Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

An iPad and Proloquo4Text for Delivering Acoustic Presentations: The Review

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 4:42 pm on Friday, June 13, 2014

Glenda delivering a presentation using the Proloquo4Text app on her iPad In May, I had the opportunity to deliver two presentations. In both instances, I used the text-to-speech Proloquo4Text app on my iPad.

And, wow! That was much easier, much less cumbersome than using the old way in PowerPoint.

The first presentation,  titled “From Speech Impairment to Motivational Speaker: How I Got From There to Here”, was based on much I have written here on my blog. Creating this presentation looked like:

  • Writing: 5.25 hours (not including the time my friend Karen spent editing)
  • Creating the  PowerPoint with only photos: 2 hours
  • Importing into Proloquo4Text: .5 hour
  • Tweaking and practicing: 2.75 hours

The total time for creating this “acoustic” presentation was a mere 9.5 hours for a 25-30 minute presentation. The old way took 50+ hours to create a presentation of roughly the same length. By the time I was ready to go with my iPad, I was in tears; tears of joy!

I felt (and still feel) a huge weight has been lifted off of me. I no longer need to spend an inordinate amount of time on the mind-numbing process of creating my presentations in PowerPoint. Rather I can now focus on what I love doing: writing and developing my message, my story, that I wish to share with my audiences.

For the first presentation, I created a basic PowerPoint with photos, like many speakers do. As a reminder to myself when to advance the slides, I changed the background colour (to green) of the applicable text blocks (on the left). This visual cue worked great.

Screen shot of Proloquo4Text on the iPad

The one challenge that I found was when I attempted a "tap and hold" to speak a text block, the text was not reliably spoken. In those moments, I would then do a “tap” to have the text appear in the text pad (the blue area of the right), tap “play” and then “delete” once it was done speaking that chunk of text. I don’t know whether that bug was because my hold wasn’t long enough or wasn’t steady enough, or whether it was the user, the iPad, the app or a combination thereof. But it is not a big enough challenge to dissuade me and I am confident there will be a fix or workaround in the near future.

My second presentation was totally “acoustic”. Just me and my iPad. No PowerPoint. No wifi. No curtain to hide behind.

Even though I was nervous, which is normal for nearly every professional speaker, this is all feeling so right. Speaking is what I am meant to do at this point in my life.

Now that I know the technology works in this kind of situation and I have more flexibility and choice than I did with the way I used PowerPoint, I am more ready than ever to put myself out there as a motivational speaker; to call myself a professional speaker.

If you have an audience looking for a unique motivational message, I am now scheduling for summer and early fall.

From significant speech impairment to motivational speaker…what a ride this is!


For more of information about my speaking, please visit my speaker site.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Communication Access: The Last Frontier in Accessibility

Filed under: General, Work — by Glenda at 2:09 pm on Friday, May 2, 2014

Communication Access symbol symbol contains two faces, one talking, both watching and a two-way arrow indicating an exchange or interaction

One morning, many moons ago…back in high school, while I was wheeling past the school office on my way to class, the boys’ guidance counsellor happened to be in the hallway and asked, “Glenda, would you rather be able to walk or to talk?”

Some people might find that question insensitive or even offensive. I found it sincere and genuinely interested.

I am puzzled by society’s obsession with the ability to walk. That not being able to move about upright on one’s own two feet makes you less of a person, less worthy or valuable. And it is something that needs fixing or curing.

But the inability to clearly communicate verbally is far more disabling. For some reason, which I still do not understand, the majority of society links the ability to speak with the ability to hear and to understand. When encountering someone who has troubles speaking or who they assume do not understand, they automatically begin talking louder and slower, and even use hand gestures as if an impromptu game of Charades had broken out.

Not being able to speak clearly causes much frustration, misunderstanding and isolation. It means the daily interactions people have with others without even thinking about it becomes an ordeal. Little things like making a hair appointment, ordering an iced mocha latte with skim milk, or talking with one’s doctor in private becomes an ordeal, if not impossible. It also means missed opportunities when it comes to socializing, making friends, and finding jobs. This negatively impacts one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, leading to further social isolation.

To the counsellor’s question, I immediately uttered “talk” and continued, unfazed, on my way to class.

Nearly thirty-five years later, the last frontier in accessibility is finally being addressed: communication access.

Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) has launched a 2.5-year national project Communication Access Now (CAN) to promote communication accessibility for people who have speech and language disabilities.

If that isn’t fantastic enough, I am excited to share that I am now the Social Media Coordinator for this national awareness campaign; a project very dear to my heart for obvious reasons. I am now tweeting and facebooking (that is a word, right?) on behalf of Communication Access Now. I get to help get the message out, using communication tools I love! How perfect.

