Accessing Potential Through Assistive Technology
Gifting Guide Day 16: Adapted Art Supplies
Lucy the dachshund/shepherd mix dog finishing off her latest painting.

I don’t know about your house, but around here, everyone from Grandma to the dog likes to be creative, and so art supplies are a common gift during the holiday season. Here are some art ideas for children and adults with disabilities.

Do A Dot Art! Markers

Two Children Playing with Do A Dot Art Markers

These bright and extra thick washable markers are very easy to grip. The extra thick sponge tip never dries out and makes perfect dots every time. The ink dries quickly and are gluten and latex-free.

These markers are designed to help children learn to develop eye-hand coordination and color recognition.

The Pencil Grip Kwik Stix Paint Pens

Child drawing a snowman with Kwick Stix paint sticks

Kwick Stix are tempera paint sticks that take the mess out of painting while allowing children to explore their artistic side. The paint is semisolid and twists  out of the pen, similar to a glue stick. The paint is washable, non-toxic, and assorted sets are available online.

Kid Made Modern Gem Jackpot Crayon Set

Grinning child coloring with yellow gem shaped crayon.

These large, gem shaped crayons are are easy to grip, and can be used to draw lines or fill in large areas of color. They work no matter how they are being held, so there is no wrong way to use them.

Art Desks with integrated Paper Roll

Two children drawing on paper unrolled on child sized art table.

Aside from gripping your markers, crayons, or paints, holding the paper in place can also be challenging for children. Art paper can be taped down to aid in holding it in place. A desk with an integrated paper roll holder makes it much easier for kids to get creating. While any old desk can easily be modified with a paper roll holder and platen, there are a variety of desks for children and adults that integrate this feature. Large sheets of paper provide more space to get creative, and children who have better gross motor skills have plenty of space to work.

Paper Roll Holder:

Paper Roll Art Table:

Paper Roll Desk:

Loop Scissors

Person gripping a pair of yellow loop safety sissors.

Called squeezy scissors by some, these ergonomic scissors help those with poor fine motor function or problems such as arthritis by automatically opening back up after each cut. Available with safety tips for kids, there are also sharper versions for adults for sewing, crafting, and general household use. There are also sewing scissors and garden shears available with a self opening spring.

Squeezy scissors for children:

Loop scissors for adults:

No Spill Paint Cups

Green no spill paint cup with green paint brush and green cap

No spill paint cups have a cap that prevents spills and messes. The funnel-shaped cap aids in getting the brush into the paint, and work well with tempura and other non-toxic paints. An additional cap can fit over the funnel top so that the paint can be easily reused.

Gifting Guide Day 15: Charlie Mae’s First Day
Front cover of Charlie Mae's First Day by Hanna Wilson

An extraordinary picture book for preschoolers that encourages kindness and acceptance of children with different abilities! Like the endearing main character of this book, some children may appear to be much different and end up having more in common with their peers than anticipated. Inspired by real life Charlie Mae, this story was initially written to aid as an introduction to her kindergarten class. It’s transformation comes with a deep desire to serve as a tool to not only spread awareness at a pivotal age, but present a feeling of belongingness to kids and families like Charlie’s.

Charlie May’s first day is available at, along with the story of the real Charlie Mae, activity sheets for preschoolers, and and informational video explaining epilepsy to preschoolers. There is also additional information available on their Facebook page at:

Charlie Mae’s first day was written by Hannah Wilson, a resident of Chilton County. Wilson wrote the book from the perspective of her daughter. She had decided to write the book in the summer of 2000 as a resource that could be used by other special needs families. Wilson said, “My dream for it is for it to make its way to all the families like ours, I feel like it would just mean a lot to them.” Visit for more information on the inspiration behind the book.

Gifting Guide Day 6: Tools to Make Notetaking Easier

Anyone would benefit from these notetaking tools, especially students!

These notetaking tools do more than just pen and paper or an audio recorder. They connect written notes with audio recording in a whole new way. There are other tools besides the ones I have included that are great to help with notetaking, and your choice will likely vary based on which device you use.

Livescribe Symphony

The Livescribe Symphony smart pen utilizes the Livescribe+ app on your smartphone, computer, or tablet to record the audio from what the teacher is saying while also saving your handwritten notes. The student can tap the written notes on the device to play back what was being said later when studying. This device retails around $100.

