Step-by-step guide on how to build a tactile overlay for an AAC device

Last month we had a great switch repair/teardown from very wonderful Kate McCallum, who is someone I take very seriously and who regularly fills Twitter with useful and interesting bits of AAC hackery. Kate is an SLT technician from Beaumont College and this month she’s giving us an awesome step-by-step guide on how to build a tactile overlay for an AAC device. I have a person who needs AAC -  they have significant physical and learning disabilities and CVI (Cortical visual impairment  -  a form…

Books I am proud of.

It’s been a busy few weeks for book writing using the TooManyCooks workflow. We’re still waiting for some to come back from the printers – but I thought that I might show you some of ones that have! You remember, for example, the wonderful guest post we had from Jim Dean of Croydon College? Well that book evolved into this: which you can buy from amazon! I said ‘semi-busy’, which is true, but the reason it was only semi-busy was that I was only mainly…

Link roundup for June.

In March I wrote a blog post where I collected together all the links I’d recently shared on social media. I think a lot about how I use things like twitter – I want to make sure that I’m providing useful, or at least interesting information to people. I would like to think I’m making the world a tiny bit better not a tiny bit worse. I got some very good feedback about the last post and so I thought I’d continue on with the…

Your past self is on your side. So do nice things for your future self.

(Image from wikipedia, from a suggestion by this person on reddit) My Google Calendar emails me. It’s incredibility good for the soul. When I am ill with a cold, I put a event in my Google Calendar saying “Take a moment to really enjoy being able to breath though your nose”.  A couple of months later my email goes ‘ping’ and I do.  I really do take a moment to enjoy being able to breath though my nose, it’s wonderful – you should try it…

A compilation of my writing on AAC (updated)

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a major interest of mine.  About six months ago I created a post that was the compilation of all the AAC-related posts at that time, partly so people who share my interest can find them all easily and partly because it helps me check if the things I’m writing match up nicely with what I *think* I’m writing. Six months later, I’ve done quite a bit more writings, so here is the updated post.  There are about 10 new…

Mark Saville: SpecialEffect

Today's guest post is from Mark Saville of the very wonderful SpecialEffect, a UK based charity which uses video games and technology to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities. Regular readers will remember SpecialEffect as the charity that benefited from our Flowers For Turing Project, and today I'm really impressed with the thought and dedication that's gone into this guest post. I suspect we'll be inviting Mark back for more...

Interview Paul Woodgate from the Wellcome Trust

Interview time! We got some nice feedback about the interview we did with the with EPSRC Assistive Sandpit organiser Anna Angus-Smyth – it turns out that my PhD and postdoc readers quite enjoy finding out what makes funders tick.  So today we have an interview with Paul Woodgate from the Wellcome Trust- who I’m interviewing about the Bioethics work that the Wellcome Trust funds.  Enjoy!   Me: So The Wellcome Trust have funded a wide range of projects from the classically medical ‘ Coma, Consciousness…

5 reasons to use positive phrasing – with references!

I get fed up of psudoscience blog articles on everything from sugar-free diets to ice baths to 'manifesting abundance' - so I thought I'd write something that involved actual references to peer-reviewed papers. Positive phrasing is something I really wish I could go back to. It's easily the thing that I think made the most difference to my life when I was doing it.

giffgaff really should get it’s website in order…

Couple of things giffgaff should get right: So I entered my username and I got a little green tick next to it – ‘that’s nice’ I thought ‘the website is checking my input as I go in, which will save time and frustration later. Then I submit the page and find that the input wasn’t checked, and there was an error message (that frankly, could have been part of the instructions originally) – so I’ve got to ask, what was the green tick for? So now…

Interview: Liat Ben-Moshe, Disability Incarcerated

Interview time!   Liat Ben-Moshe is Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo. She holds a PhD in Sociology with concentrations in Gender Studies and Disability Studies from Syracuse University. Her recent work examines the connections between prison abolition and deinstitutionalization in the fields of intellectual disabilities and mental health in the United States. She’s also one of the editors of the newly released Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada which ‘offers an outstanding collection of interdisciplinary…

Telepresenting: The only way to fly.

I recently had a paper accepted to 5th Workshop on Speech and Language Processing for Assistive Technologies or SLPAT (which I pronounce ‘splat’ but I suspect nobody else does…).  It’s a familiar conference, I’ve had my name on papers there before, and it’s where Lizzie Coles-Kemp and I presented our first work looking at digital privacy issues for AAC-users. The paper is ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants: attacking the meta-problems of technical AAC research’ and you can read the pdf on the conference site.…

Switch Hacking…

As you know I like to think a lot about the Hacker model of Disability, and I like to set things broken apart, rebuilt, jury-rigged, and generally customized... With this in mind we have a guest post/teardown/walkthough, from the very wonderful Kate McCallum, who is someone I take very seriously and is an SLT technician from Beaumont College.

Flowers for turing, the very exciting accounting post.

So… it’s time to publish the accounting details of the Flowers for Turing Project… I’m doing this for several reasons – the first being that I said I would, that’s a pretty good reason, but also because I believe in openness and transparency, and believe both should be a habit rather than an exception. So first of all, here is the income for the project: Which adds up nicely to: Less the cost of the flowers (some from Sainsbury’s and some from the florists called ‘Venus’ nearby,…

Flowers for Turing is Done for 2014! Thank you everybody!

So this is what Alan Turing’s statue looks like right now: Each bunch of flowers (I expect there will be more later) was pledged by one of (where a company or university is listed this should be read as staff/students/alumni/hangers-on from company or university, rather than any endorsement from the place itself – this is very definitely a grassroots thing): Aberdeen University x2 Andy Longhurst Auckland Bioengineering Institute Audionary special projects Coventry University CrankyFlamingo (Reddit) Edge Hill University x2 Exeter Univeristy Goldsmiths, University of London…