Thursday, January 30, 2014

3-D Touch Screens

3-D touchscreens allow users to receive tactual feedback from images. Disney has integrated this into their parks this past fall. Having the additional tactile input allows users to receive and process more information from the digital display. For those with visual impairments, this may assist in understanding and engaging with the material so that the depth of concept formation will expand and hopefully assist in making even more connections with information in the future. Only time will tell if it is effective. This technology has tremendous potential for educational application, greater work accessibility as well as being integrated into out typical digital signage that is now available in many cities to convey all types of information. Tactual interactive maps alone would assist in navigating unfamiliar areas. This used in combination with some of the newer GPS advanced smartphone apps (especially those for the visually impaired) could open up the world so much more for everyone.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freedom To Move: Rolling Dance Chair

Freedom to move is a topic this blog has covered several times. It is an ongoing segment which addresses the profound need of optimized independent movement for those who may not have traditional mobility. The University of Florida has designed an new powered chair which runs off of a smartphone app. It is amazing and has pushed us in a direction of greater ease of engagement with much more control and flexibility which can be easily accessed in any given moment.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Expressive Art Celebration for People with Disabilities

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) continues to celebrate the abilities of people through Art Center by hosting a yearly exhibition entitled Creative Expressions .  Take a look at the different exhibitions. The art is amazing.  Creative Connections is another site worth visiting to take a look at the incredible art being crafted by people of all different types of abilities with a shared love and talent in the area of artistic expression.  EAbility has a number of resources listed for arts & disability.  Art Relief International  has some engaging projects which can give you some additional ideas on how to engage all with the arts. The creative arts provide a type of access to the world. Communication, expression, learning etc. are all a piece. In an era when we are continuously looking at ways of opening up the world, this is one avenue which has a long standing history or promise. The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive  provides both an historical and current perspective on the disability in arts movement.  The arts can be used as a source of expression for academic knowledge as well as reinforcing communication and social skills. Finding the balance in how we engage all students in learning and academics must include access to a diversified arts program. This will only enhance and reinforce all of the skills and concepts we hope to convey to our students in a highly competitive educational environment which does not always seek  to be as inclusive and as accessible to diverse thinkers and doers.



Sunday, January 19, 2014

3E Love (Embrace Educate Empower Love Life)

3E Love began in 2004 and has been educating the world ever since. Please follow the link to read their incredible story and legacy. On January 20th in addition to recognizing Martin Luther King, they have asked us to honor this as a day as an International Day of Acceptance as well.  Having a voice is often taken for granted. History shows us what happens to various groups of people who have had their voice silenced. The consequences are horrific and take decades to move beyond.  The consumer movement occurred back in the late eighties into the 90’s. This brought us our people first language which is still not universally used, nor is it a matter of common knowledge. How we refer to each other is a reflection of our underlying beliefs and values. There are many things we can do to honor this day throughout the week. Seeing the person first should be a way of life so that difference becomes a secondary unique characteristic which is a part of who we are but never the sum total of our being. That could never be measured by a list of traits.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ableism – What we need to think about...

The concept of ableism has been around for some time.  Universal design, laws and advocates have made progress in eliminating all different types of discrimination. We have made progress but the world is still predominantly designed for what we continue to consider the typically abled. It is time to move beyond these perceptions. Believing that we could possibly describe the “typically abled” has to be made problematic...there could be no such thing.  We limit others in our world and even those we have not met yet by our own views and preconceived ideas. Part of making changes has to come with re-evaluating our views and practices which can lead to both intended and unintended consequences, some of which may be unnoticed by us and others. These consequences impact people in ways we may not see, recognize or understand.  Thomas Hehir has written several pieces on this very issue. There is a link to one of his articles below along with some additional resources. Eliminating ableism requires us to address this in schools as part of the embedded curriculum and overall school culture. Inclusive practices must  begin with inclusive thoughts which become a natural part of the way we perceive and view the world.

Stop Ableism: Stop Ableism