iPad apps for people with disabilities

February 28, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of iPadThe iPad has become a very popular tool for individuals with disabilities because there are so many applications, or apps, that can be used to aid in everyday living skills. The iPad apps listed below were recently tested and compiled by Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. Apps are broken down into function categories, such as vision or utility. UATP does not endorse the apps or the makers of the apps, rather, these are apps that are suggested for the public’s use. For iPad training videos on basics, accessible features, and apps, visit the ‘Training Archives’ tab at the UATP blog.


Abilipad           $19.99
Named one of “the best iPad apps for special needs kids” in a Washington Post article! Abilipad combines the functionality of a notepad with word prediction, text-to-speech and a customizable keyboard, putting advanced writing tools within everyone’s reach.

Grace           $37.99
A simple picture exchange system developed By and For non-verbal people allowing the user to communicate their needs by building sentences from relevant images. It can be customized by the individual using their picture and photo vocabulary.

Proloquo2Go          $189.99
Proloquo2Go™ is product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking. It brings natural sounding text-to-speech voices, close to 8000 up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a large default vocabulary, full expandability and extreme ease of use to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Scene Speak          $14.99
Scene Speak provides a framework on the iPad to create visual scene displays. This application allows an image can be edited with active “sound areas” that can be selected and used as a means of communication. Images then can added into “books” by theme or area of interest. Scene Speak is a wonderful communication tool for those with Autism, Aphasia, Apraxia, developmental disabilities or anyone wanting to enhance receptive language or visual memory.

Sign 4 Me          $9.99
A Signed English Translator” is a  tool for learning sign language. The only app that provides sign language instruction in 3D! Our 3D character can be zoomed in or out and rotated to give you the best vantage point for every sign. You control the placement of the character – not us! No other product lets you do this! The library includes more than 11,500 words. Type in sentences, phrases, words and even the alphabet. Everything you enter will be saved in your History. Easily locate your entries by date or alphabetically. You can delete whatever you don’t want to keep. Use the controls to speed up or slow down the signing; turn on or off the looping feature; and send the character to his “home” or default position.

Sounding Board         Free
SoundingBoard transforms your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad into the latest in communication technology. In just minutes, you can create create custom boards using AbleNet symbols or your own photos.

Tap Speak Sequence         $29.99
TapSpeak Sequence for iPad revolutionizes how parents, speech therapists, vision therapists, schools, and institutions create and use message sequences to help disabled children learn to communicate. Use TapSpeak Sequence instead of sequential message switches to record and customize messages without losing any previously recorded sequences. Kids with cerebral palsy, autism, cortical vision impairment (CVI), pediatric stroke, or any disability that impairs their ability to communicate can make use of this app.

Tap To Talk       Free or $99.95 to customize
Give your non-verbal child the portable, customizable, affordable, socially acceptable communication device. You customize what your child sees and hears in TapToTalk with an online program called TapToTalk Designer. With it, you build “albums” that fit your child’s needs.

TouchChat HD          $149.99
TouchChat HD is a full featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. TouchChat is designed for individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, apraxia, stroke, or other conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech. TouchChat enables you to subscribe to iShare, an online server where you can share customized pages with an online community.


Letter School          $2.99
An amazing, intuitive game to learn all about letters and numbers: writing, counting, phonics and more.

Sentence Builder         $5.99
Sentence Builder is designed to help elementary aged children learn how to build grammatically correct sentences. Explicit attention is paid to the connector words that make up over 80% of the english language. Sentence Builder offers a rich and fun environment for improving the grammar of all children.

iWriteWords (Handwriting Game)      $2.99
iWriteWords teaches your child handwriting while playing a fun and entertaining game. Help Mr. Crab collect the numbers in sequence by dragging him with your finger – and drawing the letter at the same time. Each letter/word is spoken as completed.

Gross Motor Skills

Cut the Rope          $1.99
A fun and innovative game that allows the user to practice gross motor skills.


