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Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative

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Volume 16, No. 3, Summer 2008

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What's Inside . . . Volume 16, No. 3, Summer 2008

Photo of two children with hearing aidsMandatory Hearing Aid Coverage Becomes Law
The Hearing Loss Association of Delaware (HLADE)—which gives help and hope to children and adults with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support—was pleased to be a part of a three-year coalition effort. The coalition’s efforts fulfilled an important legislative and advocacy agenda to pass House Bill 355, Delaware’s Health Insurer Coverage for Hearing Aids Bill for Children. HB355 helps ensure that no child need go without a hearing aid!

photo of the Nokia N82 mobile phone being held in a person's hand to show scale. The phone is narrower and shorter than the hand.What’s New at CSUN?
For me, one of the draws of the California State University at Northridge’s (CSUN) Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is the opportunity to hear Ray Kurzweil speak. In case you’ve never heard of Ray Kurzweil, he is known as a fairly prolific inventor and visionary who created the first Optical Character Recognition (OCR) reading machine in 1976—the precursor of many of the text-to-speech software packages that are sold today.

Telecommunications Access for People with Disabilities in Delaware
Closed captioning and telephone relay for the hearing impaired and audio announcements of the written word have become so ubiquitous that they no longer seem fanciful or exotic. But, what about internet websites which rely on extensive graphics—must they be accessible to people with visual impairments? How about video clips on the internet—must large content providers such as YouTube make sure that their videos are accessible to consumers who are deaf or blind?

Homegrown in Delaware
This is a regular column that features products, projects, or services created right here in the First State. In this issue we feature Tom Strab, a Delaware resident, who set out to automate the doors to his sister's new home addition and in the process created the Gentleman Door Company.

photo of the Tek Pal held in someone's hand to show scale. The Tek Pal is appoximately the width and length of an adult hand.The AT Bargain Basement
Hello, True Believers, and welcome to yet another fun-filled edition of the AT Bargain Basement. I am Marvin Williams, your host through this wonderful world of assistive technology bargains! For those of you who are regulars to the Basement, welcome back. If you are new, welcome to our Assistive Technology party! We’re glad you could join us. As usual, the house rule is that I try to bring you AT bargains costing $100 or less that I find or that you bring to me.

Telework, Telecommute, Telewhat?
Telework and telecommute may be unfamiliar words, but they may be of interest to you or someone you know. They are interchangeable terms used to describe the full- or part-time work of people who are self-employed as well as those who are employed by a company or organization but who work from a location remote from the employer. Increasingly, people with disabilities are seeking such opportunities because they offer the potential for a more favorable work environment. DATI is available to assist Delawareans with disabilities who may be interested in teleworking.

Transitioning to Digital TV Programming
The imminent transition from analog to digital television transmission may change the way people with vision disabilities enjoy TV. Video descriptions will no longer be transmitted via an SAP channel (secondary audio program, an alternative to standard audio). Televisions with digital tuners should be able to process the audio services associated with the digital TV signals.

Study Seeks Participants with Sensory and/or Mobility Impairments
If you have a sensory impairment and/or mobility impairment, you may be eligible to participate in a new research project.  This research aims to understand what people with sensory and/or mobility impairments do in their daily lives, how their environments affect their community participation, and what, if any, help they need to complete activities.

Photo of a group of people who were involved in the Gold Alert legislation. There are fourteen people standing and three sitting, including Governor Ruth Ann Minner.Delaware Passes "Gold Alert"
Following Colorado’s example, the Delaware legislature recently passed S.B. No. 227, establishing a "Gold Alert." It serves the same purpose as the "Amber Alert," expanding the scope to senior citizens, suicidal individuals, and those with disabilities. Governor Minner signed the provision into law on July 17th. Kudos to the Developmental Disabilities Council, which took the lead in advocating for the passage of this legislation.