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Nov 18, 2013
World Toilet Day and The Big Squat Event
World Toilet Day
World Toilet Day takes place on November 19th and focuses mainly on the sanitation needs in developing countries. It highlights how important toilets can be and how they can truly make all the difference in the battle against disease and widespread infection. However, we’re looking at a campaign closer to home and one which has a huge impact on the lives of people living with disabilities in the UK. The Changing Places campaign is staging an event as part of a worldwide awareness raising efforts called ‘The Big Squat’.
Changing Places is a campaign which is pushing for the installation of accessible changing rooms in a range of public places across the UK. There are many reason why properly accessible changing rooms are essential and many people living with different disabilities need more support and space to be able to toilet in public places comfortably.
Currently standard disabled toilets do not meet the needs of all people living with disabilities and their carers or support staff. People living with profound and multiple disabilities including learning disabilities, spinal damage and acquired brain injury often find themselves needing additional facilities to be able to comfortably utilise public toilets.
Changing Places toilets are different and provide initial facilities and apparatus to allow for easier usage.
Changing Places Toilets
Changing Places toilets provide the right equipment, enough space and a safe and clean changing environment. The equipment provides will either be a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and a fully functional tracking hoist system or mobile hoist where this isn’t possible.
The changing areas will also have enough space for the disabled person as well as up to two carers and the toilet will be centrally placed to allow for support from carers on either side. Curtains or screens are also fitted so the disabled person and carer can have some privacy during the change.
The safety and cleanliness is provided by tear off paper roll to cover the bench before use and a large waste bin to allow for the disposal of pads. The floors are all non-slip to avoid any other accidents or risks.
Where do we want them?
The Changing Places campaign want to see their unique and potentially life changing toilets installed in all large public places. Their list of places includes:
• city centres
• shopping centres
• arts venues
• motorway service stations
• leisure complexes
• large railway stations
They also highlight that these new changing facilities should be installed in addition to pre-existing accessible toilets and not as a replacement. We definitely agree and think accessibility to comfortable toilets should be a basic right for all. Below is a case study looking at one mother and daughter who definitely see the need for accessible Changing Places toilets in every possible location.
Bethan and Lowri – A Case Study
Bethan is the mother of two daughters, Elin and Lowri, and the youngest, Lowri, lives with Retts Syndrome. Retts Syndrome means Lowri needs support with all her daily activities as she has no independent mobility. She uses continence pads for comfort and Bethan, Elin and Lowri were all pleased to have the chance to enjoy a happy family day out thanks to a Changing Places toilet.
The mum and daughters were able to enjoy a day out in Nottingham City Centre including shopping, lunch and a show at the local theatre. Nottingham City Council had the initiative to install a Changing Places toilet which allows for Bethan to help her daughter with her toileting needs without stress or difficulty, utilising the specialist hoist and changing equipment.
Bethan highlighted that without the Changing Places toilet there days out were very different as they had to plan their days out around specific times, ensuring to be home for mealtimes as Lowri would need to go to the toilet and they simply wouldn’t be able to change her comfortably in regular disabled toilets, as it would involve lying her on the floor. My own son Joe, has Dravet Syndrome and cannot be changed in most toilets. We had our vehicle specially adapted with a bench, curtains and a small hoist because of this issue.
Changing Places have taken Bethan and Lowri’s story as a great positive and use them regularly in their campaigns to show the importance of their toilets for whole families as well as individuals. This video tells a little more about their story:
(Full Transcript Below)
Take Part In the BIG SQUAT for World Toilet Day
The Big Squat event will be at 12 noon on 19 November
As part of World Toilet Day activities on the 19th November, the World Toilet Organisation (WTO) has launched The Big Squat- a movement for the toilet-less
To help raise awareness of the 2.5 million people worldwide who do not have access to sanitation, the WTO is asking people to squat for one minute in a highly visible location at 12 noon. Download the WTO toolkit for organising your Big Squat and don’t forget to share your photos via the Big Squat flickr group or by emailing them to WTO
The squatting exercise is highly symbolic of the problems faced by many people in the developing world, where a lack of toilets forces people to squat in fields, in the bush, along train tracks, or in other open places. Open defecation is a major problems: it spreads disease, resulting in over 1.8 million deaths from diarrhoeal disease every year. It also affects women’s wellbeing and safety: in many developing countries, women are forced to relieve themselves either before sunrise or after sunset, causing them immense discomfort and inconvenience as well as putting them at risk of rape and other attacks.
