ATU191 – AT Outcomes Day at ATIA Roger O Smith Ben Satterfield

first_img——-transcript follows —— BEN SATTERFIELD: Hi, this is Ben Satterfield. I’m a research consultant at the Center for AT Excellence at the campus of Georgia Tech.ROGER SMITH: Hi, this is Roger Smith, and I’m the director of the R2D2 Center. That’s the Rehabilitation, Research, Design, and Disability Center at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. R2D2, incidentally, is not a robotics center. This is your Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 191 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on January 23rd of 2015.Today we’re going to talk with a couple of people who are interested in outcomes in academic research about the effectiveness of assistive technology. Dr. Roger Smith and Dr. Ben Satterfield are doing a session at the ATIA conference in just a few days, and we’re going to give you a preview of that.Also Google seems to be stopping sales on Google Glass. What does that mean for the special needs community? we’re going to talk about the showdown between iPhone 6 versus iPhone 6 Plus for somebody who is visually impaired. And we have a sneak preview of a new show that we’re going to be producing starting in March.We hope you’ll visit our website at, give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124, or shoot us a note on Twitter at INDATA Project.There’s been a lot of buzz in the news the last few days about Google discontinuing or halting sales of Google Glass, the $1,500 wearable technology that held a lot of promise for folks who have disabilities and special needs. There are some questions about is it going away or is it going on hiatus until Google Glass 2 comes out. But it certainly may have some impact on people with disabilities and the companies who were developing apps for those augmented reality expenses and enhanced vision experiences specific to folks were blind or visually impaired or have other kinds of disabilities on the Google Glass platform. I’m going to put two links in the show notes. One will be to the autism daily newscast article where there are some opinions about what’s going on here, and I’ll also link back to an interview that we did several weeks ago, a few months ago in fact, with some folks who know about Google Glass and the impact on folks with disabilities. Check our show is for those two links and we’ll see what happens with Google Glass in the coming weeks and months.The headline reads, “Accessibility showdown: iPhone 6 versus iPhone 6 Plus.” Stephen Aquino is a gentleman who is a blogger and freelancer who has a vision impairment and also knows all about iOS accessibility. In this article on which is Apple news for the rest of us, Stephen takes some time and talks about from his perspective as a user with a vision impairment which phone is better, whether the larger iPhone 6 Plus is the best option due to his reduced vision or does the iPhone 6 do it. I’m going to spill the beans. He says that the iPhone 6 in his work is “good enough” for his needs. But the way he gets there is interesting. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes and you can read the pros and cons about what Mr. Aquino says about the iPhone 6 versus the iPhone 6 Plus for folks who are visually impaired.Okay, guys, I’ve got a sneak preview for you. We have been working here behind the scenes for a little while, and we are about to make a public announcement that we are launching a new show. We’re going to do a new show called Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions, or ATFAQ. It’s going to be what you might expect. It’s going to be an assistive technology question and answer show where people can tweet their questions, call in their questions to our listener line, email them to us, and we’re going to have some folks on our staff led by Brian Norton who manages our clinical programs here answer your questions. We’re looking right now to get some of those questions in the bank so that when our first episode comes out in March, will have some good questions to start with to get the ball rolling. I’m going to give you a sneak preview here, just a little bit of audio, what the show is going to sound like and then at the word, I’m going to let you know how you can start giving us your questions. Get your pencil ready.BRIAN NORTON: Welcome to ATFAQ, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions. I’m your host Brian Norton, manager of clinical assistive technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. This is a show in which we address your questions about assistive technology: the hardware, software, tools and gadgets that help people with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives.WADE WINGLER: So that gives you just a taste of what the show is going to sound like. What we want you to do is give us your questions. You can call our listener line at 317-721-7124, or you can send us an email at [email protected], or you can just tweet us. We’ve set up a hashtag. The hashtag is #atfaq. You just tweet out in the world of Twitter and say #atfaq in your tweet and we’ll get it. We’ll watch for that and will be looking to respond to you and include those tweets in the show. We are excited to launch this new show. It will be coming out in March, happen a couple of times a month, and we’ll have more information as that gets closer.Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY: This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an app worth mentioning. Today’s app is called Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. Nutrition and diet apps for mobile devices have become powerful tools for self-awareness, accountability, and monitoring dietary intake. Many of these apps have tracker keep abilities that have replaced the tedious task of keeping good records by hand on paper. Leading the pack of countless nutrition and diet apps is MyFitnessPal.MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and food diary app that is, by design, a fantastic tool to help with weight management goals. Very well developed and easy to learn, MyFitnessPal has many positive features. It is individualized to the user. Specific estimations of calorie needs are calculated from personal information such as gender, age, current weight, height, and activity level. Self-determined body weight and fitness goals are the focus and used to calculate the final daily calorie intake levels. A more sophisticated feature is the ability to tailor diet goals beyond just total calorie intake.This flexibility includes options such as dietary intake of each of the macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat, and protein; as well as fiber and some micronutrients such as sodium, Vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Because of this capability, some users with special diet needs beyond weight loss can utilize and tweak the app to fit the nutrition goals written by their doctor or dietitian.The food and beverage database is extensive. It includes many restaurant chains and has an easy UPC barcode scanning option to quickly add food items to your record. A favorite capability is the option to add custom foods, recipes, or even a commonly consumed meal to the database. Feedback regarding dietary intake is immediate when entered into the app, and daily summaries and weekly progress reports add another component for self-awareness and goal focused behavior. The optional support systems such as an online community forum and the ability to add private friends complete the MyFitnessPal app. Although good nutrition goes way beyond calorie intake, this is a well-rounded and excellent tool that puts healthy eating awareness directly into the hands of the user.The MyFitnessPal app is free at the iTunes and Google Play stores. This app can be used on iOS and Android devices. For more information on this app and others like it, visit BridgingApps.orgWADE WINGLER: There’s a big event coming up very soon at the ATIA conference in Orlando. The conversation is a group effort between RESNA and ATIA, organizations that we talk to and about all the time here on the show. Today’s topic is about outcomes. Outcomes is a term that gets used in a lot of situations, but today we’re going to talk specifically about how outcomes impact the field of assistive technology.I’m excited to be joined today by Dr. Roger O. Smith from the R2D2 Center and Dr. Ben Satterfield from the Center on AT Excellence at Georgia Tech. Dr. Smith, Dr. Satterfield, thank you for being on our show today.BEN SATTERFIELD: Thank you for having us.ROGER SMITH: Happy to be here.WADE WINGLER: Great. Roger and Ben, I want to get into outcomes pretty quickly here, but can we start first by talking a little bit about your day jobs. I know that, like many professionals in the field, you wear a lot of different hats, but Roger, can you start off talking a little bit about what you do in the R2D2 Center?ROGER SMITH: Besides directing the center which focuses on technology and disability, we have an emphasis in outcomes and measurements. So we have spent a lot of time looking at different ways of measuring the outcomes of assistive technology devices and services, and recently a lot of time on how you measure accessibility in building environments and information environments and the educational environments. That’s been one of our primary focus is.I also have another hat that a at my day job, and that’s Professor of Occupational Therapy in our department, which is the Department of Occupational Science and Technology. Our claim to fame is, I think, we are the first occupational therapy department in the world that has technology as a part of the name.WADE WINGLER: That’s excellent. Plus, R2D2, right?ROGER SMITH: That’s right.WADE WINGLER: So Ben, same question.BEN SATTERFIELD: I’m a research consultant at the Center for AT Excellence, which is an affiliate of the Georgia Tools For Life agency which is the Tech Act agency for the state of Georgia, situated on the campus of Georgia Tech. We serve the K-12 area with service requests, training evaluations, and that sort of thing. My other part of my day job is to do research for assistive technology manufacturers and publishers. I also teach a class at the University of Georgia. It’s an AAC course for speech pathology grad students.WADE WINGLER: It’s sounds like you guys are both knee-deep into the world of assistive technology on a regular basis, which perfectly the positions you to talk about our topic today, which is outcomes. Outcomes being a generic term means a lot of things to a lot of people, but can you guys tell me about outcomes in this context?ROGER SMITH: I’ll toss in the first comment. Historically, we did talk about outcomes and assistive technology for many years, decades. For a while, we were saying if we don’t watch out, assistive technology outcomes is going to bite us in the rear end because funding agencies are going to start thinking that if there is no evidence then there is no basis for funding new assistive technology devices and services or even current assistive technology devices and services. For a long time, we were saying if you don’t watch out, we’d better start doing some research because this is going to come around. Now we don’t say that in the future tense. We say evidence-based practice — and I like to tell my graduate students that it’s no longer evidence-based practice in assistive technology. It’s evidence-based funding. Funding agencies are now starting to really say and to shut down and turn off and slow down the financial spigots when there is no evidence about good outcomes, positive outcomes, or any outcomes about the interventions that the agencies are trying to fund. It’s no longer a might happen. It’s happening today.WADE WINGLER: that makes a whole lot of sense to talk about, in general, where our resources go and what’s the impact. Tell me a little bit about how that stuff is measured. How do you put numbers to that?BEN SATTERFIELD: That’s a really good question. There’s a lot of different ways to do that. Some of the manufacturers are really getting smart by embedding smart intelligent systems into the technology themselves. Certainly in AAC and computers, we are starting to see a lot of data collection being done right within the device itself to be able to look at some of its outcomes. Whether it’s AAC looking at vocabulary use or whether it’s now smart apps and mobile systems that can be able to look at the geography and tracking where people are going and how much they are out in the