Sound Amp R           $5.99
Amplify the world around you discreetly with iPhone and iPod touch. Sounds are sent to your earbuds in real time. Hear what you’d like to hear. Record what you’d like to record! Works in many situations, around the table at home, watching TV, in lecture halls, at parties, wherever you’d like to hear, or overhear, the people around you! We have tuned soundAMP to provide you crystal clear sound at the maximum volume possible. And with its advanced technology, it even reduces volume over the limit.

uHear           Free
uHear™ is a hearing loss screening test which allows you to test your hearing to determine if it is advisable for you to visit an audiologist to get a comprehensive hearing evaluation.


ArtikPix           $29.99
ArtikPix is an engaging articulation app with flashcard and matching activities for children with speech sound delays.

Reward System

iReward           $4.99
iReward is a motivational tool for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. You can create a star chart or token board to help reinforce positive behaviors using visual rewards. Use of motivational charts is not limited to any one group. We all benefit from motivation to achieve our goals! This type of praise or approval will help parents of typically developing children, children with autism, developmental delays, ADHD, and anxiety disorders. We’ve updated the app to support multiple users and added more customizable options.


TASUC           $20.99
TASUC SCHEDULE for iPad is a very simple, picture-based schedule application for iPhone/iPod touch, especially for small children to easily create his/her own daily time-table by using image cards with sounds & voices attached. This application was, above all, developed for verbally disabled children and people with developmental disabilities such as autism, so that they can manage their “want-to-dos” simply and in order. As a result, an intuitive user interface and experience have been realized, thus this application can also be used for ordinary children and adults as well.


iDress for Weather         $1.99
iDress for Weather is for anyone, any age, and any ability anywhere in the world! iDress for Weather can be assistive technology for individuals with disabilities, an educational tool for children, or just plain fun for everyone!

Look in My Eyes Dinosaur        $2.99
Eye contact is an important social skill that some children find challenging. “Look in My Eyes Dinosaur” helps them practice this skill – while earning fun rewards and playing creatively. Children look at a series of faces, and need to focus on the eyes quickly in order to answer correctly and earn stars. After earning four stars, children are taken to their Dino World where they find a new dinosaur waiting. Dinosaurs are easy to play with – just click or drag to see them animate. Several dinosaurs can be put together to create scenes, and children can select background sound effects and growls to add drama. They can even change background scenery. When done playing, children store their dinosaurs in the Cave – and take them out when they want to play again!

Pictello           $14.99
Pictello is a simple way to create talking photo albums and talking books. Each page in a Pictello Story can contain a picture, up to five lines of text, and a recorded sound or text-to-speech using high-quality voices. Stories can be shared using iTunes File Sharing or via WiFi with other Pictello users through a free account on the Pictello Sharing Server.

The Social Express         $89.99
The Social Express™ is engaging, educational software for children and young adults with social learning challenges. The software is designed to teach users how to think about and manage social situations, helping them to develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life.


AudioNote          $4.99
Record notes and audio synced with the best note taking app in the App Store! AudioNote combines the functionality of a notepad and voice recorder to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes.

iBooks           Free
iBooks is a free app for reading books, and some are free from the iTunes store.  You can either turn pages or you can use a VoiceOver command to read continuously.

Dragon Dictation         Free
Dragon Dictation is a free app that allows you to dictate and have your words turned into text.  Once done you can send it in a text message or e-mail. It is easy to use and quite accurate.

Med Time          $0.99
You will never have any more problems in managing your meds again, because MED TIME is here. It will emit an alarm when you need to take a medicine and does much more.


ColorDetect           $1.99
The ColorDetect iPhone app gives you the possibility to detect colors in real time using augmented reality technology.  The name and the RGB values of the detected colors are displayed in real time on the user interface. ColorDetect detects the colors with a 5 point detection algorithm to improve the detection quality and to compensate the color noise when the light is not optimal.

