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Carolina Computer Access Center - April 13, 2005
(another facility's notes are below)

From the staff:  Please put in a blurb on behalf of Carolina Computer Access Center and all who were lucky enough to attend, how much we appreciated being included on your Road Trip.  People are still talking about it, making those who did not attend feel really jealous!!!  (That’ll teach ‘em!)  You are most  definitely wanted for another visit!!


Q: What would you like to see Technology help you do that you cannot do now?


9:30  Petesie C

Goal:  My goal is to have Petesie talk with the button on the computer

Initial Observation: Rhett system, stims with hands especially girls, has full head control.

Software/Hardware:  mini-arm with switch (easy to use with minimal nobs), Compac switch by RJ used but could use spec switch,  using the computer with the flat screen with LCD screen  arm (can be purchased at Best Buy for $100), use Point to Picture

Access Method: Head access seems to be the best.


1..Using waker shaker with button switch. Now appearing to like it.-causing stress or interest. Using the button to make things happen. RJ had to help her hit the button gently.

2. RJ recorded Petesie’s voice using Facemaker in  Children’s Switch Progression. If your Happy and You Know It.  RJ assists in using head with switch. No doubt that head access is good. But for some reason, cognitively or behaviorally doesn’t want to access. Petesie is interested and happy about trying it. RJ assisted very gently. (Using the switch is at a 1 to 2 year cognitively and cursor control is about 5 to 6 years)

3.  Take some pictures of mom and had her sing for reward when Petesie choose her mother and used a Fashion magazine as motivators for Petesie (using Point to Picture)(Full screen scan every 6 seconds, auditory scan) Petesie making choices. Choose mom instead of Vogue magazine and back rub.  Second time choose Mom again got voice or back rub. Push button for more-she did that.  She choose Vogue catalogue. “Let’s look at” better than “Here is this thing.”  Invites participation and helps her hold the catalogue. Petesie chooses the catalogue again and looks at pages.  Petesie worked at this for 30 minutes.

Summary: Petesie did not hit the switch independently but shows good potential.


10:00  Catherine D.

Goal:  Catherine wants to teach young children to read

Initial Observation: Catherine has cerebral palsy; her left hand works well.  Catherine is verbal. She tells RJ. she lives in a group home. Catherine does contract work in a sheltered workshop all day and does not like it.  Catherine tells RJ that she wants to “work with handicapped children and help them read.”

Software/Hardware: Spell-A-Word, Big Keys with key guard and device adaptor to mount BigKeys

Access method: Left hand


1. How would she teach children to read?  RJ shows her the word CAT in Spell-A-Word. Catherine would tell the children the letters in the word.   Then maybe help them with the sounds of each letter.  RJ asks how she writes and Catherine tries with pencil and paper. Curtis, her counselor, said she could start by volunteering at Circle School She will need to learn to teach the core of 100 words, Judy Be Jones book. Catherine will need to learn a technique with definite steps and practice to perfection. It was suggested that she could volunteer in an after school program to teach reading to kindergarteners and first graders.. Using an arm to mount the Big Keys keyboard with a key guard. RJ has Catherine look at the red row and work on three words in Spell A Word, dog, mom, and ?.   RJ role-played with Catherine being the teacher.

Summary:  RJ feels that Catherine could teach reading to young children. .  RJ says she will need a very structured environment to volunteer to teach.  Catherine will need to be extremely targeted and goal oriented.


11:30 Jasper H.

Goal: To hit the switch to make meaningful choices

Initial Observation:  Mother says he is operating at 2 or 3 years and 6 sporadically.  Clicks for yes consistently. Pushes the switch.  Switch placement vs motivation. Motivated but not in school things. Arms and legs quiet. Rotates head at will. Jasper has used cheek switch but not successful, because he will just land on the switch and appear to hit it randomly.
Software/Hardware: Point to Pictures, Using mini arm with switch, Flopper Stopper

Access Method: head control


Needs a switch with tactile and auditory feedback.  Likes switch on cheek. Wants to filter out what is on purpose. Using Point to Pictures so we can know what Jasper really wants.  (Get an inexpensive digital camera so that real and meaningful objects/concepts can be featured) Uses letters of things that are meaningful to him D for dad. Uses real life digital pictures and voices.  Label sounds and consequence sound.  Mommy’s coming up to give you a kiss and then kiss Ma switch interface with extension cable.

