White background with blacjk letters that read 'new tech new year". colorful gears border the writing

New Year, New Tech

AT Advocates are community based information and referral specialists who can assist consumers with a variety of assistive technology issues. They work at Independent Living Centers in California.  Ability Tools wouldn’t be the program it is without these advocates and all their hard work. With the New Year approaching we asked our advocates to tell…

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things

Written by: Megan Cowdell, Program Coordinator, CFILC   Here at Ability Tools and our parent organization, The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), we have used and worked with our fair share of assistive technology. In this second annual blog you will find testimonials from some of our staff on their favorite AT devices this…

Women standing on the beach while wearing dark sunglasses

Dreaming and Seeing in Color

Written by: Madeline Cowdell, News Producer ​“Red brick is actually red!” I exclaimed, when I walked out of a San Francisco Bay Area optometrist’s office, while trying on a pair of Enchroma sunglasses.  That day was the first time I saw many colors and shades I had never seen before.  To me, red brick was…

Women in wheelchair with firefly attached to the front zooming past a store front

Buzzing Around Town

Written by: Christina Mills, Deputy Director, California Foundation of Independent Living Centers The chances that most manual wheelchair users will eventually graduate to a power wheelchair are high. As much as I’d like to believe that my body, and specifically my shoulders, should work like they have forever (in a seated position, moving back and…

A neatly-stacked group of books set between a pair of headphones

Bookshare: An Accessible Online Library for People with Print Disabilities

Composed by: Emily Flynn, Ability Tools Staff. Information Sourced from Bookshare® Bookshare is a massive online library that opens up the world of reading for people with print disabilities. If you cannot read traditional print books because of a visual impairment, physical disability or severe learning disability, Bookshare can help! The books available are “accessible,” which…

The CoWriter Universal: The Subscription model

Written by: Luke Hsieh, Community Access Center Assistive Technology Advocate When it comes to Word Prediction Software; none is, perhaps, better marketed than CoWriter by Don Johnston. Like Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance is for speech recognition, CoWriter by Don Johnston is often the first thing an AT professional think of when Word Prediction is being…

Man holding a smart phone up to his face covering his eyes and the eyes shown in the screen of the phone are noticeably different eyes

“Borrowing site” with Be My Eyes

An eye-opening app produced by a non-profit startup in Copenhagen hopes to change life for people who are visually impaired. Hans Jørgen Wiberg, who is visually impaired himself, came up with the idea for the application. Through his work at “The Danish Association of the Blind” he recognized, that visually impaired often need help to cope…