Ten Things Hospitals Can Do to Be More Inclusive and Accessible

During the past twelve months I have spent a lot of time visiting and supporting my wife in two different hospitals. I have become keenly aware of how these places often lack accessibility which would make the experience easier and more inclusive for both patients as well as their visitors. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the medical professionals who have done so much to assist and support my wife. The following list is in no way meant as a criticism of the doctors, nurses, surgeons, respiratory therapists and other specialists who have provided support to us. These people should be honored and respected as much as our military and its veterans. Indeed, some of the people I have met in the medical field are true warriors and war heroes and I am in awe of them and what they do. They see death on a regular basis. Many of them are called to save lives. Sometimes they do save those lives. Other times they are unable to do so. I cannot imagine the effect on them of this amazing and necessary work. That being said I’ve had some ideas of how hospitals could be so much more inclusive. These ideas would not require technology that we don’t already have. Some would require a financial investment but they wouldn’t require new technologies to be designed. While I don’t have time right now to work on this I’d like to help engage in advocacy at a later and more convenient time to see if we can turn some of these ideas into reality.

1. Have either Velcro or a magnetic dock on the call bell/TV remote. This would allow the patient to be able to place the item in a reachable spot without constantly losing it or having it fall off of the bed out of the patient’s reach.

2. Place Braille labels and/or raised icons on the other buttons on the call bell/TV remote. They might have a Braille N for Nurse but no other buttons are Brailled. Do they think blind people have no interest in watching TV?

3. Braille signage on all doors.

4. Ensure that all elevators contain Braille on all buttons and have audio alerts to indicate what floor has been reached.

5. An optional TV voice remote for patients who can speak just as you have with Comcast, Fire TV, Roku, etc.

6. Allow the patient to send text messages to the nurse’s station. This way, a patient who can’t speak could text “I need help being repositioned” or “my Purewick came loose.” This way, the nurse who comes in to help the patient already knows the reason for the call. Someone who can’t speak doesn’t have to find a way to communicate with the nurse and the nurse doesn’t need to ask what the problem is, saving a lot of time and effort.

7. Indoor beacons to allow blind visitors to easily locate and identify a room using an app on their phone, such as Goodmaps.

8. An Alexa in every room. It could include special hospital content containing health information as they do on the TV. It could be trained to recognize specialized commands, such as “call the nurse” or “what’s my heart rate” not to mention just being able to listen to a full catalog of music and radio streams.

9. Talking telemetry. Patient should be able to press a button on the remote to access heart rate, latest blood pressure, etc.

10. Required disability awareness training for all hospital staff. You would think that the medical community is the most knowledgeable regarding how to interact with people with disabilities but I have found them to be in serious need of training, such as how to navigate “sighted guide” with a blind person.

TeamViewer QuickSupport: a Workaround For The TeamViewer Screen Reader Accessibility Challenges

Many of us who use AIRA are familiar with the TeamViewer application. This gives AIRA agents the ability to remotely access and, if needed, control our computers. This is extremely convenient when we encounter accessibility challenges which require a bit of assistance from a trusted sighted agent. When opening TeamViewer we need to navigate to the fields which contain the TeamViewer partner ID and password to provide to the agent. In the past these edit fields were easily readable with screen readers. Lately, however, these edit fields in the Windows version of TeamViewer became inaccessible. There are some workarounds to get around this, such as using the screen reader’s speech history feature to review what was spoken, but this method isn’t as convenient. The speech history feature is built into JAWS and can be used by installing an optional NVDA adde-on.

Recently, I became aware of an alternative version of TeamViewer with totally accessible fields for navigating and reading the partner ID and the password. This is done through a small program known as TeamViewer QuickSupport.

This is what you might think of as a light or slim-down version of TeamViewer. It is only used to establish a connection with an agent and lacks the other bells and whistles of the main TeamViewer program, nearly all of which I never used, anyway. The program doesn’t install. Instead, you just run the executable whenever you want to establish a connection. You will still encounter the UAC (User Account Control) prompt when you run it although activating the No button still allows the program to run. There is a check box which must be checked which says that you agree with the program’s license agreement. Press the continue button and you’re ready to connect with your helper. You’ll notice that the fields for reading the partner ID and password are totally accessible with your screen reader. There is one unlabeled button which is used to adjust a few configuration options for audio, video and a few other settings.

This lighter version should make using TeamViewer for Windows a much more accessible experience.

