Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Gift Edition of AT Blog Carnival

Welcome to the Holiday Edition of the AT Blog Carnival: "My Favorite Things"
This month blog authors are sharing their favorite AT tools and holiday gift giving ideas for assistive technology.
I am proud to present to you some wonderful posts by some wonderful bloggers in the AT world. I would encourage you to not only look through the great ideas they have presented for holiday gift ideas, but to mark their blogs on your favorites or subscribe to their feeds. You will get great ideas from them all year long.
I have put a little comment on each submission so you get a little taste of what they are about. We have all kinds of cool gadgets and ideas for you so if you are still looking for that special gift, maybe this will give you some ideas. When it comes to foks with special needs - it is nice to be able to give them something that they can use and that will really be a blessing and a support for them through coming year .
Sometimes we forget about what toys are appropriate for orthopedically impaired children. I have worked with many small preschool children who couldn't hold a doll or a car. My post at the bottom shares some fun switch access toys for them.
So read on and enjoy the creative ideas below, and...
Happy Holdays!

Brian Friedlander Ph.D. of Assitivetek contributes the Livescribe Pulse Pen. Here is a link on how to use it from his blog:

Ira Socol of SpeEd Change contributes some gift ideas in price ranges:

Patrick Black of Teaching All Students:

Patrick shares his wish list in his post: "All I Want For Christmas"

Alicia Odom of SMD Teacher:

Alicia has a great wish list with some fun items - I want them for my equipment center! The Swifty is especially cool...

Ricky Buchanan of ATMac:

Ricky sends us her post, "All I Want for Christmas is Power!" to share some great tools and benefits to the Mac.

Kate Ahern of Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs:
Kate submits her list of favorite tools that are some of the mainstays of AT. Any of these would make great gifts:

Lon Thornburg of No Limits to Learning:

Electric trains, slot car race tracks, Lite Brites and other electrical toys can be switch operated with a Powerlink 3 from Ablenet. Learn about the Powerlink and explore some links to fun electric toys in this post with holiday gift ideas.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Call for Submissions: Christmas Edition of AT Blog Carnival

"My Favorite Things" Christmas Edition of AT Blog Carnival
Send in a review, list or story relating to your favorite AT gadgets, gizmos, software, etc. Whether you are a teacher, user of AT , family member supporting someone that uses AT, a designer, etc. you are welcome to share your faves. I want the carnival to be up by the 15th so folks have time to read and enjoy it before Christmas rolls around - it might also give some shopping ideas.
I shared on my blog that I don't usually stand in the checkout at the grocery store and see magazines that say, "Top Ten Gifts for the Special Needs and Disabled on Your List This Year." For some reason, media doesn't think there are that many people that could use that information - or maybe they think it isn't big enough of a money maker.

I would like to get us thinking about what are really helpful and fun things that make life easier, make learning fun and entertaining and help us do things like access reading, writing, video gaming, even environmental access, cool remotes, etc. Also, because the economy has been slipping further down and the message is that folks are tightening belts for Christmas this year, maybe you have a cool inexpensive adaptation or low cost item that has a really great use that could be a low cost Christmas gift and yet very useful. Any submissions like that would be welcome too.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, December 12.

Post date: Monday, December 15.

All the best to you!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival "Mad Scientist" Edition

Happy Halloween! I hope your day is creepy and wonderful! I have been busy collecting submissions from other mad scientists out there as well as collecting some fun Halloween links for your browsing and surfing enjoyment - all on the mad scientist theme. So kick back with a witches brew and enjoy!
Kate Ahern M.S. Ed. of Teaching Learners With Multiple Needs has sent us 3 posts for our October edition below:
All for automaticity - which shares some valuable tips on multiple AAC boards, also, How you know and Low tech Eye gaze. Kate always has posts full of information and I am so pleased to have her share with us.
Alicia Odom of SMDTeacher has shared a couple of posts where she took the mad scientist theme and ran with it this month. She shares ideas on a Mad Scientist Halloween party which I posted this past Monday to give folks a chance to take some ideas and plan if they wanted the week to set up some of the activities. The second post contains a powerpoint activity and more to check out...You can read all about them below:
Ricky Buchanan of ATMac has sent us 3 posts on AT using the Mac. She shared:
"None are really specifically about creating stuff, except creating accessibility! But that's what all the other creating can flow from, ultimately." I would say creating accessibility is huge, you are exactly right and we thank you Ricky for your contribution!
Video iPods In Special Education
Speech-to-Text: Dictation software for OS X
iPod Touch Ideas For Stylus And Mouth Stick Users
Patrick Black of Teaching All Students has given us a couple of great posts from his blog:
Lon Thornburg, No Limits to Learning: I am sharing a post I did last week leading up to Halloween on Creating Switch Adapted Halloween Toys.
Thanks everyone for your contributions this month!
Some Halloween Links for fun...
I spent some time just searching for links that might give us some mad scientist ideas. Here's what I came up with:
Mad Scientist Network: MadSci Network represents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure they provide a variety of oddities as well. They have a search engine that allows you to seek out information. I prefer Wikipedia myself, but I thought this was fun and kind of interesting!

