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ATU217 – AT in Alaska and Hawaii Nike makes shoes for a

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show notes:Assistive Technology in Alaska and Hawaii with Mystie Rail and Barbara Fischlowitz-Leong | http://www.atlaak.org/ | http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/vocationalrehabHow Teen With Cerebral Palsy Inspired Nike Shoe For Those With Special Needs http://buff.ly/1Vu0gnNHonda Walking Assist Device Going on Sale – Robotics Trends http://buff.ly/1RPZdyUApp: Swim American Red Cross www.BridgingApps.org——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: I’m Barbar Fischlowitz-Leong from Honolulu Hawaii with the Assistive Technology Program.MYSTIE RAIL: Hi, I’m Mystie Rail, Executive Director of Assistive Technology of Alaska, and this is your Assistance Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 217 of Assistive Technology Update, scheduled to be released on July 24 of 2015.Today we’re going to learn about how is assistive technology different in Alaska and Hawaii. We’ve got a story about a young man with cerebral palsy who has some cool new shoes from Nike; something that Honda is doing to help people in Japan walk a little bit better; and an app from BridgingApps called Swim American Red Cross.We hope you’ll check out our website at www.eastersealstech.com, call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAproject.***Do you like this show? You really should check out Assistance Technology Frequently Asked Questions. ATFAQ is our new panel show where we answer your questions from voicemails, emails, tweets and everything, and its taken off like wildfire. Everybody’s listening, everybody’s asking question and getting some answers. Head over to ATFAQshow.com. Take a listen, check it out, you’ll like it.***MATTHEW WALZER: As a result, I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. Bill Bowerman said it best, “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”MARK PARKER: I mean, he understood why we do what we do, but he was just asking.MATTHEW WALZER: I wanted to say, look, this is a real issue. These are daily challenges that millions of disabled people face.WADE WINGLER: The voices you’re hearing there are Nike CEO Mark Parker and also Matthew Walzer who is a 16-year-old with cerebral palsy. Walzer sent an email or a letter into Nike and said, hey, I have cerebral palsy and have a hard time getting my shoes on, and asked if they could do something to help with that. It’s interesting that Jeff Johnson, who is the very first Nike employee, is somebody who had suffered a stroke and they were looking for ways to make it easier for him to put his shoes on. So they took those situations and created a new line of shoe that’s called Flyease which is going to be incorporated into the upcoming Nike Lebron Soldier VIII basketball shoe.Basically what they’ve got a shoe that has a Velcro strap across the front of the shoe to kind of secure it in the front, but then it has a zipper that wraps around the back of the leg and the ankle and right above the heel. It makes it easier for somebody with cerebral palsy or other kinds of mobility challenges to zip and unzip and don and doff those shoes on their own. The video that I snagged the clip from there is actually quite inspiring, quite nice, and it shows this line of shoes that are going to be coming out and talks a lot about Matthew’s story and even a clip or two from Lebron James as well as to why Nike cares about the situation and why they’ve created this special shoe.I like it when a mainstream company pays attention to assistive technology, low-tech assistive technology in this situation, and hopefully this is the first of many things that Mike is going to do to help folks with disabilities. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to the postgame.com where you can see the video and read more about Matthew Walzer and these cool shoes. Check our show notes.***Every day, I drive a Honda back and forth to work. I was surprised when I saw this headline hit my desks that says, “Honda walking assist device going on sale.” Well apparently over in Japan starting in November 2015, Honda has a device that looks sort of like a waist belt with some supports and some straps that go around the legs. The idea is that this is a motorized device that will help somebody who has a difficulty with walking to do that. So it helps with lengthening the user’s stride and help people walk further and faster. It’s a medical device. It has to be prescribed by a physician and has to be used with the assistance of a physical therapist or another medical personnel.This is something that’s been around or in development since 1999. They’ve been testing it since 2013. In 2015 in November, they’re going to start selling it over there. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to robotics trends’ website, and it’s got some specifications and some photographs there and a lot more information about what Honda is doing within their health and sports wearable robots division. Check out our show notes.***Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an App Worth Mentioning.AMY BARRY: This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an App Worth Mentioning. This week I’m sharing the Swim by American Red Cross app. This app is a free mobile device app to promote water safety for parents and caregivers of individuals learning how to swim. Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, and Kindle Fire users. The Swim app helps track progress and Red Cross swim lessons and play safety themed games.An excellent must-have app for learning more about water safety, the Swim by American Red Cross app includes simple steps, illustrations, and descriptive instructions users can take to ensure the safety of non-swimmers , new swimmers, and even experience swimmers in a variety of environments.BridgingApps reviewed the Swim by American Red Cross app with a certified lifeguard working with preschool aquatics level one swimmers through teen learn to swim level six swimmers. Within the progress portion of the app, swimmers learn and earn badges for milestones such as exploring underwater, water competency, swim strokes, personal water safety, and more. During our trial, reviewers found the illustrations within the app to be very helpful for young and nonverbal users. Earning virtual badges encouraged new swimmers to continue their lessons even when they became frustrated. The badges even motivated experienced and advanced summers to develop more difficult skills. The safety area of the app includes detailed information and life saving tips on prevention, emergencies, where drownings occur, and lifejackets. Anyone who swims or cares for non-swimmers should learn water safety and review it often. With the app, there are quizzes aimed at adults on swim safety while at lakes and rivers, beaches, and fact or fiction questions. There are also kid from the videos and quizzes on the following topics: be cool, follow the rules; don’t just pack it, wear your jacket; some as a pair; reach or throw, don’t go; and watch for water. We found it useful for caregivers to watch these videos initially with children to discuss the content presented as the videos serve as a powerful video modeling tool. Kids with processing difficulties enjoyed watching the videos repeatedly which helped recall of rules at a later time. We also found it helpful for kids’ long-term memory in a swimming environment, whether it was a neighborhood pool, swim lessons, or a beach vacation.For more information on this app and others like it, visit BridgingApps.org.***WADE WINGLER: So you might notice that we sound a little bit different today. We are working out of the backpack recording studio which means I carry a recorder with me so that there are times in my career and in my life when I bump into folks and want to interview them but don’t have them in the studio.Today I am very near the White House actually in Washington DC at a big old hotel with high ceilings and a very busy lobby. I am here for a directors conference where the directors of the assistive technology act programs get together and talk about what’s happening in my session and what’s happening with the programs in those kinds of things. It sort of struck me as interesting. Yesterday morning during the conference, everyone went around and introduced themselves. My friends from Hawaii and Alaska were sitting next to each other which, as you know, Hawaii and Alaska aren’t next to each other. It struck me that these guys traveled a long way to get here. I bet that some of the challenges they deal with related to assistive technology are very different than what I deal with in the Midwest and the state of Indiana. Before we jump into the conversation here, I first want to introduce Mystie Rail who is the director of the Alaska AT program. Mystie, how are you?MYSTIE RAIL: I’m doing good.WADE WINGLER: Good, thank you for being here. And seated right next to you is Barbara Fischlowitz-Leong. How are you?BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: I’m glad to be in Washington.WADE WINGLER: Absolutely. And also our silent interview guest is Jody Asada. She said she’s not going to talk and I shouldn’t say her name, but I’ve already violated that by saying her name. Jody, you want to say hello?JODY ASADA: Aloha!WADE WINGLER: Thank you. Thank you for being here. I promise I won’t throw questions that you.So ladies, first of all, thank you for sitting down. We have another meeting starting in just a while, but I appreciate you taking some time out of your lunch hour to visit with me. A quick bit of background. For listeners who aren’t familiar, the assistive technology act programs exist in all the US states and territories. We have some common goals. We do things like a lending library. We find ways to give people exposure to assistive technology. We provide a lot of education about assistive technology. Different programs do things like trainings and services and conferences and speaker groups and all that kind of stuff. There’s a lot of commonality in the goals that we try to achieve related to helping people learn about assistive technology.But I know that all the programs are different. I think, when we talk about Hawaii and Alaska, they might particularly be different. I want to get to that. Before we start talking about your programs and the geography, first I’d like to know from each of you how long have you been in your position. And a fun question, it’s 1 PM as we record this on the East Coast, what time is it at home right now? Barbara, I’ll start with you.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: It’s 7 AM and people are just waking up.WADE WINGLER: There you go. And how long have you been involved in the AT programs?BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: Over 20 years.WADE WINGLER: Wow.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: I love it.WADE WINGLER: That’s a good job. Mystie, how about you?MYSTIE RAIL: It’s 9 AM back in Alaska so the office is starting to open up and bustle and everyone’s getting ready for their day. I’ve been with this AT program for over 10 years, and I’ve been the director for over three years now.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. And Mystie, what’s your background before getting into the AT program?MYSTIE RAIL: I worked in special education on grant writing and different programs pertaining to visual impairments, deaf/blind impairments, and multiple disabilities.WADE WINGLER: Okay, good. And Barbara, same question for you.