community. The outcomes world has changed in terms of how we measure it. That’s just one way of doing it.There are certainly several others, some are cutting edge technology and some are old-fashioned technology. Some of the cutting edge, besides the intelligent systems, is what we are starting to see with wearable technologies. Wearable technologies collect data, and collecting data means we might be able to loop some of that back into outcomes to be able to measure how good hours at the technology is working. That’s happening. The more old-fashioned, traditional ways of measuring assistive technology is to ask somebody. That can be asking a practitioner or that could be asking the person who is using the technology about how are they using it, how well does it work come and that still probably one of the best ways of measuring the outcomes. We have to get smarter at doing that and doing it in a more consistent way.WADE WINGLER: As somebody who’s been working in the field for a lot of years, I think I’ve seen a lot of the process be driven by the fact that it just makes sense. You see somebody with a disability having their life positively impacted by assistive technology. It’s hard to say no to that. It’s that that simple anymore.ROGER SMITH: We’ve seen for a long time in individual situations, we can point to and say this is really working for this individual, but we’ve had a difficult time trying to amass information that conforms to the gold standard of research where you have a large enough sample with a random assignment two different groups in your study to be able to say this definitively establishes that this assistive technology is making a particular difference.Part of our problem is the population we are dealing with is really diverse. Each individual with a disability is their own unique person. It’s really hard to come up with a large enough sample or large enough group of individuals who are doing the same thing at the same time that we can put the kind of study together that the people who are making buying decisions and so forth are looking for sometimes. That’s been kind of a challenge to keep us from being able to pull together the kind of research that we’d like to be able to.WADE WINGLER: I think that makes sense too. It’s easy to focus on an individual and their particular goals and their particular needs. I can see where it’s hard to wrap metrics around that. We’ve kind of covered this a little bit, but tell me how the lack of outcomes and data in the past has been a problem. What’s the negative impact been?BEN SATTERFIELD: Well, one thing, we sing a couple of things that have really happened in the last 18 months or so. CMS, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services that administrates the Medicaid/Medicare child insurance programs, developed some augmentative communication related policies that probably made sense from a financial standpoint but really many people feel would be disruptive to a lot of clients. So when we tried to present CMS with our concerns, they asked for some evidence. The industry found itself coming up short, not being able to point to specific data that we could collect that could say if you do this, these individuals will suffer. If you do that, these particular people will be inconvenienced or their situation will be made more difficult.In the education world of educational technology, we found that the move toward Common Core and the standardized testing discussions that have come along with it, whether we were going to do standardized testing online, led to a series of concerns that the educational community of people who work with kids with special needs began to wonder are we going to be able to build into these testing environments enough accommodating opportunities for students to be able to check the tests to show what they really know, or are they going to be excluded from this testing situation and, by virtue of their disability, not able to show what they can do? Again, being able to come up with the data that pointed to the issues that would be created or at least pointing to some solutions was missing. We are hoping that this discussion coming up at the ATIA 2015 will be able to focus on some of these issues and see how we can work together to pull the kinds of information together that we need for discussions like that.WADE WINGLER: I want to come back to the event at ATIA. Just hang on to the big picture for just a second. If your work goes well, what kind of impact is there going to be? Is this just going to be demonstrating to funding sources that there’s going to be more bang for their buck, or do you see that this also might help drive development and innovation and best practice? Is it going to be something that might help impact efficiency or even help create new ideas within the field?ROGER SMITH: Let me jump in here and, Ben, I’ll turn it over to you. In fact, without the outcomes and the outcome research there, what’s happening is the industry is actually starting to cut back and wonder whether developing the newest and best technology is even worthwhile. It’s getting hard to get approved and to be on the approved list for getting funded. As soon as that starts happening, the industry starts saying why are we going to spend money investing on better technology and new technology? Because that takes money up front, and if we don’t have any certainty that we are going to be able to paid for it at the far end, then maybe we’ll just stop creating new things.BEN SATTERFIELD: That’s really true. Besides the manufacturers and publishers, there are also constituencies among the practitioners and therapists who are doing their best to base their therapy and the services that they deliver on what they call evidence-based practice. What they are looking for is evidence that indicates that a certain approach with the client that they are serving makes sense and they want to find out what other therapists have done. They want to see what the research community has said about it. So they are looking for some way to tap into information about client outcomes that other people who’ve dealt with similar kinds of clients in patients, what they found. I think the research community is another constituency. I think they would love to be