Friday, February 27, 2009

Read My Lips: Using Multiple Senses In Speech Perception

ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2009) — When someone speaks to you, do you see what they are saying? We tend to think of speech as being something we hear, but recent studies suggest that we use a variety of senses for speech perception - that the brain treats speech as something we hear, see and even feel.

In a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologist Lawrence Rosenblum describes research examining how our different senses blend together to help us perceive speech.

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another possible Alzheimer's culprit found

The San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 18, 2009) -- Researchers at biotechnology giant Genentech and the Salk Institute have discovered a new mechanism of nerve-cell death that might play a role in Alzheimer's disease, opening the door to a fresh array of possible tactics to battle the devastating neurodegenerative illness.

A protein long suspected as the culprit behind the brain disorder might actually release not just one, but two components that can cause nerve cells to self-destruct. In theory, the breakdown of the protein, called APP for short, could unleash a double whammy of harmful effects on nerve cells.

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

EASI Webinar on Accessible Distance Learning today Wed Feb 25

EASI Webinar: Distance Learning: How Accessible are Online Educational 
Tools. Public Webinar on Wednesday.
February 25 at 2 PM Eastern

Presenters: Dr. Stacy Kelly, Policy Research Associate, American Foundation 
for the Blind.
Mark Richert, Esq., Director, Public Policy, American Foundation for the Blind.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) explored ways in which popular 
online educational tools can be made more accessible with the help of 
nearly 100 individuals who recently completed our online survey. Findings 
indicated the most important and necessary features of online educational 
tools present significant problems for those using assistive technology 
such as screen reading or screen magnification software.

In this webinar, we will be discussing the AFB Distance Learning Survey 
results which are available online:

You can attend the Webinar Wed. Feb. 25 at
2 PM Eastern
1 Central
noon Mountain
11 AM pacific.

If you can't attend but want the recording, send email

To sign up for the Webinar, please click on the link above

Robots…Monitor Emotional States of Children With Autism

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2009) — The day that robot playmates help children with autism learn the social skills that they naturally lack has come a step closer with the development of a system that allows a robot to monitor a child's emotional state.

"There is a lot of research going on around the world today trying to use robots to treat children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It has shown that the children are attracted to robots, raising the promise that appropriately designed robots could play an important role in their treatment," says Nilanjan Sarkar, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University. "However, the efforts so far have been quite limited because they haven't had a way to monitor the emotional state of the children, which would allow the robot to respond automatically to their reactions."

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pollution-related Asthma May Start In The Womb

ScienceDaily (Feb. 16, 2009) — Children born in areas with increased traffic-related pollution may be at greater risk of developing asthma due to genetic changes acquired in the womb, according to new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

In a study of umbilical cord blood from New York City children, researchers have discovered evidence of a possible new biomarker—an epigenetic alteration in the gene ACSL3—associated with prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemical compounds are created as byproducts of incomplete combustion from carbon-containing fuels, resulting in high levels in heavy-traffic areas. Exposure to PAHs has been linked to diseases such as cancer and childhood asthma.

Researchers say this finding provides a potential clue for predicting environmentally related asthma in children—particularly those born to mothers who live in high-traffic areas like Northern Manhattan and South Bronx when pregnant.

To view entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Potential Health Risks Associated With Stressed Foodstuffs Such As Foie Gras

ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2009) — Another reason not to eat pate de foie gras is discussed by Michael Greger of The Humane Society of the United States, Washington DC.

Harmful proteins fragments known as amyloid fibrils associated with damage to brain cells in Alzheimer's disease and to pancreatic cells in Type II diabetes can be present in the meat of poultry and mammals. These amyloids are not destroyed even with high-temperature cooking process.

Greger, who is the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States is concerned with this discovery and the transmissibility of amyloid fibrils. Researchers have recently demonstrated in the laboratory that these compounds, when ingested, can enter the organs of laboratory rats fed affected meat.

To view entire article, please click on the title above.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mediterranean Diet Associated With Lower Risk Of Cognitive Impairment

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2009) — Eating a Mediterranean diet appears to be associated with less risk of mild cognitive impairment—a stage between normal aging and dementia—or of transitioning from mild cognitive impairment into Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the February issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

 "Among behavioral traits, diet may play an important role in the cause and prevention of Alzheimer's disease," the authors write as background information in the article. Previous studies have shown a lower risk for Alzheimer's disease among those who eat a Mediterranean diet, characterized by high intakes of fish, vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals and unsaturated fatty acids, low intakes of dairy products, meat and saturated fats and moderate alcohol consumption.

