Celebrate National Assistive Technology Day!

cctv magnifier for low vision

Celebrate with ATR the FIRST National Assistive Technology Awareness Day!

Just a few weeks ago, the US Congress designated March 27th as National Assistive Technology Day. Assistive technology helps people of differing abilities communicate, learn, work and play. It helps people become more productive and independent, and is really a game changer for many.

There are many different kinds of assistive technology (AT).

Educational AT

Using the Polaris and Polaris Mini

AT for Home Independence

Low Vision and Blindness Solutions


At ATR, we are dedicated to helping individuals of all abilities achieve their goals and pursue independence.

Established in 1995, Adaptive Technology Resources (ATR) was founded with the mission to serve individuals with unique physical & mental barriers by providing the necessary tools for success. ATR has been providing solutions to schools, agencies, businesses, and individuals for over 20 years. We take pride in serving our community by developing individualized, complete solution packages that are cost effective and designed to allow our clients to quickly and efficiently achieve their specific goals!

ATR provides comprehensive evaluations, recommendations, and outcome based solutions to support vocational, IEP, and personal goals.

Assessments are conducted by our licensed occupational therapists and all training is provided by ATR’s certified trainers.

NEW QBraille XL from HIMS, Inc.

QBraille XL User

In case you haven’t heard, the QBraille XL is one of the hottest braille products available right now and people are taking notice.  A Unique Blend of a Perkins Keyboard and QWERTY Function Keys! QBraille XL represents an entirely new type of 40-cell Braille display. The QBraille XL replaces the need for special keystrokes with the intuitively placed function keys found on all QWERTY keyboards. With the QBraille XL, closing an application means simply pressing the dedicated and familiar Alt+F4 buttons.

Don’t take our word for it… Read the NFB Review: The Best of Both Worlds: The QBraille XL Almost Perfectly Blends a Braille Display and a USB Keyboard

Don’t have a QBraille XL yet?  If you think the QBraille XL might be the braille display you are hoping for but want to learn more, email us at Info@AdaptiveTR.com or call 1-800-770-8474 ext. 106 for a free demonstration.

QBraille XL User

Quality Quest: 

HIMS has just announce the latest firmware release for the QBraille. Several quirks were quelled, including Mac Quick Nav Commands. Quickly check out the details. I’m sure you won’t have any qualms. Updates:1. Improved support for Mac computers, including: connectivity, Caps Lock commands, keyboard layout, and arrow key combinations.2. Pressing Escape will now function the same as pressing Escape on a keyboard in Windows. Pressing Mode + Escape will toggle between computer braille and your chosen grade.3. Added One-Handed mode.4. Improved usability of several Windows key combinations. To update your firmware, please follow these instructions:1. Extract the zip file and copy the folder and files to the root of an SD card.2. Place the SD card in the QBraille and connect to USB power.3. Long press the Power button to perform a complete shutdown.4. Long press the power button again to boot the unit.5. The unit will automatically upgrade and reboot once more. 
Here are your download links: https://www.hims-inc.com/brailleproducts_06/

BrailleSense Polaris & the New Polaris MINI

Polaris and Mini

Setting the New Standard for Braille Notetakers — Effortless Accessibility + Mainstream Apps & Features

BrailleSense Polaris and Polaris Mini side-by-side

BrailleSense Polaris and Polaris MINI combine the very best of two worlds with industry-leading accessibility and software that schools, businesses and home users have come to know and love. These powerhouse devices for the blind feature HIMS’ popular, paper-like Braille, a built-in OCR camera, and an upgradeable Android Operating System that supports mainstream apps like Polaris Office, Google Drive/Docs/Classroom and countless numbers of other blind-friendly apps from the Google Play Store, as well as our own proprietary apps.

Equal Access for Education, Employment & Enjoyment

polaris mini with user and his family

For the first time in history, people who are blind have easy access to the same tools-of-the-trade as their sighted counterparts without the need to get the IT department involved at all! Surf the web with Google Chrome. Use Polaris Office with Word, or Google Docs/Sheets/Slides to compose and edit memos, reports and homework assignments. Collaborate with colleagues by sharing documents on your Google Drive or syncing your calendar to your employer’s Google Calendar. And when you get home, enjoy a much-deserved break, reading a book from BookShare, BARD, Audible.com and other popular media distribution services.

