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.
We’ve briefly touched on AAC devices in the past, but due to the complicated nature of speech and language pathology, we tend to point potential AAC users towards the New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists. That being said, while the app that we are looking at today does technically fall under the category of AAC, it’s broad enough in functionality that it’s definitely worth talking about today. Not to mention, compared to the more advanced AAC apps and devices available, this app is considerably more user-friendly.
We know that not every teacher is aware of what Neil Squire does. Some of you may have never taught a student who required assistive technology, and some of you may be new to the profession. For that reason, we wanted to take some time to look at some of the services that we provide to schools in New Brunswick.
Technology not working? Try these steps!
We Have Solutions! – Episode 11: Speech Loss, New Technology, and App Recommendations with Nakia Singh
On this episode we are joined once again by Nakia Singh. We explore some interesting new assistive technology apps and devices including a solar powered keyboard, a distraction-free browser, a wearable metronome and more. We also explore a new case study involving an individual dealing with speech loss at an advanced age.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and scanning apps are great for capturing and digitizing physical text such as documents, whiteboards, textbooks, and more. We’ve already mentioned Office Lens, PrizmoGo, and other OCR apps in previous e-bulletins, but when it comes to OCR apps (and AT in general) it’s always good to have multiple options at hand in case one app works better than the other.
Today we’re going to look at Adobe’s free OCR app, Adobe Scan. To use Adobe Scan, you simply open the app, select the type of text you would like to capture, and hit the camera button. Supported text formats include whiteboard, book, document, ID card, and business card.
When it comes to PC-based writing and reading tools, there’s no shortage of choices, and we’ve covered plenty of those apps in past e-bulletins. But what about when you need a more mobile solution, perhaps something that works with Android tablets or iPads? Today, we’re going to look at a premium text-to-speech app that has a range of useful features for reading and writing on the go.
ClaroSpeak Plus is a premium reading and writing app with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities, which means that this app can turn a piece of paper or page from a textbook into digitized text which can then be read aloud. This is especially helpful for students with unique learning challenges, but there’s no one who WOULDN’T benefit from having this kind of technology in the classroom, on the job, or even at home.
We’ve said many times before that the Apple iPad is one of our favorite platforms due to its many built-in accessibility features. But what if those built-in features aren’t quite enough? What if you need a bit more of your iPad but you still want to use the apps that you are most familiar with?
Enter Read&Write, a literacy app that functions as a keyboard replacement/enhancer. The app is designed to support reading, writing, comprehension, and vocabulary development, and it does so within the apps that you’re already used to using, from documents and presentations to email and browsers. The app is helpful to a wide range of individuals including persons with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or dysgraphia, persons with mobility challenges, and ESL students.
For those who aren’t aware, screen readers are apps that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen via speech or braille display. A few weeks ago, we learned about the NVDA screen reader, and we found it to be a great free tool that gets the job done at an unbeatable price. Today however, we’re going to look at a premium-priced screen reader that comes with a much bigger price tag, but also offers a much wider variety of functionality and features.
We don’t spend a lot of time talking about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) apps, and that’s for a couple reasons. First, AAC apps and hardware are typically recommended by speech-language pathologists. The other reason is that these devices are also highly specialized, and quite expensive, so it’s not always easy to get our hands on the latest and greatest AAC hardware.
Today however, we’re going to look at an AAC app that costs a fraction of the price of a typical piece of AAC hardware, while still providing users with what they need to effectively communicate with the outside world. Proloquo2Go is a symbol-based AAC app for iPad that is designed for persons with speech difficulties, autism, cerebral palsy, and other fine-motor based disabilities, as well as a wide variety of communication-based challenges.