How can you become involved?

Check out the education and resources about making goods and services accessible to people with communication disabilities. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Please join us in this awareness campaign. Together, we can conquer this final frontier in accessibility.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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An Easter Bouquet for You

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 12:35 pm on Saturday, April 19, 2014

Picked especially for you from our first Photo Wheel of the season…

Vibrant pink rhododendrons

A group of red tulips under tall trees

White and yellow daffodils under the trees

Red tulips and purple pansies

Daffodils close up

Pink frilly rhododendrons

Purple flowers

Wishing you a blessed Easter!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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An iPad and Proloquo4Text Creates an Acoustic Method for Delivering Presentations

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 3:23 pm on Monday, April 14, 2014

Glenda using her iPadEver since buying my original iPad and, even more so, since my iPad Air, I have wondered if I could use the device to deliver a presentation.

Other people have been asking me if I use my iPad while delivering presentations.

Thanks to the fairly newly released app Proloquo4Text (P4T) – a solely text-based communication app – I think I can finally answer, ”Yes!”

With this app, I can enter text as phrases, sentences or paragraphs and, then, with one tap, my iPad will speak that text.

Screen shot of Proloquo4Text app

Unfortunately, the voice of Kate – the synthesized voice that I use in all of my presentations and feels like my voice – is not (yet?) available in the P4T app. But that isn’t really a big deal, right?

However, the good news is the text is easy to edit and to rearrange, which means that making changes right before “going on stage” is possible. I can even skip “speaking” a block of text while presenting. I definitely do not have that flexibility with the current method of using PowerPoint. With using PowerPoint, once it is saved to the USB drive, no other changes can be made. It is what it is. There is no flexibility while I deliver it.

And, with the P4T app open, I can type a comment or respond to a question, which creates further opportunity for spontaneity.

There are a few drawbacks, however. Because an extended tap can cause one block of text to be spoken, it would be relatively easy to “speak” a wrong block, particularly when I am nervous and my hands are more jerky than usual.

Also, I wouldn’t, necessarily, need PowerPoint, which I find redirects eyeballs off of me and onto the large screen. I find that is one way – perhaps a sneaky way – to deal with the jitters of being in front of an audience.

It does mean that if I have access to PowerPoint at the event, I can still use it to show photos and such. But I no longer need to spend hours on creating the captions, animations and timings, unless I choose to create my presentation in that way.

I now have a choice!

I can choose between my pared down, “acoustic” method using only my iPad with my nifty new Bluetooth speaker, which will be ideal for smaller venues or my full blown “rock n roll” method using PowerPoint with the scrolling captions and layered images, which is likely best for longer, more in-depth topics.

As this “acoustic” method has recently formulated in my mind, I have yet to test it in a living lab. I would gratefully welcome the opportunity to deliver a 5-, 10- or 15-minute presentation if you have an audience that might be open to a motivational message, but possibly a not quite perfected delivery method.


For more of information about how I deliver motivational presentations with a synthesized voice, please visit my speaker site.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Bootstrapping Goes Only So Far, Some Pricey Expenses Are Worth It

Filed under: 4-Hour Workday — by Glenda at 12:57 pm on Friday, March 28, 2014

Canadian cash

Being an extremely small business owner, I constantly have an eye on the expenses. Whenever possible, I avoid spending because, even though business expenses are tax deductible, there needs to be an income from which to deduct it.

Every tax season is a cause for angst; not because of the process, but rather which software do I use? The familiar and trusted yet pricey one? Or, the cheap unknown?

With last year being abysmal on the financial front, in addition to the personal front, I decided to go with the cheap option – as in 1/10th price cheap. I was nearly all the way through both my husband’s and mine taxes when I encountered an error. After attempting everything I could think of, the error could not be corrected, which meant that I could not get to the “Print & File” step.

Frustration mounted. Chocolate was inhaled.

Nothing worked.

After a moment of hesitation on my part, my husband went down two blocks to our office supply store and returned with the familiar and trusted software (and takeout for supper).

Within two hours, I had the software installed, registered, and updated; I had the data from last year’s returns transferred into this year’s; and, I had completed, reviewed and filed both of our taxes. More than a month early.

The lesson learned here is that, even though keeping an eye on the financials is always necessary, sometimes the more expensive option is worth it. Using the right tools is key to making the most of the 4-Hour Workday; there is no time to waste on subpar tools.

Next year there will be no angst. The familiar and trusted software will be purchased without hesitation. My sanity and time are worth it.

What is one business tool you splurge on because it is worth it? Feel free to share in the comments below.


Please join me on this 4-Hour Workday journey.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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