Digit-Eyes          $29.99
Digit-Eyes is the application that lets you use your device to scan bar code labels and to voice the results of the scan to you.  You can scan the manufacturer’s codes (UPC / EAN / APN / JPN / codes) on items and find out what those codes mean; and scan bar code labels of your own that you make using this website.  To do so, you just request bar codes from this website and, using the printer attached to your computer, print the codes on inexpensive address labels.

Eyenote Currency Reader       Free
EyeNote is a mobile device application to denominate Federal Reserve Notes (U.S. paper currency) as an aid for the blind or visually impaired to increase accessibility.

Eye Glasses          $2.99
The Eye Glasses app is ideal for farsighted individuals, those with reading glasses or bifocals, senior citizens and anyone that just needs to see more clearly. Eye Glasses clearly displays text or imagery. To use Eye Glasses, choose between 2x, 4x, 6x or 8x magnification and hold the iPad camera about five inches away from the item you want to see magnified!

Learn Braille Alphabet        $1.99
Learn Braille Alphabet and Learn Braille Number are apps that could be used by non-blind folks to learn Braille.

Light Detector          $0.99
Light Detector helps people with vision impairments determine if lights are on in a room or on an appliance.

Talking Timer          $0.99
Talking Timer calls out the time at specified intervals and can either count up or down. This is also useful for exercising and timing tests.

LookTel Rocognizer          $9.99
LookTel Recognizer allows users with visual impairments or blindness to identify cans, packages, ID or credit cards, DVDs, and similar items. Users can store images of objects in a library or database, and then simply point the camera at an object and the phone will recognize and describe the item instantly. A barcode scanner is also included.

iSeeColors         $0.99
iSeeColors is a color recognition app. Customize any color or find out a color’s RGB, Hex Code, CMYK, and its name. You can also save & share it’s values!

TypeInBraille          $4.99
TypeInBraille allows you to write in Braille on your iPhone. You can enter a character through its Braille representation using a sequence of three simple gestures. Each gesture is used to enter one of the three rows of a braille character.

iVoice Reminder         $1.99
iVoice Reminder.  You simply record what you want the reminder to say and then set the time.  When the reminder time arrives the alert sounds and then you touch “listen” to hear the reminder.  You can set multiple reminders and this app can be good for keeping any kind of schedule including medications.

What is assistive technology?

February 27, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of bicycle parts.

These old bicycle parts are being re-purposed to create a new mobility device in the CPD’s AT Lab.

Assistive technology, or AT, is any tool or resource that can be used by individuals with disabilities to help improve their quality of life and to help increase their independence. AT can be purchased off the shelf, or modified as needed to produce the desired result. AT can be as sophisticated as electronic communication devices, or as low-tech as a

Assistive technology is generally grouped into categories such as augmentative and alternative communication, aids to daily living, home and worksite modifications, job accommodations, seating and positioning, vision and hearing aids, wheeled mobility aids, vehicle modifications and recreational aids.

AT devices that could be used by a small child include specially made chairs to help them sit and tables or trays to hold toys, electronic switches so they can interact with toys, or picture cards to help them communicate their needs.

Adults may use technologies such as screen readers to help them use the Internet, powered wheelchairs for mobility and a ramp to allow easy entry and exit from their home.

Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities offers several ways in which people can find and use assistive technology devices.

The AT Lab, located in the Janet Quinney Lawson building, houses a state-of-the-art computer lab and fabricating shop. The AT lab can design, fabricate, modify or repair AT equipment to enable a person with a disability to become more independent. In addition, AT lab staff will train persons with disabilities, parents, family members and professional service providers about assistive technologies. Call (435) 797-0699 for more information.

Citizens Reutiliting Assistive Technology Equipment, or CReATE, refurbishes wheelchairs, power chairs and scooters and make them available to people who need assistive technology at a low cost. Individuals make an appointment for an assessment to determine the type of device needed, fill out the appropriate paperwork and pay a small service fee, which is based on the time spent to repair and clean the equipment. The CReATE lab is located in Salt Lake City. To make an appointment, or to donate used equipment, call (801) 887-9398.

