Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Repair and Reuse Fund is available!

By Shannon Coe, CFILC’s Reuse & Finance Coordinator

It’s alive! The AT Network has resurrected its Repair and Reuse Fund. With a new face lift to the online application, we would like to highlight some of the changes. The most important change is that organizations can now submit up to five devices for repairs each week, up to $1000 for each device. After submitting the applications and attaching the photos of the devices and a 501(c)(3) letter for first time applicants, tracking numbers will be sent to the applicant to ensure all devices submitted are matched to the photos attached to the online application. Receipts for the devices repaired must be submitted within 30 days from when the application was approved.

Only organizations with a 501(c)(3) letter that accept donated AT devices can apply for funds. Organizations may not use the funds to repair AT devices owned by individuals. The repaired device must be reassigned to new owner. We will be accepting applications on a continuous basis until the fund is exhausted or until April 30th, 2012.

You can learn more about the AT Repair and Reuse Fund at and apply for funding at If you cannot access these links, you can also go directly to and click on “Limited time only: AT Repair and Reuse Fund Application.”

What skeletons, I mean devices, are in your closet?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's Disability History Week!

The Second Annual California Disability History Week is being celebrated around the state this week (October 10th- October 14th), the result of a long-fought effort by young people with disabilities determined to create a better understanding of the contributions people with disabilities have made to our society. In honor of this important week, students, teachers and schools around the state are preparing dozens of activities to take place both during and after school.

"California's youth with disabilities led the effort to create Disability History Week because we know that by learning about the past, we can help change the future." said YO! Volunteer Penelope DeMeerleer.

"Giving teachers the chance to create lesson plans and encourage conversations in class about the history of the disability history will go a long way in helping to reduce ignorance on campus and increase awareness and tolerance" Jonny Vallin, a student at CSU Los Angeles, explained.

Part of a national youth-led movement to increase awareness of disability history, California's Disability History week encourages schools and colleges to highlight the disability rights social movement, the disability leaders and actions that led to Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in the Olmstead case. Schools are planning events including: rallies, classroom activities, panels, assemblies, outreach, and guest speakers.

Efforts to pass the resolution to create Disability History Week, authored by Assemblymember Jim Beall (D-San Jose), were supported by the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and YO! Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud and comes after youth movements in several other states were successful in gaining recognition of Disability History Weeks. Nationwide, efforts to recognize disability history are supported by the federal Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

"Our history is so rich and diverse in California, yet many of my peers have never learned about the history of the disability community. I think this lack of knowledge is a major reason why so many young people with disabilities experience bullying at school," said Ania Flatau, a student at Monterey Pennisula College. "This is why it is so important for Disability History Week to get started. I know that if my classmates had more information about the disability community, there would definitely be a greater understanding between students with and without disabilities."

The Second Annual Disability History Week will be particularly timely, as an effort to overturn the recently adopted Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act at the ballot will be required to submit over 500,000 valid signatures on October 12th in order to qualify. The FAIR Act will lead to schools including information about the disability rights and LGBT rights movements in social studies and history classes in K-12 education. A month after Governor Brown signed the FAIR Act into law, several anti-gay groups launched an effort to prevent the historic Act from going into effect. Youth with disabilities from around the state are determined to make sure that these efforts to exclude certain parts of our history do not succeed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looktel Money Reader--a user's perspective

by Dane Geer, AT Advocate at the Independent Living Center of Kern County

LookTel Money Reader is a helpful mobile assistant that’s simple and easy to use. While shopping I use the application to verify money while checking out or to ensure I am getting the right amount of change back. It can also be used to quickly and easily sort money with total independence from virtually anywhere.

LookTel Money Reader instantly recognizes US currency and speaks the denomination, enabling people with visual impairments or blindness to quickly and easily identify and count bills. Simply point your iPhone or IPod touch’s camera at any US bill and the application will tell you the denomination in real-time. It supports $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills. There's no need to hold the iPhone or the IPod touch still or capture a photo and wait for a result – recognition happens continuously and in real time. Additionally, the app does not require any internet connection, which means it can read money quickly at any location, anytime.

I really like the pricing compared to other money readers out there, it’s amazing how well it works for me and other blind people that I have talked to about the app. They all say that it is a very useful app to maintain their independence without relying on others.

For more information please visit their website at:

Monday, October 3, 2011

On the News--iPad apps for children with autism

A recent news story on the bay area's channel 7 features iPad apps for children with autism. Debbie Drennan of Parents Helping Parents is also featured. To watch the video and read the story, click here.

To check out Debbie's AT Network training on apps for iDevices, click here