AT Conference in Manchester, April 2018
The focus of this conference asked several questions, What is the biggest issue? Is it finding the technology? Is it keeping up with what’s new? These questions were the start of the discussions to allow Empowering Independence. My notes below were taken at the conference so I will have missed out some aspects and this is only my opinion.
British assistive technology association www.bataonline.org for more information.
Ability magazine as another Assistive Technology resource.
What are the barriers to acquisition and adoption? It is important to discuss the benefits and barriers and how to integrate Assistive Technology into people’s lives.
Overall AT enables people to live independently.
Smart devices are becoming mainstream.
The ageing population is also driving development and demand.
13m disabled in the UK
Only a fifth are born with their disability.
2m sight impairments
2m use hearing aids
Gives people self-confidence, e.g being to use a magnifier software to do studies
Enables people to reach potential
Boosts engagement among learners
Participation in society
Portability with technology allows more independence
Systems being used by non-disabled people
Universal design allows a wider market and customer satisfaction
Subtitles on YouTube
Alt text on twitter
iPhone as almost a necessity
Can be difficult to use
Students have a £200 charge when they have an assessment. This was discussed and currently, the BATA are trying to get this removed as it was shown that many students can not afford to pay so they then don’t get the help that they need and that should be their right.
AT can be more expensive if there is lower production runs
Sometimes there is a need for telephone support
Mainstreaming has lower the costs for some devices in the public that can also be used for AT needs
ATAI – the USA version
Looking to introduce better training in AT, there isn’t a ‘course’ as such
by David Brown, AT Coordinator
250 people every day find out they are losing their sight
Emotionally this is a process that vi people have to go through. RNIB may be a first point of contact and a support network is needed. ECLOs are placed with each assessor to assist.
Why is tech important?
Avoids exclusion, access to facilities: banking shopping, research, social media, relationships, finding relationships, government websites, travel
Keeping up with peers & employment
Avoiding loneliness especially with rural areas, the family may have moved away and similar
Video call can aid this process or voice calls
Many low-cost solutions
The internet of ‘everything’
How can the technology make a real difference in people’s lives
Sensory impairment was included in the online today project, to make a practical difference to everyday life.
Many sight loss conditions is due to age, 60+ most of us will know family or friends who suffer from vision loss
Loss of reading for yourself (2001) access to talking books library – now 70k books+ also Audible offers similar
Not wanting to rely on other people for your life
How to enable independence
PREVIOUSLY: Costs would have included a pc, software and regular updates, and training to use these devices and programs
Especially in the rehabilitation process when people may not want access to work.
Just as a way to inform themselves and not rely on others, lots to process
There may be other injury or reasons why altered use of technology e.g lack of using a hand or similar, shakes, sensitivity
Financial and training / learning process was the biggest barrier to AT
Having to work in a non-visual way
However, iPhone (10 years?) Changed a lot of that, provided a device with AT build in it.
Initially: was panic about how the hell to use a flat screen with no ‘touch’? When the use of smartphones and tablets started to become popular, there was an initial feeling of panic that there would be no way for a visually impaired person to access things on it, without being able to ‘touch’ buttons.
iOS has AT which is continually developed
Updates add more features
Financially now on the same footing as a person with vision, no need for a third party software with a huge learning curve, or expense
Now also Android, magnification, TalkBack, ok Google but was a slower journey
Device comparison, they are both now offering similar features
Zoom has display accommodations for different light filters which is a great improvement, especially for MD for example, inverting colours
Even without a tactile screen the gestures allow it to react
Previously it would be hundreds of keystrokes, which was a steep learning curve.
Now it is reduced to three main strokes, taps, pinches, drags
Text to speech has 6 was to access and interact with it, so knowing 9 gestures has allowed a huge difference.
Amazon echo Alexa, Google home ok Google, apple home pod
Seeing AI – Microsoft
Use Siri > Open seeing AI
For text, photos, information, barcodes
And handwriting, faces
MagX, Soundscape, be my eyes is also on android
STANDARDS Paul Finch
Quality safety innovation
British standards institute
Quality standards frameworks
Information about a fire in 1968 tower block and the corgi registration
(Note) the presenter is using images but is not explaining what is on screen for VI people.
A fire example from using telecaster
Service user safety
Quality of service
Prevent rogue trading
QSF accreditation is a quality stamp, for safety for technology enabled care (TEC) services
Get accreditation to evidence your standards
10 standards listed, safety, the effectiveness of care, ethics, performance & contract management, partner working & integrated care, continuous improvement
This underpins the basics of the standards framework. Telecaster monitoring,
Service delivery modules
Mind view demo
Used for access to work
Mind mapping and can attach documents notes websites and similar.
Created a document translated from the mind map
Generated from the map, formatted and includes the attachments
AT scholarship to have access to this software and others
Demo: by Jason Gordon
Is the world changing fast? Will a child now days have a need to learn to drive? Is the pace moving fast?
Booking online with GP? Prescriptions? Are we keeping up with health and technology changes?
Apple watch, fitness tracker, being congratulated for standing up twelve times in a day
A challenge to government to help people keep up – everything is moving online – taxes, council tax, services etc
Does this exclude people? Literacy
1/10 people have dyslexia
Council website could be a barrier for people who have literacy issues, maybe English is the second language.
TextHelp is trying to eliminate this challenge and the barriers
It is vital that everybody understands information in an accessible format – NHS statement
An NHS for everyone – but what about literacy? Can people access their information
Accessible information standard
Safety issues, nonadherence of information isn’t understood
Literacy and language support
Browsealoud – product for websites
Supporting hidden disabilities (dyslexia) often found out later in life
Many emails and documents can lower productivity
People should be engaged and enabled to do their best
Can lower stress-related absences
Read&write productivity tool
Documents can be turned into an audio file, screen tint
TextHelp.com/read and write
Read webpages, emails, documents, scanned to word and paper-based to digital
Increased job satisfaction
Works at home, at work on the move, for all devices
Accessible technology for all
Sheffield University, Prof Luke deWitt
AAATE association for the advancement of assisting technology in Europe
Robotics for assisting, as limbs and as assisting
Helping children, elderly, other countries, third world projects
Gap with AT
Of real people and affordability
Only 10-15% of needs met
United Nations – conventions of the right of persons with disabilities
Article 20 personal mobility
Quality mobility aids,
Robotics, material sciences, sensor technology, e-health, m-health, wearables, internet of things, artificial intelligence, gaming, 3D printing, remote training
Never before in history has there been a time with so fast developments in technology
We can make almost anything
But – at the same time, it is increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to obtain proper technologies
Develop AT based on international standards
Based on models suitable in local contexts
Working together in networks,
Awareness raising, information provisions
Outreach in the community
Too much fragmentation still. Where do people go, what are the standards, who are the experts
What is the strategy?
Robust proven technologies, low-cost tech devices, international perspective
New devices based on emerging technologies
Priority assisting technology products list – 50 products that should be available in every country
Reduce the knowledge gap
The need for cutting-edge service delivery systems
To ensure people get access to what is available
High quality and covering the relevant domain of human functioning
Quality criteria 2012
Professionals involved in AT must be trained to a high level of expertise – is this available?!
Invest in low tech low-cost devices
Service delivery systems access for all
Best practices of service deliveries
(Notes: is there scope for a course / degree / foundation degree? What would this look like?) HCI or Computer Science? Or?
ACE centre – Anna Reeves
Augmentative and alternative communications
AT can be life-changing and is vital to independence
Mainstream technology versus choosing specialist equipment
Dave Allen – voice-activated home (1979s) comedy piece illustrates the thinking