Saturday, September 26, 2009

Opposition Leaders to experience ‘Wednesday Without Words’

State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek and Deputy Leader Lawrence Springborg will take part in a ‘Wednesday Without Words’ function today with the Aphasia Association Queensland.

Guests at the function on the Speakers Green at State Parliament today will take part in activities with the Aphasia Association to better understand the difficulties experienced in communicating only through facial expressions and gestures.

Aphasia Association Queensland branch spokesman Peter Stuart said the event aimed to draw attention to the thousands of Australians who are unable to speak as a result of a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and brain injuries.

“Aphasia is a devastating communication/speech disability that affects about 80,000 Australians, yet less than five per cent of the population know what aphasia is and how it affects people,” Mr Stuart Text to Speech Software

TextAloud and NextUp Talker are modestly priced software titles offering real voice-communication alternatives to high-priced gadgets and devices costing thousands of dollars (and more)

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) September 23, 2009 -- With health care coverage a hot-button issue in recent weeks, one topic that continues to make headlines is the fact that health insurers are repeatedly willing to cover devices and options that cost patients thousands of dollars, yet those same insurers will not cover the modestly priced, everyday alternative gadgets that are proving far more useful to those battling illnesses or other afflictions day to day. The issue is a familiar one for the software creators at NextUp Technologies (, which specializes in Text to Speech software for PC users everywhere. The company's top two software titles NextUp Talker and TextAloud are bestsellers in part because they have been adopted and championed by those with illnesses or disabilities, and because they are not only affordable solutions (both titles are priced at under $100), they simply work better than machines or devices that often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars....Next......

SIDCUP: Queen Mary's Hospital thanks teenage CSV volunteers

A HOSPITAL has thanked more than 150 teenagers who volunteered for work over the summer.

The teens helped patients and staff at Queen Mary’s Hospital during the holidays in a scheme run by volunteering charity Community Service

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Accessibility Changes Lives

  • Accessibility Changes Lives

Apple's universal access symbolThis is the first post in a series about assistive technology. I want to show you why accessibility, adaptive technology, assistive technology, and other disability-friendly practices matter. Really matter.

Accessibility changes lives.

I don’t mean “changes lives” like buying a new house might change your life … accessibility changes lives so completely it’s almost impossible to imagine if you haven’t been there.

I am completely bedridden with my disability; I can’t sit up enough to use a wheelchair, so I spend 24 hours a day lying in a hospital bed set up in my living room. I can’t hold up a book or magazine long enough to read. I can’t open the curtains during the day because my eyes are too sensitive to light. I can’t paint or draw because I don’t have the stamina and strength. I can’t listen to music for more than 5 minutes or so, because of the sensory overload. Pretty much all that I can do is passive activities: listen to talk radio and audio book CDs, watch a little TV, talk to people on the phone.

The 20 inch Apple Cinema Display mounted over my bed.If it wasn’t for my accessible computer setup, that would be my entire life. To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure that life would be worth living.

With my accessible computer setup I can do almost anything I can imagine. I’ve used it to compose and play music. I browse and shop on the internet. I run support groups via mailing lists. I advocate for myself and others. I take care of all my finances and banking. I meet new friends who have then become RL friends who visit my physically. And, of course, I have created and maintain this blog and several others. My life is interesting and productive, and full of things I can’t wait to do.

I think we need more information around showing people with disabilities using technology, so able-bodied people can get a glimpse of how much this really changes lives.

I’m going to make a series of posts about it - this is just the beginning. This series won’t be specific to people using technology on Mac computers or Apple products. For just this one series, I’m going to include everything I can my hands on that shows the effects of accessible, partially accessible, and inaccessible technology, including showing and discussing how difficult it is for us to work around inaccessibility.

For a start, I want you to go and read about why closed captioning makes a big difference to online video. Go read it now, and then come back.

Now imagine that 99.9% of all the videos on the internet are like that for you; that they make no sense without the captions. That’s one thing that happens to people who’ve lost most or all of their hearing, and those who have an auditory processing disorder or disability such as aphasia.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Insurers Fight Speech-Impairment Remedy

SAN FRANCISCO — Kara Lynn has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., which has attacked the muscles around her mouth and throat, removing her ability to speak. A couple of years ago, she spent more than $8,000 to buy a computer, approved by Medicare, that turns typed words into speech that her family, friends and doctors can hear.

Student-athlete works his way back from brain injury

By Jonathan Raymond Globe Correspondent / September 20, 2009

By Jonathan Raymond Globe Correspondent / September 20, 2009
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And 10 months after being hit, he was back on a basketball court, suiting up as a small forward for the Hamilton-Wenham varsity boys’