Evil Mad Scientist: This blog/site is an incredible do-it-yourself site with all kinds of projects and photos. Check out the Halloween pages with mutant cyborg pumpkins :o)

Their project - Make a Cylon Jack o'Lantern:
A Video of it:

Mad Science Kids Club: This site opens up some fun projects for kids.
For Nostalgia - Scary Battery Operated Toys Archive form the 1960's

Some Fun Videos:

A Real Mad Scientist: Tesla Documentary:

Superman (The Mad Scientist) Cartoon, 1941:

French Illusionist Mad Scientist Act
Mad Scientist Game
And Finally, a mad scientist free download trial video game. I downloaded it and played some of it. I was sliding circuit boards across the floor to interconnect and turn on a large robot. It is a strategy game - fun to entertain you when you don't have anything else to do - anyone out there have time with nothing to do?!!
I hope you have a great Halloween and a great remainder of the fall. See you again in November.
All the best to you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Call For Presenters: October Edition is a "Mad Scientist" Issue for AT Blog Carnival

Frankenstein made his monster, the farmer on the right grew his human-faced pumpkins... What do you "grow" with AT?
Our October edition of the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival is on what you create using AT or maybe a "how to" to use AT.
Maybe you use AT to support you in your vocation, to write, to do art, create music, produce video, maybe something surprising we wouldn't ever think of.
If you are an educator, maybe you would be able to share a link to a post on what you or others are creating with technology or something that has a use for AT.
Artwork, music, poetry, video created with AT would be fun too. Adults or children's projects made using AT would be very cool...
I have 2 submissions/tutorials already from a teacher who shows us how to create some things that are useful and fun. Let the "Mad scientist" come out in you and share something with us.
If none of that sparks an idea, I thought about this...
"What is your most "Scary" story concerning AT. A time it didn't work right, a time someone totally didn't get it and you thought, "That's scary"... I can think of me when I first was introduced to AT and I look back on what I didn't know and I think..."That's SCARY". It is amazing how much I have grown - but I still have a long way to go.
And of course, if nothing fits for you, you are welcome to share whatever you like.

Send links to me by Monday, October 27 and I will post them for a fun issue posted on October 31, Halloween Day! Pass the word around and I hope to hear from you. I will also include some fun Halloween links for your enjoyment! You could include one of those too...
All the best to you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

AT Blog Carnival Edition #6: Back to School Issue

Welcome to Edition #6, Back to School Edition of the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival.

Those of us that use AT for education have been back at it now for about a month and there are some great ideas and posts that have come out of this time.
We get to visit a classroom, share some parent's views about their children, discover some great support tools for the Mac and how to build free audio books for students that need modified curriculum.

Alicia Odem gives us some photos and a descriptions of her classroom at her SMD Teacher Blog.

Penny Richards has had permission to submit a friend's blog, "I Am Micro-Managing". It shares the struggles of being a parent with a child who was home from school for the summer, developing communication and a new AAC device possibility - the Tango from Blink Twice.

Penny also sent 2 more blogs our way , "Maggie World". Listen as a mom shares how her child communicates. I had a tear there somewhere while I read...wish all my SLP's would read this one! It's wonderful when kids can communicate - I think my tear was for the joy of that - but also for all the ones I know could if we can get the device in their laps and hands.
Autism Schmatism! shares a wonderful blog on a family who have a boy with autism and this post shares on him working on AAC with "Leo".

Ricky Buchanan of ATMac has been working on sharing print disability tools for the Mac with us. She gives us her take on the use of AT tools for accommodation for all students...the Mac way.

Lon Thornburg from No Limits to Learning is sharing How to Create Free and Low Cost Audio Books.

All the best to you!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back to School Edition Set for September

Back to School theme for September Edition
Since the end of August is one of the craziest times of the year for educators, we will wait and post a new edition of AT Blog Carnival in September. I know there are bloggers that are not in education, but in order for me to put it together, it would be easier to wait. We had a smaller number of submissions in July and I don't anticipate August being any better - so we will take a break and come back fresh in September.
The September Edition will appear Monday, September 29 and the last day for submissions will be Friday, September 26,

Back to School Topic:
Share a post on reflections on learning and AT, teaching with technology for disabilities, learning in any form even if you are not in education. How does AT support what you do as far as learning and increasing knowledge and personal improvement. If you are a teacher, maybe you have a great story to share on a new student, an experience, a new tool, etc.

I will look forward to hearing from you and you can send me a post any time between now and the end of September. I will keep reminders on my blogs.

