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!



TBL said...

Thanks for all the links to those great blog posts! As a Talking Books Librarian, I am always interested in finding new blogs about assistive technology. Please feel free to check out my blog as well - it's on a wide variety of issues, aimed to help those living with disabilities. It's at

Lon said...

Thanks. You will have to join us and submit next month!
Lon - AT Blog Carnival host

Paul Hamilton said...

Thanks, Lon, for facilitating this great project! I didn't submit anything for this edition, but here's a link to one of my favourite recent posts. The post is entitled "Planning for Access". I think this post by Ira Socol should be read far and wide by "regular" educators, not just by those of us involved in "special" ed.

Lon said...

Thanks Paul,
It is a powerful post as most of Ira's are... Thanks for presenting it here. I hope it causes lots of the readers to go there and get the message. need to share with us next month.

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