Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Upgrading to an iPad 2? Change a Life with Your Old iPad

Filed under: General — by at 6:37 pm on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Since buying my iPad last April, I have shared many of my experiences and insights on how the device has impacted my life:

In preparing to my two upcoming presentations – “The Untapped iPad Market: Is Your Site POUR?“ on March 13th and “The New AAC (Assistive and Augmentative Communication): Cheap and Disruptive?” on March 17th – I have read numerous stories of how the iPad is changing the lives of others with disabilities.

Here are a few of the stories I will share in my presentation on March 13th:

Byron had a stroke, losing use of his right arm and right leg and his ability to speak. After using the iPad and Proloquo2Go – the same app I use – for only three days, he could express his food and drink choices, his name and address, and, more importantly, his personal needs – like needing to go to the bathroom and where he has pain. This minimizes frustration for both him and his wife Cindy as he is now clearly understood and she isn’t trying to second guess what he wants.

Leo is 9 years old with intense autism. His Mom explains, “He is not conversational, he learns very slowly, and he has been prone to violent outbursts.”

Leo had shown interest in the iPod Touch, but its 3.5-inch screen was difficult for his fingers to navigate. Within a month of his Mom winning an iPad, Leo had mastered apps designed to teach spelling, counting, drawing, making puzzles, remembering pictures, and more. The iPad has also been used to teach manners and to distract his attention prior to outbursts.

Leo can’t use a pen or pencil very well, because, like many autistic children, he has problems grasping small items. Before the iPad, his most advanced drawing was a smiley face with legs. Now, using the DrawFree app, there’s ears, hats, arms, fingers, and toes!

At 10am, April 5, 2010, an iPad landed on the desk of American Federation for the Blind’s technology associate Brad Hodges for him to review for an upcoming article. In his “24 Hours with the iPad”, he shares, “On that night, I purchased a book from a book store, exactly as my sighted neighbors and colleagues would. …I believe the advent of accessible iBooks will be viewed by future generations as one of the landmark events in the lives of the blind.”

If you are considering upgrading to an iPad 2, consider renewing  the life of your old one by passing it on to someone who could benefit by having an iPad, and, quite possibly change a life in the process.

Here are a few suggestions of where your iPad may be greatly received:

  • A family with a child with a disability: Even though the child may have a communication device at school, oftentimes the device cannot be brought home, leaving the child voiceless during non-school hours.
  • A special ed class for several children to use.
  • A rehab centre.
  • A day program for adults with disabilities.
  • An employment program for people with disabilities to aid with their job search. An iPad would have been so helpful when I went for job interviews. Perhaps I may have landed a job.
  • A friend or relative who has had stroke or other injury and who may benefit from using an iPad.

The possibilities are endless… Go with where your values are – whether it’s helping people with disabilities, people who are homeless or financially strapped, a struggling small business, a new  non-profit – and give your old iPad a new life, rather than leaving it to collect dust with those other gadgets that you’ve outgrown.

A big thanks goes to Jon Swanson for initiating this idea on Twitter earlier today!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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My Next iPad Experiment: Using Proloquo2Go to Conduct Interviews

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 7:13 pm on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I’m frantically working on my two presentations:

i am really looking forward to both conferences because, after working in the web accessibility field for thirteen years, I am finally going to meet many of my mentors, colleagues and possibly even competitors. I’m looking forward to soaking up even more of their expertise, and to sharing latest best practices, techniques and frustrations.

Amidst drafting the presentations and preparing for my trip, I began wondering how I could possibly capture some of this knowledge, expertise and insights to share with my Blog Accessibility readers.

An idea struck…

My interveiw questions in the Proloquo2Go app In the Proloquo2Go app, I have prepared various interview questions,  which will enable me pick and choose which questions to ask (via text-to-speech) during the interview. And…I could record the interview using the movie setting on my camera, mounted on my scooter using the Gorilla tripod.

The result may not be a smooth flowing conversation, but rather a bumpy Q&A session. But that’s okay, right?

What’s amazing isn’t the technology to do it; it’s the confidence to try it. I wouldn’t have felt confident to give this a try a few years ago; I’m definitely on some kind of journey…final destination still unknown.

Will this iPad experiment work? Stay tuned…

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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The iPad: Cheap and Disruptive AAC?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 12:09 am on Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Since the iPad’s release in April, countless stories have emerged of people with disabilities finding creative uses for the mainstream gadget; the greatest life-changing use being communication. The iPad with Proloquo2Go or a similar communication app suddenly creates an affordable assistive and augmentative communication (AAC) device, which can only disrupt the traditional AAC industry.

I shared my initial thoughts on the iPad as an affordable communicator in an earlier post. Since then, my initial review has only been reconfirmed, repeatedly. How I wish the iPad existed years earlier.

