Topic: Disability

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πŸ”— Aphantasia

πŸ”— Medicine πŸ”— Psychology πŸ”— Disability πŸ”— Neuroscience

Aphantasia is a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind's eye and cannot voluntarily visualize imagery. The phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton in 1880 but has since remained largely unstudied. Interest in the phenomenon renewed after the publication of a study in 2015 conducted by a team led by Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter, which also coined the term aphantasia. Research on the condition is still scarce.

Discussed on

πŸ”— DataHand

πŸ”— Occupational Safety and Health πŸ”— Disability

The DataHand keyboard was introduced in 1995 by DataHand Systems, Inc. It was invented by Dale J. Retter and was produced by Industrial Innovations as early as 1992. The keyboard consists of two completely separate "keyboards", one for the left hand and one for the right, that are molded to rest the user's hands on. This allows the user to place each hand wherever it is most comfortable to them. Each finger activates five buttons, the four compass directions as well as down. The thumbs also have five buttons, one inside and two outside as well as up and down. The button modules in which the fingers rest are adjustable to best fit the user's handsβ€”each side can be independently moved up and down, towards the palm or farther away.

This ergonomic layout allows for all typing to occur without any wrist motion, as well as without any finger extension. The keyboard layout is initially similar to a QWERTY keyboard, but the middle two columns of keys (i.e. H,Y,G...) have been delegated to sideways finger movements, and all of the keys outside of the main three rows are accessed through two additional modes, including a mode for mousing. There are three primary modes all together: letters, number and symbols, and function / mouse mode. Some practice is required. However, eventual typing speedups are possible.

Also of note is the button designβ€”instead of being spring-loaded, the buttons are held in place with magnets and are activated using optical sensors. This was done in order to dramatically reduce the finger workload while optimizing tactile feedback.

This unconventional keyboard was seen in the Jodie Foster movie Contact (1997) as the pilot's controls for the futuristic spaceship; and the spy movie Stormbreaker (2006). The Industrial Innovations version was featured on the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. A black model is used by Agent Grasso while searching for Amanda Givens' Jeep in Shadow Conspiracy (1997), starring Charlie Sheen.

After the initial prototype was released in 1995, DataHand has released the Professional and Professional II with new bodies. The Professional II also has extended programming capabilities over the Professional, being able to record macros of keystrokes for convenient use.

DataHand Systems, Inc. announced in early 2008 that it was ceasing to market and sell its keyboards. The company web site states that due to supplier issues, the company will not sell the DataHand keyboard "until a new manufacturer can be identified". However, the company plans a final, limited production run to satisfy existing customers. In January 2009, the company's website started taking orders for a "limited number of new DataHand Pro II units".

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πŸ”— Blissymbols, an Ideographic Writing System

πŸ”— Disability πŸ”— Writing systems πŸ”— Constructed languages

Blissymbols or Blissymbolics is a constructed language conceived as an ideographic writing system called Semantography consisting of several hundred basic symbols, each representing a concept, which can be composed together to generate new symbols that represent new concepts. Blissymbols differ from most of the world's major writing systems in that the characters do not correspond at all to the sounds of any spoken language.

Blissymbols was published by Charles K. Bliss in 1949 and found use in the education of people with communication difficulties.

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πŸ”— Tadoma

πŸ”— Disability πŸ”— Deaf

Tadoma is a method of communication used by deafblind individuals, in which the deafblind person places their little finger on the speaker's lips and their fingers along the jawline. The middle three fingers often fall along the speaker's cheeks with the little finger picking up the vibrations of the speaker's throat. It is sometimes referred to as tactile lipreading, as the deafblind person feels the movement of the lips, as well as vibrations of the vocal cords, puffing of the cheeks and the warm air produced by nasal sounds such as 'N' and 'M'. There are variations in the hand positioning, and it is a method sometimes used by people to support their remaining hearing.

In some cases, especially if the speaker knows sign language, the deaf-blind person may use the Tadoma method with one hand, to feel the speaker's face, and, at the same time, the deaf-blind person may use their other hand to feel the speaker sign the same words. In this way, the two methods reinforce each other, giving the deaf-blind person a better chance of understanding what the speaker is trying to communicate.

