Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Smartphone Technology Improves Prosthetic Limbs

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2010) — Losing a limb can be a devastating experience, and while electrically powered prostheses can serve as a replacement for a lost arm, they are notoriously difficult to operate, and will never fully replace normal hand function. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are working to improve this situation through the use of smartphone technology. The technology, called an accelerometer, gives users a better sense of the orientation of their artificial limb -- thus making the limb easier to operate.

NOTE: To read the entire article, click on the title above.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Disability Action Center is moving!

This comes from Kimberly Tissot, Director of Program Services of the Disability Action Center, Inc. :

The Disability Action Center is pleased to announce it is moving! This move will help to further the mission and grow programs and services.

Please note effective December 15th, our physical and mailing address with be:
136 Stonemark Lane, Suite 100
Columbia, SC 29210

The Disability Action Center for Independent Living serves the citizens of 23 South Carolina counties. Programs and services provide knowledge and tools to help people with disabilities recognize existing community resources, enhance personal opportunities, and determine the future direction of their lives.
Voice: (803) 779-5121
TTY: (803) 779-0949
Toll Free: (800) 681-6805
Fax: (803) 779-5114

Empowering people with disabilities to reach their highest level of independence.
NOTE: Click on the title above to go to the website.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Read an Assistive Technology Holiday Success Story!

Sent by Janet Jendron (SCATP)--Recently we sent out an appeal from the Lexington County Auditor’s Office, looking to fulfill a wish for a wheelchair desk by a foster child they “adopted” this holiday season. We sent this out to our reuse listserve.

As usual, the response was gratifying. We had some folks who tried to help with a cheaper alternative, and so forth. I talked to Ronda Catron several times about it. In the first conversation, I suggested that she just try to call the company (Rifton) to ask if they’d give one to the child. We thought, “What does it hurt to try?”

Within a couple of days, the folks at Rifton responded with a positive answer and are shipping the desk with a few attachments.

You can read more about the company at

And see a video at

Ann at Rifton wrote:

Thank you for passing on through Valerie the story of how an office team in SC has adopted the Christmas Wish Lists of foster children. This is the kind of thing we wish we could see so much more often in our world today. We would like to make this a special Christmas for this child. We are happy to be able to release it today so that it will be received before Christmas.

Rifton has agreed that we can tell our listserv about this, but also with the explanation that they do regret that they’re unable to respond favorably to the dozens of donation requests they receive, but we were so touched by this request that they responded to this one.

Isn’t this a wonderful Holiday story? When I said “it takes a village” in regards to transporting a piece of equipment right before Thanksgiving, it was even more prophetic than we realized.

NOTE: Click on title above to go to the South Carolina Assistive Technology Program's web site.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Many may be cut from BabyNet

babynet logo
Post and Courier, November 29 -

Hundreds of special-needs babies and toddlers are at risk of being cut from or left out of BabyNet, a state- and federally funded program that pairs developmentally disabled children with therapists who help them walk and talk.

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, the agency that oversees BabyNet, has proposed tightening the program's eligibility requirements. If the proposal passes, fewer children would be admitted to the program, which now serves about 4,000 special-needs babies.

Over the past year, South Carolina's funding for BabyNet has been severely cut, putting federal cash infusions at risk, said Dan Wuori, chief program officer for First Steps. State funding channeled through the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has been cut in half, to $1.6 million this fiscal year, down from $3.2 million last year.

The eligibility proposal comes in response to a federal mandate requiring state governments to maintain year-to-year funding for BabyNet, Wuori said. The federal requirement can be waived if fewer children are admitted to the program, as would be the case if eligibility became stricter, Wuori said.

The eligibility change also is an attempt to rein in program costs, which have risen sharply in the past five years as reimbursement rates to therapists have increased, according to financial data provided by First Steps. In addition to making fewer babies eligible for the program, First Steps also is considering cutting reimbursement rates to therapists, Wuori said.