Not Just Another Notetaker… It’s a HIMS Notetaker!

polaris mini

BrailleSense fans will appreciate that we’ve kept some things the same as they always were. You’ll still enjoy our ergonomic Perkins-style keyboard, traditional computer interface, Quick Browser, Excel Viewer, PowerPoint Viewer, Nemeth & UEB Math, Math Graphs, GPS navigation and Terminal Mode for using the Braille Sense Polaris and Polaris MINI as a Braille keyboard and display with your other devices — we’ve just tucked it all neatly into a new device with even more features. The 32-cell BrailleSense Polaris also has a built-in LCD and screen-casting, Voice Trigger (“Hey Polaris”), wireless charging, touch-enabled cursor buttons and user-definable, touch-enabled multi-function buttons.

Flexible Connectivity & Multimedia Support

Connect BrailleSense Polaris and Polaris MINI to your computer, iOS device, Android device, tablet or phone for easier access. You can even use it as an infrared universal remote, and binge-watch your favorite show using Chromecast to your TV.

Packed with Features, Light on Frustration!

  • User-friendly, upgradeable Android operating system
  • Access to 1000’s of apps on the Google Play Store
  • Built-in 13-megapixel camera for OCR scan, read and save
  • Optimized apps for Google Drive, Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides & APH Nearby Explorer
  • Student Essentials like Math Graphs, Nemeth & UEB Math
  • Connectivity with iOS, Android, Mac & Windows devices
  • Easy portability – BrailleSense Polaris MINI weighs in at LESS THAN 15 ounces!

ATR logo

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.  ATR has been providing low vision rehabilitation services and devices to individuals with low vision since 1995.

ATR’s Low Vision Solutions

WHO WE ARE

ATR (Adaptive Technology Resources, Inc.) is a Wisconsin based company that has been providing adaptive solutions to individuals with disabilities since 1995. We specialize in hardware, software, training, and evaluation services for Blindness, Low Vision, Learning Disabilities, Mobility Impairments and Environmental Control.

 

Products & Services

Video magnification is a solution that can give individuals with low vision their independence once again when reading the printed word, recipes, prescription bottles and more. ATR has a variety of video magnification solutions to fit the individual’s needs including tabletop CCTVs, distance and self-viewing cameras, portable video magnifiers, iPad applications and handheld magnifiers.

Reading machines read text out loud for individuals with low vision. A variety of reading devices exist, from portable to desktop solutions and computer-based to standalone solutions. ATR has options to fit each users unique low vision needs.

Wearables provides the latest technology in text-to-speech and magnification eyeware. These products are considered breakthrough technology for the Visually Impaired as they bring independence in the form of wearable eyewear devices.

The benefit of working with ATR

ATR has provided consistent, dependable service for over 20 years offering quality products and services from a family owned and operated business. Friendly staff provide service, loyalty and satisfaction to all customers.

Onsite demonstrations of all low vision solutions are provided free of charge throughout Wisconsin.

Hear what others are saying about ATR……

“It is my pleasure to write a letter of recommendation based on my experience working with the ATR staff on a professional level, and seeing first hand the outcomes that my client’s are experiencing. The services that are provided in the convenience of the client’s home have been wonderful, with the focus of always finding the right device with the client’s specific goals and needs in mind. Excellent resource that I am happy to have!” Lindsey Angst, MS, OTR Prevea Health

“I had a very positive experience working with ATR. First off I wanted to work with a local company that could give my father hands on attention. Gabe DeLeon was very helpful and accommodating. He had a calm and pleasant approach and was skilled in working with elderly persons. ATR was willing to go above and beyond. I highly recommend this company to anyone professional or consumer looking for vision related products and services!” – Susan Winkelman, Colgate, WI

 

Gabe DeLeon – ATR’s Low Vision Service Provider

 

Gabe has been working with individuals with Low Vision throughout WI for over 10 years. His experience has extended to clients with a variety of low vision needs and ages. His patient, thorough, relaxed and caring training style have impressed many of his clients.

You can contact Gabe at 800-770-8474 EXT. 108 or via Email: Gabe@adaptivetr.com

Interested in NuEyes? Up to 50% may be covered by your insurance!

Under the health code V2615 you can get 50% of NuEyes covered!

Here is a link to the details : http://hcpcs.codes/v-codes/V2615/

You must contact your insurance company to see if there is coverage for the device under that particular CPT code. If so, you would purchase the device thorough ATR, receive your complementary training, and submit for reimbursement through your insurance provider. At this time ATR does not work directly with insurance companies for device purchases, but we are excited about this potential option for our customers!

NuEyes Smartglasses Products

NuEyes in partnership with ODG has revolutionized the future of head-worn display technology for the visually impaired. NuEyes Smartglasses allow you to live a much more independent life whether you are inside or outside of your home, at work, shopping, dining with your loved ones or watching a movie.

