Book Review: Looking for Heroes by Brianna White
Book cover, looking for heros

Looking for Heros by Aidan Colvin with Liisa Ogburn

Looking For Heroes is written by Aidan Colvin, a high school student with dyslexia, and his mother, Liisa Ogburn. The book received the 2016 Remy Johnston Certificate of Merit. It is the summer before Colvin's tenth-grade year; he is preparing for a new school and all the changes that go along with it. That summer, he decides to do things differently. Colvin decides that he will discover famous and well-known individuals who have dyslexia, such as Jay Leno and Tim Tebow. He plans to write each of them a letter asking them how they made it, despite the fact that they have dyslexia. For example, he longs to know how Jay Leno became a well-known, successful comedian even though he is dyslexic. Colvin sends out 100 letters to various individuals and waits. Although he keeps his expectations low, he is quite surprised by the responses he receives. He is answered by many, including an explorer, poet, and surgeon. Not only is he surprised by who responds, but also by their responses. When I began reading the book, I was instantly hooked. While it is an easy and enjoyable read, the book also makes one think. The main focus is on dyslexia and how, if at all possible, one can overcome this diagnosis. However, it is important to note that the encouragement provided can be beneficial for individuals of all abilities to read. Diane Swonk, an economist and one of the individuals who wrote back to Colvin, said "Embrace who you are. Never run from it" (Colvin 71). At face value, Swonk is referring to the idea that Colvin should embrace who he is despite the fact that he is dyslexic. However, when I look deeper into what Swonk is saying, I realize that this advice is not limited to just those with dyslexia. Anyone can take this advice to heart. We all have challenges we must overcome and we have to come to terms with who we are. Throughout the book, Colvin provides tips from himself and his mother. These tips vary. Most are suggestions on how to use different technologies, such as a speech recognition software, to make activities, like writing a paper, easier. The tips Colvin presents are beneficial and may bring resources to light that one is not yet aware of. By having dyslexia, Colvin has to be creative and do certain tasks differently. Most of the tips are geared more towards those who are also dyslexic; however, can be used by others, too. This book is bound to bring a smile to your face, tears to your eyes, and encouragement to your heart. Colvin provides entertainment through interactions with his family members. At the same time, he is able to be honest about the trials he went through by switching schools many times, having to make new friends, and finding his strengths despite having dyslexia. By the end of the book, it seems that Colvin has found a place where he belongs. Dyslexia didn't interfere with him being in charge of a boat on a rowing team. Colvin yelled out directions to his teammates and they were successful. He found an enjoyable activity, ran with it, and succeeded. It is important to keep in mind that this was not the first activity that Colvin had tried. While success doesn't look the same for everyone, each individual can find success. It is important to find something enjoyable and go with it. If one does not succeed with that, move on to a new activity. However long it takes does not matter; what does matter is that one does not stop until they succeed. Source: Looking for Heros on Amazon
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VOICEYE on the App Store
The new way to access printed information for print and visually impaired! VOICEYE is the smartphone application enabling those with print impairments to access printed information using a VOICEYE code on the printed material.
Voiceye Menu

Voiceye Menu

1. Access to printed information - Scan a VOICEYE code at the top right corner of a page. - Text can be displayed on your smartphone screen in 5 high contrast text viewing modes (colored text) and read out the text with TTS like VoiceOver. - 10 zoom levels in font size - VOICEYE SmartPhone Stand a. This is the aid for visually impaired people so they can find and read VOICEYE code with smartphone. b. Put the smartphone on the smartphone stand and scan VOICEYE code at the top right corner of printed materials. It will be very easy and fast. 2. Voice Tag (Buy labels: - Attach a label to the object that you want to identify. (documents, music CDs, food containers, etc.) - The object can be easily identified by recording a voice message or inputting text. 3. Money Reader (Required payment In App) - Money Reader instantly recognizes currency and speaks the denomination, enabling people with visual impairments or blindness to quickly and easily identify and count bills. (Poor lighting will affect the scanning result so scan with plenty of light.) - US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Korean Won, Japanese Yen, Chinese Yuan, Thailand Baht (You may select and use one currency among the 7 on offer, currency can be changed at the time of set-up.) - This is different from the independent ‘VOICEYE Money Reader’ app. ‘VOICEYE Money Reader’ app is available for download allowing users to quickly recognize currency. 4. Magnifier - Provides 6 zoom levels - 5 high contrast viewing modes to maximize text readability - Magnifying various sources using camera or gallery 5. Text-to-Speech with Highlighting (Voice enabled by Acapela) - In TTS mode, you will simultaneously hear the words and see them highlighted.
Source: VOICEYE on the App Store
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ExploreLearning Gizmos: Math & Science Simulations Powering Inquiry and Understanding
Gizmos: Interactive Math and Science

Gizmos: Interactive Math and Science

Gizmo of the Week Ray Tracing (Lenses) graph

Gizmo of the Week Ray Tracing (Lenses)

World's largest library of math & science simulations Gizmos are interactive math and science simulations for grades 3-12. Over 400 Gizmos aligned to the latest standards help educators bring powerful new learning experiences to the classroom. Gizmos use an inquiry-based approach to learning that has been validated by extensive research as a highly effective way to build conceptual understanding.


Gizmos support the latest educational standards and assessments.


