Future Decoded conference


This event occurred last week and there were at least three speakers I know – Hector Minto and Arran Smith (Microsoft) and Neil Millican ( Atos).  Addressing the accessibility in Mainstream software they were looking at how assistive technology enable people to be employed and up front in all kings of organisations. Now I wasn’t there so why not take a look at this link for the whole event:-


Chromebooks have screen readers built into their browser

ChromeVox is the built-in screen reader that comes as accessibility tool as part of Chrome OS. It is quite useful and with it’s range of shortcuts powerful for those who are visually impaired on blind. I was testing a website on my chromebook and found that it was there!

If you have a Chromebook and want to try it out. Press CTRL+ALT+Z to enable it and to unenable it repeat the CTRL+ALT+Z.  Use TAB to step through the options , speech guides you through. Search + space acts like enter and the cursor keys navigate in detail around a menu. Here is the help section link

Rise on Tribunerals

term-insurance-required-for-parentsAn article by Mary Boulsted states that parent disputes with councils have doubled in the last two years and 89% of cases are found in favour of the parent.

This is something I predicted would happen in 2013 if the system was failing special needs because the specialists are not there .

I believe it’s a better thing to have a responsive system that admits it can’t find the funds but let’s find a way to help. A can-do attitude goes a long way in my opinion. Then we can direct much needed funds in a more constructive way.

Mary’s Article

Google Maps gives accessibility information about locations

In 2017 Google launched an initiative to get accessibility information from locations. Using other companies they now have a substantial amount of information for disabled users to have about locations and their access on Google Maps. For more information go to:-

Accessibility Information on Google Maps

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Social Stories

Looking at Social Stories today and how to make them using ICT.

The preferred method is one sentence with picture per page.

Social stories are used with people on the autism spectrum for interpersonal communication and the introduction of  new events or situations that may be difficult to cope with. It can also be used to look at alternative responses by looking at different outcomes.

There are seven different sentence types to use in a social story:-

  • Descriptive sentences: are truthful and observable sentences (opinion- and assumption-free) that identify the most relevant factors in a social situation. They often answer “why” questions.
  • Perspective sentences: refer to or describe the internal state of other people (their knowledge/thoughts, feelings, beliefs, opinions, motivation or physical condition) so that the individual can learn how others’ perceive various events.
  • Directive sentences: presents or suggests, in positive terms, a response or choice of responses to a situation or concept.
  • Affirmative sentences: enhances the meaning of statements and may express a commonly shared value or opinion. They can also stress the important points, refer to a law or rule to reassure the learner.
  • Control sentences: identifies personal strategies the individual will use to recall and apply information. They are written by the individual after reviewing the Social Story.
  • Cooperative sentences: describe what others will do to assist the individual. This helps to ensure consistent responses by a variety of people.
  • Partial sentences: encourages the individual to make guesses regarding the next step in a situation, the response of another individual, or his/her own response. Any of the above sentences can be written as a partial sentence with a portion of the sentence being a blank space to complete
  • Social Story ratio: Two to five cooperative, descriptive, perspective, and/or affirmative sentences for every directive or control sentence.

Making Social Stories in PowerPoint

  1. Decide which template below would suit your chosen social story
  2. Click on it to load it up
  3. Write a short phrase or sentence ( see above different types of sentences to use)
  4. Add a picture online or one from your own library of images
  5. Repeat for the next slides until all are used
  6. You can always add a slide keeping the same layout – one sentence, one picture method
  7. Now you can either print out the slides or run through it with your client prior to an event or when you have 1:1 time to prepare your client

Social Stories Templates

Social Story 4 Template

Social Story 6 Template

Social Story 8 Template

Social Story 12 Template

Social Stories Examples

Social Story 4 Template – Going out

Social Story 12 Template – Approaching strangers


Speech input in WidgitOnline

There has been a new and useful addition to the symbol package WidgitOnline. You can now input into the software package using your voice. And it instantly symbolizes the text. Awesome for children who struggle with traditional reading but obviously not so good for children with poor articulation. Teachers and support assistants will find this easier to create symbol text with.

symbols spoken into widigt online using speech input