The Utah Assistive Technology Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that works with Zions Bank and the Utah MicroEnterprise Loan Fund to provide low-interest loans to purchase assistive technology and telework devices and to start or expand small businesses. For more information, call (800) 524-5152.

For more information:

Utah Assistive Technology Program

AT Lab


Utah Assistive Technology Foundation

CPD program offers early intervention in southeast Utah

February 25, 2013 by Sue Reeves

Image of a group of people talking.

CPD Director Bryce Fifield visits with the staff of South East Early Intervention Program during a recent visit to Price, Utah.

A small group of professionals drives thousands of miles each year to provide early intervention services to families in southeast Utah from Price to Moab. These nurses and therapists are employees of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, but are based out of South East Early Intervention Program’s three offices in Price, Castle Dale and Moab.

South East Early Intervention used to be part of the health department in Price, said Lois Boomer, co-director of the program. The arrangement caused some conflicts, however. If there was a flu epidemic, for example, early intervention services would take a back seat to giving flu shots.

Now, South East pays the CPD’s Exemplary Services Division to be its fiscal agent, then contracts with the CPD to provide services.

“We want you to know you’re part of the CPD,” said Bryce, Fifield, CPD director, during a recent visit to Price. “You’re an important part of our portfolio. I’m proud to report to the dean of the College of Education and Human Services that we have a vibrant, operation in the center part of the state.”

“We’re so glad you guys have supported us so far,” said South East co-director Kathleen Kearney-Reaves. “We have close to 90 kids, the program has really grown.”

“We’re respected enough to be autonomous,” Boomer added.

image of quilt with the words South East Early Intervention stitched onto it.A mother in Moab shared her family’s experience in a letter to her senator. After her son received a diagnosis of autism at 18 months, and worried that they would have to trek to Salt Lake City for treatment, “… we were pleasantly surprised to hear we could receive help in Moab.

“Feeling very overwhelmed and alone, we found support, information, special need services, comfort and friendship in the amazing people at South East Early Intervention Program … This wonderful group of professionals came every week to assist us, teach us and provide us with constructive feedback on ways to improve my son’s developmental growth, progress and language communication.”

The little boy now goes to public school and is at the top of his class academically. He communicates verbally and is able to properly express himself, his mother said.

Despite covering a large rural area, South East is able to offer services in a variety of ways. Tammy Allred of the Castle Dale office said the Castle Valley Center, a program for persons with disabilities from preschool to age 22, has allowed South East staff to use their facilities for home visits.

“It’s a great resource,” she said.

The Prehistoric Museum in Price has a tactile center and ramps for ease of entry, and has allowed South East to take families there as well, Allred said. In addition, the Castleville stake of the LDS Church has chosen South East Early Intervention as their humanitarian effort, and will be making a variety of things, like weighted blankets and canister drop boxes, to be distributed to families.

“We feel like we’ve been supported by the community,” Boomer said.


CAC gives Community Investment Award

February 22, 2013 by Sue Reeves

image of check presentation

Nancy Bentley, director of Active Re-Entry, receives the Community Investment Award from CAC member Kelly Holt.

Active Re-Entry Centers for Independent Living in Price, Utah was named the recipient of the Consumer Advisory Council’s Community Investment Award. Active Re-Entry serves individuals with disabilities in Utah’s seven easternmost counties—Dagget, Duchesne, Uintah, Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan—covering more than 27,000 square miles from Wyoming to Arizona. Nancy Bentley is the executive director, and accepted the $1,500 award from Bryce Fifield, director of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, on Thursday, Feb. 21 in Price.

The Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) is comprised of self-advocates, family members and representatives from state agencies.

“We look to this group for ideas and strategies … to find ways to give people with disabilities a voice,” Fifield said.