The Full HD camera in front of the smartglasses act as forward looking eyes, capturing live images and projecting them onto the lenses in front of your eyes. You can easily adjust the images colors, magnification and brightness to what works best for you.

Using hands-free features such as voice commands, voice recognition and Text To Speech, you can interact with your NuEyes glasses without any hassle. Your glasses can be configured to respond to your own individual needs.

 

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.  ATR has been providing low vision rehabilitation services and devices to individuals with low vision since 1995.

Upgrade Your Polaris to the Newest Firmware Today!

using polaris

HIMS is excited to announce their second BrailleSense Polaris upgrade.

Read about all the new features here!

HIMS will continue to provide frequent software releases throughout the next few months to address your feedback and concerns, and continue to tweak and improve the general operation of the BrailleSense Polaris.
This upgrade features many fixes and enhancements. Please find the complete list of fixes and improvements in the release note linked above.

Find the upgrade announcement here.

Use this link to directly download your firmware.

*Note: the upgrade process for Polaris is very different from that of the former BrailleSense models. Please read the step-by-step instructions in their entirety before proceeding.

You can update the Polaris either via an Internet connection or from external media containing the upgrade files. If you choose the “Online” method, be sure you have an active Internet connection before attempting the upgrade. When you update the Polaris, settings are usually maintained. However, if there are changes to setting values in the firmware, all settings will be initialized. Therefore, it is recommended that you back up your settings using the backup/restore utility in the “Polaris Settings” menu. Data in the flashdisk is protected. However, we recommend you backup your files before updating the Polaris Firmware as unexpected problems can occur.

 

 

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.  ATR has been providing low vision rehabilitation services and devices to individuals with low vision since 1995.

 

ATR’s Betsy Binney On the New HIMS BrailleSense Polaris

BrailleSense Polaris

“These are a few of my Favorite Things”… On The New HIMS BrailleSense Polaris

By Dr. Betsy R Binney, MBA, Ph.D.

Betsy Binney has been providing assistive technology training to visually impaired individuals for ATR since 2011. She received both her MBA and PhD from Marquette University in business, finance and economics. For nine years, Betsy was the Director of Technology for the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired in Madison, Wisconsin. There, she helped blind & visually impaired individuals use computers to enhance their lives and gain employment. Betsy also developed distance learning courses for blind users; created & presented classes on Web site accessibility to corporate clients; and designed the Council’s online Sharper Vision Store. She also served as Chair for the Assistive Technology Review Committee for Microsoft Corporation at the request of Bill Gates from 1995 to 2007. Betsy was diagnosed with juvenile onset diabetes when she was four years old. In February of 1993, she lost most of her useful vision to Diabetic Retinopathy. She has no vision in her left eye and a very small amount of residual vision in her right eye. The following are Betsy’s comments and review of the new Polaris notetaker from HIMS.

Battery Life

The HIMS flyer says the Polaris has 18 hours for battery life, which is phenomenal in its own right. On my initial test of the device I got 20 ½ hours using a Bluetooth keyboard and Wi-Fi! I was really impressed with this. I have a BrailleSense U2 and using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi I get about 12 hours.

Size

The BrailleSense Polaris has 32 cells of adjustable braille height, which is the same as the BrailleSense U2. However, the Polaris measures 9.66 x 5.66 x 0.39 inches! It’s only about 1/3 of an inch thick! It’s super lightweight at 1.65 pounds.

Display

Why on earth would a Braille Device have a display on it? Inclusion, Inclusion, Inclusion! The BrailleSense Polaris has an LCD high contrast screen on it so that it can be read by the sighted. It also has an HDMI port to hook into a monitor allowing the user to play presentations using the PowerPoint Viewer or Google Sheets.

Productivity

Preinstalled Apps include Polaris Office (Word, Slides, Sheets, E-mail), Web Browser, Terminal for Screen Reader, DAISY, File Manager, Schedule Manager, Address Manager, Calculator, Calendar, Media Player, Time & Date, Alarm, Stopwatch, and FM Radio. Optimized Apps include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive. These Apps can be synced with your existing Google accounts.

Apps

You can use the Google Play store to download additional apps. This can be done by going directly to the store from the Polaris. The Polaris links to iOS devices and Android devices. Touch gestures are also part of the BrailleSense Polaris. A user can use swiping and tap gestures right on the Polaris. This makes navigation a breeze.