Notability app on iPad

The Notability app is available on the iPad for notetaking. This app allows users to record audio while simultaneously typing, writing, including images, and more. When later reviewing notes, they are able to tap any part of their notes to play back the audio. This app can be downloaded on the iPad for around $10.

Glean Note Taking

Glean software records audio notes so users can capture and learn from information more effectively. One aspect that is great about this software is that it will work on a number of devices, from Chromebooks to iPads to Android devices. Download a free thirty day trial here to help you decide if this is a good fit. This software is purchased as a subscription for around $12 per month.

Comment below if you have any other notetakers that are helpful in the classroom! I am always looking for new ideas to help students.

Top iPad Applications for Autism
There are many applications available that assist with the daily challenges that may arise from an autism diagnosis. These range from communication apps to behavior management apps, and more!
For more information on autism and to see what resources are available in the Tennessee valley, visit:
Model Me Going Places 2 –…

GRE – Graduate Readiness Exam

Accessibility information regarding the GRE (Graduate Readiness Exam). This exam is used as an entrance exam into graduate school programs and is generally taken during or just after the completion of an undergraduate degree. To apply for accessibility options before taking the exam, contact ETS Disability Services at or by creating an ETS account to submit an application.


GRE Basic Information

GRE Main Page

Registering for the Test

Scoring and Score Reporting

Test Day Preparation

The GRE and Accessibility

How to Apply for Accommodations

Request Procedures for those with Health Needs

List of Approved Testing Accommodations

GRE Test Preparation Apple Store Apps

GRE Prep from Magoosh

GRE Practice Prep and Flash Cards

Arcadia GRE Text


GRE Test Preparation Google Play Apps

GRE Flashcards

Vocabulary Builder

Ultimate GRE Prep

GRE Daily Vocabulary

GRE Practice Tests

McGraw Hill

Official ETS GRE Prep



Boeing Webinars

The following webinars are sponsored by Boeing. New webinars will be added as they are created. Check back for new videos! 

The Benefits and Challenges of Technology 

This webinar will talk about appropriate use of technology for children and how to balance out the benefits and challenges of technology in young children’s lives. 

Adapting Toys


Adapting toys can seem overwhelming, but anyone can adapt a toy to be switch accessible! This lesson will teach you how to solder, how to make switch ports, and how to adapt a toy. If you have any questions about this module or would like to have in-person training for this module please email 


This module has been broken down into four sections:

  1. Introduction to Adapting Toys
  2. How to Solder
  3. How to Make Switch Ports
  4. How to Adapt a Toy

If you are interested in learning more about the switches used to control your toy or interested in creating your own switch please visit our All About Switches Module

If you already have a switch port and are comfortable with soldering please skip ahead to part 4. If this is your first time soldering please watch the videos and practice before moving on to step 4! Like any skill, soldering takes practice, patience, and focus so give yourself a few practice runs!

Tools you will need to adapt a switch based toy:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Soldering Iron Stand
  • Wire Strippers
  • Scissors
  • Flux
  • Solder
  • Double Stranded Wire
  • 3.5MM Female Stereo Jack
  • Paper Towel
  • Switch Based Toy (one that has a “Press Here” button and is battery operated works best)
  • Wire Cutters
  • Sewing materials (optional)


Please watch the following video on how to solder.

*The fumes from the solder and the flux are not harmful, please wear protective eyewear*


*If you decided you buy your own switch port (watch intro video for more information on buying switch ports) then you can move on to Part Four. *

Please watch the following video on how to create your own switch port

Part Four: Adapting your Toy

If this is your first time adapting a toy please make sure to watch the other videos before continuing on with the last step!

*Please wear protective eyewear *

I will be adapting a My Pal Scout stuffed animal. You can purchase the dolls at Walmart or online

AT for Attention

There are a lot of tools and devices to help those with disabilities focus. Below are a few categories with different tools to help with focusing! This list is always being updated! If you have any resources you would like to share please leave it in the comment section below and we will add it to the list! 

Procrastination Prevention on the Computer 

AT for Focus 


Believe it or not, fidget can actually help those with focus difficulties pay more attention to teachers or presentations! By giving the individual a way to let go of some excess energy they can give more focused attention to what is going on around them!  Below are three stores that sells fidgets for those with attention difficulties. 

