California Deafblind Services

Gloria: Webinar on Using iPads and Applications (Apps) with Children, Youth and Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind

06/20/2011 11:48

I was asked by Kathy McNulty from the National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) to be one of the presenters in a webinar (link below) on how this new technology can support children, youth and adults who are deaf-blind. Below is a brief summary of the webinar’s contents.

There are four presenters: Kim Paulk, an adult who is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome, who uses her iPad for everyday use; Lindsey Hegg, a teacher in Arizona, who uses the iPad with her students in the classroom; Cathy Lyle, an educational specialist for the Minnesota Deaf-Blind Project who promotes the use of the technology for families and students through a grant; and me, working to explore the technology with teachers and parents.

Kim Paulk presents on the accessibility features of the iPad such as voice-over, zoom, and white on black. She discusses several apps, including EyeNote, a free app that identifies US currency, and Sign4Me, a tool to learn sign language using a full-body avatar to display the signs. She also describes how the iPad could be connected to other devices, such as portable tactile keyboards, refreshable braille devices, tele-coil neck loops for hearing aids and portable BoseTM speakers, to expand its accessibility and usefulness.

On screen together, Lindsey Hegg and Cathy Lyle share their practical experience using the iPad with the children they serve on a daily basis. Some of their suggestions are: 1) to find the right app for the child and not the other way around (they say that many times people come up to them asking for apps, but their question always is, what are their goals for the child), and 2) that the key to success is with the teaching. They quote Phyllis Brosdky who says, “The technology is brilliant but the magic is in the teaching.”

They divide their presentation of apps into areas of learning: concept development, social interaction, behavior, independence and communication. When you open their slide show you’ll see the names of the apps they recommended in each of these areas.

My segment is about my observations working with the population that could benefit from this technology, and the advantages, disadvantages and considerations that could be of importance in their use. I also presented video clips of actual students working along with parents or teachers, as well as a short demonstration of the use of several apps that I have found useful. I was fortunate to have the collaboration of Susan Hiscutt, a parent, and Cristi Saylor, an Itinerant DHH teacher.

Finally, after each presenter, you will find a list of recommended resources.

Hopefully this webinar will encourage people to use this technology and to learn more. If you know an app that you have found useful, please share it so more of us can try it.

View the webinar.




Topic: Gloria: Webinar on Using iPads and Applications (Apps) with Children Who are Deaf-Blind

Date: 06/20/2011

By: Randy Klumph

Subject: additional files

Thanks for the overview Gloria. The PowerPoint files associated with this recording are available at