Have a great August!

All the best to you!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival: Edition 5

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival for July '08 brings a review on the iphone and it's touch screen, a picture address book, a fascinating new technology for the blind and an amazing searchable data-base program for you to enter any info you want at a very affordable price for anyone.

Our July Edition finds many of us out and about enjoying the summer weather unless you are "down under", which I know some of our readers are (and one of our authors). I have been enjoying camping, visiting relatives, having relatives visit and getting some work projects done. If many of the folks that usually submit are anything like me, getting something ready to submit, or even remembering to submit is the farthest thing from the mind. I actually must admit that it was about 11:00 PM Sunday night when I remembered, "Oops, I forgot. I need to get the AT Blog Carnival up for tomorrow morning!" I probably should have just taken the summer off on this project and picked it up again after school starts. I get comments that people appreciate this project, so I just need to figure out how to get submitters. Anyone with ideas can let me know...If you are a reader who has submitted in the past, please submit again. We all love hearing from you! Here are the submissions for July:

I want to thank Ron Graham and Ricky Buchanan for their submissions this month. We will be the "Three A.T. Musketeers" for Edition 5 I guess!

1. Ron Graham of Access Ability has submitted a post on a new technology that is bringing real hope to the blind.

2. Ricky Buchanan of ATMac has a whole new look to her blog and it looks terrific. Check her work in two posts she submitted, one on the iphone:

and one on Espy, the picture address book for Mac:

3. Lon Thornburg from No Limits to Learning: I would like to share this post on a program Notescribe. They are coming out with a premium version in August that is a must-have for me. They are working on getting it to compliment a text to speech tool as well which will make it incredibly resourceful for people. I interviewed the CEO/developer on my No Limits 2 Learning Live radio talk show this month as well. (The live stream dropped out for half a minute or so right in the middle but we come back so keep listening!) I hope you enjoy and explore these tools.

Blog Post:


All the best to you!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival Edition 5: Call for Submissions

The July Assistive Technology Blog Carnival, Edition 5, is now taking submissions.
Our July Edition will again be open for any topic you would like to choose to submit. Having a "grab bag" approach leaves it open for folks to share something that is unique and interesting to them. We had some great submissions for the June go-round and I am looking forward to what shows up for July. Please spread the word and this link to those that you know of who might be interested in submitting.

The due date: Friday, July 25.

The posting date: Monday, July 28.

All the best to you!


Monday, June 30, 2008

Edition #4 of the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival

The Assistive Technology Blog Carnival, Edition #4: Grab Bag Edition

This month we have 10 great submissions from some wonderful writers and providers of AT resources and information. There are posts on new updates of software and tools for AT, a UDL Wiki, some insights into the Kindle and AT equipment, adapting a keyboard for braille, using the SMART Board for special education, and a look at the MS Word add-in that saves documents as a DAISY file. The last submission is a great list of resources for Special Education. I hope you get some time to sit back, relax and explore!

Assistive Tek, Brian Friedlander:

I am excited to share a post from one of my mentors, Brian Friedlander. Dr. Friedlander was my AT professor through Lesley University in Cambridge. I was an instructional resources trainer at the time finishing my masters. He "warned" me that as soon as people found out I knew about AT, they would put me in charge of it! Well, his words came true, and now I have found my niche and my passion. Thanks Brian! Brian has submitted a review from his blog. Find out his perspectives on Write Online by Crick:

Free Resources on the Net, Paul Hamilton:

Paul has started a project that is a wiki on Universal design. You can read about his project -UDL4All:

Disability Studies, Temple U, Penny L. Richards:

I missed getting Penny's submission in past month from Wheelie Catholic and so promised it would be in now. Thanks Penny! Here is her submission from Wheelie Catholic, Ruth - on the Kindle and Assistive equipment:
I am throwing in Penny's Blog on Disability Studies from Temple U that fits with our topics.
Thanks Penny - (and sorry I got you a little mixed up with Ruth!)

AnneMarie 80, Anne Marie Corrieri:

Anne Marie was our winner in the new blog contest drawing. She writes on uses for the SMART Board and adapting activities in the special ed classroom. She has submitted her post on SMART Boards and learning to write:

ATMac, Ricky Buchanan:

Ricky is on hiatus from her blog due to some health issues of late, but she gave me permission to sift through her blog and select a permalink of my choice to add to our collection this month. Because of the DAISY work I have been doing lately, I have been more and more interested in tools and supports for visual impairment and this post stood out as an interesting one on adapting a regular keyboard to become a braille keyboard:

The Talking Book Librarian:

The Talking Book Librarian sent me 2 posts to choose from and I am including both. She shared that this first one on updates to the Victor Reader stream Version 2.0 was her most popular this month so check it out:

Her other post is on the new version of the popular Window Eyes screen reader:

No Limits to Learning, Lon Thornburg:
Since text to speech tools and print disability text files from DAISY seem to be popular, I am enclosing my own post from this past month that has hit my most popular post list at #1. It is on my adventures learning about the MS Word add-in and how to convert text to play in a free reader. The post caused a lot of email and some comments. I began to do follow-up posts and I am including the initial post and last follow-up for June which had a wonderful contributing comment/post from Romain Deltour of the DAISY Pipeline Team (which is a converting tool for text files to digital talking book files).