Therapy Shoppe Fidgets 

Fun and Function Fidgets

Office Playground Fidgets 

DIY Fidgets

TASC Pinterest Sensory and Behavior Board

Heart of the Classroom DIY Fidget Ideas


Alternative Computer Access

This module will guide you through alternative types of computer access and different ways to control the computer. Please take note of which version of operating system (OS X El Capitan or Windows 10 for example) the resource is for as software and hardware for computers is always rapidly changing!  If you see a product you are interested in, please check our lending library for loan availability.

Macs (uses OS X)

To check what operating system you are running on click the Apple logo in the very top left-hand corner then select “about this Mac”. At the top of the pop-up window, it should say OS X followed by a name. For example OS X Moutain Lion or OS X El Capitan. If you have a different operating system than the one listed with the instructions below some direction may have changed. Please contact Apple Support or your nearest Apple store with any questions regarding your operating system. 


PC (uses Windows)

To check what operating system you are running on click on the “start” menu and click on settings. From the settings menu click on “about”. Where it lists the edition is what operating system you are running. For example Windows 8 or Windows 10. If you have a different operating system than the one listed with the instructions below some direction may have changed. Please contact Microsoft Support with any questions regarding your operating system. 


All About Switches

Do you have a student who needs to use a switch for access? Do you have a student that needs to progress from cause and effect to scanning? This course is designed to explain what a switch is, how it is used and to identify software that can support your switch user for use on their level and how they progress to the next.

  1. Switches and Switch Interfaces
  2. Switch Software
  3. Switches and iPads
  4. Creating  or Buying your Own Switch
  5. Powerlink


Lesson 1: Switches and Switch Interfaces

A Switch Interface is a device that connect the switch to the device. Most devices (unless specifically design for those with disabilities) do not have a port to connect a switch and so switch interfaces fill that gap. They can also be used as control centers for functions. For example: a computer switch interface will allow different mouse functions to be controlled through different switches. Various switches and switch interfaces can be borrowed for 2-3 weeks from the T.A.S.C. lending library.

Lesson 2: Switch Software

We are getting closer every day to having all programs be switch-accessible, but unfortunately, we still have quite a ways to go. Below are listed a very programs that are switch accessible. If you have any programs you would like to add please mention it in the comments below! 

Lesson 3: Switches & iPads

iPad switch interfaces can be borrowed for 2-3 weeks from T.A.S.C. Lending Library.

Lesson 4: Creating or Buying your own Switch
Anyone can create their own switch. If you have access to a 3D printer, you can print out your own switch (with a few other materials needed) for about $10! Thank you to the UAH Students in the engineering department for creating a wonderful inexpensive Switch design! 


Lesson 5: Powerlink
AT We Love- Powerlink Webinar taught by Laura Schertz, MS, OTR/L, T.A.S.C. (Recorded 02/20/2013)

Picture Symbols

These modules provide information about picture symbols including how to create them and implement them effectively.

Creating Picture Symbols Using Microsoft PowerPoint (Free Solution!)

Picture Exchange Communication System

PECS is a specific method of using picture symbols to communicate. Information about training and the method can be found on their website.

Picture Symbol Software (Prices Vary)

Free Resources for Picture Symbols

Preschool Resources for Picture Symbols

Additional Information/Research Articles

Social Stories

Great in helping individuals understand feelings and actions associated with certain events.

Low Tech AT

This module will provide lessons on how to create low assistive technology solutions using materials available at hardware stores, electronic stores, and Dollar Trees!

Eye Gaze Frame
This lesson provides instruction on creating a PVC Eye Gaze Frame to assist in communication.


Mouse House
This lesson provides information how to create a “mouse house” which enables a computer user to hit a larger target in order to activate the left mouse click. Great to use with the Cause and Effect games listed in our Link Library.

Adapting Toys & Other Battery Operated Devices

  • How to Make a Simple Switch (Youtube Video)

Flip Book
This Word document can be used to create a low-tech flip book to use when communicating with an individual with disability who can say yes (by blinking, raising eyebrow, etc.).

Mouse Adaptations
Simple and free/low cost ways to make the computer mouse easier to use.

Wireless Call Bell

Note Taking

This course provides information about Assistive Technology tools to assist with note taking.

*Special thanks to Michael Papp, MS Rehabilitation Engineering, Rehabilitation Technology Specialist III, ADRS for permitting T.A.S.C. to post content from his 2011 ALATEC presentation on Note Taking.*


Microsoft Office is a program bundle that many of us are familiar with. This bundle includes Microsft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a few other programs. You find these programs in most schools and workplaces.

Microsoft Word for Mac – Notebook View



Microsoft OneNote

• Organize text, pictures, digital handwriting, audio and video recordings into one location.
• Sync notes with audio.




Apple Does have it’s own version of Word and OneNote. Pages is very similar to Word and iOS Notes is very similar to OneNote. Both are well-made programs that link to all apple devices.

Accessibility with Apple

More Resources For Apple Notes

Google Docs

Livescribe Smartpen

• Written notes sync with recorded audio
• Download notes from pen directly to computer (allows for searching notes and sharing)
• Additional apps can be purchased for the pen
• Pre-record a “test” to allow a student to independently complete test and have it read aloud
• Can be used with Evernote, Facebook, Google Docs, and other mobile applications



•Web based account to organize notes, photographs, audio files.
•Works across various platforms including Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android, etc.
•Additional applications available to create flashcards, Livescribe, Outlook, and many more.


Sonocent Audio NoteTaker

• Record or import audio into program and it will group into phrases.
• Easily allows audio to be edited and export key segments for reviewing.
• Sync audio with notes.


Low Tech/No Tech Note Taking

Carbonless Copy Notebooks
Cornell Notetaking Paper

Adapting Books

Physical, visual, and learning disabilities can make it difficult for individuals to access standard printed materials. This module provides information on ways to adapt books.

*Please respect copyrighted materials. If you are adapting a book, make sure to always have the original book paired with the adapted book.*

Adapting Books

High Tech Solutions

Many of the high-tech communication devices have page sets already installed to make reading accessible.

Electronic Books

Picture Symbols

Don’t forget to visit the Picture Symbol Module for additional resources.

Using Technology to Prepare for Employment

In this course, you fill find lessons in using technology to help prepare for employment. There are a lot of wonderful resources out there! Please follow the links below for more information.

Exploring Careers

Searching for Jobs

Jobs in Alabama:

 Large Search Sites (across the U.S.):

Completing Applications

Creating a Resume

More Free Web Resources
GED – High School Equivalency Exam

Access information related to the GED exam. This module includes testing center locations, preparing for the test, apps, and accommodations. Please click the links below for more information. 

GED Basics

Practice Tests

Apps for GED Studying
Google Play is the app store for many android apps

iTunes is home to the app store for apple products

Other Apps for GED 

Cyber Bullying

What is Cyberbullying and how should we deal with it? This webinar by David Lang answers those questions and more. You will be provided with resources on how to cope with cyber bullying and how you should react.

Presented by David Lang of Glenwood, Inc and the Huntsville Public Library
on September 4, 2015

If video is blurry, click the settings icon and change quality to 720p HD.

Apple Accessibility and iAccess

This module will review the accessibility features for Apple products (Mac Computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, Apple Watches and more).

Accessibility and the iPad

The following videos will review the Accessibility features that are already programmed into the iPad. Please check the publishing dates on the videos as features may change in the future. 



There are a lot of wonderful features on Apple and iDevices that we are unaware of. Did you know that you can use your iPad with just one  switch? Are you aware that you type in braille directly on your iPad? Most people are unaware of these features. Watch the following videos and click the links below for more information

The following video is a general overview of the accessibility features in iProducts such as the iPad and iPhone. We briefly review all the categories in accessibility such as hearing, vision, motor accessibility, and guided access.

Presented by Kate Mosely, AT Specialist
on August 18, 2015

If the video is blurry, click the settings icon and change quality to 720p HD.


Voice Over

The following video is about Voice Over for Apple products. How to turn it off and on and use all of Voice Over’s features!

Presented by Kate Moseley, AT Specialist
on August 10, 2015

If the video is blurry, click the settings icon and change quality to 720p HD.


Switch Access

The following video is about Switch Access on the iPad. We review the settings of Switch Access, three different types of switches, and how to hook up a switch to an iPad.

Presented by Kate Moseley, AT Specialist
on July 29, 2015

If the video is blurry, click the settings icon and change quality to 720p HD.




The following video will teach about Alternative styluses, mounts, and switch access can help make the iPad more accessible.

Presented by Laura Parks, M.Ed., AT Specialist
on September 11, 2014

If the video is blurry, click the settings icon and change quality to 720p HD.

Related Links:

Low-Tech Solutions for Easy Access 

The following Videos will inform you about low-tech solutions to make the iPad more accessible. These videos are presented by Laura Parks, M.Ed., At Specialist

How to Make an iPad Stylus

How to Make a Home Button Stopper

Sticky Situation iPad Sleeve