Author Archive

AT Tools in Virtual Reality

A row of people wearing VR headsets.

A couple months ago we started talking about some of the ways in which Virtual Reality (VR) can be used as AT. Today we’re going to take things even further and look at specific areas of difficulty that these apps might address, as well as making specific app recommendations. And while there are a few competing VR devices on the market, the Metaquest 3 is the most popular VR device available right now, and the apps that we are looking at today are all compatible with the Metaquest 3 headset.

The great thing about these apps is that they provide persons with disabilities with alternative means of access to the internet as well as providing alternatives to studying, socializing, meditating, traveling, and more. In short, VR allows individuals who are challenged by a wide variety of disabilities to have experiences that would otherwise be out of reach.

Let’s take a look at some of the VR experiences that are currently available online:

Social Interactions – Some of the most popular VR experiences around right now are essentially VR-based chat rooms, where users can chat with each other via digital avatar all while exploring the often intricately designed VR chat world. And while VR Chat is by far the most popular chat experience, Rec room offers a more gaming-focused experience that still encourages lots of chatting and socialization.

Best Chat App: VR Chat

Best Social App: Rec Room

Mindfulness and Exercise – When you’re in a wheelchair or face similarly restrictive physical disabilities, maintaining your physical self (not to mention your mental health) is especially difficult. Thankfully there is no shortage of VR apps designed to help you move your body as well as to practice mindfulness.

Best Exercise App: Beat Saber

Best App for Mindfulness: Kayak VR: Mirage

A screenshot of Kayak VR Mirage gameplay showing a first-person view of riding a kayak.

Pictured Above: Kayak VR Mirage Gameplay

Education – Educational games within the VR environment are becoming more and more common, and there’s some very exciting advances in VR Education that are worth mentioning.

Best VR Language App: ImmerseMe

Best Language Experience App: Mondly VR

Best VR Math App: Math World VR

Virtual Experiences – The ability to experience the world without leaving the house is one of the biggest hallmarks of VR technology. And for people who struggle with social anxiety, being able to virtually explore their world safely is one of most attractive aspects of VR Technology. These apps can really help alleviate the stresses associated with trying new experiences, and there is no shortage of incredible virtual experiences being offered right now.

Most Educational Experience: Google Expeditions

Most Helpful Real-Life Simulator: Job Interview Simulator

This post originally appeared on the AT Help Desk website.

“I’ve Found My Day to Day Less Stressful,” Andrew Says Thanks to WorkBC Assistive Technology Services

A man cleans a glass window.

Andrew is a Building Service Worker, doing custodial work, minor plumbing work, as well as miscellaneous tasks at a shelter.

“I have a moderate to moderately severe hearing loss,” he shares. “This loss has greatly affected my employment and type of employment. I’ve gravitated towards jobs in which I can be primarily left to my own devices. This often is isolating, and limiting in scope of jobs.”

ClickUp Collaboration Tool

A woman uses a laptop, while writing down notes.

Whether you are a student or a professional, you will likely be asked to collaborate with others at some point. And in 2023, teamwork typically takes place in a digital environment. Certainly, the recent pandemic taught us that remote collaboration was not only possible, but in some cases even ideal. This technology allows us to work when and where we want, and it allows us to do it in a way that works best for each individual.

And while we’ve looked at some great collaboration apps in the past — Microsoft Teams is a great example — it’s always worth looking at alternative options since each person’s software preference is unique to their specific learning style.

“I Can Hear My Clients Clearly,” New Hearing Aids Help Michelle on the Job

A woman talks on her phone at her desk.

Michelle works at a travel company on Vancouver Island. Her job involves talking a lot with customers over the phone.

However, Michelle has hearing loss which made it difficult to accurately hear her clients.

Her audiologist at Hear Inc recommended she apply to WorkBC Assistive Technology Services for help funding a new pair of hearing aids. She applied and was quickly approved.

Spoken AAC

An adult women and a little girl smile at each other while each touching their chins in a speech exercise.

Today we’re going to look at a simple, yet elegant AAC app that could be very helpful for individuals who struggle with speech, processing, social interactions, and more. Spoken AAC is an augmentative and alternative communication app that is available for iOS and Android. It requires no specialized hardware and instead harnesses the power of your smartphone to do what it needs to do.

Charles Levasseur Receives CAOT Citation Award

Alain (right) presenting Charles (left) with the award.

Neil Squire Regional Manager Charles Levasseur was honoured to receive the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Citation Award.

Atlantic Region staff presented the award to Charles during a surprise team meeting on Tuesday.

The CAOT Citation Award acknowledges the contribution to the health and well-being of Canadians by an agency, program, or individual within each province/territory, who is not an occupational therapist. Charles was nominated by the New Brunswick Association of Occupational Therapists.

Charles has worked for Neil Squire for over 20 years, and since 2011, Charles has established several special assistive technology projects for the New Brunswick government. He also developed the AT Help Desk, an assistive technology help line for New Brunswickers with disabilities. He currently sits as chair for the avenueNB Cooperative, which brings more than 20 service providers across the province of New Brunswick together to provide more consistent and more accessible services and increased educational opportunities.

“I Have Experienced a Noticeable Improvement in My Job Performance”

A person types on a computer.

Carolyn coordinates and oversees administrative tasks, covering everything from human resources, finance, keeping the office organized, event planning, project coordination, and health and safety compliance. However, she was facing a barrier at work with her hearing loss.

“Communication is the biggest challenge that impacts me,” she explains.

Her audiologist at Amplifon referred her to WorkBC Assistive Technology Services for funding for new hearing aids.

Honouring Indigenous Disability Awareness Month

Text: November is Indigenous Disability Awareness Month #IDAM2023

This November, we honour Indigenous Disability Awareness Month.

Indigenous peoples of Canada experience a disability rate significantly higher than that of the general population. Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) brings awareness of these barriers and the issues that Indigenous peoples living with disabilities and their families face every day. More importantly though, in spite of these barriers, IDAM celebrates the achievements of Indigenous peoples living with disabilities and recognize the significant and valuable contributions they make to our communities socially, economically, and culturally every day.

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