JAN Goes to the ATIA Conference

Posted by Kim Cordingly on March 2, 2016 under Accommodations, JAN News, Organizations, Products / Technology | Comments are off for this article

By: Teresa Goddard, Lead Consultant — Sensory Team; Kelsey Lewis, Consultant — Cognitive/Neurological Team; Lisa Mathess, Senior Consultant — Motor Team

At the beginning of February, a few JAN consultants had the privilege to travel to sunny Orlando, Florida to attend the annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference. All week, JAN was well represented with a booth in the exhibit hall along with consultants giving three presentations on a range of topics.

As part of the educational sessions, JAN offered a presentation titled Apps at Work: Accommodating Employees Effectively with Mobile Technology! showcasing a variety of mobile apps that could be used as part of, or as, a reasonable accommodation in the workplace. JAN talked about apps for limitations stemming from sensory, motor, cognitive, and psychiatric impairments.

JAN also gave a presentation on real-life situations and solutions from inquiries handled by our consultants regarding employees with multiple impairments and therefore various limitations. The presentation Multiple Impairments, Multiple Limitations: Accommodating Employees with Complex Needs was well received, as accommodation needs can be very complex and ever changing.

Finally, on the last day of the conference, JAN collaborated with alliance partner AbleData and presented on assistive technology options and accommodation ideas for employees with autoimmune disorders — Workplace Accommodations & AT for Individuals with Autoimmune Disorders.

The exhibit booth was visited by people from a variety of backgrounds, including educational professionals, rehabilitation professionals, students, employees with disabilities, and product manufacturers. Consultants discussed the various services offered at JAN and handed out publications and goodies to over 300 attendees.

If you’re interested in viewing the presentation PowerPoints, they are available on the JAN Website for download.

One of the things that we as JAN consultants enjoy most about attending conferences is visiting the booths of other service providers and vendors. Conference exhibit halls are a practical and hands-on way for us to keep up with the latest information on assistive technologies and disability services so that we can share up-to-date information with our consumers. This year, the ATIA exhibit hall showcased a wide variety of vendors and organizations. As usual, vendors of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and vision-related products were well represented. Due to the recent merger of Dynavox and Tobii, both of which are well known for their AAC devices and eye gaze systems, we were particularly interested to see how they would combine their product lines. We learned that the DynaWrite2.0, a speech-generating device particularly well suited to meet the needs of literate adults who need to be able to use a land line phone for work, had been discontinued. However, one of the Tobii DynaVox reps assured us that a similar product, the highly portable Lightwriter SL40 Connect, will continue to be available. The Lightwriter can be used to make mobile phone calls.

In addition to presenting for JAN, we were able to attend multiple educational sessions. One unique and entertaining session was called Music-Making = Differentiated Instruction and Unique Therapy Protocols, which featured a new [to us] product called Beamz. Beamz is a laser-based music device. It includes three prongs (shaped like a “W”) and laser beams running from each prong. Each laser acts as a different musical instrument that can be played with the stroke of a hand.

The Beamz device can link to IOS products, MAC, and PC, allowing users to view the corresponding instrument with a laser beam on the screen of their device. Users can choose among many genres, including country, hip hop, classical, and even nature sounds. In addition, users can choose to add their own musical twist to already-synced songs ranging from Beamz original compositions, to karaoke hits, and today’s latest radio jams.

Beamz is currently used in multiple settings including schools, geriatric and long-term care facilities, at home, and as a therapy/ rehabilitation tool. It is thought to improve cognition, socialization, and motivation through memory recall, improved communication, and “brain fitness.” Beamz also claims to help with fine and gross motor skills along with improving range of motion.

 

 

 

JAN in the News – Private Sector Report from Our Neighbors to the North

Posted by Kim Cordingly on April 2, 2013 under Accommodations, JAN News | Comments are off for this article

Many of us are aware of the influence of JAN’s services in the United States, but our impact is at times international in scope. A recent Canadian Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities entitled Rethinking Disability in the Private Sector: We All Have Abilities. Some Are More Apparent Than Others (2013) highlights data from JAN’s publication Low Cost, High Impact (2012). The panel, commissioned by the Government of Canada, shares evidence gathered from both private sector companies as well as current research. The panel writes:

By connecting directly with employers, our panel set out to discover what can be done about the unemployment and under-employment of qualified people with disabilities in Canada. We explored the barriers – some physical and many attitudinal – but chose to focus on the positive. Our goal is to shine the light on best practices and successes among Canadian employers who have welcomed people with disabilities into their ranks. These examples can help us learn and do better.

In the section of the report seeking to dispel myths, JAN’s cost data on accommodating a person with a disability is highlighted. The myth cited is that the cost of accommodation for employers is prohibitive. The panel writes, “In a widely accepted study conducted by the U.S. Job Accommodation Network (JAN), workplace accommodations are shown to be low cost, with 57 percent of participants spending nothing at all. Of those accommodations that did have a cost, the typical one-time expenditure by employers was $500.” They also discuss additional data from the JAN study on the direct and indirect benefits to employers of making an accommodation.

You can view the entire report here:

Rethinking Disability in the Private Sector: We All Have Abilities. Some Are More Apparent Than Others
Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (2013)

JAN in the News – Telecommuting

Posted by Kim Cordingly on under JAN News | Comments are off for this article

The recent decision by Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end telecommuting work arrangements set off a prolific discussion regarding flexible work arrangements. From a variety of perspectives — HR professionals, women’s organizations, IT professionals, academics, telework advocates, corporate executives, and others have weighed in on this policy decision. But how does this type of policy shift potentially affect employees with disabilities? The article Telecommuting Cuts Across Gender, Generations by Kathy Gurchiek, currently on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Website, discusses this issue from a gender perspective, but also features JAN principal consultants Linda Batiste and Beth Loy talking specifically about the potential impact of policies like this on workers with disabilities.

You can access the article here:
Telecommuting Cuts Across Gender, Generations