
  • Grid set images and sounds no longer disappear or become shuffled after editing a grid set
  • Repeat command doesn’t repeat when set to infinite
  • Individual words can now by symbolized when turning off same as cell label
  • Pointer and touch only cells improvements
  • Ignore repeated press settings now function when the presses are on different switches
  • Accidental press settings are no longer ignored for Switch Commands

Update 3.0.3.2

  • New “Forward” command allows SMS users to copy message and send it to a new recipient
  • Gewa Environment Control is easier to set up and transmit several codes in a row
  • New Switch presses settings allow users to choose to accept switch on press rather than release.
  • New “Show only when available” command hides a cell if that particular feature is not configured or available on the device. Users can also choose cells they want to hide.
  • Online Grids allows users to add grid sets created in The Grid 2 to Grid for iPad
  • New back-up and restore feature in Grid for iPad settings
  • Ability to grid sets into Grid for iPad from other apps such as Dropbox or email
  • Arabic language support
  • Scanning no longer continues after releasing the switch
  • Alea eye gaze software no longer causes touch screen issues
  • Word list items now always save when using “Add to word list” command
  • Grid sets no longer temporarily lose their thumbnails
  • Removing a word list items using the search filter no longer causes Grid for iPad to crash
  • Now able to add new pronunciations

Text TalkerCommunications devices for quadriplegics continue to advance thanks to new Grid Sets available for Grid 3 software. Text Talker is not a typical text-to-speech keyboard. It features advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) capabilities which promote natural and efficient text communication. Featuring patented chat history technology, Text Talker can remember everything an individual says and allows words to be spoken again when the user begins to type a keyword. Text Talker also allows users to easily switch between conversations, save and retrieve messages, utilize temporarily stored phrases and save message drafts.

Another popular feature of Text Talker is its message banking capability. This advanced augmentative and alternative (AAC) feature allows individuals with speech capability to capture their voice and recall it as needed. Text Talker also allows users to quickly speak pre-stored phrases without typing.

ASI’s mission is to incorporate quadriplegic assistive technologies designed to promote independence in all of the products we offer. Contact us today for a free trial of Text Talker.

More and more occupational and physical therapists are realizing the benefit of utilizing environmental control units for disabled individuals in hospital settings.  An environmental control unit (ECU) is a type of adaptive equipment for quadriplegics and individuals with various types of disabilities.  It allows patients, especially those with spinal cord injuries, to gain control of their surroundings and experience independence.  Incorporating an ECU in hospital settings can significantly benefit both the patient and care staff.  Not all hospitals are equipped with an ECU.  Hospital staff and therapists who have worked with ECU’s report the following advantages:

  • Ability for patients to control their surroundings
  • Bed control
  • Television control
  • Ability to make phone calls
  • Ability to play games and access the Internet

ASI has installed our signature autonoME in spinal cord injury units throughout the country.  The autonoME is both an ECU and communications device for quadriplegics, which means it also helps individuals communicate in addition to controlling their environment.

The autonoME can be equipped with various input methods to accommodate the needs of a wide range of individuals.  Touch screen, voice activation, sip ‘n puff, head tracking and eye gaze can all be used to control the autonoME. In many cases, patients who have used an ECU in hospital settings will also purchase one when they transition home. Perhaps the biggest advantage of incorporating an ECU in hospital settings is that the patient will have already learned how to use the unit when they return home.

There are countless benefits of an ECU.  Hospital based physical and occupational therapists are turning to this type of quadriplegic assistive technologies to help their patients adapt to their injury or disease and ultimately gain independence.

Want to learn more? Contact ASI today for a complimentary demonstration

Grid 3 Software UpdateBe sure to keep your Grid 3 software up to date to ensure your unit is equipped with the latest and greatest features.  The Grid 3.0.30 update includes:

  • Merged Quick Write and Write commands to make editing easier
  • A new, simpler Write command
  • Cells now remember the predictions when you return to a grid thanks to the new ‘Last suggested’ option for populating prediction cells in Word lists.
  • Brazilian Portuguese is now supported
  • Improved chat history and editing
  • Faster saving
  • Enhanced Dropbox capabilities – it no longer requires attention when waking a device from standby
  • Grid 3 Tobii calibrations now persist across sessions
  • Improved EyeTech camera usability
  • Eye gaze monitor no longer displays the face rather than an empty cell when a camera is not configured
  • Prediction cells no longer go blank after completing a word when using a Word list
  • Suggested words appear faster

Update today!!!

Yes, You Can Play!

Many people think that actively participating in sports is over once they become a quadriplegic.  Adaptive equipment for quadriplegics, including environmental control units for disabled individuals, have made it possible to do more than ever before. Communication devices for quadriplegics have even given a person who has lost their ability to speak the freedom to talk once again.  Quadriplegic assistive technology has advanced so much over the years that what once seemed impossible is now possible.  Participating in high impact sports is one area where adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has made a significant difference.  Let’s take a look at some sports that are popular with quadriplegics:

  1. Quad Rugby – aka Murderball: This fast-paced sport is probably one of the most popular to play and watch.  The 2005 movie, Murderball brought even more attention to this action-packed sport which is played indoors on a hard court.  The game, which is an adaptation of traditional rugby, permits and even encourages physical contact between wheelchairs as individuals compete to score goals for their team.
  1. Power Soccer – This twist on traditional soccer features players going head to head to score goals in electric wheelchairs. The United States Power Soccer Association is the governing body of this competitive team sport.
  1. Wheelchair Bowling – Advances in adaptive equipment for quadriplegics has made it possible for an individual with any level of disability to participate in this popular sport.
  1. Canoeing/Kayaking – Canoeing and kayaking are also sports that benefit from adaptive equipment for quadriplegics. Boats can be outfitted to allow all levels of quadriplegics to participate.

Accessibility Services, Inc. (ASI) promotes and encourages quadriplegics to regain their independence.  Do you or a quadriplegic you know play a sport?  If so, please send us pictures and we will post them on our website.