2002 Conference Proceedings

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AUGMENTATIVE AND ALTERNATIVE (AAC) DEVICES AND ASSESSMENT TOOLS FROM ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, INC.

Christina Murray
Assistive Technology, Inc.
Newton, MA

ATI's state-of-the-art Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices - Gemini and Gemini Special Edition (SE) - help people with learning and communication difficulties lead more independent and productive lives.

The Gemini is a full-featured computer and AAC device. The Gemini SE is a dedicated speech-generating device that conforms to the recently established Medicare coverage guidelines.

Easily Accessible

Both devices are universally accessible and suited to a range of motor control abilities and access methods: touch-screen, switch input, on-screen keyboard, joystick, head-mouse, keyboard and mouse or any other alternative pointer. Gemini and Gemini SE can be turned on with the power button or a remote switch. For easier touch screen access, snap a key guard in to place.

Digitized or Synthesized Speech

Gemini and Gemini SE offer the ability to record speech and sounds using the external USB microphone. Users can choose from 25 high quality MacinTalk(tm) Pro synthesized voices, including male, female and child. Private auditory preview is also available through the use of headphones.

Communication Software

The Gemini is compatible with a number of communication and educational software programs. ATI's recommended Software Feature Set is a complete and integrated software solution bundling popular programs manufactured by Mayer Johnson, Inc.

The software feature set (installed on the Gemini SE and recommended with the Gemini) includes Speaking Dynamically(tm) Pro, Boardmaker(tm) and the third being a choice from the three options below. The selection will depend on the skills of the user.

Option 1: Beginning Symbol Users
Begin-IT Dynamically & Playing Dynamically Combo

Option 2: Advanced Symbol Users
Speak-UP Dynamically

Option 3: Text Based Users
Talk Boards

The Gemini allows a parent or professional the ability to load third-party communication or educational software, as requested by the user. The Gemini comes pre-installed with Microsoft(r) Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook Express, Netscape(r) Communicator, Adobe(r) Acrobat(r), QuickTime(r), AppleWorks(r), America Online(r).

Customizable

The Gemini device can be customized by ATI with a set of personalized communication boards for use with Speaking Dynamically Pro. Customization includes a set of 20 grid-based communication boards, a personalized launcher and a personalized photo album.

Stable and Portable

Our custom mounting plate system allows you to place the Gemini or Gemini SE on a desk or other flat surface. This heavy-duty, aluminum stand can be easily adjusted to a variety of angles to suit the preferences of the user. The stand's built-in plate can be used to mount the device on most wheelchairs.

Both devices feature a built-in folding handle for easy transport.

For those users on the go, the Gemini and Gemini SE feature a Lithium Ion battery lasting approximately 4 hours with continuous use and 6 hours with average use.

For users who can type on a keyboard, LINK is an easy-to-use, lightweight communication device that speaks what is typed. Simply start typing and the LINK will "speak" what appears on its display. Users can choose from 9 different voices, use "Instant Messages" to access frequently used phrases quickly, or save what is typed and upload it to a computer.

Easy to Use

The LINK is simple to use. Just turn it on and start typing. LINK is a standard, full-sized keyboard with 80 keys. It features an easy to read 4-line by 40-character display window. With ATI's telephone headset kit, users can speak face-to-face or over the telephone. For privacy, users can turn off the speech output and let the other person read what is typed on the display.

Customizable

LINK has many features that make communicating fast and easy. It speaks with DECtalk(tm) speech output and includes a choice of 9 different voices: male, female or child. There are adjustable settings for volume, rate and pitch as well as flexible read back options-by letter, word, sentence or paragraph. Users can also program Instant Messages to store up to 10 frequently used words or phrases that speak with two easy keystrokes.

There are four keyboard layouts for the LINK: QWERTY, Dvorak, Right and Left one-handed. The adjustable keyboard access features options to make typing easier: sticky keys, key click, key repeat and key delay.

LINK has an eight-file capacity to store up to 64 pages of text. These files can then be stored on any Macintosh or PC computer to format or print.

Portable & Mobile

At only 2 pounds, the LINK is designed for use is numerous environments - work, school or the car. It can be plugged in for continuous power or run off battery power. LINK is also compatible with a car adapter for power while on the road.

ATI's LINK speech output system has been accepted into the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program Association (TEDPA) program for the disabled. People who are interested in LINK can visit the ATI website at www.assistivetech.com to contact an Authorized Dealer or regional sales representative and see if they qualify for a LINK at a significantly reduced rate.

EvaluWare(tm) makes evaluations easy and streamlined. EvaluWare helps identify the best computer access methods and ideal AAC setups for people with special needs. Over 350 intuitive, ready-to-use computer screens lead professionals and their clients through a series of interactive activities to assess listening, looking, motor and other related skills.

Looking Skills

Investigate visual needs and preferences by determining the best target size, number on the screen and level of representation (photo, color drawing or symbol).

Listening Skills

Determine the best sound options, then play a listening comprehension game to see if the selected preferences match the user's needs. Find a comfortable volume level and preferred type of voice: male, female or child; recorded or computer-generated.

Computer Access Skills

EvaluWare helps professionals evaluate motor skills by exploring input methods and settings for a touch screen, mouse, switch, keyboard and alternative pointer. Input method skills can be improved by playing the games included in the software.

Other Related Skills

Explore other areas related to communication and computer access by trying EvaluWare's accessible keyboard.
Activities included can help professionals determine if their users are ready to use word prediction software.

Additional Features

EvaluWare helps professionals find solutions to potential roadblocks in the evaluation process. A user's interest can be maintained with Fun and Games, a series of activities that are fun for the user and allow the evaluation to continue. Report writing is made easy by filling in an on-screen report or the hard copy provided.


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