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: My background’s a little bit different. I started out as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Pacific and spent those couple of years dragging children with disabilities out of their homes, convincing parents that they could go to school. I myself had a disability, a vision challenge, and so the interest just grew and grew. I’ve always done nonprofit work with these last 20 years, and this has been right up my alley.WADE WINGLER: I guess I’m either always suppressed or never surprised at how many people fall into the field of assistive technology. I’m one of those too. I didn’t know what it was until it kind of snuck up on me. Now I love it. That’s pretty consistent. A lot of folks, I think, are really passionate about this.I did a little bit of characterization of what the AT act programs do in terms of lending libraries, financing programs, and that kind of stuff. Can you guys individually tell me a little bit about your program? Do you do those core activities in each of your states?BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: We do those activities, but in our case, there are certain challenges that make it different. So for example, in our loan program where people borrow money to purchase, we decided that we’re not going to allow people to purchase boats because we figure they may disappear across the Pacific. This is based on another program that’s on the East Coast in Virginia where some of their vehicles that were in the loan program disappeared across country. We have been very successful in terms of probably over the years only having two or three defaults, but we just have this little caveat that we’re not purchasing boats under the program. That’s what makes it a little bit different.WADE WINGLER: Yeah.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: We do all the traditional things. We have a lending library. People borrow equipment to try it. For us it’s particularly important because we don’t have vendors in Hawaii. So things have to be purchased from the mainland. They have to be purchased online. So the ability to come into our office or for us to shift to the neighbor islands is extremely important for the trial period.WADE WINGLER: So you don’t have the DynaVox rep or the Freedom Scientific rep knocking on your door every day asking if they can come show you their latest wares, right?BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: They occasionally show up at an event. But again, because of transportation — and you’re going to hear the same thing from Mystie — the transportation issues, getting them to move around the islands, and a lot of people live in isolated places. Whenever we get them, we’re happy, but it’s not a regular event.WADE WINGLER: Sure. So Mystie, same question, are you guys doing those core activities? Give us some of the differences.MYSTIE RAIL: We do all of the core activities with the exception of state financing. We do not provide an alternate financing program. It’s almost a necessity for us to go beyond the core AT program. We have six additional programs and grants so that we can provide assistance and outreach and education throughout the entire state of Alaska. Geographically, listeners need to remember that the state of Alaska is the size of Texas, California, and Montana combined, so it’s a little over one third the size of the United States, so it’s a large, large state to provide services. We also provide — much like Barbara mentioned, we don’t have vendors knocking on our door. They do call, but we don’t have them coming by showing us equipment, so we have an emphasis on our professional development with all staff, that they go out to other conferences around the state or around the United States and learn more. And then we have a fee-for-service program, so we also are the provider of all assessments, trainings, reporting, for the state of Alaska for the division voc rehab and school districts. So we actually are the state reseller. For many, almost 70 vendors, we are the sole source state reseller, which is painstaking. It’s a huge service to our state. Otherwise people would not be able to receive equipment in a lot of cases. So we are different. Transportation is always a huge issue. We rack up frequent flyer miles, my staff does. Culture is definitely another area that we always have to be considerate of. It’s frequent that our request for AT are probably unusual in comparison to the Midwest. Fishing, subsistence hunting , those are employment options, and that’s what we do cater a lot of our AT towards.WADE WINGLER: Yeah.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: We have a similar situation in that we have a culture that’s very different than the Midwest. It’s a very Asian-based culture. And parts of the Asian population, there is not an effort to reach out. There’s an expectation that the family take care of individual.MYSTIE RAIL: Exactly.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: I don’t want to categorize any particular part of the Asian population, but we have seen in the past 10 years two Japanese-American families ask for assistance. That would be it. Because again, dealing with the culture that looks at disability very differently. We too provide specific services through vocational rehabilitation in terms of making sure that people have access to the assistive technology. The money issue and how it’s paid for, who’s going to pay for it, is a constant issue with us. We’re not a litigious population, so people are not willing to push for what it is they want and need, so our staff also works in IEP meetings and other government-based meetings to support the individuals [Inaudible]. I was on a federal review panel in Texas a few years ago, and in Texas, as soon as someone got a piece of assistive technology, there was a big fiesta, a big party. In our case, when somebody gets a piece of technology, they’re embarrassed and they don’t want to show off what they have gotten. So again, people sometimes — they’re not their own advocates, and they don’t advocate for other people. It makes for a challenge. When I go to conferences as probably Mystie does on the mainland, or the one in California regularly, of the 1500 people, you’ll see five or six hundred people with disabilities using all kinds of equipment from sophisticated wheelchairs to augmentative communication devices to phone systems. You don’t even see this in Hawaii. You don’t see this mountain of assistive technology. So building desire is a really big part of what our program does, encouraging people to want and not feel that it’s frowned upon.WADE WINGLER: Interesting.MYSTIE RAIL: I agree.WADE WINGLER: So we’ve got a couple minutes left here. I want to ask you kind of some practical questions. Tell