Kelly Holt, a self-advocate from Price, is a member of the CAC and nominated Active Re-Entry for the award.

“I feel that the CAC (Consumer Advisory Council) should award Active Re-Entry the Community Investment Award because they do just that, they invest themselves in the Eastern Utah Disability Community,” Holt wrote in a letter nominating the organization. “They make people believe it’s ok to be different. They help people with disabilities stay or become more self-sufficient so that they can lead productive and independent lives within their own communities. They give caregivers and families the knowledge that there is help for them too, when they thought there was none. This is especially important in rural areas where programs for those with disabilities are often difficult to find and services hard to get.”

image of presenters and recipient.

From left, CPD Director Bryce Fifield, Active Re-Entry Director Nancy Bentley and CAC member Kelly Holt.

The CAC has given money to other organizations in the past, but this is the first time a committee of self-advocates was responsible for choosing the recipient, Fifield said. The committee had to research programs and come to a consensus to choose a winner.

“Rarely do folks like Kelly get the opportunity to advocate for programs for people with disabilities,” Fifield said. “It was a different kind of experience for them.”

Bentley said money from the Community Investment Award would likely be used for assistive technology, although it could be used to help a person with a disability maintain their independence.

“A $75 grab bar in the bathtub can make the difference between being independent and being in a nursing home,” Bentley said, adding that last year, Active Re-Entry helped 27 people move out of nursing homes to regain their independence.

Services provided by Active Re-Entry include independent living skills training and classes, service coordination and referrals, assistive technology training and AT loan program, caregiver and grief support groups, peer counseling, education for the visually impaired, self-advocacy training, PAWS Animal Therapy Program, SCOODEO (a nationally recognized safety training program for those who have no other means of transportation than an electric scooter) and PERKIE Travels (a coordinated cancer treatment transportation system to help get people to the Utah Valley area for their radiation treatment).

Many of Active Re-Entry’s programs are used in all seven of their rural locations, Holt said, but as a community-based program, it can respond to each community’s needs. For example, the Moab office helps veterans adjust back into society, offers exercise classes and low-vision clinics and does blood pressure checks. Tech Tuesdays in the Vernal office teach people how to use computers, e-readers and other electronic equipment.



What are Centers for Independent Living?

February 20, 2013 by Sue Reeves

image of banner

A hand-lettered banner adorns the wheelchair of an attendee at a recent “meet the legislators” event in Logan, sponsored by the Center for Persons with Disabilities, OPTIONS for Independence and Grassroots Advocacy Partnership.

Centers for Independent Living (CIL) are non-residential, community-based service, education and advocacy organizations that serve all people with disabilities, regardless of disability, age, gender, race or religion. CILs promote the philosophy that people with disabilities do not need to be “fixed,” but have the right and responsibility to make their own life choices, to live as independently as possible and to participate as equal citizens in their communities and in society.

Centers for Independent Living in Utah are OPTIONS for Independence, with locations in Logan and Brigham City; Active Re-Entry, with locations in Price, Vernal and Moab; Ability First of Utah in Provo;  Red Rock Center for Independence in St. George; Utah Independent Living Center in Salt Lake City and Tri County Independent Living Center of Utah in Ogden.

The CILs must have a board of directors and staff, including decision makers, with at least 51 percent consisting of persons with disabilities. Their primary emphasis is on working with communities to make them more accessible, eliminating stereotyping, increasing consumer options and control.

OPTIONS for Independence in Logan is also an assistive technology demonstration center for the Center for Persons with Disabilities’ Assistive Technology lab at Utah State University. OPTIONS began as a volunteer organization in 1982, formed by people with disabilities and their friends. Their activities were planned to increase community awareness of disability, to encourage accessibility and to raise money for accessibility projects.

As a CIL, OPTIONS provides information and referrals, education, recreation activities, support groups, independent living services, transportation and advocacy.