In the UK the Changing Places campaign will be using the Big Squat to help highlight the need for Changing Places toilets in public spaces in order to meet the needs of the 230,000 people who need additional support and appropriate facilities in order to use the toilet.
Some of their campaigners in London will be heading to the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park in Stratford to do a very public mass squat. We also think this is a great opportunity to celebrate the availability of Changing Places facilities at the park and the accessibility legacy left behind by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymplic games.
World Toilet Day Aids
The Uriwell Family
At Living with Disability we regularly discuss the importance of dignity and independence in personal care and toileting. We have highlighted some of the many useful gadgets and aids on the market which can help in those awkward moments and reduce anxiety and fear for people who may find toileting problematic.
One of our favourite products comes from Uriwell as they cater for every member of the family and can be a great aid to keep to hand if you often find yourself in situations where your bladder gives you little warning. It’s also very valuable for helping young children who are learning to use the toilet.
On the theme of toilet training for younger children we also rate the Game of Pee which adds a bit of fun to the process. The game includes a Happy Pee and the game comes with different faces for the Uriwell as well as an educational booklet that can be coloured in. A wall chart allows you to mark your child’s progress and help them feel a sense of achievement as they move up the steps. The range has even expanded to include the Happy Poo and so toilet training really can be simpler than you thought.
World Toilet Day and the UK Changing Places campaign needs your support and we’re hoping after reading this you might take part in the Big Squat! (#BigSquat or contact @CP_consortium on Twitter)
00:06 Speaker 1: My name is Bethan, and this is Lowri who is my 10-year-old daughter. Lowri is profoundly disabled. She has a condition called Rett syndrome. And she is completely dependent on us for all her activities of daily living. Lowri wears incontinence pads or nappies and so obviously, we have to change her during the day and in an ordinary disabled toilet that involves putting her on the floor because she is getting a big girl, and it’s no joke to manhandle that. You’ve got to keep her hands off the dirty floor ’cause the next place they’ll go is to her mouth. So, that’s why we need Changing Places toilets. We’ve got to get her onto this height adjustable table, so that’s either lift but ideally you want some kind of an equipment to help you with that because really you do far too much lifting. So, a ceiling track hoist is really ideal. It’s changed our life in the sense that coming to Nottingham for a day out, we can come here, we know it’s here, we can plan our whole day.
01:06 S1: When there’s a Changing Places toilet, it just increases the length of time that you can spend somewhere, and it means you are not time limited, you haven’t got that worry about how long am I going to be out? Where do I go next? If you know that there is a decent facility, then you can build that into your day, and it just takes the pressure off you. The Changing Places campaign is really important for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their family. I see it as being the next step. We’ve got standard accessible disabled toilets everywhere these days, everybody expects them. We’ve got baby changing everywhere and it’s expected. I think that having Changing Places toilets is the next step.
Sep 29, 2012
Low Tech Lifesavers: Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets come in many colours and patterns and look very much like ordinary bed coverings
Weighted blankets are heavy, specially made bed coverings. They use sewn-in bags of sand or other dense materials to make the covering heavy. They are mostly used for children with autism but be used to calm people with dementia or for other neurological conditions. They help children sleep and can help with tics and involuntary movements and conditions like restless leg syndrome.
This is another post inspired with thanks to @touretteshero. One of her fab blog posts led us to this product which we really believe deserves a mention on Living with Disability. The product in question is the use of weighted blankets, a simple invention which provides a carefully determined amount of pressure during sleep to help control any involuntary movements. They can improve the sleeping patterns and experience for those who have a number of different conditions.
