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Alliance for Person-Centered Accessible Technologies

an IGERT program developed by ASU & CSULB

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New Insights for Autism

Via Patrick McGurrin

What do we think of when we hear the term “Autism?” Typically, we describe autism, or autism spectrum disorder, more generally as a “group of complex disorders of brain development” ( The disorder varies in severity and often manifests with difficulty in social interaction verbal and/or nonverbal communication, as well as intellectual development, motor coordination, and a number of other health issues. The diverse nature of symptoms associated with the disorder has hindered the ability for scientists to understand what causes autism to develop as children develop.

Cutlery Innovations

Via Patrick McGurrin

What better way to start off the new year than by introducing another novel and innovative piece of assistive technology: Lift Ware. Lift Ware’s newest product is, well, a spoon. While this information from a broad view seems quite ordinary, the features of this spoon show great utility for people with Parkinsons disease.

The Tongue Drive System

Via Patrick McGurrin

The sip-and-puff system is currently the most popular assistive technology for controlling a wheelchair. Recently, Science Translational Medicine published the results of a new clinical study performed by Dr. Maysam Ghovanloo and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The paper introduced an alternative new technology, the Tongue Drive System, which they conclude is able to execute commands at speeds faster than that of the sip-and-puff system with equal or better accuracy.

APAcT Reflections on the Geological Society of America

​Via Heather Pacheco

Heather Pacheco reflects on her experiences at the Geological Society of America.

How do we talk to people with disabilities?

Via Patrick McGurrin

The Huffington Post has delivered a great piece by blog writer Rachelle Friedman on the ten things you shouldn’t say to someone in a wheelchair. While the article takes more of a humorous approach to stereotypical interactions with a person with a disability, it highlights a great question:  How do we talk to people with disabilities?

"It's got the moves"

Via Patrick McGurrin

Former Sony, Toyota, and Olympus engineers have come together to revolutionize wheelchair design. The Whill Type A, scheduled to be commercially available in early 2014, has been inspired by other modes of transportation not typically associated with assistive technology, including bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. The fundamental goal of the project was to revamp our social perception of the wheelchair.

Presenting APACT research at the Society for Neuroscience

Patrick McGurrin reflects on his work and presenting research at a major conference.

The Society for Neuroscience is an annual meeting that promotes the gathering of neuroscientists from around the world. The goal of the meeting is for scientists to collaborate, communicate, and discover novel research active in laboratories both nationally and around the world. This year’s conference, hosted by the great city of San Diego, was my first Neuroscience meeting. To state it outright, the experience far surpassed my expectations.


Job Stigmas and Visual Impairment

Via Patrick McGurrin

This week, the Huffington Post released an article highlighting the social stigmas attached to people with visual impairments who pursue employment. In 2011, only 24% of working age Americans with visual impairments were reported to have full-time employment. Maura Mazzocca, a former human resources employee from Boston, Massachusetts, has experience with both sides of the issue. As a human resources administrator, she did not hire a blind person because she thought he could not work a manufacturing job. Yet after losing her vision she faces that very same discrimination in returning to the workforce-discrimination unjustified by any ability or lack-thereof on the part of blind workers.

Light Touch Matters

Via Patrick McGurrin

When a person uses a prosthetic hand, they regain some the function of that lost limb. They can once again interact with people and objects in their surroundings and accomplish their daily routines more efficiently. However, at the same time, they lose the sense of touch.  They can pick up an item, but we are unable to feel it. While people may recall how the item should feel based on our past experience, it can still be difficult to perform activities like picking up fragile objects or embracing a friend or loved one.

Living with the other: Realizations, ideas, and questions.

Via Heather Pacheco

Finding one’s voice for a blog is an inevitable challenge.  I toyed with something like “Science Ed Eye on Disability” but I’m not really paddling around in this pond with my science education goggles on – and it’s not really with a researcher’s probing stare (eyebrow arched) that I am looking at disability either.  What is it? I keep having this image of myself walking down a street lined with tall skyscrapers.  The street is shady and even a little chilly.  The faces of the canyon walls are dotted with skyscraper windows full of issues, arguments, situations, technologies, philosophies, perspectives all relating to disability in one form or another.   There are banners in some windows and people hanging out, shouting from others. It’s all very dramatic and overwhelming.  And there is a distinct otherness to it – other people, other people’s issues – that is somehow incongruous with my many years of experience with disabilities.

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