Initial post:
Follow-up post:

Teaching Article on 100+ Resources and Links for Special Education (They are all under some helpful categories):

I hope you enjoy spending some time reading what folks have worked hard to write and submit. Add their blogs to your feed lists and check in regularly!

All the best to you!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

June Issue, #4 of AT Blog Carnival will be a "Grab Bag" Edition

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival #4, Issue: "Grab Bag"
Deadline: June 27 for submissions; Will be up June 30.
Hi Everyone,
I am thankful for each and everyone of you that submit and read the AT Blog Carnival. I have really enjoyed the issues so far. I have expecially enjoyed hearing from folks that have sent various submissions on different topics. When we used the Blog Carnival Service and had a topic, people sent whatever anyway, and I felt that if it fit somehow, we should go ahead and share it. There were some great posts.

The BC service is not doing anything about the Captcha issue. I feel strongly that if we are supporting the use of technology for disabilty with our blogs, then we shouldn't support a service that won't support us. It is a direct contradiction. So... I need you to show your support for this AT blog. It isn't going to get tons of submissions from the networking within the service because we aren't using it, so if we want quality posts and numerous ones and we want to get to hear from more people, then we need to ask those we know to share. Spread the word about the carnival and let folks know that we are open to anything on AT - we are not limiting it - and get folks to send in a link to a post. It is a good way to make new friends and hear different views. I know I have gained so much from the editions we have done to this point.

I am calling this issue a "grab bag" because I am interested in opening this wide for folks to share whatever they have in their post archive or something new they would like to share on AT. As submissions come in, I will group them as well as I can into categories. So, we want to hear what you have to say. What have you been learning about AT lately? What new gadget has you intrigued? What new area do you think is a frontier in research and development for servicing disability? I am excited to see new technology that is linking us together in greater ways everyday. I see huge potential to interface people with disabilities via Internet into work where the mind is the thing, not the body - the playing field is so much more level.

So, get your creative juices flowing and let's get some posts.

Email posts to: Remember the deadline - June 27
All the best to you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Edition #3 of The Assistive Technology Blog Carnival

Welcome to Edition #3 of The Assistive Technology Blog Carnival: Synthesized Speech
We have a smaller list of contributors this month. I don't know if it was due to our not using the blog carnival service site for submissions because of the Captcha issue or the deadline being over Memorial Day or that the topic was too limiting, but are our May submissions. They are great posts and I am thankful for the authors and their efforts. Maybe next month we will go back to allowing folks to send in what they want that is on any general AT topic. It seems that the submissions usually group into their own related topics and I just organize them that way.

Lon Thornburg:

My post from my "No Limits to Learning Blog"is about using the floating toolbar by Natural Reader and the synthesized speech to build free AAC on your computer:

Larry Ferlazzo:

Larry has a second submission on great tool "yakitome":

Ron Graham:

Ron is sharing some great writing on his experiences using synthesized speech for computer navigation with JAWS:

Dustin Oakley from The Crass Pip is sharing on Mac OSX:

MAC OSX Speech Synthesis

I hope you enjoy the May submissions! I will keep you posted on the June edition. We will do a "Grab Bag" approach and allow any submissions on AT that you would like to submit. It is fun to see things come in and gravitate towards natural topics within the carnival. I also am welcoming those of you that have been posting to think about hosting this at your site and coming up with a topic you want posts on so we can start "travelling" so think about that.

All the best to you!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Topic for May Edition: Synthesized Speech

Hello Everyone,
I have been waiting to hear input from folks on a topic for May and the winning topic seems to be "Synthesized Speech". Please send in a post you have written or write a post on your use of synthesized speech. You can write a review on a site, a tool or a software, application and use by children, issues with it and print disability, rating different voices, etc. Be creative and let us know your thoughts on it.
The deadline to submit a post for the May edition will be May 23. The new edition will be up May 26.
Submit to:

I hope we get your submissions.

Monday, April 28, 2008

AT Blog Carnival Edition #2: My Favorite Post on Assistive Technology

Edition #2: "My Favorite Blog Post on Assistive Technology"

Hello Everyone.
You are about to read something VERY special. If this is your first time here, you are in for a treat. The folks that are sharing their writing below are amazing. Some of these authors have overcome incredible odds just to be able to write what they write for you to read here today. Everyday I am challenged, inspired, awed and humbled by the stories I hear through emails of introduction from folks that have been up against incredible odds but have perservered to achieve incredible things. Some of these authors are therapists and educators to those with special needs, and most amazingly - some are serving the needs of those with disabilities professionally while having their own disabilities. I hope you are just as grateful as I have been for the gift and example they are to us all.