Like the post on wrist straps, Tourettes Hero’s blog post, describes a product that has helped her get on with her life. She discusses how it helps provide some resistance to her tics but also mentions how the product was already on her horizon as she had seen them in use with autistic children. People who have an autistic spectrum disorder can have extreme difficulty sleeping due in many cases to proprieoceptive imbalance and even experience insomnia. A weighted blanket can significantly improve these problems and they can also help in the day time to help control the stimming that is related to autistic spectrum disorders.
Tourettes Hero with a heavy sleep aid…sorry, wrong pic, I mean with the marvelous Stephen Fry ;-)
So, what does a weighted blanket do?
Many of us have experienced the comforting feeling of heavy eiderdowns or blankets, maybe at grandparents as a child or the feeling of being ‘tucked up tightly’ with sheets. A weighted blanket provides what’s described as ‘deep pressure’ which is found to be calming and comforting especially for children on the Autistic Spectrum as research suggests they seek this deep pressure and want to be covered under several layers. With a weighted blanket, several layers aren’t needed and there is no risk of suffocation etc.
A large specially made heavy bed covering can be used at night to aid sleeping. Many families have said that using weighted blankets has given their child the first uninterrupted night’s sleep of their lives. They can help the child relax and feel comfortable in their bedroom. As well as large blankets there are a range of smaller products and lap pads which are designed for day time use, even in classrooms and at the dinner table. A weighted lap pad is designed to promote calm behaviour, enhance focus and concentration and also allows for further learning and comprehension if used in schools.
This video shows reviews on brand of weighted blankets and shows their uses:
For more info about the weighted blankets for sale on Amazon, click the box above.
Aug 25, 2012
Low-Tech Lifesavers: Greeper Shoe Laces
Searching for “Disabled Shoe laces “? Greeper laces are always tied, useful for top sportsmen and people with disabilities a truly universal design.
With the Paralympics coming up we thought we would feature a neat gadget used by top athletes like World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington MBE.
Shoelaces as used by top sportswoman Chrissie Wellington MBE
At Living With Disability we were really excited when we first heard about greeper laces as we realised the difference they could make to so many lives. You see, Greeper Shoe Laces carry the tagline ‘One Applied, Always Tied’ and you can adjust, loosen or do anything you need with your shoe laces without every needing to tie and untie them. This really is an innovative, yet simple creation which we had to share.
There are many groups of people living with disabilities who can significantly benefit from Greeper Shoe Laces. Firstly, we thought of those living with a range of learning disabilities which have made tying shoe laces very difficult. In the past, many people living with certain learning disabilities were seen only wearing Velcro shoes but with Greeper Shoe Laces, the range of shoes to choose from is wider and more accessible. Secondly, Greeper Shoe Laces are a great idea for children with autism who frequently remove their shoes, as there’s no need to retie and they can be put back on in seconds. We also believe Greeper Shoe Laces would be a great idea for anybody living with painful conditions such as arthritis which make bending and stretching difficult. You can simple slip your shoes on and off and the laces remain tied. People who are overweight or have back pain can also benefit as the laces remove the need for bending of reaching down to retie them during the day.
Once applied they stay on all day long
Greeper Shoe Laces require a little initial fitting but once it’s done, they’re there to stay. They come in a huge range of colours and two different lengths, so you can fit them in your trainers or boots. The really ‘inclusive design’ wow factor is the fact that they can be used in any shoes or training boots, removing the need to find expensive specialist footwear and allowing athletes to choose the absolutely most suitable shoes for the event. They’re a great help and remove one more of those pesky daily tasks which can become a difficult chore. This informational video shoes exactly how Greeper Shoe Laces work:
Range of Greeper Laces
There are several styles in the Greeper lace range. No matter what the occasion or task, there is a Greeper lace in a style and colour to fit your needs and tastes.
Sports Greeper laces in Neon Pink
Sports Greeper Laces
Greeper Sports laces are ideal for all types of sports shoes. Whether you enjoy tennis, running or golf; the Sports range are an oval type like the ones usually included with running shoes. They are also perfect for school shoes such as smart footwear or plimsoles used for gym.