me a little bit about what might be a common — let’s pick device demonstration, that’s something that most programs do. What does a request look like for a device demonstration and then how does that actually get carried out? What kind of things might be requested and how do you do those? Are you on a plane in Alaska or in Hawaii? Are you going to those folks doing a one-on-one? What does it look like when the phone rings or the email comes in that says I want to try a fill-in-the-blank device to you’re actually doing a device demonstration?MYSTIE RAIL: We have built a customized extensive database where, when someone calls in, an intake process is done and they are put into a queue based on the area that they live and what their needs are. Based on the number of people, or requests by service agencies or individuals that are in the area, we work to build almost a baked-in approach of several funding routers that we have to not only go there and do demonstrations but to also do either school district or VR assessments while we are there. We try to maximize and proportion out the cost of that travel to all of our multiple grants or our fee-for-service programs, which it’s working amazingly well. Our travel budget is usually somewhere near $100,000, but our AT travel budget, our AT Act travel budget cut is usually less than $10,000. We would use maybe 10 percent of the total cost of the travel would go to the AT Act. So being able to do that has made it so that we usually do between 120 to 160 sites around the state a year. So that’s using several funds to be able to do that. So then the demonstration is done and follow-up. Our usual “same as everyone else” process.WADE WINGLER: A quick follow-up. How long is a long trip from your central location to one of your outlying area? How long does it take to get there?MYSTIE RAIL: Flight time to get there? It could take up to 12 hours. There are several locations — a specialist just reminded me of a site that she went to recently that took them three tries to get into the site because they were weathered. There were weather issues. Three different separate times, not three times that one day. Once they landed, they were actually picked up. They knew that someone was going to pick them up on a four wheeler, and what she didn’t prepare for was that she had to sit on the actual tailgate, the end of the four wheeler, and so she was soaked by the time they traveled the 3 miles to the school. So we have to take into consideration how to protect our equipment. That’s an added cost. The shipping of equipment or bringing it. There’s a weight limit on a lot of the small float planes. Once you land in a village community, you really need to have good connections within the community to be able to have a place to stay. Most of them, we stay on the kindergarten floor at the school probably.WADE WINGLER: Wow. Interesting. Barbara, we’re getting a little bit short on time, but tell me the same scenario.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: Ditto on Hawaii except we’re not dealing with ice and snow. We are dealing with some inclement weather. We are dealing with a shorter distance to get from the island of Oahu where our office is to the big Island of Hawaii where the volcanoes are. That’s a 45 minute plane ride if the plane doesn’t overshoot the island, which occasionally it does. Again, getting the equipment over there is expensive. Moving employees is expensive. The choices are either very bad hotels or resort type of hotels. And then it’s the driving to various locations. The roads aren’t necessarily good roads. So again, there are just lots of issues.It’s also the cultural issues because people of Hawaii will tell you we have a lot of “Aloha”, but it’s very difficult for people to invite you into their home in order to do a demonstration. So it’s a matter of finding a space. It’s a full one day or a full two days or a full three days, so putting funds together to make that all possible. Also we have a lot of equipment break down because of the type of weather that Hawaii has. Getting that equipment repaired and back to that person is difficult. One of our stories in we bought really good equipment. Actually the community had gone together to buy the equipment, the family didn’t use it because it was the most extensive piece of anything they had in their home, so they were embarrassed. It just hung in a plastic bag on the back of the door. This was an augmentative communication device. So there’s just a lot of challenges, but the challenge is for me are what make the job exciting.MYSTIE RAIL: I agree. Most of the places, I’m sure Barbara will agree, do not have any kind of support. There’s no therapist to continue the training to support a device, so that weighs on our shoulders to figure out a way to continue to support and training and keep the knowledge there.WADE WINGLER: Absolutely. Everybody who works in the field of assistive technology knows that you have to overcome adversity and deal with challenges and think on your feet. I think from the culture perspective and the geographic perspective that you folks face, we all are looking to you and thinking, wow, I don’t know how you can pull it off in those situations.Mystie Rail is the Director of the Alaska Assistive Technology Program and Barbara Fischlowitz-Leong is the one from Hawaii. Ladies, thank you much for taking a bit of your lunchtime and hanging out with me today.MYSTIE RAIL: Thank you.BARBARA FISCHLOWITZ-LEONG: Mahalo.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to EasterSealstech.com. Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU095 – Andrew Leibs – Encyclopedia of Sports and Recreation for People with Visual Impairments, One Handed Violinist Helps Disabled Make Music, 6 Google Reader Replacements, TextHelp’s iReadWrite, Pet Peeves of Blind and Visually ImpairedMarch 22, 2013In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU182 – Roger Voice, KNFB Reader, RESNA’s new Singapore Conference, Legislative Update From Audrey Busch, Drive About Number Neighborhood AppNovember 21, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img read more