In addition, the Tadoma method can provide the deaf-blind person with a closer connection with speech than they might otherwise have had. This can, in turn, help them to retain speech skills that they developed before going deaf, and in special cases, to learn how to speak brand new words.

It is a difficult method to learn and use, and is rarely used nowadays. However, a small number of deafblind people successfully use Tadoma in everyday communication.

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πŸ”— Kim Peek

πŸ”— United States πŸ”— Biography πŸ”— Disability πŸ”— United States/Utah

Laurence Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009) was an American savant. Known as a "megasavant", he had an exceptional memory, but he also experienced social difficulties, possibly resulting from a developmental disability related to congenital brain abnormalities. He was the inspiration for the autistic savant character Raymond Babbitt in the movie Rain Man. Although Peek was previously diagnosed with autism, it is now thought that he instead had FG syndrome.

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πŸ”— Clanging

πŸ”— Medicine πŸ”— Psychology πŸ”— Disability

Clanging (or clang associations) is a symptom of mental disorders, primarily found in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This symptom is also referred to as association chaining, and sometimes, glossomania.

Steuber defines it as "repeating chains of words that are associated semantically or phonetically with no relevant context". This may include compulsive rhyming or alliteration without apparent logical connection between words.

Clanging refers specifically to behavior that is situationally inappropriate. While a poet rhyming is not evidence of mental illness, disorganized speech that impedes the patient's ability to communicate is a disorder in itself, often seen in schizophrenia.

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πŸ”— A baboon who acted as assistant to a disabled railway signalman in South Africa

πŸ”— Human rights πŸ”— Disability πŸ”— South Africa πŸ”— Primates

Jack (died 1890) was a chacma baboon, who attained some fame for acting as an assistant to a disabled railway signalman in South Africa.

πŸ”— Optacon

πŸ”— Disability

The Optacon (OPtical to TActile CONverter) is an electromechanical device that enables blind people to read printed material that has not been transcribed into Braille. The device consists of two parts: a scanner which the user runs over the material to be read, and a finger pad which translates the words into vibrations felt on the finger tips. The Optacon was conceived by John Linvill, a professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and developed with researchers at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International). Telesensory Systems manufactured the device from 1971 until it was discontinued in 1996. Although effective once mastered, it was expensive and took many hours of training to reach competency. In 2005, TSI suddenly shut down. Employees were "walked out" of the building and lost accrued vacation time, medical insurance, and all benefits. Customers could not buy new machines or get existing machines fixed. Some work was done by other companies but no device with the versatility of the Optacon had been developed as of 2007. Many blind people continue to use their Optacons to this day. The Optacon offers capabilities that no other device offers including the ability to see a printed page or computer screen as it truly appears including drawings, typefaces, and specialized text layouts.

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πŸ”— Curb Cut Effect

πŸ”— Disability

The curb cut effect is the phenomenon of disability-friendly features being used and appreciated by a larger group than the people they were designed for. For example, many hearing people use closed captioning. The phenomenon is named for curb cuts – miniature ramps comprising parts of sidewalk – which were first made for wheelchair access in particular places, but are now universal and no longer widely recognized as a disability-accessibility feature.

The curb cut effect is a subset of universal design, which is the purposeful design of an environment so that it is accessible to all people regardless of ability or disability. The curb cut effect differs slightly from universal design as the curb cut phenomenon is often unintentional rather than purposeful, but results in a similar outcome.

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πŸ”— Krista and Tatiana Hogan

πŸ”— Biography πŸ”— Canada πŸ”— Psychology πŸ”— Disability

Krista and Tatiana Hogan (born October 25, 2006) are Canadians who are conjoined craniopagus twins. They are joined at the head and share a skull and a brain. They were born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are the only unseparated conjoined twins of that type currently alive in Canada. They live with their mother, Felicia Simms, in Vernon, British Columbia, have two sisters and a brother and often travel to Vancouver for care at BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children.