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

SC Assistive Technology Exchange Current Listings

image of wheel chair
***SC Assistive Technology Exchange February 2009 Update***

The SC Assistive Technology Exchange is an online recycling database to help citizens with disabilities and older people with functional limitations find affordable assistive technology devices and equipment. For more information or to buy, sell or donate, visit the Web site at or email Catherine Graham at 

Catherine Graham and Janet Jendron, SC AT Exchange Administrators

Please visit the page at and find the contact information for these and other items.

For more information please click on the title above.

Family Connection Conference Brochure for Conference March 27-28 2009

"Dare to Dream...Helping Dreams Come True!" is Family Connection's 2009 'Of Hopes and Dreams' Conference in support of the child with special needs. It will be held on Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Gateway Baptist Church, 1651 Dutch Fork Road, Irmo
There is a mix of full day and single session workshops with a terrific roster of quality speakers and workshops subjects.
Of special interest to churches and faith communities is the Saturday workshop on "Including Children with Special Needs in a Faith Community". This workshop will provide participants with the philosophy, methods, strategies, and information to develop a plan for including learners with disabilities in a faith community.

Dr. Jim Pierson of Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped Ministries in Knoxville, TN is the presenter of this full day workshop. Jim has presented scores of workshops and seminars on special education across America. He is noted for his ability to both present material in a clear and concise manner and to move the hearts of his listeners through the stories taken from his own ministry experiences.
Please call 1-800-578-8750 for more information.

To view brochure, please click on the title above.

New Insights Into Growth Factor's Role In Brain Development; Could Lead To Better Understanding Of Memory Formation

ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2009) — New research sheds light on a neural growth factor called proBDNF, finding that it is present and potentially active during the perinatal period when the brain's circuitry and memory-encoding regions are being refined. Led by Weill Cornell Medical College investigators with those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and reported in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, the study could lead to a better understanding of brain development and the formation of memories.

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Possible Treatment For Neurological Disorder Rett Syndrome -- Most Common Basis Of Autism In Girls

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2009) — Using injections of a small derivate of the protein insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), scientists at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have successfully treated a mouse model of the devastating neurological disorder Rett syndrome.

Rett syndrome is an inherited disease affecting one of 10,000 girls born and is the most common basis of autism in girls. Infants with the disease appear to develop normally for their first six to 18 months, at which point their movement and language skills begin to deteriorate. Loss of speech, reduced head size, breathing and heart rhythm irregularities, and autistic-like symptoms are common by age four. Some symptoms may be mediated with prescription drugs, but no cure or truly effective treatment for the disease exists.

To view the entire article, please click on the title/link above.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism

image of vaccine

Monday, February 16, 2009

24th National Training Institute (NTI) Call for Proposals

image of baby
ZERO TO THREE’s NTI is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary conference that focuses on cutting-edge child development research, best practices, and policy issues for infants, toddlers, and families. Our 24th NTI will be held in Dallas, Texas, December 4-6, 2009, with a pre-institute on December 3.

We are currently seeking proposals to be featured in presentations or posters that align with the following topic areas (Deadline February 27th, 2009):

  • Policy
  • Research
  • Clinical Practice
  • Training and Professional Development
  • Program Design and Management/Leadership
  • Child Development and Health

Visit the ZTT NTI website: or click on the title above, for more information and to submit proposals.