Sports Greeper Laces are available in the following colours:
- Neon Green
- Neon Orange
- Neon Pink
Beige and Brown Hiker-style Greeper Laces
Hiker Greeper Laces
Greeper Hiker Laces are ideal for outdoor hiking and walking boots. They are longer than any of the other styles (150cm). This allows for the extra length needed when threading through the eyelets of boots. Greeper Hiker Laces feature a durable yet lightweight nylon toggle with high tension springs. This ensures that your laces will stay tight no matter the incline or conditions.
Hiker Greeper Laces are available in the following colour combinations:
Smart and stylish – Black Greeper Execs laces
Execs Greeper Laces
The Execs range of Greeper Laces are a stylish and formal option for smart shoes and occasions. Perfect for classic men’s shoes, business footwear and both girl’s and boy’s school shoes.
Execs Greeper Laces are available in either Brown or Black.
Modern and Fresh – The Greeper Flats range in Orange
Flats Greeper Laces
The Flats range of Greeper Laces are most popular amongst younger sporting-types. They are 10mm wide, flat laces that are usually found in less-formal sports footwear. They are ideal for pumps and “Converse” skater style footwear, and are available in with either the SureGrip or Sports toggle.
Flats Greeper Laces are available in the following colours:
At Living with Disability we are particularly excited about this product because it really is a brand new idea and something we think thousands of people could benefit from. If you’re interested in making a purchase, just click in the button below to visit Equipped 4 Life – Equ4l.com – a new boutique store selling the most innovative and inclusive designs available:
Aug 11, 2012
Ingenious Ideas: Bibetta Clothes Protectors
Silk-like style clothes protectors – new pashmina from Bibetta
The Bibetta range of clothes protectors has recently come to our attention and we think it’s a brilliant product range, which allows for safety, comfort and dignity whilst eating and drinking. The Bibetta range includes both Tabard and Pashmina style clothes protectors which allow the user to feel comfortable and safe whilst eating or drinking, with no risk of spills or damage to clothing or bare skin. Lightweight and easy to put on, the Bibetta range is great for use in the home or whilst out and about and makes eating and drinking in public a less anxious affair, if you live with a disability which effects chewing and swallowing for example. Along with other items like the Hydrant and Liquid Level Indicator, Bibetta Clothes Protectors go along way to ensuring your comfortable and secure whilst dining, as this lady says in a tweet:
@ Never liked the fasten-round neck type but the tabard & pashmina styles are appealing I must say.:-)
Tabard Style Clothes Protectors – Functional and Dignified
A Functional Bibetta Tabard put to great use
The Tabard Style Clothes protectors from Bibetta are designed with functionality and comfort in mind. Available in a range of sizes for teenagers and adults and made from strong, long-lasting materials. To aid with eating and drinking the tabards are 100% waterproof, almost impossible to stain and can be popped into the washing machine and tumble dryer and remain in perfect condition. They’re soft, flexible and easy to wear and their durability means they last a lot longer than traditional clothes protecting bibs.
As the photo shows, the product is designed with an over-the-shoulder shape which means they look much more like a tabard than a traditional bib, just without the back so easy to put on and take off. This makes a change from traditional bibs which can look uncomfortable and less dignified. Their ergonomically shaped design at the front allows for completely free arm movement, allowing for easy access to drinks and food. Made from flexible Neoprene, the tabards are easily fold-able and can be stored without difficulty.
Pashmina Style Clothes Protectors – Elegant and Practical
The Bibetta Pashmina is attractive and practical
As the photo shows clearly, these Pashmina Style Clothes Protectors offer a completely discrete and dignified solution for avoiding drips and spills onto clothes, keeping them entirely clean. It combines the fashionable elegance of an attractive scarf with the functional protection you may need from a bib. The pashmina is designed with style and dignity in mind and comes in a range of colours to complement any outfit beautifully. It’s made from a soft and luxurious feeling silk-like fabric which adds to its attractiveness and the front is absorbent, keeping away moisture from the skin and allowing for more comfort. It has two further layers, the middle layer is also absorbent whilst the back is waterproof, allowing your skin and clothes to remain completely dry, even if spillage does occur. Like the other products, Bibetta Pashminas are extremely durable despite their delicate appearance and therefore can be machine washed and tumble dried and remain in great condition.
The Bibetta team pride themselves on offering top quality products with durability and dignity at the core of their ethos and both these products deliver that and much more. To find out more and make a purchase, click below:
We know wearing a clothes protector can be an awkward social experience and were pleased to see the issue tackled in this blog post from Simon Stevens, an Independent Disability Issues Consultant, Trainer and Activist:
A bib is a covering of the fact worn to protect clothes during mealtimes or from drooling. It is generally seen as something as normally worn by babies but as someone with cerebral palsy, I wear a bib at home all day because of my own drooling. Am I a baby? Not at all, just someone using something I find useful.
10 years ago, bibs for adults were a taboo subject but now I feel that it is more accepted for many disabled people to wear bibs if they wish to do, as well as use a whole range of specialist equipment which were previously less acceptable. I feel this is all due to an improved inclusion of disabled people on their own terms.
People with significant impairments often find things that some regard as babyish as useful to their chosen lifestyle and I am clear the pressure to act normal is less than what it used to be.
Jul 20, 2012
High-Tech Helpers: EnuSens Toilet Training Alarm System
Helping your child understand toilet training
Having an older child who suffers from bladder weakness and needs more support in their toilet training can be a very testing and difficult thing to live with. However, this new product, exhibited at Naidex’s New Product Showcase has been designed with education and sensitivity in mind. EnuSens is an enurises monitor which has education and support as its main goals, helping to guide children into waking up when nature calls without having to be attached to a noisy buzzer or rely on uncomfortable training underwear, that never ever feels good. This new toilet training alarm system is designed to work on your child’s confidence, understanding their own body and their self-esteem.
Working with your child to understand their body
High Tech sensors make this system discrete and reliable for detecting enuresis
EnuSensTM can be used to help educate children to wake up and use the bathroom. Some children can respond faster than others to this type of training, depending on age and other various factors. What’s more this product also helps children understand how their body works, if they have the capacity to do and it also can be used in a number of healthcare settings. Receiving positive feedback from the Convention has seen the product easily available online and the soft cotton sensor means all chances of being uncomfortable can be eliminated. What’s more, you could use these product in conjunction with Brolly Sheets or the Uriwell range to create an even less clinical atmosphere.
Used by Adults
This product can also be used by adults, either in bed or perhaps whilst out and about in a wheelchair. The hardwearing sensor allows for comfort as well as easy positioning in the correct position in the chair and if you have a support team or carers, it allows them to respond immediately to any accidents or leakage. Even better, although there is an alarm option this can be silenced so there is no need to feel undignified or embarrassed by any little accidents and they can be handled safely without any need for upset.
If you’re interested in this product, click in the below box:
||DRI Sleeper Bed Wetting Alarm
||Wet-Stop3 Bedwetting Alarm-Green
||TensCare Dry Night Trainer Bed Wetting Alarm
||Rodger Wireless Bedwetting Enuresis Alarm – NEW 2012 Model
||The Astric Dry Bed Bedwetting Alarm
||Rodger Wireless Bed Wetting Alarm
- DRI Sleeper is effective in upto 90% of Children over the age of 5
- Night dryness is achieved in most cases within just a few weeks
- Highly acclaimed and Affordable
- Safety Electronics
- Small & Easy to use
||Health and Beauty
||Health and Beauty
||Health and Beauty
||DRI Sleeper Bed Wetting Alarm
||Wet-Stop3 Bedwetting Alarm-Green
||TensCare Dry Night Trainer Bed Wetting Alarm
||Rodger Wireless Bedwetting Enuresis Alarm – NEW 2012 Model
||The Astric Dry Bed Bedwetting Alarm
||60 Day Warranty on the Alarm Unit & 30 Day Warranty on the Sensor
||Manufacturer warranty for 1 year from date of purchase – non transferrable
May 28, 2012
Easy Belts with a velcro fastening
When you’re dressing yourself, one particular complication can be fasteners. Whether you have poor manual dexterity or the use of only one hand, it can be virtually impossible, for instance, to fasten the buckles on your belts. Or you might be able to manage the buckle with a struggle, but then have problems if you have to rush to the toilet.