Please note that what I’m documenting is for the Windows version. Since I have no experience using TeamViewer on other platforms I am not able to provide any feedback on those versions.

Online Workshop From David Goldfield: Learn About Leasey: Introduction to Leasey and Using Leasey Select to Easily Select, Copy and Cut Text: Friday, August 19, 8:00 PM Eastern Time

Introduction

If you are a user of either JAWS or Fusion I would suggest that Leasey from Hartgen Consultancy is a program that you might want to consider using. It adds over sixty additional features and functions to JAWS, making your screen reader even more powerful.

Leasey Basic

Users who are very new to using a computer or who may have cognitive challenges are sure to appreciate Leasey Basic which includes a consistent menu interface for accessing commonly used programs and tasks. Leasey Basic also includes friendly context- sensitive help. When using Leasey Basic the menus along with the context-sensitive help are spoken in a pleasant, human voice.

Leasey Advanced

Some of you may be thinking that you don’t require a basic interface. You may be wondering if Leasey has any features which will be appealing to intermediate or advanced computer users. For those who don’t require this basic interface the Leasey Advanced product includes an impressive set of features that adds even more power and flexibility to JAWS. These include multiple clipboard-like areas for copying and pasting text, text expanders, many search utilities, a flexible app for obtaining weather information, easier keyboard commands for selecting blocks of text, just to name a few.

More Information

In addition to being a user of the JAWS for Windows screen reader since the release of version 1.0 I have been a user of Leasey for nearly four years. Some of its functions have become an essential part of my work flow and I can no longer imagine using JAWS without Leasey running along with it. I have never hesitated to tell other JAWS users about Leasey and I’d like to let JAWS users know more about some of Leasey’s capabilities. To this end I have decided to launch a series of monthly workshops which I’m calling Learn About Leasey. My plan is to conduct one workshop per month with each workshop covering a specific feature of Leasey that I think will be of interest to many people. These workshops will be free of cost and will be conducted on the Zoom platform.

A Few Things to Note

First, I’m aware that Hartgen Consultancy has begun the relaunch of its LeaseyBites. These are short tutorials with each episode covering a specific feature of Leasey. Whether or not you attend any of my workshops I highly recommend that people who wish to learn more about Leasey listen to this series. My workshops in no way are meant to compete with these modules. In fact, I’ve been thinking about facilitating my own workshops before it was announced that LeaseyBites was being relaunched. Not only are my own workshops not meant to compete with Hartgen Consultancy’s LeaseyBites but I’m not intending to follow their structure or the order in which I present topics. Not only am I presenting topics in a totally different order but LeaseyBites will cover topics which I probably will never talk about. I fully admit that I don’t know the keystrokes for every Leasey feature and there are some Leasey features which I honestly don’t use. Examples are using Leasey with Facebook or Whatsapp as I don’t have a Whatsapp account and I chose to delete my personal Facebook account last October.

For these and other reasons it should be clear that my workshops are not intended to be full Leasey classes. Not only should they not be used as a substitute for LeaseyBites but the most complete resource for learning everything about Leasey is the Leasey documentation. It is extremely thorough, easy to read and is well-organized.

It should also be noted that I am not a Leasey product distributor and am not affiliated with Hartgen Consultancy other than being a customer who has purchased Leasey along with other software and training packages. I purchased these products at the same prices as any other customer and am receiving no compensation from the company for facilitating these workshops.

The First Session: Date, Time and Topic

The first Learn About Leasey session is scheduled for Friday, August 19 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time. We’ll provide an introduction to Leasey and talk about some of its features as well as where you can download a demonstration as well as how to purchase the software. If you want to download a trial version of the software or if you’d like to purchase Leasey there’s no need to wait for the workshop as visiting the previous links will allow you to do this.

We will also demonstrate the Leasey Select feature. This is an easy method for selecting and copying text and is faster and more efficient than the built-in keystrokes provided by Windows as well as JAWS.

You can join the meeting by accessing the following link.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84552893611?pwd=c3cvWkZtUkdFbmprOU1oOHlCQnlmdz09

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,84552893611#,,,,*085049# US (Washington DC)

+19294362866,,84552893611#,,,,*085049# US (New York)

Meeting ID: 845 5289 3611

Passcode: 085049

Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

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+1 646 931 3860 US

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+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

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Meeting ID: 845 5289 3611

Passcode: 085049

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kGh5D1JeI

David Goldfield,

Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist

JAWS Certified, 2022

NVDA Certified Expert

Subscribe to the Tech-VI announcement list to receive news, events and information regarding the blindness assistive technology field.

Email: tech-vi+subscribe

www.DavidGoldfield.org

From The Florida Outreach Center For The Blind: Workshop Demonstrating Accessible Kitchen Appliances: Thursday, February 17, 1:00 PM Eastern Time

The following announcement was sent to me via email.

Hello FOCB Family and Friends,

Have you ever wondered how popular countertop home cooking appliances can operate hands free by just giving simple voice commands using an Amazon Echo or a Google home product? Think how these devices can be used to set the time, temperature, and cooking mode without touching a single button.

Come join chef Jason Goldfield and his assistants along with The Florida Outreach Center for The Blind for our next workshop to learn how you can operate an air fryer, pressure cooker, and a microwave to cook simple and fabulous meals with ease. The workshop will be held Thursday, February 17th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (eastern) via the Zoom platform.

A $25.00 door prize will be given out at the end of the presentation.

To join the Zoom discussion, call 1-312-626-6799 using Meeting Code 5616420005

If joining us via Zoom us the Meeting Link is below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5616420005

Meeting ID: 561 642 0005

Resources For Learning The ChromeVox Screen Reader on Chromebook Devices

Many thanks to Amy Snow who posted some of these resources on the Trainer-talk mailing list including a course which she taught which you can watch on Youtube.

ACVREP AND GOOGLE LAUNCH THE CHROMEBOOK ACCESSIBILITY TRAINING PROGRAM

https://www.acvrep.org/newsitem?id=80

Various Chromebook Accessibility Resources

https://atresources.wcbvi.k12.wi.us/resources/chrome-a11y

ChromeVox: From Basics to Mastery – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOx3a2GKV3ts7mE_zts5Om2smHmZYrPQ5

Chromebooks – A Journey in Productivity | Mystic Access

$39.00

https://www.mysticaccess.com/product/chromebooks-a-journey-in-productivity/

A World Of Chromebooks – Mystic Access Downloads

https://downloads.mysticaccess.com/download/a-world-of-chromebooks/

Podcast Transcript: Mosen At Large episode 155,

https://mosen.org/malp0155transcript/

Note: Many subsequent Mosen at Large podcast episodes cover additional ChromeBook features.

Please note that I am not a ChromeBook user and so I cannot answer any additional questions or provide support.

Training Resources For Learning How to Use Microsoft Teams With a Screen Reader

Earlier today I received an email from someone asking if I knew of specific resources for learning how to use Microsoft Teams with a screen reader. I provided her with some resources and thought I would share them publicly in the event that they may be of value to other Teams users.

Brian Hartgen has produced some excellent JAWS scripts for Teams. They are not free of cost but in my opinion are worth considering. He also produced a training course called Winning Teams. The course includes these scripts.

Doug Lee has produced some free JAWS scripts for Teams. It’s been a while since I’ve used them and so I can’t provide any feedback as to the current version since I chose to use Brian Hartgen’s scripts.

Freedom Scientific has conducted at least two webinars on using Teams.

Additional Short Videos From Freedom Scientific:

Navigating Microsoft Teams with JAWS 2021

Chatting in Microsoft Teams with JAWS 2021

Microsoft has more than a few support pages for using Teams with a screen reader. If you search for

Site:Microsoft.com using teams with a screen reader

Using your preferred search engine you’ll surely find many relevant pages. This assumes that your search engine of choice honors the site: prefix for specifying a Web site to search.

Sight and Sound Technology Webinar

Webinar From APH

From Microsoft

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xXkClCHxXk&t=19s

as well as

Accessibility Learning Webinar Series: Using Teams for Remote Work for Blind and Low Vision Users by MSFTEnable

From Dr. Denise Robinson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZLyWuTEB5w

Finally, while I am not able to provide one on one support I own and moderate the Teams-access mailing list where you can ask questions or offer support to other users of Microsoft Teams.

Teams-access+subscribe@groups.io

iOS Bug WorkAround: VoiceOver Says “Underscore” Before Speaking a Character While Entering Text

The following may be of relevance to those who use VoiceOver on iOS.

I recently became aware of a bug in VoiceOver on iOS when entering text on the default

keyboard. Before speaking the character that has focus VoiceOver first reads the "underscore" symbol. Apparently, the workaround is to either disable

the caption panel found under Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver or to switch to a different speaking voice. The bug seems to manifest itself when using the Samantha voice. As I always use the Alex

voice as my default I never noticed this until it was brought to my attention.