Friday, February 13, 2009

South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo 2009

South Carolina Assistive Technology Expo 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
Columbia, South Carolina


Session 1 – 9:30 – 10:30 am

The Real World:

Demonstrations of how assistive technology is used to access web pages, and common barriers experienced by users. Facilitated by Janet Jendron: Demonstrations by Clay Jeffcoat (JAWS), Sam Creech (Headmouse and Augmentative Communication), Grace Strother (ZoomText). Jonathan Cruce, SCVR (Technical Support and Challenges)


Free e-book resources. Using them to help build language and literacy skills. How text can be speech-enabled and accessed online, downloaded or used with readily available text readers. Bookshare, Microsoft Reader, University of Virginia ebooks, Browser Books and CAST UDL Book Builder. Mary Jo Schneider, Stacy Springer, Susan Maloney, AT Specialists, SC Department of Education

Assistive Technology, Supported Living and Employment:

Focus on individuals over the age of 18 with Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Intellectual disabilities, and Autism. Meghan Trowbridge, Susan Davis, Kristi Hartwell, Supported Community Living Initiative, USC Center for Disability Resources

Workplace Strategies and Solutions for People with Learning Disabilities:

AT strategies and solutions that have worked to promote success in the workplace. Overview of word prediction, screen reading, speech input, handheld technologies, GPS solutions, ergonomics and customized employment approaches. Carolyn Phillips and Liz Persaud, Georgia Tools for Life

Recycling and Reutilization in SC:

Overview of SC opportunities for pickup, delivery, and online services to get and provide used assistive technology. Overview of the STAR network services, Portlight Strategies Services, and the online SC AT Exchange, Paul Timmons (Portlight), Tiffany Johnston (Walton Options, STAR), Catherine Graham (SC AT Exchange)

Session 2 – 11:30 – 12:30 am

Ideas to Layout:

Beginning web layout using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Basic ideas, practices, tools and resources for designing a tableless web site using CSS. How CSS affects a site's accessibility and usability. CB Averitt, Florence-Darlington Technical College

Cortical Visual Impairment:

A Look at what it is, who has it, and what we can do about it. Designing treatment strategies, selecting materials, and engineering therapy activities to support individuals with CVI. Sharon Steed, AnMED Health

AT Consideration for Students in K-12 School Systems:

Comparison of consideration vs. assessment? Five-step process on thoughtful consideration of whether or not students with disabilities require AT. Ways for the IEP team to accomplish this at every meeting. Sue Maloney, Stacy Springer, Mark Daniels, AT Specialists, SC Department of Education

Assistive Technology for Computer Access:

Overview and demonstration of high and low tech methods and technology used for computer access by persons with physical disabilities. Carolyn Phillips and Liz Persaud, Georgia Tools for Life

Assistive Technology and Employment Options: How AT helps returning to or continuing employment:

Wheel chair accessibility and workplace modifications. SCVR’s Telework Program. Barbara Jolly, Tom Jackman, SC Vocational Rehabilitation

Session 3 – 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Basics of Web Accessibility and Usability:

What makes web pages inaccessible to people who use assistive technology due to disabilities or age-related limitations? Tools for designing accessible and usable web sites. Wendy Mullin, USC, Cheryl Kirkpatrick, Midlands Technical College

Low-tech seating and positioning solutions for real-life situations:

Seating needs of children including those with autism, attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Down Syndrome. Interactive problem solving for seating challenges. Review of a wide variety of low tech seating systems. Kathy Ganley, Abundant Life Physical Therapy

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices and Strategies for Adults with Communication Problems:

Issues and communication problems unique to the adult population. Low tech strategies and multimodal communication systems. Carol Page O’Day, SCATP

Post Secondary Education and AT:

New L.I.F.E. programs at USC, Clemson, and Coastal Carolina University and the impact of assistive technology as it relates to the students success. Meghan Trowbridge, Supported Community Living Initiative, USC Center for Disability Resources, Emma Savage-Davis and Gayle Disney, Coastal Carolina University

Assistive Technology Solutions for People with Degenerative Neurological Disorders (DND):

Basics of the process for people with permanent stable and permanent degenerative DND (e.g., Huntington’s Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, AIDS, stroke). AT Solutions, the HEAaT Model, and team approaches. Resources and Funding. Carolyn Phillips and Liz Persaud, Georgia Tools for Life

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Return to the Expo 09 page
Read biographies of our presenters

Sponsored by the South Carolina Assistive Technology Program at the USC School of Medicine Center for Disability Resources, the SC Department of Education, the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the SC Association for Educational Technology, Mid-Carolina AHEC, Inc., and the SC Assistive Technology Advisory Committee, Division of State Information Technology (DSIT), SC Budget and Control Board.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introduction to Web Site Accessibility and Usability

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Introduction to Web Site Accessibility and Usability
10 am - 12 pm
Fast Forward Community Technology Center
3223 Devine Street
Columbia SC, 29205

Trainers: Wendy Mullin, Web Developer, USC University Technology Services, Janet Jendron, SCATP

Can people with disabilities and age related limitations access and use your web site? What does the law say? What are common web access barriers for people who use assistive technology to read a web site? How can these barriers be prevented and addressed? This training is targeted to non-profit organizations but would be useful to anyone designing web sites. This training is interactive and participants will have hands-on experience using accessibility tools. Space is limited to no more than 30. 

