The [AT] Connects Blog

ICI Brief: Support through Mentorship

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 29, 2013

 ICI Brief: Support through Mentorship: Accessible Supervision of Employees with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

More businesses are seeing the value of diversifying their workforce, which includes hiring people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). This emphasis on inclusion means that supervisors need effective and accessible strategies for supporting their workers with I/DD. Check out the new Institute Brief for tips and strategies for effectively supervising individuals with I/DD.

Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine Publishes Special Issue on AT

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 29, 2013

Rory Cooper, PhD, co-director for the NIDRR-funded University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury, served as guest editor for Advances in Technology for People with Spinal Cord Injury, a special issue of the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine published in July that focuses on assistive technology (AT). Other articles address evacuation preparedness for wheelchair users, a computer-assisted rehabilitation environment for enhancing wounded warrior rehabilitation regimens, and software wizards to adjust keyboard and mouse settings for people with physical impairments. Dr. Cooper's editorial, Technology, trends, and the future for people with spinal cord injury, and Spinal cord injury facts and figures at a glance from the NIDRR-funded National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center are available free of charge.

'Playgrounds for Everyone'

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 28, 2013
NPR Media Relations:  Emerson Brown




Report on Federal Mandate for “Inclusive” Playgrounds Airing on ‘All Things Considered’


August 27, 2013; Washington, D.C. – Today, NPR News reports on a growing movement, backed by a new federal mandate, to build “accessible” playgrounds meant to include children with disabilities – and releases a first-of-its-kind, community-edited guide to such playgrounds nationwide. “Playgrounds for Everyone” maps 1300+ accessible playgrounds – with features like smooth surfaces, swings with backs or safety harnesses, ramps to allow children to access play towers and slides, or sound-play features like drums or chimes.


And while it’s the most comprehensive resource available, the “Playgrounds for Everyone” app is still far from complete. NPR needs the public to identify more playgrounds, and share photos, info and tips for the ones already in the app. Get involved now at:


The app coincides with a report on the issue of accessible playgrounds, airing today on All Things Considered. Robert Benincasa of NPR’s Investigations Unit reports that federal law now defines playground accessibility as a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, requiring that structures built or altered after March 2012 to meet those standards. Kids in wheelchairs need smooth surfaces to navigate; some inclusive playgrounds offer Braille or textured materials for kids with sight impairments. But as Benincasa reports, such playground features are cost-prohibitive for many municipalities, leading parents and activists to seek support from local civic groups to raise funds.


The App: How to Participate


“Playgrounds for Everyone” is designed to be a community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. NPR’s news apps team has identified 1300 and counting nationwide. Many more are unaccounted for. To participate:


  • Identify accessible playgrounds, and add them to the database. Do any have smooth, resilient surfaces that are accessible to wheelchairs, or are their surfaces sand or wood chips, which wheelchairs cannot navigate?


  • Characterize the local play opportunities for disabled children. There is space on each playground page to add comments, tips and even photos of key features.


  • Provide feedback. Go to the accessible playgrounds app, test it out, add to it and comment.

FAAST Hiring Opportunities

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 28, 2013

FAAST Executive Director

The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located in Tallahassee, FL. The FAAST Board of Directors seeks a full-time Executive Director for this State of Florida’s Tech Act Program. The successful candidate should have at least five years’ management experience in the administration of state/federal disability programs or contracts; extensive knowledge of assistive technology and services; and a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, or comparable experience. Application instructions and a job description are available at:

Closing date for acceptance of applications: September 30, 2013.

Interested and qualified candidates should submit a cover letter, completed employment application (available at:, resume, professional writing samples, and a minimum of three references to the attention of Beckey Skipper, James Moore CPAs, 2477 Tim Gamble PL., Suite 200, Tallahassee, FL 32308-4386. Applicants will be subject to background checks.

FAAST, Inc. is an EEO employer.  Persons with disabilities requesting a reasonable accommodation to participate in the application or selection process contact Karen Clay, 813-784-0899; or by email at

Executive Director Job Description

FAAST Employment Application

Federal Partnership to Increase Financial Capability

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 27, 2013
CFPB Director Cordray and Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez signed a memorandum of agreement which underscores our joint commitment to increasing financial capability for workers with disabilities.  

The new partnership between CFPB and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) aims to help consumers with disabilities get the information and assistance they need. We are working together to develop and provide educational materials, resources, and technical assistance to the clients and professional staff of America’s Job Center’s (AJCs), operated by the Department of Labor. We’re promoting and sharing strategies that effectively help improve the financial capability of consumers with disabilities, and identifying policy-oriented reforms.

Click the link below to read the full story.  And, please consider disseminating via your newspaper, reoccurring periodicals, website and social media channels, and within your professional network.

We’re eager to add more professionals to our distribution network.  Simply send us an email to: and ask to be included in Empowerment’s periodic communications.

AFB eLearning Center offering second of ongoing webinar series

Posted By Anne Long | Aug 27, 2013
From George Abbott


American Foundation
for the Blind



Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

The AFB eLearning Center is pleased to offer the second of an ongoing series of webinars that focus on the use of iPads in the classroom for students with visual and other disabilities.

The webinar series is presented by Dr. Betsy Flener who has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and consultant including serving as a regional consultant for the Kentucky School for the Blind. She is currently an assistive technology consultant for the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative.

This second webinar titled The iPad and Communication for Students with Visual and Multiple Disabilities provides information to those working to develop systems of communication for students with cortical visual impairment, cerebral palsy, autism, and deafblindness. Assessments and iPad accessory use for students with low vision are also described.

The first webinar in the series, Creating Tactile Overlays for the iPad and Tablet Devices is also available in the AFB bookstore. In this presentation Dr. Flener provides a rationale for making tactile overlays for tablets and describes the elements of an inexpensive "toolkit" for making tactile overlays. The apps to be used with overlays and various iPad accessories are also described.

A third webinar, Reinforcing Braille Literacy Using the iPad, is being planned for September 2013.

All webinars in the series have been approved for continuing education credit by ACVREP.

For more information about these and other upcoming eLearning webinars, go to