So, with that introduction out of the way, I am very excited to present to you our Second Edition of the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival:

A carnival is supposed to travel around from town to town and set up somewhere different to amuse and entertain the residents of a community. My hope is that this "carnival" will begin to travel around from blog home to blog home different months so we can all visit different places to be educated, encouraged, challenged and maybe even provoked from time to time - that's OK too.

This month I have enjoyed making some new friends as well as communicate with some old ones, and I proudly present their submissions below. Our topic this month is to share a favorite post we have written on our own blogs that involve assistive technology, or to submit a blog post by someone else that we have really found important. I asked also that there would be some commentary on why it was important.
Since I am the host, I will share first:

Lon Thornburg: I have been writing my own blogs since last November of 2007. I started "No Limits 2 Life" to share my thoughts on disability and positive thinking as a catalyst for rehabilitation. I started another blog on children, education and assistive technology called "No Limits to Learning" out of a desire to share a story of a boy that we were working on getting a speech device for around Christmas time. My first post on the education blog was about the "Mystery Spot". I still think that is my favorite blog post and capsulizes who I am and why I do what I do. I don't think I could re-write it today to say anything better than the way it was stated originally.

You can read it at:

I hope you enjoy it!

Now on to a friend I have had the honor to make through this blog endeavor:

Ricky Buchanan: Ricky shared her blog with us last month and this month has a favorite post from Kate Ahern, who is also submitting this month, and 2 posts from her own blog "ATMac". She had a hard time picking one - I know the feeling Ricky! She is a talented user of AT, using it to enhance her life with challenging disabilities as well as inform us on AT. If you are a Mac user you will want to go to her blog often. She has shared:

"This post from Kate is MY favorite one on her blog:

"I think the post is amazing even though it's not really about AT because it educated me hugely about the value of doing something like taking severely intellectually disabled students to a production like Les Miserables. Before I read the post I admired Kate for doing it, but I didn't really see any value in it... after I read the post my mind was completely changed and I can see the enormous value of something like this. And, of course, I admire her more."

Ricky has shared the following two posts that you can visit her site to read. Her commentary is included here:

Post One: " This post shows some of the more out-there things that assistive technology can make available to anybody who can use even just a single switch. Assistive tech can really be amazing and enable us to do amazing stuff!"

Post Two: "This one reminds me why it's all important and how far we've come with AT in just 20 years. Without a computer, Dustin has no way to communicate beyond yes/no responses but with the computer he can express what's important to him. It's slow and difficult still, but it's possible and what's possible now is way beyond what was possible in the Apple IIe days. This is one of those posts that I look at when I'm wondering why I bother with all this stuff."

Thank you so much Ricky!

Ron Graham: Ron is an amazing man. He has achieved several degrees, serves the disabled through student support services and is active in informing on access issues. He should know the issues because he is blind and shares his view on his own accessibility issues as well as other issues on his blog, "Access Ability". This is Ron's second month to share with us. We are proud to have him as a "carny" in our AT blog carnival.

Find out what Yahoo DID NOT acknowledge in his post on inaccessable content:

He wanted to share with us here why he felt this was a favorite post of his:
"The reason this is a favorite post of mine is that it got a good bit of attention from Yahoo, the company that is the subject of the post, even though the comments do not reflect this. The subject of the post is Yahoo's CAPTCHA technology and its inaccessibility by users of screen readers. I was closely watching my blog traffic numbers and had noticed a distinct spike in my daily traffic the day after I published this post. Upon checking the source of this traffic, I noticed that I had almost 20 visits from different computers on the Yahoo servers. These were in Sunnyvale, CA, Mountain View, CA, and London. Somebody within Yahoo had apparently read the initial post and shared the link with others within the company, as that first visit from Yahoo showed a most of the referrals after that first one were unknown. "

"The reason that makes this post a favorite, even though Yahoo didn't acknowledge reading it, is that something I wrote resonated enough with somebody in the company that they felt the need to share it with others. I kept hoping that somebody from Yahoo would email me or comment on the post, but that never happened. The problems with Yahoo's CAPTCHA continue today, but I know of almost 20 Yahoo staffers who knowof its existence from reading that post. This means that they can not feign ignorance of the problem's existence."

Thanks, Ron.

Dr. Barabara Boucher: Barbara has an impressive resume, holding a doctorate and her license in PT and OT. Her speciality is young children and her blog is "TherExtras". Barbara and I began to email and discuss therapy, blogging, etc. Barbara's post slipped past our March edition and I am presenting it here. Please check out her blog or feel free to contact her as a resource for issues with small children. Her post on "Assistive Technology and Me" is here:

Thank you Barbara and I am so glad to include you...

