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Future Ideas from Students for Assistive Technology

At the end of April I had a post about how my Computer Applications students were learning about disabilities and assistive technology.  The focus of their learning was on Stephen Hawking.  One of the assignments/challenges that I had them complete was to come up with creative ideas for assistive technology tools that could be used by special education students.  The goal was for them to come up with ideas that can make learning or life experiences easier for students.  Below are some of the outcomes from this project.

The Universal Universe Remote

Alissa T. designed a technology device she coined the “Universal Universe Remote.”  She ‘invented’ this device for individuals who have been paralyzed from the waist down.  These users would still need ability to use their arms and hands.  It would be shaped like a remote control and allow the user to control household items like a cell phone, home phone, lights, doors, and household appliances like the washer, shower, toilet, and sinks.  I would be able to turn appliances on and off (or flush), or assist in completing the task from a distance.  Her idea would also be great for any other users with mobility issues or accessibility issues for reaching household items.

The Sonar Detector Suit

Corrine S. invented the “Sonar Detector Suit.”  This suit was created for individuals who are blind.  It is a waterproof wet suit that has built in technology to detect the edges of a pool.  This would allow blind people to swim laps in a pool.  When the swimmer was close to the edge of the pool or near another object the suit would vibrate.  Depending on the item detected and distance, it would vary in vibration or in intensity.  This would allow blind people to swim more independently.

The Image Creator & The E-Talk

Dan S. developed a complex device to help individuals who are blind called the “Image Creator.”  This small device would be an implant that would be surgically inserted into the brain.  It would then be connected to a video camera device that would be implanted to the outside of the skull.  It would then transmit the images into their mind.  The users would then be able to have freedom of mobility be more secure.  This would help to increase their independence.  A similar device was created by Dominique S.  Her device implanted into the brain would allow individuals with the inability to speak to share their thoughts.  The device would read the mind and then it would be spoken out through a computer device.  There would be a feature to make sure that all of their thoughts wouldn’t be heard if they didn’t want them to be.

The Sign-Phone

Josefina B. created a device that has a lot of potential given today’s current developments of technology.  She designed a cell phone that has the ability to include a video phone/web cam style feature.  This would allow individuals with hearing impairments to ‘speak’ over the phone using sign language.

I hope you enjoyed these inventive ideas. Please feel free to pass along any of these great ideas to any inventors and entrepreneurs out there!  My students and I would love to see them help out individuals with disabilities all around the world in the future!

Article by Laura Ketcham

Free Teacher Resources | Special Education by MangoMon

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Win $2000 in the Sketch-A-Space Competition for Students with Autism

 

www.easterseals.com

Easter Seals and Google SketchUp are teaming together to help make spaces more accessible to students with autism in the Easter Seals’ Sketch-A-Space Competition. $2000 to design your ideal, dream space is up for grabs for students with autism, students interested in learning more about autism, or students who have someone in their life that lives with autism (aged 13 and older). The Sketch-A-Space Competition aims to raise awareness about autism while helping students express their creativity. Google SketchUp has become very popular for students with autism since many autistic students are visually and spatially gifted and are well-crafted in creating 3-D models.

How to Win $2000 for Your Dream Space

To enter, students must use Google SketchUp’s free 3-D modeling software to design their dream space.

Step 1: Browse the competition rules. If the student is under the age of 18, parent or guardian approval must be granted. Note, there are four categories of competition.

  1. Youth with Autism: individuals with autism age 13-17.
  2. Adult with Autism: individuals with autism age 18 and over.
  3. Youth: individuals without autism age 13-17.
  4. Adult: individuals without autism age 18 and over.

Step 2: Create your dream space in the Google Site Template. Don’t forget to name and save the entry page. Be creative if you are in it to win it!

When designing your space, keep in mind the unique needs of students with autism. Here are some interior design resources for students with autism provided by Easter Seals.

  1. Advancing Full Spectrum Housing:  Designing for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF).
  2. Opening Doors:  A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with Autism and related Disorders (PDF) (Chapter Six specifically addresses design needs)
  3. Design + Autism.
  4. Classroom Design for Living and Learning with Autism.
  5. Individuals with autism may present with a variety of sensory needs.  The following site has information about how these needs may present in individuals with autism and how they might be addressed.

Step 3: Submit the Sketch-A-Space competition entry by July 16, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Step 4: Await the results. Winners will be notified no later than September 1, 2010. Entries will be judged on a variety of categories including how innovative the design, how the design addresses the unique needs of students with autism, thoughtful use of materials, and the quality of the SketchUp model.

Step 5: Accept your prize! 3 of the four finalists will receive $1000 to a home design/home improvement store. One grand prize winner will receive $2000 to a home design/home improvement store.

Free Teacher Resources | Special Education by MangoMon

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