Summary:  Use Flopper Stopper to keep Jasper from resting on switch and have him activate the switch with his chin.  RJ helped Jasper make a choice of mom and got positive feedback using the button-touch his cheek.  RJ helped him choose backrub go 20 to 60 seconds to make it real.  “Thank you for choosing. You choose the button.  Now use the button to choose some more.”  RJ trying to facilitate- Jasper seems to be sleeping.  Constantly moving the button position. Need to do this quickly. Changing backrub to music.( Illustrated chair dancing-keeping hands under not interfering with switch). RJ changed order of choices. If the tissue choice is not strong enough use lemon juice on a cotton swab, so he avoids that choice.  Hitting the switch is to make a choice so don’t let the switch be accessible when you are not doing button choosing. Jasper seems to be a head turner and gets locked on a side. Using a flopper stopper will help his head return to neutral.  RJ is going to try up and  down head  control rather than back and forth.  Using a vibrator-buzzing toy below his chin, Jasper turned the toy on and had help turning it off. RJ might like this chin access (up and down) a little better.  Scan time to 5. Move button to one of the side panels is possibly an option.  Use ready set go -to let the student know you are ready to start.



1:15 Andrea R.

Goal: To write for her job using the IntelliKeys keyboard with a Magic arm that doesn’t break. Andrea is so strong that she often knocks the keyboard off the arm. Wants to communicate more easily, efficiently.

Initial Observation: Andrea is a very social woman with a strong desire to communicate

Access method: both hands

Software/Hardware: RJ suggest the device adaptor that connects to the back of the IntelliKeys keyboard to secure the keyboard to the Magic Arm. Suggest the use of the BigKeys because of size of the board being smaller. Possible use of the “I Can E-mail” and joystick to mouse program


1. When typing, Andrea says she switches hands. RJ requests she spells her name any way she wants to use her hands.  Suggestion to Andrea to count to 3 between keyboarding  letters.  Next, he asks her to breathe between each letter, slow down, breathe. The result is much better control on the keyboard.  RJ says computers should be enjoyable, slow everything down and “chill”.  Try this for about 2 weeks—may slow down your productivity at first.

Another thing, there is a distinct advantage in using  BigKeys instead of IntelliKeys.  Difference in keyboard sizes is small.  Key guard maybe good on the BigKeys for Andrea.  Never mind trying to go fast, just relax and enjoy it!  (Mounted the Magic Arm upside down to experiment with Andrea’s range of motion) 

2. Tried “I Can E-mail” program RJ wrote for simpler access.    Joystick to mouse program was demonstrated with “I Can E-mail” letting Andrea use the joystick as a mouse. Andrea liked the voice and text being read to her to help her stay on track, keep herself from being distracted.  Andrea recorded a message on  e-mail.    Demo of time saving using voice vs. typing the same message. 

Summary: Suggested Andrea use a  device adaptor for her IntelliKeys keyboard, possible use of BigKeys, use of the “I Can E-mail program and to slow down when she keyboards is very important.  Suggestion from the audience for a program to be developed to do journals and notes for job purposes that could be read into and then replayed.  RJ will work on this! Andrea seemed very satisfied with the experience and appreciative!


1:45 Joey W.

Goal: To find technology that can help Joey at school attend to task and  structure  his day at school. Functionality

Initial Observation: Autistic like behaviors, uses picture  symbols, Realistic pictures have been tried.

Access Method: uses hands

Software/Hardware: Mini Augie, Spell A Word


RJ showed Mini Augie, augmentative communication  device that is very portable, durable,  and you can carry easily with Mayer Johnston picture symbols include. Explored the feelings icons on the device-touched happy. Remind Me is a software option with Mini Augie.  The device can help put structure in the day,  used the example about going to the library. In looking at literacy, RJ tried Spell a Word.  First given an example to copy and then ask to spell on his own. Spelled ball and also played with a ball. Did bubbles too. Joey was asked to say ball and bubbles after typing.  Sometimes students need pay offs. But you can put all digital pictures and create your words into the Mini Augie.

Summary: Joey needs an augmentative communication device so “he could target conversation and help with structure”.



22:30 Jaynie, W.


Jaynie says she wants to have people understand her better. Ms. S, Jaynie’s speech therapist, would like Jaynie to use a device for communication. Jaynie is resisting the speech output device (a DynaMite) currently available to her; and Ms. S. wondered if a more advanced device that offered a wider variety of options, such as the DynaVox, would be more suitable (and acceptable to Jaynie.)

