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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

Though assistive tech isn’t really a topic to be taken lightly, sometimes it’s good to have some fun with it — and find the humorous side of things. Here’s hoping you smile with these photos taken today at the 2010 Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando: Don’t touch that pony! A blind woman attended today’s session with her miniature horse in tow. Her husband, who helped train the horse near their home in Jacksonville, Fla., kept reminding gawkers that it’s not a pony — otherwise she would be riding it, not walking with it. I like the red bow on the horse’s head. Everyone wanted to pet the horse, but you’re not supposed to touch service animals. Pardon me, Is it happy hour yet? Look closely here at the screen for Zingui, a new speech-generating device from Jabbla for people who have difficulty speaking. This device is set up ... keep reading »
The New York Times has an excellent, if not disturbing, piece on insurance companies that refuse to reimburse people with speech disabilities for devices that help them speak. This isn’t a new topic: Insurers argue that many of today’s speech-generating devices, which cost upwards of $5,000, can perform other non-speech functions like Web browsing and e-mail — making it more of a “fun and games” device but not a “dedicated” piece of equipment that they normally cover for reimbursement. This principle has led scores of people with speech disabilities, including those with autism or neuromuscular diseases, to try to find cheaper products on the mainstream market. Many have had success with Apple’s $300 iPhone 3G, which has a downloadable app called Proloqu2go that performs text-to-speech functions. Others choose to buy the specialty speech device with all the “fun and games” removed, which meets the insurers’ requirements for reimbursement. But is it ... keep reading »