able to tap into a broader, deeper set of information about individuals with disabilities who use assistive technology to find out what those outcomes are saying about what works.So one thing that I would like to see happen at some point is some momentum would be developed at the end of our session toward the development or identification of some repository where some of this information, we can begin to collect that information in this repository so people can access it. I think Roger has already pointed out how the industry would love to be able to use this as a leverage point for making better products to deliver to serve their clients more effectively. Again, also better therapy and more meaningful research and maybe even a faster turnaround on some of the research just by having the information already available.WADE WINGLER: I think that’s one of the signs of the industry maturing in the fact that we are starting to better understand the impact and now wanting to measure it. In January, at ATIA, there’s going to be a full day dealing with this topic. I’m looking at the agenda now and it looks like there are several panels and things going on. Two questions related to that. One, this is a collaborative effort between RESNA and ATIA. I don’t think that’s the first time that’s happened. Two, what’s going to happen that day on outcomes at ATIA?BEN SATTERFIELD: You are right. This is the result of three or maybe even four years of collaboration. We’ve had two research symposia meetings where we’ve gathered researchers together with practitioners and members of the development and manufacturing community to talk about where we are with research as it relates to AT. I think we’ve done three of those. Have we, Roger? The ATIA has hosted two and RESNA has hosted one, and this will be the next iteration where we have this AT outcomes day.ROGER SMITH: I think so.BEN SATTERFIELD: In this particular year or this AT outcomes day, you’re going to have three sessions that are dedicated to panel discussions featuring numbers from a variety of different perspectives talking about one of a number of areas of AT outcomes.The first session will be about perspectives on AT outcomes regarding educational technology in the K-12 environment. We’ll have several leaders from the industry, manufactures and publishers represented. We’ll have teachers and therapists and researchers involved in that discussion.The second discussion will be related to AAC. We’re going to have a similar mix between therapists and representatives from different AAC manufacturers. We’ll also have folks from ASHA and AOTA. Hopefully that discussion will focus on some of the things that are important about the data that is collected for AAC. That’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication.The last meeting will be one to talk about the kinds of systems or repositories that exist now that collect data for us. Maybe out of that we’ll have a discussion about what might be the ideal kind of setting for collecting the data that we all really need. We are going to have representatives from AOTA and ASHA talking about their data repositories that they provide for their members.We’ll also have Roger talking about a couple of projects that he’s worked out in the past and the kinds of systems that they developed. We’ll also have one that’s evolving at Georgia Tech which is a decision tool with a backend that will be collecting data on the kinds of decisions people make about AT and tracking the outcomes related to those. Those will all be part of what we’re going to be discussing at the conference.WADE WINGLER: It sounds like there’s a full day that’s going to do a good job of addressing this broad topic in a broad way. We are running out of time for the interview today, I want to ask one more question before we close up. If people don’t make the session at ATIA and are interested in learning more about the work that you’re doing, how should they connect with you guys? Where would they go to the more to participate?ROGER SMITH: They can certainly email us or find us at our website. There would be perfectly fine. There’s a number of other things going on related to this that might link people in as well. If they can’t make ATIA, just directly contacting any of the individuals involved certainly would be okay.BEN SATTERFIELD: I’ll share my email. It’s [email protected] I’ll certainly be glad to connect people. There are planned already a couple of openers that we’re going to have two disseminate this information to come up with at this conference. Hopefully people will be able to plug into that if they are not able to attend directly.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to the outcomes day page on the RESNA website so people can find more information about the session, the participants and those kinds of things. Dr. Roger Smith is the director of the R2D2 Center, and Dr. Ben Satterfield is a research consultant at the Center for AT Excellence at Georgia Tech. Determine, thank you so much for being on our show today.BEN SATTERFIELD: Think for having us.ROGER SMITH: Our pleasure.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana. Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU182 – Roger Voice, KNFB Reader, RESNA’s new Singapore Conference, Legislative Update From Audrey Busch, Drive About Number Neighborhood AppNovember 21, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU095 – Andrew Leibs – Encyclopedia of Sports and Recreation for People with Visual Impairments, One Handed Violinist Helps Disabled Make Music, 6 Google Reader Replacements, TextHelp’s iReadWrite, Pet Peeves of Blind and Visually ImpairedMarch 22, 2013In “Assistive Technology Update”center_img Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show Notes: AT Outcomes Project from ATIA and RESNA | Dr Roger O Smith (Director of the R2D2 Center) and Dr Ben Satterfield (Research Consultant at the Center for AT Excellence Georgia Tech) | halts sales on Google Glass – what does it mean to the special needs community? – Autism Daily Newscast Glass ATU interview: Preview to our new show: www.ATFAQshow.comTidBITS: Accessibility Showdown: iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus MyFitnessPal –——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: