Assistive Technology Newsletter

May 2001

ISSN 1538-3237

Welcome Back to Top

Welcome to the newsletter, a quarterly publication on Assistive Technology for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers, healthcare professionals and special educators.

You'll find in this edition a wealth of information, references and tips on technologies that can help children and adults with special needs. Our news headlines will introduce you to the most recent developments in Assistive Technology. You will also find free software you can download to make your computer more accessible, a calendar of upcoming events, expert advice and recommendations for choosing the right adaptive equipment, and our popular pick of noteworthy resources that provide insight into available technologies.

In This Issue

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News Headlines Back to Top

  • Best of the ATIA Booths Check out the assistive devices presented last January at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit

  • Hottest New Products in Assistive Technology (Source: ICan) Get a primer of the latest products in assistive technology showcased last March at the 16th annual international conference CSUN 2001 "Technology and Persons with Disabilities". See product descriptions and photos at

  • How the Internet is Improving the Lives of Americans with Disabilities? (Source: HarrisInteractive) Research conducted for the National Organization on Disability revealed that adults with disabilities are much more likely than adults without disabilities to report that the Internet has significantly improved the quality of their lives. Read the full story at

  • Careers in Assistive Technology: Win-Win Situations Go Wanting (Source: HighTech Careers Magazine) Read the article at

  • More News? Visit regularly for late breaking Assistive Technology news.

Favorite Resources Back to Top

Need help finding adaptive solutions for yourself or someone you know? Have questions about Assistive Technology? Check out our selection of top resources and discover how technology can assist people with disabilities.

Check this out! Videos & Books We Recommend
  • Scientific American Frontiers: Bionic Body is an amazing documentary video that shows how researchers are uniting biology and technology to give hope to the paralyzed and circumvent spinal cord injuries. Host Alan Alda looks at artificial nerve stimulation on paralysis victims using implanted electrodes and implanting silicon chips in retinas. The video also features a moving conversation between Alda and Christopher Reeve about Reeve's advocacy of increased research in this field. A must see! The video can be ordered from 1-877-PBS-SHOP ($19.98). For more information, go to and type "Bionic Body" in the site's Quick Search box.

  • ENABLE: People with Disabilities and Computers is a new video that profiles the positive impact of technology on the lives of people with disabilities, including blindness, speech, hearing and mobility impairments, stroke, and cerebral palsy. The video, which examines technology in the lives of actual users, is recommended for educators, disability professionals, caregivers, employers, and for anyone with a disability. ENABLE: People with Disabilities and Computers is closed-captioned and includes narrative descriptions for the visually impaired. It is distributed on a nonprofit basis by for $17.95 (U.S. shipping included) and is available in VHS, bundled with a digitized version which will play on most computers equipped with CD/DVD players. For more information or to order the video, go to

  • Assistive Technology Funding Manual by the Institute on Disability/UAP. Download this detailed guide to Assistive Technology funding sources, from Medicaid and Medicare to private health insurances, and see your rights under IDEA. This document is available in Adobe Acrobat format from 

  • Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities by Michael G. Paciello is an excellent publication on Web accessibility. It shows how to create barrier-free Web sites and provides a complete review of the latest standards behind the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility initiative. ISBN 1-929629-08-7

  • Assistive Technology Overview by Learn about Assistive Technology through a comprehensive classification of products and services designed to assist people with disabilities. Find out more at

Check this out! Web Sites Worth a Click!
  • AbleData is a huge searchable database of approximately 18,000 assistive devices. It offers a comprehensive and well categorized directory of assistive technology products and vendors, many fact sheets and consumer guides. Visit

  • Closing the Gap offers a large database of computer-related products and services available to assist persons with special needs. It includes product descriptions, prices and contact information. Their online resource directory is updated monthly. Visit

  • AssistiveTech is a fast growing database that features four types of searches to help you quickly find assistive equipment. Visit

  • Children With Disabilities is a federal internet guide that offers families and caregivers information about advocacy, grants and funding, education, employment, housing, and transportation covering a broad array of developmental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Visit

Check this out!Communities & Support Groups That Rock!
  • Assistive Technology Online Community. This recently launched support group is comprised of healthcare professionals, vendors and individuals who share a common interest in Assistive Technology. Their web site features a public discussion forum where members can interact with each other, ask questions, get answers and share ideas. This fast growing community receives over 400 visitors per day and represents a valuable resource for finding and exchanging information on Assistive Technology. Membership is free. To learn more about this community or to become a member, go to

Upcoming Events Back to Top

Interested in what's coming up in your area? Find here a calendar of important events, conferences and expositions on Assistive Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering and Accessibility. For details or to register, simply follow the links provided.
  • June 1-5, 2001 - Inclusion by Design: Planning the Barrier-Free World. International world congress on universal design - Montreal, Canada.

  • June 20-23, 2001 - PT 2001. Annual conference and exposition of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) - Anaheim, California.

  • June 22-26, 2001 - RESNA 2001. Annual conference and educational program on Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering - Reno, Nevada.

  • July 24-28, 2001 - AHEAD 2001: Widening the Umbrella: Access for Everyone, Everywhere. Universal design conferences, disabilities studies, Assistive Technology presentations and hands-on lab - Portland, Oregon.

  • September 3-6, 2001 - AAATE 2001. 6th European conference for the advancement of Assistive Technology - Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  • September 28-30, 2001 - WCD 2001. World congress and exposition on disabilities - Atlanta, Georgia.

  • October 2-4, 2001 - ARATA 2001. Australian rehabilitation and Assistive Technology association conference - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

  • October 16-20, 2001 - Closing The Gap. 19th annual conference on Assistive Technology - Bloomington, Minnesota.

  • November 7-10, 2001 - SYNECTIONS 2001: Building Success for Struggling Students - Chicago, Illinois.

  • November 14-17, 2001 - TASH 2001: Imaging the Future - Disability issues and technology studies - Anaheim, California.

  • View our updated calendar of events! Go to for the latest AT events.

Tips, Tricks & Free Software Back to Top

  • Web Speakster from Customized Computer Software is a free voice synthesizer that reads Web pages to you. It's ideal for surfers with limited vision. Works with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x.

  • HandsFree from EduMedia is a free add-on for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 that lets you browse the Web without using the mouse or the keyboard. To follow a link, just say the first few words out loud and HandsFree will take you there.

  • Looking for more FREE assistive software? Be sure to visit the Assistive Technology Online Community website at and choose Free Software.

Contact Us Back to Top

Thank You! We hope you found this newsletter informative and enjoyable, and we welcome your questions and comments for future topics. And as always, if you have a story you'd like to share, a product you'd like us to recommend (book, video, software, etc.), or any announcements that might be of interest to others, we'd like to hear from you. You can contact us by email at or by postal mail at the following address: Newsletter
P.O. Box 572190
Houston, Texas 77257

Look for your next newsletter issue this September.

Until next time!

Best wishes, 
The Newsletter team
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The content of this document is provided to you 'as is', without warranty of any kind, and for informational purposes only. Referrals and links to third-party organizations or products are absolutely not sponsored and do not represent a source of funding. We are not commercially affiliated with the third-party organizations or sites mentioned in this document, and assume no responsibility or liability for any products, services or information provided by them. The content of this document should not be construed as medical advice. We encourage you to read our disclaimers at

Copyright © 2001 RehabTool LLC. All rights reserved. Referred articles, products or services have own copyrights in effect, as applicable.

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Updated June 1, 2001

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