Initial Observation:

An attractive, personable sixteen-year-old student in a wheelchair with limited speech.

Access Method:

Can use a mouse, but does have some trouble with keyboarding due to reported visual tracking inconsistencies.


Mini Auggie (small communication device), BigKeys keyboard, Magic Arm (mounting system), Question and Answers (software program)



Jaynie’s best friend who can understand all she says and has known Jaynie for seven years, states that “people don’t understand her all the time especially when they are out at the mall.” She said Jaynie finds it frustrating. RJ sympathized and gave the example of how one feels about a bad phone cell signal.   Voice recognition is not a reliable option now. RJ suggested encouraging Jaynie to interact with friends and creating environments in which Jaynie can flourish, e.g. like church youth groups. Those types of settings will give her more confidence and successes.  She needs to feel she has something she can do.  Technology is not going to work with her all the time. RJ had her use the Mini Augie, a PDA-type device to help with functionality but not her conversational ability.


Tried Big Keys keyboard mounted on a Magic Arm with the Questions and Answers software  program, which is for early readers and non-readers.  Information area read by using the up arrow and down arrow. Speech sometimes not so great in this program.  Had Jaynie “read” each word. She was able to answer the question by looking at the information box and copy. After awhile the user can answer the question with a complete sentence. Jaynie probably needs help scaffolding from information to questions.  This program helps with decoding.

Summary: Create environments where Jaynie can communicate, use a combination of a device and voice, possible use of BigKeys and Question and Answer software.  (Question and Answer is still in development.  RJ Cooper is looking for people to volunteer to test it and provide constructive suggestions.)


3:00 Zach M.

Goal: Would like to see Zach be able to type faster, more efficiently for his schoolwork

Initial Observation: Spinal cord injury resulting in  left hand better than right but fatigues easily

Access Method: left hand

Software/Hardware: AlphaSmart, CoWriter Applet, Magic Arm, Device Adaptor

Session: Zach has used AlphaSmart successfully in school. . RJ suggest the Co:Writer applet, which would reduce the amount of keystrokes because of word prediction and abbreviation expansion. CCAC staff demonstrated Co:Writer. (CoWriter price $199).  The user can add own dictionaries or other dictionaries. Next, explored positioning of the AlphaSmart.

Summary:, Magic Arm and the Device Adapter and CoWriter were suggested additions to help Zachbe more efficient in doing his school work and save energy.


Will L.

Goal: Parents would like to see Will focus on activities in school so he can learn.

Initial Observation: Very active, wanders, distractible

Access Method: hands

Software/Hardware: Spell  A Word, Big Keys


Will sat down with RJ to use the program , Spell a Word. Used a Big Keys to spell out Bubbles. Will self corrected.. It was difficult for Will to be focused. It is necessary to choose things that Will has an interest in. RJ used bubbles to engage Will.  He can copy letters but needs to scaffold between copying and then trying to write himself. Will wandered off, but came back eventually for more.  Suggested a digital camera (around $100),  to use real pictures, real words, and real examples, with Spell a Word. This program should work for 3 to 4 years.

Summary: Working backwards will be important so think of where you want him to be at 20 and what skills he will need to get there.  Need to fix the world to accommodate him, group home may be a future solution.


Notes compiled by Jamie Evans and Lynn Koch.


R.J. Cooper Workshop
April 12 - Baker City, OR - 4/12/01
Student Summary Reports

Carrie M
She was set up with a button at her R cheek using the adaptive arm with modification kit, and a switch set up with a 3 sec. response time on a trackball to use the program “Early and Advanced Switch Games” which is a software program for choice making.  Carrie clicked her button or waited appropriately when instructed by the program, but it was undetermined whether she was waiting because of the instructions or because she was looking at R.J.  With verbal and physical cues, she then used “Scan It Up” with similar results of inconsistency. While using this program, R.J. helped Carrie with her head control to help her “get it”.  Students can be helped intellectually with physical and verbal cues, or motivationally – what you see is what you get.  The next program that Carrie tried was  “Point to Pictures”.  It was used to train her for more consistent results (fewer false hits)—digital pictures can be inserted into this program for reinforcer choices and special favorites.  Went up to 6 sec for response time.  She continued to click the button indiscriminately and appears to be “over-trained” on the switch in that she clicked the switch whenever presented.  R.J. used “stop, tissue, and music” in the program to provide concrete choices.  The program keeps data, so a pattern could be tracked on her training to select choices discriminately.  R.J. recommended 10 minutes of practice on this program daily to keep her frustration levels down and to learn that the computer is an empowerment tool and not a She then did the V-Ride (virtual reality ride on a roller coaster and a bike ride).  She seemed to enjoy both. 

