Posts Tagged ‘universal design’
The following article is adapted from some iPhone training material that Pat Pound created for special education teachers in June 2011. It describes over 70 accessible iPhone apps, and I thank her for permission to publish it here.
Vision: A Guide for iPhone Users who are Blind was one of the first articles on this blog. It’s short but has several good links to more info, and this YouTube video demo shows how a blind person would use the VoiceOver feature.
And visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility to learn more about assistive features in iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and to discover other 3rd party add-on products and apps for all sorts of needs, including visual, hearing, dexterity, and learning.
By Pat Pound
Apple’s iPhones (starting with the 3GS) are accessible to people who are blind as they come, complete with a screen reader, “VoiceOver”, and print enlarger “zoom”. As you know, the iPhone is famous for its touch screen so this is a very new experience for most blind users. Apple reps are well prepared to sell these phones and to explain their accessibility features in their stores, although it’s a noisy environment so it can be somewhat challenging. Similar accessibility is experienced on iPod Touch and iPad devices.
In this recessionary economy, home construction is slow, but one bright spot is home modifications for aging in place. I was happy to meet a reputable local contractor who is adopting Universal Design principals and embracing the Aging-in-Place market. They’re going to Houston next week for a Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) class, which covers low-tech construction projects but not high-tech solutions like environmental and medical sensors and telehealth services. Our discussion got me thinking about advice for builders and remodeling contractors that I created several years as Communications Director for HOT. Homeowners of Texas is a non-profit consumer advocacy that helped get an abusive State agency abolished. But until we can produce our own video tutorials for contractors, I’m including several shorts (~5 min) from 5min Media, a leading syndication platform for broadband instructional, knowledge and lifestyle videos.
Housing Options: Retirement and Independent Living Communities
Housing Options: Aging-in-Place
How to Choose a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
NPR host Michele Norris explores housing options for America’s aging population in her interview with Jon Pynoos, a professor of gerontology policy and planning at USC. (Listen to the broadcast or read the transcript HERE.)
Pynoos describes the high costs of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and the insurance options that pay for them, including Medicare & Medicaid. He then promotes aging-in-place at home as a much lower-cost option, but most homes were designed for people who aren’t old. He calls them Peter Pan homes. They have stairs, inaccessible bathrooms, and inadequate lighting, and they lack many of the safety features that would help people avoid falls.
“I won’t grow up. I don’t want to go to school.
Just to learn to be a parrot, And recite a silly rule.”
To help you assess your home and make modifications, contact a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) or, if you’re in Central Texas, click HERE to learn about our own assessment services.
Thirteen years after a freak accident left her paralyzed, Rosemarie found a new mission in life: sharing what she has learned about Universal Design. She founded Universal Design Living Laboratory and is building a national demonstration home that will be opened to the public this fall. I’ll be writing a series of articles about her project and start with this, her story.
About The Demonstration Home Project
On June 13, 1998 my husband, Mark Leder, and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by going on a bicycle ride. It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky, perfect biking weather. I was riding down the path ahead of Mark, when he heard a loud crack and yelled, “Look over there something is falling!” I glanced back at him and suddenly a 3 1/2 ton tree came crushing down on me, leaving me injured on the bike path. My life was changed in that instant! I was paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury.
MIT’s Assistive Technology Group is actively working towards implementing state-of-the-art solutions in order to make cutting-edge technology accessible to those who need it the most. The team develops low-cost and robust methods of plugging in any adaptive switch to fully access all software, apps, and functions on Windows computers and Android-based smartphones and tablets. These platforms, once unlocked, have the potential of becoming the ultimate assistive devices, allowing single switch access to a world of communication, environmental control, healthcare, entertainment, and other applications.
Your kids have grown, and they left you empty nested. You no longer need that big house and may have already considered downsizing. 77% of boomers have, considered it at least. But have you done anything about it? Less than 29% have a strategy for downsizing or modifying their home for aging in place.
Face it; you too are getting older, one day or one year at a time. You need to start planning for retirement, sometime. But like many boomers, you hate planning. Maybe it’s because you still feel young. Is that why you still don’t have a will or don’t manage your investments actively? Are you one of those people who don’t even open their 401k statements?
Before remodeling, check out AARP’s free webinar, “Transform Your Bathroom Through Good Design and Innovative Products,” and their paperback book, “Guide to Revitalizing Your Home: Beautiful Living for the Second Half of Life.”
The webinar featured dozens of photos showing innovative ideas, many using universal design concepts. I selected a 21 sample photos to include in this article but encourage you to watch the webinar to see them all and hear the commentary.
Remodeling for accessibility can be quite attractive and increase a home’s value. Click on each image below to see the high-res version, and notice the design features, such as wheelchair accessible showers, folding shower seats and handheld shower heads, designer grab bars and mirrors, cabinets with knee space and storage, and smart toilets.