To view the entire article, follow the link in this post's title.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

TARGET Discovery Series on YouTube - AT success story

The TARGET Center, under the US Department of Agriculture, provides a Discovery Series that presents a lot of good information about assistive technology and electronic information accessibility. Here’s a recent announcement about their YouTube series:

The TARGET Discovery Series will return with a new session on December 8th, but in the meantime we are excited to announce that our first Profiles in Technology video is available at USDA YouTube.

Through this video series, individuals with disabilities will share brief stories about how technology has impacted their career.

In our first episode, we introduce Dr. Denise Decker, an NRCS employee who has a successful career at Agriculture during which she has travelled the world and written a published book about her guide dog, all with the help of assistive technology.

Look for additional episodes coming soon.

NOTE: To view the video of Dr. Denise Decker, click on the title above.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Hubscrub Event December 8 - DRC Charleston

This announcement comes from Walton Options, part of the SC STAR Network for Equipment Reutilization.

This is a great opportunity to get equipment sanitized by the Hubscrub, which doesn’t come often to our state.

Bring your medical equipment to get Santa-tized!

When: December 8, 2010 ---12 noon- 2PM

Where: Disability Resource Center

7944 Dorchester Rd, Ste 5
North Charleston, SC 29418


Bring your medical equipment to be: Sanitized, Disinfected, Lubed. (no electrical or battery operated items)

No limit per person. Donations Accepted

For more information,or to get a flyer about this event, contact Ebony or Kathy at 1-877-821-8400

NOTE: To read more about SCATP Reutilization programs, click on the title above.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Brain Scans Detect Autism's Signature

image of brain
ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2010) — "An autism study by Yale School of Medicine researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has identified a pattern of brain activity that may characterize the genetic vulnerability to developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Published Nov. 15 in the early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study could eventually lead to earlier and more accurate autism diagnosis.ASD is defined by impaired social interaction and communication, and can disrupt the brain's ability to interpret the movements of other people, known as "biological motion." ASD is a strongly genetic, highly prevalent disorder.
Using fMRI, Yale researchers Martha Kaiser, Kevin Pelphrey and colleagues scanned the brains of children with autism and their unaffected siblings, as well as those of typically developing children as the three groups watched animations of biological movement. The study included 62 children age 4 to 17.
The team identified three distinct "neural signatures": trait markers -- brain regions with reduced activity in children with ASD and their unaffected siblings; state markers -- brain areas with reduced activity found only in children with autism; and compensatory activity -- enhanced activity seen only in unaffected siblings."
NOTE: To read the entire article, click on the title above.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Workshop: Building or Updating Your Home for Accessibility

clipart of a house

Date: Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm


2nd Floor Conference Room,

Family Practice Center

Interagency Office of Disability and Health

3209 Colonial Drive

Columbia, SC 29203

Cost: Free

Directions and a map are provided for Family Medicine (PDF)

Note about parking: Parking is in the chain link fenced area adjacent to the building. Conference room is on the second floor. It is the only room you can enter without a pass card and is on your left when you come off the elevator. (On your right if you come up the stairs).


Wesley Farnum, CAPS, owner of MyHome Builders, LLC

Catherine Leigh Graham, MEMBE, Interagency Office of Disability and Health, USC School of Medicine

Description: Wesley and Catherine will discuss a variety of home design features that can improve accessibility for people with disabilities or those wishing to remain in their homes as they age. The design features covered are common to all homes and are available without sacrificing aesthetics and style. The objective of this seminar is to educate participants on design, features and products that can make a home more accessible and enjoyable. Before and after pictures will illustrate options. Listed below are a few of the topics that will be discussed:

  • Exterior features for accessibility and curb appeal
  • Kitchen design
  • Electrical items for safety and comfort
  • Bath and shower design and products
  • Flooring that works
  • Funding options

After the presentation is completed, the presenters will be available for one-on-one questions.

More about the presenters: Wesley is a local builder and business owner and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Catherine is a rehabilitation engineer who has been a wheelchair user for over 20 years. They, in conjunction with the SC Assistive Technology Program, are offering this free seminar.

To register for this workshop:

To view the map and directions to the conference, follow the link in this post's title.