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    Meet Emily: Using ProxTalker AAC to Teach/Learn Communication

    When we first met Emily, she was being taught to use switches to communicate mostly during her snack times. Emily didn't seem to have a meaningful connection with communication to others, but we knew she had a lot to tell us. We chose the ProxTalker because we were able to make three-dimensional tags that had voice output. This really helps make language come to life for Emily. We would rotate the tags out and bring in new choices every 4-5 trials, so that she could learn more tags. Emily is happy when she has her time throughout the day to use her device. Communication is becoming meaningful for her.

    LoganTech visits EASTCONN’s Assistive Technology Team

    Article by Joanne Lambert, M.S. CC-SLP - EASTCONN

    Glen Dobbs demonstrating the new waterproof keyboard with the EASTCONN Assistive Technology teamGlen Dobbs, the president and founder of LoganTech visited the Assistive Technology team at EASTCONN to provide a demonstration on a variety of Assistive Technology products. LoganTech was founded back in 2004 when Glen and his family experienced a need to identify an acceptable assistive technology solution for his son, Logan, who has autism and is nonverbal. Glen, the president of LoganTech, used his background in engineering to help to create a better way to communicate with his son and from that he created the well-known Logan® ProxTalker®.

    During Glen’s visit, he brought an array of products ranging from keyguards, mounting systems, AAC products, as well as a new waterproof keyboard. Glen demonstrated the products and the AT staff had the opportunity to interact with the array of products and ask questions.

    Members of the EASTCONN Assistive Technology team listen as Glen shares one of the LoganTech AAC devices; the Megabee®

    LoganTech’s headquarters is based out of Waterbury, Connecticut. The company is staffed by dedicated employees with and without disabilities. A full catalog for LoganTech is available which encompasses low to mid-tech AAC products and accessories, IPad Keyguards, mounting solutions and cradles as well as Braille learning and Braille labeling systems. If you visit the LoganTech website, you will find an array of resources including information on their products, upcoming events, free webinars, and access to their 4-Week “Try Me” Program. You can also request a demonstration at your school, agency, or business. A variety of other resources as well as access to their blog is also available at

    Why Braille is Important to Me - A Perspective on Braille Literacy from Someone Who Lost Her Sight Later in life

    Woman learning Braille with a friend

    Guest authored by: Karen Santiago, Founder & Editor of The Blind Perspective.

    Why is Braille important to me, especially as a person who lost the majority of my sight later in life? This is a question that many people may ask themselves. But for me, the answer was clear; it was for independence.

    Just like learning to read and write in your native language, Braille is a new language that takes time to learn. Yes, it may seem difficult, and frustrating while learning, but by sticking with it and practicing, it is possible.

    It took me about a year to learn Braille, and that's including contracted Braille. I remember getting children’s Braille books from the library and reading them to my girls. I then moved onto Braille novels and read them as well. It was great to be able to read again  and on my own.

    I use Braille to write letters to my Braille pen pals. I make Braille pictures which are called Braillables. Another great thing about knowing Braille is that I can Braille all my computer passwords another important numbers in a document that only I will know.

    I have always been a very organized person. I label everything I can so I know what it is. I purchased the 6dot Braille Label Maker, and I absolutely love it. The Braille that comes out of this little portable machine is so crisp and defined, it’s wonderful. Some of the many things I label include; appliances, files, mail, spices, food, and CD’s, to name a few.

    So by me learning how to read and write in Braille, I do not have to constantly rely on a sighted person for help. I am able to grab whatever ingredients I need to make my delicious pumpkin bread. I can do the laundry on my own since the knobs are all labeled. I can go through my CB’s to play the music I want to listen to. I can get a Braille book to read for pleasure, or to learn something new. It was learning Braille that allowed me to continue to be an independent person, just as I was as a sighted person.

    About the Author: Karen Santiago was diagnosed with Glaucoma at the young age of five and never let her low vision slow her down. She did everything a “normal” kid would do from driving a car to downhill skiing. She went to college and received a BS in Early Childhood Education. Then, worked for Head Start, ran a home daycare, and opened and was the director of a neighborhood preschool. Karen's vision deteriorated later in life, but after receiving mobility training, several courses with the Hadley school, and learning Braille she landed a job coordinating special fundraising events for Easter Seals of Massachusetts. In her "free time" Karen is the editor of The Blind Perspective, an online newsletter written and produced by a very passionate group of blind and visually impaired writers and techies. The Blind Perspective is in its third year of publication with an ever-growing group of followers.  

    Activity & Travel Tips for Happier, More Inclusive Holidays (Webinar)

    Activity & Travel Tips for Happier, More Inclusive Holidays (Webinar)

    We hosted a webinar entitled "Activity & Travel Tips for Happier, More Inclusive Holidays" this month, and it was a lot of fun. We gathered tips and activity ideas from teachers, parents and friends of people with disabilities and shared them during a live presentation on November 17th. 

    We shared ideas for holiday and winter-themed sensory play, activities for long trips, and ways to use assistive technology to allow children with disabilities to help out more with meal prep and cookie making. Then, we talked about new technology that makes it easier for people who are blind or visually impaired travel and locate luggage on a baggage carousel without assistance from fellow travelers or airline workers, and ways to bring multiple generations together using thoughtful iPad apps and interview books. 

    We invite you to watch the recorded webinar online (requires registration) and download the corresponding PowerPoint presentation. 

    How do you ensure everyone is equally involved in holiday fun and preparations? Do you have a go-to sensory play kit that you make up every year, or a special recipe that's easy for kids and adults with disabilities to help out with?

    We'd love to know what you do to make your holidays merry and bright for your friends and family with disabilities. Please comment below!

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