Easy Belts are the answer. They have a velcro strip that simply goes through a D-shaped buckle and folds back on itself, holding the belt securely in place – easy to operate single-handedly.
Colourful designs and styles
Secure but easy to undo velcro fastening belts
Easy Belts come in both adult and child sizes, adjustable of course, and can be made to measure if required. They are slightly elasticated, a boon for people with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome which can cause painful bloating.
You can choose your Easy Belt from a range of colours, from pink stripes to black. Why not buy several, so you’ll always have one to match your outfit? It also means there’s bound to be one to match your child’s school uniform. Easy Belts can be machine washed, and come out looking as good as new every time.
Existing users are very positive about their Easy Belts. A man with Parkinson’s Disease was no longer able to manage normal belts and this caused distress. Easy Belt made it so easy for him to do up his belt. A teenage girl with learning disabilities could manage most things herself but struggled with belt buckles. Once she had an Easy Belt those days were gone: no more fiddling to find the hole, just one pull and fasten and it was done.
Easy Belts are highly recommended as a functional and fashionable aid to independence. With their excellent choice of sizes and colours, there’s bound to be one to suit you. And at their very reasonable price, how can you lose?
Visit the Easy Belts webshop for more info about these practical velcro-able belts. http://www.easybelts.co.uk/
May 23, 2012
Essential Items: Ear Defenders for Children with auditory sensitivity
Shocking Pink Ear Defenders
At Living with Disability we recognise that some disabilities have several varied symptoms and that everybody living with a disability is an individual and may live with symptoms that others don’t. One of the many symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorders is auditory sensitivity, which basically means that loud sounds can create extreme anxiety or distress. This is particularly common in children and there are a range of other conditions and learning disabilities which also have auditory sensitivity as a symptom. However, there are ways to combat this, most ingeniously with a pair of protective Ear Defenders. As well as protecting your child’s hearing, you’re also making the loud noises prevalent across modern society much less stressful and therefore allowing your child to enjoy a better quality of life.
Ear Defenders provide the perfect answer for children who find loud noises scary, stressful or too much to bear. Fitted with a comfortable padded headband and available in a range of bright welcoming colours, there’s bound to be a pair which works for your child. Most designs are extremely lightweight and can be adjusted to fit children up to 8 years old (or penguin lovers of any age see tweets below!!). As this video clearly explains, there are different reasons and different types of loud noise which affect different individuals and you’ll surely know which ones are relevant to your family:
A pair of Ear Defenders will cut out the majority of noise and extremely comfortable, there should be no concern or worry regarding loud noises becoming a problem or trigger. The range of colours means you should be able to find a pair to suit your child’s personality and preferences. Those who already own a pair are extremely happy with their purchase, especially when they consider that the item should be long lasting, or until a child reaches around 8 years old. They’re easily adjustable and can really make being out and about a lot easier for someone living with auditory sensitivity. If you’re interested in buying a pair click in the box below:
To see the full range click here ear defenders
After posting this :
@ @ @ I have a pair of bright pink ear defenders designed for young kids. I'm a little over 8 years old :-P
@ Right!! I'm changing that now! I'm putting in "also suitable for penguin lovers of any age" @ cc @
@ @ @ I do have a small head but Johan can get them on (though says they're very tight).
May 21, 2012
When living with disabilities, it’s understandable that many people rely on a range of medications to ensure they can live comfortably and independently. For some, this can mean a combination of lots of different medications which all need to be taken at the correct time of the day and it can get confusing. Whilst pharmacies can send out your pills in a organised manner, your own medication organiser can be much more useful and make it easier to find the pills you need when you need them.
Vibrating Alert Organisers
There are a huge range of pill organisers on the market from the very cheap and basic to more advanced designs which hope to help you remember to take your medication as well as keeping it in order. The development of vibrating and alarmed organisers mean you’ll never need to forget another pill and you can always feel safe without having to keep reminding yourself to take your pills when you need them. This video shows one model of vibrating pill box and how it can remind you to take the pills you need:
Discrete and portable
There are many designs like this wallet model, which make your pill organiser look a lot less clinical and easy to carry about your person without feeling like a walking pharmacy. Alternatively, there are a range of brighly coloured pill boxes on the market and if you only rely on a small number of meds, you could consider this fashionable Swarovski pill box or this prettily designed pill organiser.
