Assistive Technology News & Updates- August 2022

INTO GAMING? AzTAP’s new Gaming Clinic helps find and customize options to make gaming more accessible!

photo of hands using adaptive gaming controller

Adam* is 22 and enjoys gaming on his Xbox but is struggling with playing because his Muscular Dystrophy is causing muscular weakness which is affecting the use of his arms and hands.  While playing with the standard handheld controller he becomes easily fatigued. The standard Xbox controller requires holding, manipulating a thumb stick, and reaching with his fingers to access numerous small buttons – activities that have become increasingly difficult for Adam.

Adam came to the AzTAP gaming clinic with the goal of finding a less fatiguing option so that he could extend his gameplay. Using the XAC (an Xbox adaptive controller that Adam already owns), AzTAP staff members worked with him to trial switches, remap the controller to make game controls closer together and easier to access, and design a 3D printed thumb stick extender cap. In addition, Adam was provided with a follow-up video on how to remap the controller to his individual needs.

The goal was to make it easier and less fatiguing to Adam to game and Adam reports that the new set-up is, in fact, much better for him!

* Not his real name

For more information about the AzTAP Gaming Clinic, and to schedule an appointment, use the following link: AzTAP Adaptive Gaming Clinicor contact us at AzTAPGamingClinic@nau.edu or 602.728.9501.

SCHOOL IS STARTING! ADE Assistive Technology Loan Library is here to help!

Did you know that AzTAP operates an AT loan program for the Arizona Department of Education? Loans made by this program are exclusively available to public school districts and charter schools statewide – FREE OF CHARGE.

With the start of the 22-23 school year, we encourage all districts to sign up so they can borrow a wide variety of assistive technology devices, equipment, software, and professional development materials for one month for free (including shipping both ways).  For more information go to https://www.adeatloan.org/about.php.

Our ADE Loan Library team also puts on assistive technology Maker Workshops throughout the year. The workshops are designed to help teachers, therapists, and other school personnel learn how to make their own assistive technology, saving money and allowing them to provide specialized custom solutions.  This coming year, our team will run both virtual and in-person Maker Workshops.  To get first notification of our maker workshops, sign up for the ADE email list mentioned below.

The ADE Loan Library staff works closely with the Arizona Department of Education Assistive Technology Team.  That team provides consultations, technical assistance, and numerous trainings for public school personnel in Arizona. To sign up for their email list, go to https://www.azed.gov/specialeducation/at/at-listserv. Once on the list, you will learn about all upcoming trainings, including maker workshops!

Logo for ADE Exceptional Student Service Assistive Technology

NEW DEVICE at AzTAP:  Guided Hands (TM)!

The AzTAP demo and loan library now has Guided Hands (TM), an assistive device that can help persons with limited fine motor skills to write, paint, draw and access technology through a touch-screen device and computer.

Inspired by the mechanics of a 3D printer, Guided Hands uses a simple sliding system composed of linear shafts and ball bearings. It promotes controlled and guided hand movements in all directions (horizontal, vertical and swivel hand motions), as the user holds a handpiece, choosing three designs based on their level of hand impairment. The handpiece is connected to an arm attachment that holds various writing utensils, thus decreasing struggle, pain, and fatigue. Guided Hands is designed to use the individual’s gross motor skills in their shoulder to perform activities instead of their poor fine motor skills in the hand.

As a reminder, devices in our inventory are listed on our website. You can always search what we have by visiting our individual lending programs and clicking on the “search our inventory” buttons.

More information about the Guided Hands devices is available at the following link: https://www.imaginablesolutions.com/.

Photo of a hand using the Guided Hands assistive device