Extras

Deaf-Blind clients will love the feature of using either a USB or Bluetooth keyboard to communicate with the hearing and sighted world. If you connect a keyboard with the BrailleSense Polaris, any person can communicate with the user. The BrailleSense Polaris supports conventional Braille in grades 1 and 2, Nemeth code, computer Braille and the latest Unified English Braille (UEB).

 

In summary, The BrailleSense Polaris is the missing link in mainstream schools that will allow students with a visual impairment to interact with other classmates. It will be a very useful tool for students and Vision Teachers alike.

 

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.  ATR has been providing low vision rehabilitation services and devices to individuals with low vision since 1995.

 

VizZle Success Story – Duval County Public Schools

The Problem: Supplying Online Learning Tools for Students with Special Needs.

The goal of any educator is to provide support for their students in a way that will inspire learning and personal growth. However, with a shortage of learning tools for students with special needs, many educators are challenged with supporting the unique needs of their students within and beyond the classroom. This is the problem that Dana Allen, an Instructional Program Support Representative of the district’s Communications and Social Skills (CSS) classrooms, faced in the North Florida school district of Duval County Public Schools. “Most of our students had access to home-based learning platforms, but our students with special needs didn’t have online learning tools that were tailored to meet their specific needs.”

With 128,702 students and 198 public schools, Duval County is ranked the 20th largest school district in the nation. Allen, alongside five other district-level employees, is responsible for reviewing data, collaborating with and supporting the teachers who implement Vizzle, overseeing program expectations, and creating teacher training and support within the district’s Low Incidence Programs. In an effort to support IEP objectives of the district’s 17,113 students with special needs, Duval County implemented Vizzle, an interactive, visual learning software, to enhance the district’s special needs classrooms by empowering teachers with lessons aligned to state standards and automatic student data collection.

The Solution: Using Vizzle Within and Beyond Special Needs Classrooms.

“Until recently, Vizzle was primarily used in our self-contained elementary programs,” said Allen. However, after seeing success in the Communication Social Skills (CSS) program, which is designed to service students with ASD or related cognitive disabilities, Duval County Public Schools made the decision to introduce Vizzle to all 16 elementary Site Schools that have the CSS programs as well as 8 elementary Site Schools with Support Level Academics (SLA) programs and in select self-contained middle school and high school classrooms. “The teachers who utilize Vizzle love it! They use it every day in the classroom and even encourage parents to log in at home so the students have learned the system pretty well, too.”

With a library of 15,000 interactive lessons and a user-friendly platform, teachers in the district use Vizzle to support individual IEP objectives with a personalized student experience. “The overall response to Vizzle has been positive and the system is beneficial to both the teachers and the students, which is our main goal.” In addition to the lesson library, Vizzle documents student success by automatically collecting data around lesson completion time and lesson scores.

The Result: Improved Learning Experience with Personalized, Interactive Lessons.

To ensure adoption, Duval County uses Vizzle’s reporting and tracking tools to monitor and gauge activity by both teachers and students. “I get a quarterly report that helps me see usage; my job is to make sure teachers are using Vizzle consistently,” explained Allen. “Ultimately, I want to see more teachers using Vizzle to assign individual lessons and more students logging on in the classrooms.” Allen has taken a unique approach to address this issue by offering rewards to the highest Vizzle user each quarter.

Duval County also plans to increase parent involvement by encouraging students to use Vizzle at home. Assigning lessons and activities over school breaks can help reinforce concepts to students and increase retention. Regardless of where or on what device students access Vizzle, their data is recorded and easily available for review or reporting by teachers and administrators. Vizzle is an effective tool for supporting teachers of special needs as it allows educators and administrators to easily assess student achievement. Teachers can then adjust lessons and activities in the classroom to further reinforce concepts and skills.

By using Vizzle, Duval County Public Schools are able to enhance classrooms with highly visual, interactive lessons tailored to meet the individual needs of students with special needs.

(article courtesy of Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc. – creators of VizZle)

VizZle makes it easy to create and share visual supports.  VizZle works for anyone who absorbs and processes information fast, visually.  Click the link below to learn more about this effective software.

Introduction to VizZle

 

For more information about VizZle, contact your midwest reseller, Adaptive Technology Resources, (ATR) at 800-770-8474.

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, VizZle and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.

Who We Are and What We Do

ATR logo

At ATR, we are dedicated to helping individuals of all abilities achieve their goals and pursue independence.

Established in 1995, Adaptive Technology Resources (ATR) was founded with the mission to serve individuals with unique physical & mental barriers by providing the necessary tools for success. ATR has been providing solutions to schools, agencies, businesses, and individuals for over 20 years. We take pride in serving our community by developing individualized, complete solution packages that are cost effective and designed to allow our clients to quickly and efficiently achieve their specific goals!