Robert Martinengo: Robert has been a studio director at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, in Los Angeles. He joined the California Community College system and began approaching textbook publishers directly on behalf of students. He is currently the supervisor of the Alternate Text Production Center in Ventura, California. This is his first submission and we are proud to present his article on E Textbooks and Issues for College Students from "Accessible Content Online".

Jason Voiovich: Jason submitted a fascinating post he wrote on the story of David Savill, Naughty Auties, and how Second Life helps people with (and the image of) Autism. "Second Life" is a 3D virtual community. The post is found on this link at the blog, "The State of the Brand" by Ecra Creative Group.

When I emailed Jason expressing my thanks for his submission he replied:

"Thank you Lon, I much appreciate the comment. I have spent significant time working with AbleNet - a company that develops products for persons with disabilities of all types - I would not have been able to write this article without that experience."

You will enjoy reading about this. Thanks Jason for bringing it to us.

Paul Natsch: Paul works for Assistive which has "Assistive Gaming" a Blog for gamers with assistive technology needs in Mac OSX. The post. "Tools of the Trade" is his submission.

Thanks for sending this in Paul. I am beginning to do some home visits to help students with severe disabilities as summer is coming on so they can access receational interests on their computers. So this is a big topic!

Kate Ahern: Kate has the "Teaching Learners with Multiple Disability Needs" Blog which I have been reading and admiring for some time. Kate has what I like to call "Power-house Posts" full of information. I was understandably excited to have her send a submission for the Carnival. Her submission takes us on a trip to order fast food when one of her former students doesn't have his speech device along. Kate's post:

Enjoy this post....and thanks Kate, for submitting it.

Dustin Oakley: Dustin submitted a post on AT Blogging on his blog The Crass Pip. Dustin has his own unique style!

Craig Phillips: Craig did not submit a post to this Carnival, but I recently met him through Ron Graham. He has an impressive story of having a traumatic brain injury when young and going on to do what no one thought he should be able to do. He has lots of tips for those with TBI also. Check out his story at:

There were a couple of submissions that came in as articles from sites that the authors submitted. They had some interesting things to say about learning, resources for etext through itunes University and podcasting in the classroom. You can link to them below:

Heather Johnson wrote on Audio Book College Content Resources from itunes on Learn out Blog.

Understanding Media Blog submitter, Nick, presented a post on podcasting in the classroom.

I hope you take some time to visit the blogs of our twelve presenters this month.

Our next AT Carnival will up on Monday, May 26th. The deadline for submissions will be Friday, May 23. If we wait until the last Friday in May to submit, the next Monday puts us in June.

If you have any ideas for a May theme, please let me know as a comment here or through my email at:

All the best to you!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Clarification on Topic for Edition 2 of the AT Blog Carnival

A Clarification on the Topic for Edition #2 of the AT Blog Carnival Coming Monday, April 28, 2008
Call for Submissions...
Topic: "My favorite Post"

I have been asked to clarify the topic a little for everyone.
I apologize if I have been vague - I don't mean to be - I shouldn't assume everyone is on my wavelength!
Here is what I would like to ask you for when I say "My Favorite Post":
Do you have a past post on your blog - and I assume if you are interested in this carnival topic that you have written posts in the past on A.T. - that was a favorite post you wrote? Can you share the post link with us within a new post with a little about why you liked it? Was it because it inspired others, challenged thoughts on something, had really useful information, got a good discussion going, was your best writing to date?
I think we would all enjoy reading our best posts because we gain a better understanding of each other, our styles, get some great information and learn about writing by other's examples.
If you don't have a past post that is a favorite on A.T. - that's ok. Go ahead and share with us a post on a favorite aspect, device, topic, etc. on A.T. and remember, this isn't just for "experts". It is open to anyone with an interest in AT - even if you are just starting out.
I am trying to be a little more broad as we start out so we can get more generalized posts. Maybe I shouldn't be doing it that way. You tell me - it's our blog carnival - not just mine. If you have an idea that would make a great focus for a future edition, send it my way by a comment or email. If you are interested in hosting (I plan to see this carnival appear on your blogs as host more than here, down the road) let me know that too.
If something still seems unclear on this months edition, let me know. I took the blog carnival updatable widget off my No Limits to Learning Blog because it wasn't updating and showing a new edition - it was something I wasn't doing right on their site to post the new edition info. Once I get it right, I will try again.
I hope the unclarity doesn't stop folks from submitting. If you will be patient and give me input, we will get this project off the ground and going.
Thanks for caring enough to email, comment and share.
All the best to you!

