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Autobiography of a person who uses AAC

By Sally Millar on Monday 25th July, 2011 at 11:56am

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You may be interested to read the newly published autobiography called Ghost Boy of Martin Pistorius who lost his speech at 12 years old. He uses AAC and has succeeded well in life both personally and professionally.

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Daisy Books now on the Books for All Database

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 20th July, 2011 at 7:06pm

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We are pleased to say that there are now 59 books in Daisy format availlable from the Books for All Scotland Database. These books were produced by Kim Walker and Jamie Cutherbertson and the team at RNIB Scotland Transcription Centre in Glasgow with Scottish Government funding and we are grateful to them for sharing these Accessible Books via the Database. Thanks also to Patricia Carroll, Jennifer MacDougall and Anne Beverdige at LTS for liaising with RNIB to obtain the books.

What are Daisy books are why would you be interested in them?

These Daisy books give you both text and synchronised human narration, so for novels especially, this can be a more pleasant and engaging reading experience than using a computer (even with Heather!) to read the text. Across the Barricades, by Joan Lingard, for example, which is set in Northern Ireland, is narrated by a reader with an Irish accent. The Daisy talking book format was originally developed for people with visual impairment, but Daisy books are also very accessible for anyone with a print disability because they (should) have built-in structure for easy navigation; the reader software has keyboard shortcuts for readers with visual or physical impairments, and readers with visual or learning difficulties or dyslexia can read the books using either the recorded narration (if provided in the book) or text-to-speech.

How can I read the Daisy books?

You can read Daisy books on lots of different devices. On a Windows PC, for example, you can use the free Amis Reader. This gives you control over font size and colours, keyboard control, and it highlights the text as it is read out. Another popular Daisy book reader is Dolphin's EasyReader.Or if you have an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone, you can use a Daisy book reader such as Read2Go, InDaisy or DaisyWorm to play the Daisy book.

You can also listen to the Daisy audio with a Daisy audio player.

If you want to find out more about Daisy books visit the Daisy Consortium web site. In the meantime, happy reading!

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Paul Nisbet receives University of Edinburgh Principal's Medal

By Stuart Aitken on Friday 8th July, 2011 at 9:05am

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Paul Nisbet dressed in kilt and ceremonial robe is handed medal by university Vice-Chancellor and Principal. CALL staff were delighted and proud that Paul Nisbet, Joint Co-ordinator at CALL, was awarded the 2011 Principal's Medal at a special University of Edinburgh graduation ceremony. The award is in recognition of Paul's magnificent contribution for his services to the Scottish education community, and beyond. Sir Tim O'Shea, the University's Vice-Chancellor and Principal is shown presenting Paul with his medal.

In his acceptance speech to an audience of newly qualified teachers receiving their diplomas Paul drew attention to the work of CALL Scotland, contributions to enhance the lives of children, young people and adults with disabilities or who have additional support needs. That work has taken place over many years since CALL was established in 1983.

In addition to his regular work as a leading member of the CALL team, using assistive technology and computer software to support many hundreds of pupils in Scottish schools, Paul has taken a leading role in a number of innovative developments:

  • In the 1980s he designed the original CALLbox and many other interfaces which allowed children with severe disabilities to interact with a computer for the first time.
  • He helped develop the Smart Wheelchair, a computer-controlled wheelchair for children with severe and multiple disabilities, now manufactured in the UK by Smile Rehab.
  • He worked in partnership with the Scottish Qualifications Authority on the introduction of Adapted Digital Exams - digital versions of exams for young people who are intellectually capable of passing, but are unable to use the traditional written format. Hundreds of children have used these digital papers to sit national exams - a world first for Scotland!
  • He encouraged the development of WordTalk, an internationally-recognised text-to-speech reader for Microsoft Word that helps tens of thousands of people with reading difficulties.
  • He has led the Books for All developments in Scotland, making books and print materials more accessible for people with a print disability.

Further information on the award can be found on The University of Edinburgh web site.

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