ATR provides comprehensive evaluations, recommendations, and outcome based solutions to support vocational, IEP, and personal goals.

Assessments are conducted by our licensed occupational therapists and all training is provided by ATR’s certified trainers.

Assisting Schools

ATR assists schools in finding effective solutions for students by way of assistive technology consultation, student evaluation, AT product sales, and AT implementation. ATR partners with Colleges, Universities, and K-12 Districts to help ensure that the investment in AT is not only a proper fit, but also a success!

Whether there are needs for an individual student, teacher, group of students, or for an entire campus; ATR is equipped to serve your specific areas of need.

In the Workplace

ATR works directly with businesses, job coaches, DVR counselors, and other involved parties to serve job seekers, existing employees, and employers! ATR is able to provide onsite job analyses with detailed evaluation reports. Our evaluations are adjusted to suit anyone’s unique needs related to workspace accessibility, ergonomic positioning, energy conservation, work simplification, chronic pain, visual access, etc. Our goals in the workplace are to remove employee barriers, increase efficiency, and improve overall workplace access. ATR is ready to work with you to achieve your goals in the workplace on an individual or corporate level.

In Your Home

Your home is a place of relaxation and should be an environment without barrier. ATR specializes in making homes accessible in every aspect. We are able to evaluate homes (single or multi-unit) and provide real solutions at affordable prices. Our solutions are created while taking your physical and financial needs into account. We are able to offer a range of solutions from simple (adapted utensils for home use) to complex (voice activation of lights, television, telephone, doors, computer systems, etc.) ATR works together with trusted, qualified contractors to assure we can provide a safe and complete solution to suit your unique needs!

Reach out to us at our main office to discuss how ATR can serve you!

tel: +1 (800) 770-8474 fax: +1 (262) 375-6777

email: info@adaptiveTR.com

www.adaptivetr.com

 

OrCam – Wearable Assistive Technology Solution For Vision

OrCam is the World’s Most Advanced Wearable Assistive Technology Solution for people who are blind, visually impaired, have dyslexia, aphasia or other conditions.

What is OrCam?

OrCam is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera designed to assist people who are visually impaired.

Easy to Use 

All you have to do is point.  OrCam responds to simple gestures making it easy to use – whether it’s to read, find an item or recognize a face or product.  No need to search for audio books, learn new software or use other tools.

Read

The OrCam device can read printed text, in real time.  You can read newspapers and books, signs, labels on consumer products and even text on a computer or smartphone screen.  Perfect for use at home and on the go.

Identify People

The OrCam device identifies known faces.  No more guessing – previously stored faces are identified and announced upon entering the camera’s view.  Less awkward situations, more control of your environment.

Recognize your personal items

Personalize your OrCam device by teaching it to recognize specific products around you.  Recognize previously entered consumer products, money notes and credit cards to make shopping and browsing quicker and easier.

 

A Personalized Experience

Each OrCam device is hand-delivered by a certified OrCam Trainer who will teach you how to use your new device. It arrives at your doorstep complete with all accessories included.

 

Gabe DeLeon – Adaptive Technology Resources (ATR) – Low Vision Solutions Specialist and Certified OrCam Trainer

For the past several years, Gabe has been working with individuals who are Blind or have Low Vision throughout Wisconsin.  Gabe’s focus is on our Veterans; working in conjunction with the Visual Impairment Services Teams throughout the VA System in Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee, Madison, and Tomah VA Centers.  Installing low vision and blindness equipment, training veterans on their use, and assessing what is in the best need of the Veteran are among Gabe’s goals.  His experience has extended to a variety of low vision clients of all ages and his patient, thorough, relaxed and caring training style have impressed many of his clients.

 

Lindsey Angst – Prevea Therapy Institute – MS, OTR/L, CLVT – Certified OrCam Trainer

Lindsey Angst

Lindsey Angst is an occupational therapist and the only Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT) in the state of Wisconsin north of Milwaukee and Madison.  She is also a Certified OrCam Trainer and has been working closely with ATR for many years.

 

 

Adaptive Technology Resources, ATR, of Southeastern Wisconsin provides adaptive products and services for clients with special needs, and also conducts professional evaluations by ATP* certified Occupational Therapists.  ATR specializes in educational solutions, including Kurzweil 3000, firefly, Audio Notetaker, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and offers individual and group professional development for a variety of software and hardware solutions.  ATR has been providing low vision rehabilitation services and devices to individuals with low vision since 1995.