If you would like to submit an entry, please submit by Friday, April 25, 2008. Please keep your submissions specific to assistive technology if you want them included.
Any level of user is welcome - this is not just for "experts". We are all in a constant state of learning!
Please submit your blog post link or links to: or on the actual Blog Carnival site at:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Upcoming Editions List

Second Issue of the AT Blog Carnival Coming Monday, April 28, 2008
Call for Submissions...
Topic: "My favorite Post"
If you would like to submit an entry, please submit by Friday, April 25, 2008. Please keep your submissions specific to assistive technology if you want them included.
Any level of user is welcome - this is not just for "experts". We are all in a constant state of learning!
Please submit your blog post link or links to: or on the actual Blog Carnival site at:

Monday, March 31, 2008

AT Blog Carnival Edition #1

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival: Edition #1

Welcome to the first ever Blog Carnival on Assistive Technology!

The first edition deadline sneaked up on us pretty fast, but I would like to share some great posts by folks that are becoming good friends in the AT blog arena. Before I do, as the host, I would like to share a little about myself and how I use Assistive technology.

This Week's Host: Lon Thornburg

Since I have decided to start this blog carnival, I will host it here until someone else wants to guest-host. The idea is that you can be a host and share all the links we get in from your blog so you get all the visitors and they can find out how great your blog is too if they haven't discovered it yet. I envision lots of great blogs and posts and friendships coming out of this as time goes by. I would release this on my home blog, but since this is the carnival home, I will do it here.

I am a teacher, administrator and an assistive technology specialist. I work for the Umatilla Morrow County Education Service District in Pendleton, Oregon. I cover about a third of the state of Oregon as the only AT specialist. I work with OT's, PT's, Autism, Speech, Vision and Hearing and Eary Intervention and Early Childhood specialists. I do a lot of professional development and teach at the occasional State-wide conferences - usually doing lab workshops on interactive applications for software, helping teachers and specialists design and build their own activities.

My wife and I own and run a small retreat center that is a little mountain hotel built in 1897 for the Union Pacific Railroad. We have groups (quilters, scrap-bookers, church groups, planning meetings, teachers groups, etc.) that come stay for many different kinds of meetings and weekend retreats. We have a boy who will start first grade in the fall of 2008.

I LOVE working with AT. I feel like I am really making a difference for children and helping classrooms and families get things together to improve life for their kids. I had a stroke last year that put me in the hospital and I experienced some disabilities that have been subtle but have meant some adaptation on my part. That experience has made me look at AT in a different light. I have put together things so that if something happens again, and I would be permanently disabled I have things ready to go - just in case.

For AT, I personally use Dragon Naturally Speaking, Read Please as a text reader sometimes - and like using Odiogo on my blog. See "My Reading Chair" blog to see how I have used Odiogo there. (I will have to try the application suggested by Larry Ferzallo in his submission below.) I have a Track IR camera eye and a reflective dot on a baseball cap I can use with the free Click-n-type Keyboard from Lakefolks. I use a Virtual Magnifying Glass free software also for looking at certain things and using when doing professional training and workshops where I want people to see close up on the screen with a data projector.

Well, that gives you an introducation to me. Now I would like to share the contributors for our first carnival...

Ricky Buchanan is an amazing user of AT in Australia. We first communicated in January I think, when she sent me a nice email after reading my No Limits to Life blog that is for adults, perspectives on life, disability, etc. She has some wonderful artwork she has done and my son has been inspired to paint her a picture in return sometime. Check it out as the art is on a page that is linked from her personal site space. You can get there from her ATmac blog. I have enjoyed getting to know her and browse her blog. If you have a Mac, you will want to get her blog posts. She shares how she uses AT.

Larry Ferlazzo submitted his post on a new text to speech tool... Read the Words. He has a site dedicated to ELL and language learners and education onEduBlogs. I am just getting to know him and we have exchanged some emails. I am going to spend some more time browsing and reading there for information for the ELL,ESL folks I work with. I will be referring them to him too.

Since our submissions are just starting, I have listed below a few people that are doing work I admire. Their blogs are timely and full of great information:

Dr. Brian Friedlander was one of my college professors in my Masters Program and he has left some nice comments on my blog. He was very encouraging to me when I was starting out and he was gracious enough to announce my blog on his which has increased my visitors. I want to link to him here: Assistivetek Dr.Friedlander has some wonderful posts and up to the minute new release info as things occur. Check him out.

Paul Hamilton has a blog on Free Resources. I have gone there to find some great help and information. When looking at his picture on the "About" page, I was thinking that MAYBE we met at an ASHA conference on Assistive Technology in Seattle, WA a few years ago. He looks familiar and He is from Vancouver, BC. I remember visiting with an AT specialist from Vancouver when I was there. We will have to figure that one out.

Another blog that I go to frequently is Special Education Law Blog By Charles Fox. I wrote a series on parent advocacy and he was gracious enough to comment on it and post a section block quote from it on his blog. We were both online writing our blogs that day and had a great interchange of conversation and introduction. I look forward to future contributions he makes to his blog. His blog is also a great archive of legal information if you need to research something.

