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  • ATIA 2017 Recap: Accessibility and ATIA

    by Dr. Raymond Heipp

    The annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference is an event that always reinvigorates my support for those with differing abilities. Each year I try to focus on areas in which I have the most questions. This year, my focus was accessibility. It was so wonderful to see old accessibility products that have been updated, and new products which cover areas that may not have been previously addressed.

    Although any blog post cannot do full justice to the impact of devices, let me do my best to give you a view of accessibility at ATIA this year!

    TAPitAccessibility and Established Products

    This year, I found several products that had been updated to bring accessibility to even more people.  The first of those items was the TAPit Interactive Platform. Already known for its ability to adjust and adapt, the manufacturers have taken it a step further. The device has always been able to differentiate between intended and that unintended touch.

    Now, it is a native multi-touch device that can still have that differentiated ability in two ways:

    1. It relies on conductive properties of the hand or conductive material to interact. Hence, anyone who leans on the screen using sleeves or gloves is not going to affect the touch at all.
    2. The firmware allows the device to recognize that stationary conductive touch as unintended touch – in just one second. This eliminates some of the delays that might have been encountered with the older version of the TAPit.

    In all, the changes to the TAPit permit much greater access for all students and adults!

    Candy CornI also spent time looking at access for those who need to use a switch, but may not have the capability to effectively use a standard type of switch. Those who know me know that I highly recommend proximity switches to create greater accessibility.

    There are really only two proximity switches which I feel comfortable recommending to individuals and those were both present at the show. First, the Candy Corn offers accessibility by proximity with the added benefit of visual and auditory cuing when the switch is activated.


    Movement Sensor SwitchThe second switch is another great one and it is the Movement Sensor Switch.  This switch has an amazing amount of flexibility and is able to activate upon detecting the slightest movement. I think that this device offers so much flexibility for personal accessibility!




    ultimateswitchAccessibility and Differentiated Approaches

    It was wonderful to meet and speak with the team from Enabling Devices.  Seth, Vincent, and Bill have such a strong knowledge of devices and how to make them work for each individual. My favorite device of theirs is listed above and is the Movement Sensor Switch. My next favorite device from them is the Ultimate Switch. This device can be mounted anywhere and needs limited force to be activated. I could have played with it all day.

    Ironically, as I was speaking with them, a woman stopped by to ask about it.  She had one of the original versions of it, which was still working, and wanted to see some of the updates to it. In listening to her, she described how the ease of interaction created heightened levels of access for her child. A switch should create access, not additional problems to be overcome. The Ultimate Switch offers a universal approach to creating accessibility with any device.

    Accessibility is Critical in 2017

    You are going to see that I am on an accessibility bandwagon in 2017! I will be travelling the country looking for how we are creating accessible environments for everyone. If you have an accessible environment you want to highlight or have questions as to how to make your location accessible, please contact me at so that we can schedule a visit. Let’s make 2017 the Year of Accessibility for All!

  • What You Need to Know About Cardiac Emergency Response

    Badge_SH_CardiacEmergencyResponseIn 2015, the American Heart Association (AHA) reported over 326,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events. When cardiac arrest events occur outside of the hospital, the average survival rate is just 10.3 percent.But did you know that survival rates are three times higher if the event is witnessed by a bystander? And when a victim receives assistance, even by a lay bystander, the chances of survival can double, and in some cases triple! [1]

    Take Action and Saves Lives

    The first minutes of a cardiac emergency are the most critical, and even the best emergency medical services (EMS) personnel can’t reach victims right away. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that people who suffer cardiac arrest on the upper floors of high-rise buildings are less likely to survive than those on the lowest floors. The higher floors are associated with longer response times for EMS personnel to reach victims, and they directly correlate to lower survival rates.[2]

    But with a Cardiac Emergency Response Plan (CERP), we can help bridge the gap between a cardiac emergency and the arrival of EMS personnel. A CERP is a written document that outlines specific steps to take when a cardiac emergency occurs. According to the AHA, “A carefully orchestrated response to cardiac emergencies will reduce deaths in school settings and help ensure that chaos does not lead to an improper or inadequate response.” [3]

    Is Your Cardiac Emergency Response Plan Complete?