Gizmos run on PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, iPads, and Android devices.
Source: ExploreLearning Gizmos: Math & Science Simulations Powering Inquiry and Understanding
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Voice Colors on Vimeo
A documentary film that explores the historical challenges and strategies that enable Billy, on the autism spectrum, to become an independent communicator. This film is unique in that it presents footage from ages 3 to 16, showing Billy learning and wrestling with all that is entailed in understanding the elements involved in a social interaction. In addition to the historic perspective presented, this film offers the viewer an opportunity to see firsthand how the different communication objectives were identified and then translated into meaningful and educational experiences during the course of an educational program. This informative project will benefit any educator, therapist, or parent interested in establishing or refining a more effective communication program.
Source: Voice Colors on Vimeo
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Eldy Tablet | ELDY

Eldy_tablet combines the typical simplicity of Eldy with the intuitivity of tablet to offer seniors an useful tool to send e-mails, chat on line, surf the Internet in an easy way.With a simple touch seniors can send an e-mail to their family, chat, video-call friends and parents and access to the Eldy’s blogs and forums to interact with the Eldy community, read articles and actively contribute to the blogs with their writings. Seniors can also inform on health, read the latest news and see weather forecast in a very easy way.Eldy_tablet is compatible with a wide range of new generation Android tablet (for example the Samsung Galaxy tablet, Acer Tablet Iconia, Motorola XOOM, but also the italian Onda Comunication).Eldy-tablet is free, it is optimised for 10 inches, in Italian; soon will be available 7 and 8 inches version and other languages as well.
Source: Eldy Tablet | ELDY
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LED Handrails for the Visually Impaired 

LED Handrails in stairwell

LED Handrails

Collar Assembly for handrail

Collar Assembly

Zoon Designs’ LED handrails are both a clever and surprisingly obvious way to light up a staircase. Named the Blind Handrail they are conceived to replace area lighting and put it where it is needed the most. The concept handrails even can be many colors, making the lowly stair well one of the most interesting spaces in a building. The LED handrails are still just a concept and there are currently no plans for production, but they seem like a very promising design. The handrails can illuminate in many colors, and potentially change color. And because they put the light where it is needed, they have the potential to reduce the need for expensive area lighting. The power is tucked into the wall supports with LED embedded tubes becoming the handrail.
Source: Blind LED Handrails Make the Lowly Stairwell the Most Interesting
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eSight Electronic Glasses
eSight 3 electronic glassses

eSight 3

The most sophisticated breakthrough in electronic glasses that let the legally blind actually see eSight 3 sets the gold standard for the most sophisticated low vision glasses of its kind anywhere in the world, enabling the legally blind to actually see, be mobile and independently carry out virtually all Activities of Daily Living. Those living with legal blindness can enjoy mobility and independence as they engage in virtually all activities of daily living. Use eSight to read and watch TV, see loved ones (often for the first time), play sports, engage in previously abandoned hobbies, travel the world, and so much more. eSight is a versatile solution for working, whether in an office or a factory. From commuting and travelling to delivering and reading presentations and using various tools and technologies, eSight empowers the legally blind with independence in the workplace.
Source: eSight
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The EyeHarp – Everybody should have access to playing music

What is the EyeHarp

The EyeHarp is a gaze-controlled music interface. It aims to allow people with physical disabilities learn and play music. It is open source and free to download and use. It forms part of the master and PhD thesis of Zacharias Vamvakousis, researcher in the Music and Machine Learning Lab, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain. It is implemented on top of the openFremeWorks  open source C++ toolkit.What do I need to make it work?First of all you need an Eye-tracker: a device that knows where you are looking at.  Alternatively the EyeHarp can be controlled through any other device that can control the mouse pointer (e.g. a mouse, a head tracking device or a touch-pad). You then need to download and execute the EyeHarp application from In this link you will also find more technical information regarding the installation process.
Source: The EyeHarp – Everybody should have access to playing music
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DIY Project: Objects Describe Themselves On Touch (For Blind People) – Assistive Technology Blog
Wouldn’t it be great if objects around us could just describe themselves instead of us having to figure out where and what they are? How convenient would it be for a blind person to touch or grab an object, and immediately get a description of what that object is – from the object itself?
Supply: Speaker, Alligator Clips, Electronic Paint, Arduino Board

Supplies: Speaker, Alligator Clips, Electronic Paint, Arduino Board

I have started working with Bare Conductive’s Touch Board – an Arduino based prototyping tool that can interact with objects via touch. It can be connected to practically anything through Alligator Clips or Electric Paint (for non metallic objects) and allows interaction with them when they are touched. In the video below, for example, I am using a can of chick peas (metallic object) and a photo frame (non metallic object). Touching or holding both of them gets me an audio description from the speaker connected to the Touch Board.
Source: DIY Project: Objects Describe Themselves On Touch (For Blind People) - Assistive Technology Blog
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iMathematics™ – Math Helper and Solver on the App Store

Text to Speech
Window for Linear Equations


  iMathematics is your personal math tutor. It is used by thousands of students every day, and it’s the only app about math which includes everything you need to successfully pass your exams.


• Learn quickly from over 70 topics, thanks to the clear and simple explanation. • Practice with various interactive calculators which you'll find in some subjects. • Quickly find the topics that matters to you thanks to the advanced search algorithm. • Get help in your math problems with the Advanced Calculator, the Fraction Approximator and the Equation Solver.


• Get more topics, more than 120, including the most advanced topics and all those that we will add in the future. • Get Interactive Quizzes, with which you can practice and get a rating of your level of preparation. • Discover the step-by-step Solved Exercises, to help you understand the methods to correctly solve problems. • Get the Advanced Utilities, like the Graphic Calculator, the Systems Solver, the Matrices Solver 3x3 and the Math Glossary. • Keep track of your performance, with the Daily graph.
Source: iMathematics™ - Math Helper and Solver on the App Store
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