Kate Ahern has Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs . I recently discovered her blog just as she stopped posting indefinitely because of care for her sister. Her sister passed away from critical complications to a brain injury. Her blog was nominated for an award for top educational blog of 2007. Quite an honor. There is a HUGE list of links to vendors, associations, free tutorials, activities, etc. I hope to visit with her and get to know her one day.

I hope you enjoy this first edition of Assistive Technology Blog Carnival. Next month, the deadline for submissions will be the last Friday of April and the blog will come out on the next Monday. I hope some of you that read will submit.

Thanks for visiting and all the best to you!

Monday, March 24, 2008

AT Blog Carnival Host General Guidelines and Information:

Here are a few notes to guide potential and actual hosts of the Carnival.

1. We always need volunteers to host, so don’t be shy about stepping up. Hosts get great exposure and extra traffic that week - and many new readers will stick around if they like what they find. To qualify, you will need to have submitted 3 posts to the Carnival. When you are on board with that qualification, to volunteer as a host email me at or at
If you have a topic that interests you that you would like to suggest and host that would be great. You might have a topic you would like to see information or support on, or know of a topic that would stimulate some interesting posts. I don't plan to think up all the topics for new carnivals by myself. Your input and ideas are very welcome.

2. At this point, the carnival will be posted on the Monday after the last Friday of the month as a monthly edition. As we grow and more people contribute we will move to bi-monthly and eventually weekly if we have too many contributors. Monthly seems OK for now.

3. We want the Carnival to adopt the character of the host site every week, so we will try to avoid being micro-managers. All we ask is that you feature at least 10 submissions from entries being submitted by other bloggers. If there are not 10 submissions for a carnival, list the sumitted links you have and then share more of your own expertise for everyone else. You may want to link to some other blog posts you have found on the topic or some articles, etc. While this carnival is in the formative stages we will need to be creative and make it worthwhile for people to want to go there and refer it to others. That will be a way that it will grow.

4. Procedure for your Carnival:
Hosts simply obtain the entries links sent to them via the carnival service and then write their Carnival as a post on their own blog. Once I know a topic and host and have the hosts' email and web address, I will post that information as a new edition link to our blog carnival on the carnival service site. As a host, you should receive all referred posts through them. No one will see your email address, it is for the service and I to coordinate with you only. It is up to you to let people know your address.
• Entries should arrive by the deadline of 12.00 pm PST on the last Friday of the month, but we do get late ones too. It would be good if you accommodate them.
• If you get a lot of entries, it’s up to you how you deal with these. It’s nice if you link to them, even better if you link and describe them. But we appreciate that your time is limited and you may be restricted as to how much more work you can do.
• One post in your Carnival should be your “Best Post of the Month”.
• If possible, try to choose and highlight a newcomer to the Carnival.
• Your job as host is to “sell” the reader on visiting individual contributors’ sites, NOT to summarize the entries so that a visit isn’t needed. Therefore, don’t tell the whole story - get the reader to want to read the whole post. You are just posting in one blog entry the name and number of the Carnival, the topic and then list the post links to other blog with a brief "teaser".
• Please finish your post by telling readers where the next Carnival will be held. See this blog's home and calendar for this information.
• You should aim to get the Carnival up and running on your site by Monday of the next week after post submission deadlines.

IMPORTANT: The purpose of this carnival is to provide constructive and positive information on assistive technology and it's use and other RELATED information. A side benefit is that you get to invite others to your blog and increase your traffic. Please do not abuse this opportunity by putting up unrelated links and ads to try and create sales of something. If your blog sidebar has ads or links to information, services or products you sell, that is fine, but keep them out of the actual posts please.

Once the Carnival is up on your site, everyone who has been featured should link to you and send you lots of their traffic. If you notice that someone isn’t playing the game, it’s ok to gently remind them to announce it, but generally people are very good about doing this. However, there are also a couple of other things you can do to get more quality traffic and promote your hosting. We recommend you do these, but it’s your decision:
Use other blogs and social bookmark sites to post links to your blog for the Carnival post. You can repost your Carnival post on forums (as a new topic) but without individual links to the posts BUT do link to your site. The idea on all of these is to give people a flavor of what the Carnival is about that week, but they have to come to your site to get the links to the stories.
You can announce the Carnival is at your site. Something along the lines of:
“Carnival # is Out.
Check out the latest Assistive Technology Blog Carnival , which is at [name of your site] this month. Please pay a visit to read this month’s best writing about AT on the web. Watch out for [write a sentence about a story that will pull people in].”
Finally, don’t forget to email me that the Carnival is up. If you’ve just hosted a Carnival and can think of anything that you’d like to see here that would help future hosts, please let me know.
Good luck. May your traffic counters begin to spin!