Accessibility App and Website


AbleRoad is a free website and app (available for both Android and Apple devices) that is designed to help persons with disabilities, including physical, cognitive and visual/hearing disabilities, access the community.

The positives:


Able to search/sort by type of business and type of disability.

Client-focused – reviews are written by users.

Easy to review with star scale.

Yelp! reviews are included with the businesses included in the app/website.

The negatives:

I searched for businesses near Conshohocken, PA, and came up with a number of businesses, but no AbleRoad reviews. AbleRoad is an app that relies on “crowdsourcing”, or public input, to enhance the information included in the app. This is a relatively new app, and so as more people use it and contribute, the more effective a resource it will be.

Overall, AbleRoad could potentially be an extremely valuable resource for our students and their families, as well as classes that go out into the community. Therapists can help spread awareness of the app and website, and support this useful project!


New advances in AAC voices

This story from NPR, discusses the work being done by a Northeastern University speech scientist. Rupal Patel is working to create more representative, individualized Text-to-Speech output for assistive technology users. There are examples of this more personalized voice that you can hear in the NPR story. More information about Dr. Patel and the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory can be found on their website. The research project is called VocaliD, and Tim Bunnell from A.I. duPont Hospital for Children is listed as a collaborator, which may be an awesome opportunity for local students who use Text-to-Speech technology!

The Importance of Feedback

As therapists, we are constantly providing our clients with feedback, whether it is cuing a student for form when engaged in exercise, or helping a teacher incorporate a visual cue for a student’s targeted sound. An article published on the New York Times website, titled “You’ve Been Doing a Fantastic Job. Just One Thing …”, discusses recent research regarding how to be more effective with feedback. Most people use a “sandwich” method, where the critique is presented following a positive remark, and is followed by another positive comment. However, the researchers found that the recipient of the critique would not necessarily perceive that improvements were needed. What was found to be more effective was providing specific, unemotional, feedback. The article also talked about a technique utilized by Pixar employees called “plussing,” when suggestions were added to a positive remark, using non-judgmental language, such as “and” and “what if”, instead of “but.” It can be difficult to provide, or receive feedback, but by keeping our guidance specific and praise appropriate, we can continue moving towards the goal of improving ourselves and our students.

Celebrate April – OT and Autism Awareness Month – with free CEUs!

Autism awareness ribbon. The puzzle pattern re...
Autism awareness ribbon. The puzzle pattern reflects complexity and different colour and shape represent diversity among people with the condition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until April 30, 2013, there is a free 1 hour, CEU course being offered at! The course is titled “Sensory Processing in Autism”, and is available here.

For physical therapists, is currently offering two free CEU courses, Working with an Interprofessional Team and Interpreting Statistical Reports of Tests and Measurements. Both free offers expire May 13th of this year.

And for SLPs! There is a new course available at LinguiSystems, titled Intervention Programming for Nonverbal Children – also free! Check it out here.

The 3 R’s (Relevant Rehab Research)!

Barrow researchers identify new vision of how we explore our world
Although the researchers involved in this study primarily focus on adults with neurological conditions, their findings remain relevant to both OTs and educators, especially in regards to reading and visual perceptual tasks. They found that, whether the visual stimuli is large or small, we use similar patterns of eye movement to learn details, rather than the previous belief that fixation and exploration were more dissimilar than alike.

Avoid impulsive acts by imagining future benefits
Although this study has implications for addressing executive functioning, it is valuable to keep in mind for all of our students as they work toward their goals! The researchers found differences in brain activity between patient and impatient people, and report that it appears that being about to think ahead to the future reward increased positive feelings about the goal.

Body Representation Differs in Children and Adults
This experiment, tested how our senses inform our sense of body. Most relevant to occupational and physical therapists is the finding that children, more than adults, rely on their sense of sight to determine their physical self.

April is Occupational Therapy month!

How will you celebrate Occupational Therapy Month?

One way to celebrate OT is to spend a little extra time “building our brand” by talking about the profession and educating our audience about what OT is! This may be as easy as talking to a student about why they attend therapy sessions, or verbalizing our objective with a particular activity to an aide or other support staff.

AOTA has many resources available for use to promote the profession. Of relevance for school-based occupational therapists, there is a color, trifold handout designed to illustrate the role and responibilities of occupational therapists for school administrators. The file is available here.

Also, there is an upcoming live chat being offered through AOTA, April 11 at 4 pm, called Collaboration Matters! A School Team’s Perspective. This is an awesome topic, relevant for all disciplines of Related Services, and you do not need to be an AOTA member to listen. If you are not available to listen tomorrow afternoon, the chat will be archived and available on the talkshoe website, with all the previous web chats as well, including chats on RTI, Obesity Prevention and Intervention, and OT Excellence in the Inclusive Classroom: the ASD Nest Model. Check them out here!