Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pay Your Technology Forward

Nancy, who is a blogger at, made a New Year’s resolution to give away something every day via Freecycle ( in Wilmette, Illinois. One of the items she posted was an Ipaq, and I took it, hoping that I could refit it to serve someone with disabilities. I posted a request for ideas on a technology listserv, and here are the responses I received:

Shelley Lacey-Castelot ( said: You can install Gus AAC software on them, depending upon the version of the OS. For reluctant readers, you can put digital books with TTS on it---or just digital books with dictionary support (digital). Dragon NaturallySpeaking has an applet type program so that you can dictate into the IPAQ and upload the dictation for transcription. For kids with organizational difficulties, using Outlook with reminders of assignments and meetings works well. Hook up a wireless keyboard and it can be useful for notes on the go in the Pocket Word. The digital book reader that installs the easiest is Mobipocket; and you can download a dictionary that allows you to click on the word to get the definition.

Sharon E. said: you could use it as a scheduler. Does it have alarms? Also can it house dictionary stuff

Magi S. said: There are great possibilities for AT (in my mind) for PDAs and Smart Phones. You can get word prediction programs for all of the operating systems (Windows Mobile/PocketPC) and Palm. The iPaq had a decent speaker system, and could play mp3s, so you could use it for audio books. I believe that mine also recorded audio, and I know that my original Palm, and my new Palm Centro does that as well (the T|X I had did not without a special attachment). I love the calendar feature, and both models will sync to Outlook. We were trying to figure out how to sync to Google calendar, but I don't think we ever truly solved that. And Mobipocket is free... You could download podcasts too. There are foreign language dictionaries available that speak that might be useful. The iPaq probably has bluetooth, and the bluetooth keyboards are small enough to carry. I believe there is at least one add-on AAC program (Gus?), and I know that the ChatPCs were based on iPaqs.
There are more & more book download sites. My top three are: Mobipocket itself, BooksOnBoard (they sell audio books as well), and Fictionwise. Fictionwise has "frequent member programs" that give you a discount off the price of the book in the form of a gift certificate to use later. I get lots of free books that way! :)
I've used PocketWord as well, and the older version was really pretty good. Oh, and the color-coding feature in Outlook will transfer to the calendar. I really think that is one of the features I have used most often: I know at a glance that I have something to do, and what its for... And it places the box toward the top of the date for a morning appointment, and the bottom for an evening.

My plan is to get this iPaq ready for an individual who cannot afford regular technology, perhaps for someone who needs a speech device (AAC). Do you have technology you can pay forward? Two weeks ago, someone from Freecycle shared a scanner with me. I will be finding it a home also...

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