A few years ago Darrell and I explored communication devices that might be suitable for me. He invited a contact to our home to demonstrate various communication devices he represented. One device – a Dynavox of some sort – looked interesting, something I might use, occasionally. The price tag was a hefty $8000, which, because I’m not employed I’m not eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services or other funding, I’d be on the hook for the full price. Nix to that!

Glenda Watson Hyatt presenting at SOBCon 09: Biz School for Bloggers (Photo credit: Becky McCray)

Darrell and I went down to London Drugs and, after much discussion, picked up a Toshiba Libretto – a fully functional computer in a small package for little more than a quarter of the Dynavox price. I have used it to give several presentations, take notes at conferences, and participate in group discussions

However, despite its small size, using it for spontaneous communication was clumsy: I had to unzip the laptop case, undo the Velcro straps, pull out the laptop, find a horizontal surface to place it on, boot it and run the desired software before I could type out what I wanted to say. By then the conversation had progressed and my contribution was old, disjointed. The laptop – although useful for some purposes – wasn’t really convenient for communication in the way I needed it to be.

Whereas, the iPad is easily whipped out of my handbag and quickly gets to the point where I can begin communicating. With the Proloquo2Go app, I have the flexibility to use the pre-loaded vocabulary and phrases or the onscreen keyboard with a font size large enough to read from a comfortable distance, even in a dimly lit location; like, a bar!

The iPad app Pproloquo2Go

And, with a wifi connection, I can show something on my blog or elsewhere on the internet, taking the conversation even deeper – something that would not be possible with a single-function AAC device.

The iPad has given me a communication device that suits my current needs, for a price I could afford. Without the iPad, I – and so many others – would have continued going without a device for basic communication.

However, the iPad isn’t appropriate for every person in need of a communication device. Some individuals need the ruggedness and the simplicity of a single-function AAC device.

This is the topic Joseph O’Connor, father of a non-verbal teenaged daughter, and I will be exploring during our session “The New AAC: Cheap and Disruptive?“ at the 26th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN), March 15-19, 2011, in San Diego.

Through our two case studies and from further research, we will  examine issues facing users, teachers and other professionals, school districts and other institutions, software vendors, and equipment manufacturers as we move into this new exciting phase of AAC development.

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If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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The iPad: My Ticket to SXSW!

Filed under: Blog Accessibility,Traveling with a Disability,Work — by at 4:16 pm on Monday, November 8, 2010

SXSW: South by SouthWest Music & Film, Interactive

Thank you to everyone who supported my proposal to South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference!

Breaking News…

I am off to Austin, Texas, in March 2011! Yes!

This morning the second round of 2000 SXSW sessions was announced. My presentation title The untapped iPad Market: Is Your Site POUR? is on the list!

Presentation Description

For the masses, the iPad is the latest, hottest, must-have toy. But, for people with disabilities the iPad is life changing: enabling communication, unlocking minds and fostering independence. However in purchasing these devices lays the challenge: oftentimes websites with product information are inaccessible to this market, which has a discretionary spending power of $175 billion in the United States alone.

The session’s goals are to identify some barriers people with disabilities regularly face, making it difficult to participate fully online; explain the four guiding principles of what makes blogs and websites accessible; and offer key questions to begin asking and what resources exist to make sites more accessible to this under tapped market. By giving short vignettes of how people with disabilities are using iPads, faces are put to the size of this disability market – and putting faces to the need for web accessibility. This brings alive the technical requirements and guiding principles of web accessibility.

Questions Answered
  1. How is the iPad life-changing for many people with disabilities?
  2. What is the size of the disability market and its spending power?
  3. What are the barriers people with disabilities face online?
  4. What are the four guiding principles to creating accessible websites and blogs?
  5. Where do I start in making my website or blog accessible?

Now the work begins…

Thanks again everyone for your support! I am truly blessed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Giving an Award-Winning Speech on my iPad: Part 2

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 9:17 pm on Friday, November 5, 2010

Earlier this week I shared how I used my iPad to give a speech after winning the Entrepreneur of the Year’s High Tech Award.

Yesterday, the event’s professional photos were made available to the finalists. I’d like the share a few of them here:

Glenda Watson Hyatt receiving the High Tech Award

Glenda Watson Hyatt being presented with the award

Glenda Watson Hyatt giving a speech using her iPad, with the emcee holding the microphone close

And, for those readers who asked to hear the text-to-speech voice of Kate giving my acceptance speech, click the link to play.

For those who prefer the transcript:

A headshot of Glenda Watson Hyatt wearing purple jacket

I would like to thank the Self-Employment Program and the Business in Vancouver Media Group for this recognition.

Working in the field of web accessibility for the past twelve years has been quite a journey, with many lessons learned along the way.

I’d like to share this one important lesson with you: Only you can decide what you’ll be or do and only you can reach out to the folks who can help you get there. Go for it! Do the unexpected and be all that you can  be.

Thank you.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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