To register for this training contact Fast Forward, Dee Albritton, at 803-343-2577 or

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introduction to the knfbReader Mobile

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Introduction to the knfbReader Mobile
1:00  1:30 PM

Location: Poplar Conference Room, Midlands Center, Columbia, SC
Presenter: Edna Beard  Quintex of Asheville, knfbReader Mobile Distributor in the Carolinas

The knfbReader Mobile is a phone that reads to you  a truly pocket-size solution to reading on the go.  This is a major advancement in portability and functionality of print access for blind, the visually impaired, and those with reading difficulties.  The knfbReader Mobile and kReader Mobile software packages run on a multifunction cell phone which allows the user to read mail, receipts, handouts, and many other documents wherever the user happens to be.  The knfbReader Mobile software has a feature set which is designed for use by blind or low-vision users.  The kReader Mobile is designed for users who have difficulty reading due to learning or language problems.  The presenter will demonstrate the functions of this truly amazing technology.

Active Learning and Study Strategies using the Kurzweil 3000 Software
1:30  3:00 PM

Location: Poplar Conference Room, Midlands Center, Columbia, SC
Presenter: Edna Beard  Quintex of Asheville,
Kurzweil Consultant and Distributor in the Carolinas 

If you already have Kurzweil 3000 or are just thinking about purchasing it  this workshop will help to clarify just how the Kurzweil 3000 can be used to help struggling students.  The Kurzweil 3000 is a content-independent reading, writing, and learning software.  It is used in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges and universities to help students succeed in the classroom regardless of their curriculum or lesson plans.

The attendees will be shown activities using the Kurzweil 3000 to teach learning strategies for pre-reading skills, vocabulary development, active reading strategies, writing and proofreading, and test taking skills.  In demonstrating these activities the presenter will be providing an overview of how this product can be used with any struggling student.

Educators and independent research have demonstrated that Kurzweil 3000 provides not only the tools students need to improve their reading speed and comprehension, but also the features that make it possible for them to learn and study independently.  Each attendee will receive a demo copy of the Professional Color software, a product overview brochure, and a copy of the “Summary Report of the Iowa Text Reader Longitudinal Study 2006-2007”.

To register for these workshops: 

Option 1: Complete the online registration form at 
Option 2: Email Sally Young at . 
Option 3: Call Sally Young at (803) 935-5263 or 800-915-4522. 
Option 4: Fax your registration information to (803) 935-5342. Please include your name, organization, address, email address, phone number. 
These workshops are free of charge, but limited to 16 attendees.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Insulin Is A Possible New Treatment For Alzheimer's

ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2009) — A Northwestern University-led research team reports that insulin, by shielding memory-forming synapses from harm, may slow or prevent the damage and memory loss caused by toxic proteins in Alzheimer's disease.

The findings, which provide additional new evidence that Alzheimer's could be due to a novel third form of diabetes, will be published online the week of Feb. 2 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Monday, February 09, 2009

New Pathway Is Common Thread In Age-related Neurodegenerative Diseases

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2009) — How are neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's initiated, and why is age the major risk factor? A recent study of a protein called MOCA (Modifier of Cell Adhesion), carried out at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, provides new clues to the answers of these fundamental questions.

Under normal circumstances, MOCA is a key member of the squadron charged with keeping Alzheimer's disease at bay. A team of researchers led by Salk professor David Schubert, Ph.D., demonstrated what happens when MOCA goes on furlough. In the process Schubert identified a novel pathway with broad implications for both Alzheimer's and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Friday, February 06, 2009

Changes in IDEA involve parents' rights

Pacesetter (Winter 2009) -- New regulations of the federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) became effective Dec. 31, 2008. IDEA provides a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities.

