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Computer Access Software Solutions for Persons with Visual Impairment and Learning Limitations. Dan Smith Hines VA Hospital Blind Rehabilitation Center. The Problem: Access Technology is Now a Goal for Veterans Right Here Right Now.

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Computer access software solutions for persons with visual impairment and learning limitations

Computer Access Software Solutions for Persons with Visual Impairment and Learning Limitations

Dan Smith

Hines VA Hospital

Blind Rehabilitation Center


The problem access technology is now a goal for veterans right here right now
The Problem: Access Technology is Now a Goal for Veterans Right Here Right Now

  • Regardless of age, concomitant disability, or learning barriers, veterans with visual impairment and blindness need to communicate using the modalities of this “FacebookMe” – “EmailMe” – “TextMe” – “SkypeMe” – Ultra-Portable era.


Demographics of a va blind rehab center
Demographics of a VA Blind Rehab Center Right Here Right Now

  • Contrasting populations on a wide continuum

    • Although some have passed away there are still many aging WWII and Korean Conflict veterans

    • Viet Nam Era veterans reaching retirement age are experiencing disabilities associated with aging, including vision loss

    • Limited (10%) but steady numbers of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) service members, often with traumatic head injury.


What are the barriers to some veterans
What are the barriers to some veterans? Right Here Right Now

  • Lack of exposure to computer technology and concepts

  • Difficulty with sensory integration—too much input

  • Difficulty remembering shortcuts & multi-step processes

  • Slow, tentative typing & difficulty using a mouse

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Impaired hearing

  • Diminished or impaired memory…………………


How do we achieve best access technology fit for veterans
How do we achieve best Access Technology fit for Veterans ? Right Here Right Now

  • VIST Assessment prior to referral

  • Screening and telephone interviews

  • Skill & goal assessment on admission

  • Typing assessment

  • Review the strengths and weakness of solutions (see chart below)

  • Select technology to meet goals


Veterans commonly stated goals for training
Veterans’ Commonly Stated Goals for Training Right Here Right Now

  • Send and receive e-mails

  • Write a letter or document

  • Browse the Internet to respond to “For more information go to WWW…”

  • Download NLS Books

  • Manage my finances

  • Scan pictures

  • Use Skype


Failure is not an option
Failure is not an option Right Here Right Now

  • Solutions Explored

    • Teach ZoomText or JAWS

      • Simplify and repeat, repeat, repeat

      • Provide extensive custom step by step reference material

    • Partially meet their goals

      • Provide scan and read OCR device

    • Provide a simpler choice

      • VoiceNote

      • iPad, iPhone

      • Guide or Guide Hands Free

      • CDesk (Still being explored)

      • SAMNet


Guide and guide hands free access solution
Guide and Guide Hands Free Access Solution Right Here Right Now

  • Formerly produced and marketed by Software Express

  • Now a product of Dolphin Technologies

    • USA Dealers -- EVAS

    • Guide ~ $800

    • Guide Hands Free with Dragon Preferred ~$1500


Guide tm
Guide Right Here Right NowTM

  • Runs on Windows XP or Windows 7

  • Suppresses most of Windows messages and clutter

  • Menu-driven: Simple step-by-step menus

  • Requires recognition of menu choice rather than memorization of complex keystrokes or multiple steps

  • Native combined magnification and speech output


The guide main menu
The Guide Main Menu Right Here Right Now


Guide meets veteran goals
Guide meets veteran goals Right Here Right Now

  • Writing Letters and Documents

  • Email Communication

  • Internet Browsing

  • Simple Contact Management

  • Calendar with Reminders

  • CD, MP3, DVD Player

  • News Feeds: FOX News, CBS News, Etc.

  • Scan and Read Printed Material

  • Magnify Handwriting and Pictures

  • Access NLS Book Download


Deciding who will benefit from guide
Deciding who will benefit from Guide Right Here Right Now

Guide software is often an effective alternative to interacting with the full Windows environment for some veterans. The following challenges can be indicators to teach Guide:


Guide assessment cont
Guide Assessment (Cont.) Right Here Right Now

  • The veteran has short-term memory problems.

  • The complexity of the GUI environment is difficult for the veteran.

