Latest Assistive Technology: Top 5 products in June 2016

Scanning Pens

It can sometimes be difficult to keep up to date with the latest assistive technology products for disabled people. This is why we have created a handy update on the blog at the beginning of each month to give you the latest news. In this month’s update, I look at the top 5 latest assistive technology products you should look out for in June 2016.


Top 5 latest assistive technology products

Many of you have been enquiring about the Exam Reader scanning pen in the past month – we’re not surprised as it really is a great tool for dyslexic students. Like the C-Pen Reader scanning pens, the Exam Reader allows the student to scan over printed text from the exam paper and hear the text read aloud. It features a natural sounding text-to-speech voice and uses impressive optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read aloud printed text.

The latest assistive technology C-Pen scanning pen being used on an exam paper

The digital highlighter has been approved by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams. It comes complete with a headphone jack so other students are not disturbed during the exam. You can find out more about using assistive technology in exams by following this link to the Joint Council for Qualifications Examination Instructions.

Brain in Hand is a cloud-based solution and app which supports autistic children and adults to cope with day-to-day situations. The assistive technology app works on a subscription basis (please contact us for more information and pricing) and provides personalised support for people with autism. The key features include instant access to coping strategies, a diary to help structure time and plans to remember difficult tasks.

Brain in Hand also has a traffic light monitoring system which tracks anxiety levels. If an autistic person taps the red traffic light they will be able to request support from The National Autistic Society. This helps reduce stress and helps to increase confidence in everyday situations.

The Livescribe pens have always been a great tool for dyslexic students. The latest addition to the range is the Livescribe 3 Smartpen which is compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices. The pen works in conjunction with the Livescribe+ app and instantly syncs everything you write on paper directly to your mobile device via Bluetooth. Using the app, your notes become more useful and can be organised, tagged, searched and converted to text. From there you can do almost anything with your notes, for example, simply tap on the text and you can copy this into an email or message.

Typing tutors helps dyslexic children and adults to type quickly and accurately. Nessy Fingers Touch Typing incorporates 9 fun games to practice typing skills. It is the only typing tutor software which introduces keys alphabetically. In five short lessons, you will learn the alphabet.  Each game uses the National Curriculum word lists to practice with and allows the user to win trophies as a reward for accurate typing.

A dyslexic user typing with the latest assistive technology on their computer

Changing paper colour or using reading overlays for dyslexia can be a great reading aid. Irlen® Overlays are backed by over 30 years of research and are 9” x 12” coloured acetate overlays. The overlays are placed over printed materials to help reading and each sheet has a glare and non-glare side for increasing comfort.

The overlays are available in 10 colours and each colour has been carefully determined by Irlen® research. On, we sell 10 Irlen® Coloured Overlays at a sale price of just £19.99 (RRP: £29.99) which allows you to try out all colours and see which colour makes reading more comfortable for you.


Please comment below to let us know what latest assistive technology you are excited about this month.

World Autism Awareness Week: Brain in Hand to support autistic people

As part of World Autism Awareness Week, we wanted to look at how assistive technology can help both adults and children with autism. The recent Au tech 2015 conference show cased a range of different technologies that are available. One of these new technologies was Brain in Hand.

What is Brain in Hand?

Brain in Hand is a revolutionary cloud-based solution which supports autistic children and adults, helping them to be more confident and independent in everyday situations. It is based on well-established therapeutic principles such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), solution focused therapy and recovery based rehabilitation allowing the learning from these approaches to be turned into a set of patient centred strategies.

Brain in Hand provides people with personalised support from an app on their smartphone. Key features include instant access to pre-planned coping strategies, a diary to help structure time and ‘recipes’ to remember difficult tasks, a monitor to track anxiety levels and a system to request support from The National Autistic Society if things don’t go to plan.

It supports those with autism by reducing stress when a routine activity changes. For example, if an employee’s train is delayed on their way to work. Due to the flexibility of adding your own activities, Brain in Hand can be used by autistic people of all ages, whether they are at work or in education.

94% said Brain in Hand is having a positive effect on their life


Diary and ‘recipes’ to remember difficult tasks: The app includes a diary to ensure vital elements of your day aren’t missed. You can enter appointments and routines for each day.

Instant access to pre-planned coping strategies: Those with autism like to stick to a routine. Problems can occur when unplanned things happen which change their routine. For example, if a lecture is cancelled for a university student they may not know what to do. Before using Brain in Hand, you will complete a work book to help identify your strengths and weaknesses and map out challenges you face,noting which solutions help. This information is instantly available on the app.

Monitor to track anxiety levels with support from The National Autistic Society: Brain in Hand incorporates a traffic light monitoring system to indicate how you are feeling (green if everything is fine, amber if you are feeling uneasy, or red if you want support). By pressing red, you will receive telephone/text/email support from The National Autistic Society who will help you in the difficult situation.

How to buy Brain inHand:

If you would like to find out more about Brain in Hand,please get in touch by emailing or calling us on 01223 420101.

Alternatively, you can find out more by following this link >>

World Autism Awareness Week: What is Autism?

Autism Awareness Week

As part of World Autism Awareness Week, we here at wanted to delve into some of the questions surrounding autism.

World Autism Awareness Week

What is autism?

Autism is a developmental condition which affects the way an individual interacts, communicates and behaves. Approximately 1 in every 100 people in the UK has Autism, with more boys being diagnosed with the condition than girls. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, however it is though that complex genetic and environmental factors are involved.

Those with autism may have difficulties understanding non-verbal communication such as facial expressions or gestures, understanding emotions in others and starting conversations. They are often very literal and can sometimes have problems understanding jokes or sarcasm. People with autism like sticking to the same routine and changes in their routine can trigger outbursts. Children with autism may also lack interest in other children and will tend to play alone. Autistic people may experience some form of sensory sensitivity which is where a person’s senses are either intensified or under-sensitive. For example, they may find certain sounds very loud or distracting. More signs of the condition can be found on The National Autistic Society website.

Autistic people often have different levels of learning disabilities and can affect all aspects of life. Some will be able to live a fairly independent life, whilst others may require lifelong support. Associated conditions with autism include dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What is Asperger syndrome?

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism and affects social communication, social interaction and social imagination. People with Asperger syndrome usually experience fewer problems with speaking and are of average or above average intelligence. They may also have specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or other conditions including ADHD. You can find out more about Asperger syndrome on The National Autistic Society website.

How is autism diagnosed?

Autism is diagnosed by health professionals such as a paediatrician or psychiatrist. A GP can refer you to a specialist to make a diagnosis.

Usually, people with autism are diagnosed as children. This is helpful as it allows them to access services and support.