Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2nd Chance to See Push Girls

By Rosemarie Punzalan, CFILC's Training Specialist

If you missed last week's Push Girls: Exclusive First Look show don't worry! You can still catch the first look show times that are scheduled this week. If you have not heard of Push Girls, may I suggest you set your DVR (if you have one) to set your recording so that you don't miss it! Push Girls is a reality television series on Sundance Channel. It is about four beautiful inspiring women in Los Angeles, California who have been paralyzed through a car accident or an illness. Season 1 of the series tells the story of their lives in Hollywood and episode 1 premieres in June 5, 2012!

Below is a video of the First Look: Push Girls:

To learn more about Push Girls, go to http://www.sundancechannel.com/push-girls/.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FREE refurbished computers with GNU/Linux operating system

by Rachel Anderson, CFILC's Information & Assistance Advocate. Rachel regularly answers AT-related inquiries from people throughout California. Below is an answer to one of her calls.

Q: My computer crashed awhile ago. As I am looking for work and on a fixed income, I don’t think I will be able to purchase a new one. Do you know of any funding for technology for people with disabilities? Also, what can I do with my old broken computer?


Computer-less but Tech-savvy

A: Dear Computer-less but Tech-savvy,

Have you heard of the Alameda County Computer Resource Center? Or their sister facility, the Marin Computer Resource Center? Both recycle household electronics and give away free refurbished computers to schools, non-profit organizations, economically disadvantaged individuals and people with disabilities.

The refurbished computers use a free software GNU/Linux operating system that uses some different accessibility programs than the standard operating systems, so if you are looking for visual or mobility accessibility features such as screen readers, magnification, keyboard modifiers or voice recognition, check out the Ubuntu Linux site with links and solutions on accessibility issues for Linux users.

The best part is both programs are eligible to all Californians – not limited to county residents. You will have to pay for the shipping of the computer if you can’t pick it up, but it shouldn’t run much more than $35. You can find the application on their website – wait times vary based on demand and donations.

Furthermore, ACCRC and MCRC are always looking for donations of older computers or other electronics for their training program that teaches volunteers to refurbish computers and recycle old electronics. California's Electronic Waste Recycling Act makes it free to recycle your monitors and TVs (CRTs) at no charge. In fact, you can recycle printers, VCRs, stereos, phones, microwaves, toaster ovens, blenders, and coffee-makers and more, plus all of their accessories – working or not, they will take it. 

If you have AT-related question, contact the AT Network's Information and Referral line at 800-390-2699 or info@atnet.org.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Experience Using Natural Reader

By Elizabeth Pope, Graduate Student at San Jose State

It has been seven months since I landed in San Jose. Being a graduate student at San Jose State, working part-time, and sitting on the city’s Disability Advisory Commission keeps me busy.

I do a lot of research. I am taking Public Administration classes that involve reading articles that range from three pages to forty or more.

I started using Natural Reader last month. I met with my academic advisor. She mentioned looking into assistive technology to improve my studying. I agreed. I wanted to incorporate it into my learning environment.

I made an appointment at the Center for Accessible Technology at San Jose State. When I was shown Natural Reader, I enjoyed the efficiency of it. Natural Reader is a professional text-to-speech program. It allows the conversion of written text into spoken word. It allows you to listen to the text instead of reading the screen. I do both. I pull up the document that I placed the text in and follow along. For those who like to learn by hearing and seeing, this is a perfect fit.

It has been a tremendous asset for graduate school. The best part is the ability to change fonts, voices, and to press the start, stop, pause, and save documents. All the buttons are large. It makes it much easier for people with visual impairments who use a zoom text reader. It helps with my listening, reviewing, and repeating skills.

The other great thing is it is compatible with MacBooks and PCs. It is a useful tool for those who have visual impairments. I have had great success with it. I can type, listen and get quotes within minutes.

You can download Natural Reader at: http://www.naturalreaders.com/free_version.htm

Elizabeth Pope is a former Youth Advocate for CFILC and YO! Disabled and Proud. She is attending San Jose State University as a first year graduate student studying Public Administration and is a Program Coordinator for World Enabled Pineda Foundation for Youth, City of San Jose Disability Advisory Commissioner, and is the Vice President of her Disability Student Association. In her spare time, she enjoys running, working out and yoga.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

iPad Funding Tips & Resources

Whether you want an iPad for communication, learning, work, school, as an accessibility tool or just for fun, you might find it challenging to figure out how to pay for it. Check out the five websites listed below to find a variety of different iPad funding tips and resources. 

iTaalk.org's funding page Grant sources, raffles, giveaways, and scrappy suggestions for self-funding are available at this comprehensive page of iPad funding resources. 

"5 Steps to Getting An iPad Covered by Insurance; A mom's story of success" Step-by-step guide for approaching your insurance company for an iPad as AAC. iHelp for Special Needs Founded by parents, iHelps raises funds for children with disabilties to receive iPads and apps for communication, life skills, and social skills.

Danny's Wish is accepting applications for iPads for children with autism and autism spectrum disorders. Their goal is to raise $50,000 for 100 iPads for children most in need. 

ACT Today! Autism Care and Treatment provides grants between $100 and $5,000 to families with children on the autism spectrum (and they have funded many iPads). Families with more than one child on the autism spectrum are considered first. Grants are made quarterly.

Do you have any iPad funding resources or tips to share? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. 

Thank you to AT Program News for sharing these links.