    Essential parts of a CERP include making sure that you have adequate staff on hand who are trained in CPR. When CPR is performed, even by a lay bystander, a victim’s chance of survival is greatly improved. Products like the AHA’s CPR in Schools Training Kit is an essential tool for training staff and students the proper way to perform CPR.

    A CERP will also include making sure your school has enough AEDs, and that your AEDs are properly located. Remember that timing immediately after a cardiac emergency is critical. The number of AEDs at your school should be sufficient to enable your response team to retrieve an AED and respond to a victim within two minutes, both inside the school and on the school grounds. AEDs should have clear signage and should always be in locations that are always accessible. School Health offers a full line of AEDs and accessories to make sure that your school has the equipment you need.

    Proper maintenance of AEDs is also critical. Imagine the nightmare scenario of investing in an AED program but not maintaining it. Suddenly a cardiac emergency occurs and your AED is retrieved only to find that the pads or batteries have expired. We hear from people who try to maintain their AED program using an Excel spreadsheet, but that is simply not enough – especially when your campus contains many AEDs or AEDs distributed across campus locations.

    School Health Brand AED Program Management helps you manage all the AEDs at your location and even across your campus.  What’s more, this system tracks all your responder certifications so you know that each person on your cardiac emergency response team has proper and continuous training. And, it keeps you compliant with local and state regulations by automatically registering your AEDs with local EMS services. You will even receive direct updates about changes to the regulations in your area.

    When you have a complete CERP and include these essential elements, you can save lives when a cardiac emergency occurs. School Health works directly with the AHA to make sure that we can provide the products and information you need to be prepared. If you would like a consultation or on-site visit to discuss your CERP or lifesaving products for your school, please contact us.




  • Get a "GRIP" and Keep On Moving

    badge_sh_gripsolutionsHave you ever been frustrated that items slip out of reach or move around when you need them to stay put? The easy-to-clean, light-weight and flexible GRIP Activity Pad may be the solution you need!


    Having used many non-skid pads in the past, I decided to try out the 10” x 15” GRIP Activity Pad for one year to see how it would compare.

    I use a custom tray that connects to the armrests of my wheelchair for eating and participating in various activities regularly. For as long as I can remember, I have always carried a rectangle of non-skid material in my bag to place on my tray to keep items from sliding or rolling away.

    My Overall Conclusion:

    After using the GRIP Activity Padgabe for one year, the GRIP Activity Pad is an item I will continue to use. Here are some of my favorite features of this product:

    • Non-Slip Pad. The GRIP Activity Pad kept items in place on my tray whether the tray was flat or at a slight angle. I’ve had all types of dishes placed on the pad, as well as grocery items and electronic items. Things stayed where I needed them to on the pad. If your item isn’t too heavy, the pad offers a good grip. I enjoy going to the movies and this pad fit perfectly under the cardboard popcorn container and kept it from sliding away.
    • Easy-To-Clean Material. Using soap, water, and a light scrub the GRIP Activity Pad cleans up like new. I used a small soft bristle brush and simply let the pad air-dry. Within about half an hour the pad was ready for use again and seemed to also gain back some of its grip.
    • Multi-Colored. One characteristic that was useful to me was the pad having a different color on each side; one side black and the other side yellow. Depending on the activity I was doing on my tray, I liked having the option to flip the pad over to visually increase or decrease the contrast. I also like the option to choose the color showing on my tray when going about my daily routine. Sometimes the bright yellow was helpful in situations where I wanted my tray surface to stand out. Other times I preferred the black side since it blended in with the tone of my chair.
    • Portable and Travel Friendly. Traveling with this pad was easy and convenient. I found I was able to roll the pad and place it in my bag and unroll whenever I needed a non-skid surface at my fingertips. As an added benefit, this pad did not loose shape or wrinkle.

    Learn more about and purchase the GRIP Activity Pad and other non-skid related products by visiting the website!

    gabeThis blog was written by EnableMart Blog Writer Gabe Ryan from Sacramento, California. Gabe has used a wheelchair since he was 3 years old and is an experienced user of assistive technology tools. Some of these tools have been life-changing for him and he looks forward to sharing his experiences and perspectives with our blog readers. Gabe enjoys abstract paintings, is an avid music lover, and enjoys using his iPad and iPhone to connect with family, friends and the community.

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