R.J. noted that the motion of the switch coming towards her causes Carrie to respond to the switch, but her looks indicated that she was trying to understand the programs and choices.  He suggested she be helped to learn cause and effect using switch and pictures. 

Rocky H
R.J. tried using a joystick with the computer rather than the single switch with Rocky.  Used Magic Arm on footrest hanger with mount for joystick/switch combo with key guard on.  Rocky used “Explore Joystick” and  “Move that Bus” programs to determine his ability to direct the joystick.  He was responsive and timely with directing the joystick.  R.J. recommended using a ball grip on the joystick and using that system for game-playing.  Rocky played a game with his father called “Wheels” to train joystick use on computer.  He did well with this when the speed was slowed down and the center range was desensitized to input somewhat.  R.J. suggested using combo of head switch and joystick for some applications.  Rocky then tried a virtual reality ride on a roller coaster, roller rink, and a music video.  He appeared to enjoy all of the activities.
A word pallet was created for Rocky using “Intelli-talk 2”.  R.J. felt that Rocky could have good use of this program within two weeks.  He suggested that the volume be gradually turned down so it would eventually all be done visually.

Matthew Briney
He used his adaptive chair and was set up with a Big Red switch so that he had to click and let go to start music with “Children’s Switch Progression”.  He then tried “Early and Advanced Switch Games-Scan it Up” with a 6 second scan speed.  Matthew required some verbal prompts for directions and responded well to direct prompts.  He tried “Match Shapes” (pictures) with an 8 second scan speed.  He was very distracted by the audience, but appeared to be learning the program.  R.J. also suggested using “Click-It” for choice making to get him introduced into regular education software.  Also tried “Point to Pictures”.  He chose “having a dance” several times and was very selective with the switch in this program.  R.J. suggested using the digital camera to take more pictures of choices for “Point to Pictures”.  R.J. suggested that at Matthew’s age, he wouldn’t suggest using anything other than a switch to learn timing skills.  In choosing between access and content, he would choose content and just have Matthew use a switch.  Access could be developed more at a later age. 

Nic M
R.J. had Nic try using a Big Red switch at his left foot and used “Children’s Switch Progression” to turn on music.  Nic had very short latencies and few false positives with turning the music on.  He did quite well with this activity.  Discussed his likes/dislikes—he likes tambourines, drums, and bouncing.  R.J. then tried using “Point to Pictures” to make choices.  R. J. recommended short sessions each day to train him to make choices—10 minutes a day.  Nic appeared to make a connection between hitting the switch and something happening in his environment.  R.J. suggested that a running narrative be used when doing things with Nic.  He also felt that in 1-2 years, Nic would be able to use “Intelli-talk 2” with the verbal option to make simple sentences. 

Valen H
A wobble switch was used on her right side for her to turn music on in “Teenage Switch Progressions” using cause and effect.  This program can also use your own music to find what would motivate Valen.  She did not respond well with the wobble today, although classroom staff reports she can use it.  A button switch was also tried.  She did not respond with that switch either.  R.J. recommended using the button because the wobble switch moved a bit with use.  Also may experiment with a squeeze switch.  R.J. suggested that Valen work with programs where things (music, etc.) stop and she needs to start it again by activating the switch.

Cozi H
R.J. did a trial of “Point to Pictures” software using a touch screen with two and then four pictures.  Cozi needed verbal and physical prompts for touching the screen.  Toward the end she indicated more voluntary movement toward the screen.  She was not wearing her glasses, so that may have made it easier had she worn them.  Choices such as fish crackers, popcorn, and magazines were mentioned by audience as being more motivating reinforcers for her to choose when using this again.  R.J. felt that within 9 months Cozi would be able to choose between 9 different pictures.

Brittany S
Using “Point to Pictures” and a touch screen, Brittany was very interested in touching the screen and making more choices. She had difficulty holding her head up while reaching toward the screen. Discussed using a halo or a chin support to help her.  Tried using manual chin support and manual forehead support; neither were successful.  Restraining her left arm helped her right arm move more accurately.  Access and content were two questions raised.  Physical difficulties may preclude use of touch screen.  She will probably need to use scanning.  Also tried using a spec switch under her chin with scanning.  This appeared to be successful and looked quite promising.

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