It may seem like a small thing but it can really make a difference, especially when out and about and needing to remember to take your pills on time. Relying on medication can be a pain so any steps that can be taken to make it less of a chore are welcomed. If you’re interested in finding out more about the range of pill boxes available and also making a purchase click on any of the boxes below:
Or click here to see full range of pill organisers
Nov 30, 2011
High-Tech Helpers: The Livescribe Smartpen
At Living with Disability we embrace all the benefits of technology and the way it has made life lots easier for many people. As technology advances, so do the gadgets and gizmos designed specifically to make living with disabilities less difficult and supporting daily independence.
One item which is extremely useful for people with learning disabilities is The Livescribe Smartpen. Livescribe produce a range of Smartpens that can significantly improve the educational and work place environment for people who may have difficulty taking notes. This tweet is a testament to how valuable Smartpens can be:
@ #disabilitygadgets My wheelchair and my hand controls in the car. Oh and my LiveScribe Pulse smartpen.
Smartpens can help people with a number of different conditions including dyspgraphia, auditory processing difficulties and learning difficulties. With a Smartpen, you can focus on the teacher, the speaker or the lecturer you need to, rather than worrying about scribbling down every single word which can be extremely challenging for some.
So, what do Smartpens do?
A Livescribe Smartpen combines all four communication methods in one device. With a Smartpen you can record audio via its built-in microphone or through a Livescribe recording headset. When taking notes, the Smartpen can record the whole lesson, conversation or lecture and even creates digitised handwriting, automatically syncing the audio and ink. You can replay the audio by simply tapping the digitised ink. You can also choose to record audio without text if you prefer and you can transfer all files to your computer if you need to. Organising your notes isn’t difficult and you can even search for specific words within your notes, if you’re trying to revise or focus on a particular topic.
What do the customers think?
Smartpens’ customers are absolutely overwhelmed with their efficiency. Customers rate their effectiveness highly and feel they can considerably help them in their educational and professional lives. Despite all its high-tech gadgetry within this product, customers are surprised by how lightweight they are and how easy and straightforward they are to use. Described as a brilliant tool for both business and education, the Livescribe Smartpen can enhance and change your lifestyle.
This video shows exactly how great the Livescribe Smartpen can be great for work and school:
We saw recently saw Dan from the tweet above talking about the Livescribe Pulse on Facebook
And looking at the reviews on Amazon, it is a very popular item:
I love my Pulse 4GB. This Echo 8GB is just that much nicer – more comfortable to hold, more memory, better uplink connection than the Pulse’s standard cradle, which is a little too easy to knock the pen off from. The Pulse’s pro cradle (upright) is very nice, though. The new Mac Desktop update (2.2.1) is a very good one, with a much easier interface for sharing pencasts, pdfs, and AAC files. Like the previous reviewer, I had difficulty at first, but ended up manually downloading and installing the latest software update (my software kept telling me I had the latest, but it was 2.1). It replaced my previous version(keeping all the Pulse files intact), and after the quick install, it began to recognize the Echo without any problem.
The new pen cap is little and fits tight – I suspect it will be lost quickly. It is different than the Pulse caps – smaller, and fits on differently. I don’t notice much difference at all in using the Echo vs the Pulse, but I do find it more comfortable and less dorky-looking. I never considered 4GB to be too little storage, but 8GB certainly allows me to record everything at the highest quality without concern. Interestingly, this pen didn’t come with the recording headphones – which are nice, but way too dorky to actually use. If you are looking to buy a first Smartpen, you really can’t go wrong with either the Pulse or the Echo. If you are a student or an attorney or anyone who needs to recall detailed discussion points, you won’t be sorry. The variety of notebooks now is fantastic.
Note: EVERY high school and college student with learning disorders involving processing speeds, slow writing, Asperger’s Syndrome, or attentional issues should have and use this product. I suspect this will replace “note takers” eventually, as this is FAR less expensive and more effective (see 2008-09 research study from Rochester Institute of Technology).