  • The veteran has difficulty navigating and orientating the physical keyboard and hotkey combinations.

  • The veteran shows evidence of frustration or discouragement of his progress.


Assessment for guide hands free
Assessment for Guide Hands Free Right Here Right Now

  • Medical reason why typing is not possible

  • Above indicated assessment results

  • Guide HF still requires reasonably consistent speech patterns

  • Consistent speech cadence

  • Memory for speech commands

  • Patience

  • Willing to play with the toys in the sand box


Case studies mr r
Case Studies, Mr. R Right Here Right Now

  • Goals

    • Refresh all training from previous computer program

    • Create documents and envelopes

    • Scan and read documents

    • Send, reply, and forward e-mail

    • Access the internet and save favorite sites


Case studies mr r cont
Case Studies, Mr. R (Cont.) Right Here Right Now

  • Why Guide?

    • The complexity of the GUI environment was very difficult for the veteran

    • The veteran had difficulty navigating and orientating the physical keyboard and hotkey combinations due to stroke

    • The veteran was becoming frustrated due to lack of progress


Guide success case studies ms e
Guide Success Case Studies, Ms. E Right Here Right Now

  • Goals

    • Use email for correspondence as secretary for a national association

    • Create envelopes and labels

    • Scan and read documents and letters

    • Access the internet for limited searches


Ms e cont
Ms. E (Cont.) Right Here Right Now

  • Why Guide Hands-free?

    • Neuropathy in fingers made typing impossible

    • She did have patience to learn and was willing to play with the toys in the sand box


Ms e cont1
Ms. E (Cont.) Right Here Right Now

  • Challenges

    • Speech patterns posed an issue in teaching Guide HF

    • Memory for speech commands was marginal


A quick look at samnet
A Quick Look at Right Here Right NowSAMNet


Samnet menu continued
SAMNet Right Here Right Now Menu Continued


Why choose samnet
Why Choose Right Here Right NowSAMNet

  • Internet based environment that is readily tested and updated

  • Very easy access to e-mail

  • Specially adapted access to various internet sites and features, i.e., news, described video service, blogs, movies, podcasts, and sports


Samnet continued
SAMNet Right Here Right Now Continued

  • Free to Veterans

  • $129.00 per year for general public

  • Can be used with enlargement or screen reading software for PC or as hybrid with Guide

  • Desktop access at user’s cost

  • Free 30 day trial


Case study samnet mr g
Case Study Right Here Right NowSAMNet, Mr. G

  • Mr. G. had extensive history with Zoomtext, but had new vision losses

  • Veteran was struggling remembering commands

  • Veteran was happy with Guide, but disappointed with the Guide Internet Browser


Case study samnet mr g continued
Case Study Right Here Right NowSAMNetMr. G, Continued

  • Veteran was pleased with the straightforward options with SAMNet

  • Since options on the portal were tested, they worked more smoothly

  • User feedback and tweeking helps keep the browsing trouble free


A quick look at cdesk
A Quick Look at CDESK Right Here Right Now

CDesk Personal $395.00 , CDesk Mobile $595.00


Why choose cdesk
Why Choose Right Here Right NowCDesk

  • More Mouse friendly with options for keyboard shortcuts.

  • Provides more complete word processing options (Open Office)

  • Provides easy access to Digital Book Downloads (BARD, NLS, Bookshare)

  • Less expensive software


Demonstration
Demonstration Right Here Right Now

  • E-Mail and Internet Demonstration

    • Guide

    • Guide Handsfree

    • SAMNet

    • CDesk


Resources
Resources Right Here Right Now

Guide, Guide Hands Free

EVAS WWW.evas.com

39 Canal Street

Post Office Box 371

Westerly RI 02891

(401) 596 3155

CDESK

AdaptiveVoice LLC.  www.adaptivevoice.com

25286 Adelanto 

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677 

(949) 436-7760


Resources cont
Resources (Cont.) Right Here Right Now

System Access Mobile Network

Serotek Corporation www.serotek.com

1128 Harmon Place, Suite 310

Minneapolis, MN 55403

(866) 202-0520


Thank you
Thank You! Right Here Right Now

Thank you for attending this AER Conference session!