Two changes of particular importance to parents of children with disabilities involve:

• a parent’s right to revoke consent for special education and related services
• representation of parents and schools by non-attorneys in due process hearings

Since the passage of the first special education laws in 1975, parents have had the right to withdraw consent for special education services. However, school districts also had the right to contest the parent’s decision.

The new regulations allow parents to revoke their consent for special education and related services and require the school district to comply with the parent’s request for the student’s removal from special education. Consequently, schools will not be able to challenge a parent’s decision through mediation or due process hearing.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Vaccines And Autism: Many Hypotheses, But No Correlation Found

ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2009) — An extensive new review summarizes the many studies refuting the claim of a link between vaccines and autism.  The review, in the February 15, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and now available online, looks at the three main hypotheses and shows how epidemiological and biological studies refute these claims.

“When one hypothesis of how vaccines cause autism is refuted, another invariably springs up to take its place,” said study author Paul Offit, MD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Fears about vaccines are pushing down immunization rates and having a real impact on public health, he added.  Vaccine refusal is contributing to the current increase in Haemophilus influenzae cases in Minnesota—including the death of one child—and was a factor in last year’s measles outbreak in California.

The controversy began with a 1998 study in The Lancet that suggested a link between the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Teenage depression to be tackled in class

The Observer (Jan. 25, 2009) -- Group therapy sessions are to be introduced to classrooms to help adolescents avoid succumbing to depression. More than 7,000 teenagers, aged between 13 and 16, will take part in the £1m government-funded trial.

Based on research carried out in Australia, the pioneering scheme is particularly aimed at reducing the number of teenagers, currently estimated at 20%, who are classed as high risk. It will be introduced initially into schools in Bath, Bristol, Nottingham and Swindon.

The three-year study aims to identify the best method for schools to tackle teenage mental health issues. If successful it is hoped the programme can be extended throughout the UK.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Participatory Action Research Webinar-Save the Dates!!


Please join the
Center for Disability Resources
Consumer Advisory Council
for a
“Participatory Action Research Webinar”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 (Part I)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009 (Part II)
2:00-5:00 PM

Palmetto Health Family & Preventive Medicine
2nd Floor Main Conference Room
3209 Colonial Drive
Columbia, SC 29203

Abstract: You can involve people with disabilities and their families in conducting meaningful research to improve lives and communities. This type of research is called participatory action research. Universities, non-profit agencies and clinics have all found ways to include people from the disability community in finding the answers to important questions about services, systems and strategies. Using material from the National PAR toolkit developed through funding from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, our speakers Dean Westwood and Cathy Haarstad will provide a thoughtful, humorous and easy-to-follow overview of why agencies should get involved in research and why and how to involve people with disabilities and their families. If you are working at a UCEDD, non-profit agency, school or health care clinic, this training will introduce you to the basics and benefits of planning and conducting participatory action research.

To register by February 17th contact Karen Irick at 803.935.5222

Presented by the North Dakota Center for Person with Disabilities

Sponsored by the University of South Carolina Center for Disability Resources

Stem cell stroke therapy assessed

BBC News (Jan. 18, 2009) -- A Glasgow team is to launch a major trial to assess whether stem cells can be used to treat stroke patients, the BBC has learned.
They hope it will put the UK at the forefront of developing stem cell therapy for incurable disease.

Cells made from a human foetus will be injected into patients' brains.
It is hoped the cells will regenerate areas damaged by stroke, and increase patients' movements and mental abilities.

The trial, due to start in the middle of this year, will initially involve four groups of three patients over two years.
Doctors are primarily testing the safety of the procedure but there is the possibility that some patients may benefit from the treatment.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above

Monday, February 02, 2009

Scientists See Brain Aging Before Symptoms Appear

ScienceDaily (Jan. 7, 2009) — UCLA scientists have used innovative brain-scan technology developed at UCLA, along with patient-specific information on Alzheimer's disease risk, to help diagnose brain aging, often before symptoms appear. Published in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, their study may offer a more accurate method for tracking brain aging.

Researchers used positron emission tomography (PET), which allows "a window into the brain" of living people and specifically reveals plaques and tangles, the hallmarks of neurodegeneration. The PET scans were complemented by information on patients' age and congnitive status and a genetic profile.

To View the Entire Article, Please Click on the Title Above