Ablenet’s New Blue2 Bluetooth Switch Offers Access to Many Apps and Programs

Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth Switch

The Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth switch offers easy wireless access to iOS, IOX, Windows, and Android apps and programs.

The Blue2 offers either single- or dual-switch access to Apple devices running iOS 7, as well as the company’s desktop or laptop computers running OS X Mavericks. Blue2 also provides access to apps and programs running on the Windows and Android operating systems. Connection to one’s favorite device via Bluetooth is easy and quick to set up.

Find out about the Ablenet Blue2 Bluetooth switch. It’s this week’s #AssistiveTechTuesday feature, described on our website blog. Not sure if you want to make the investment? New Jersey residents can try it out free at our Technology Lending Center!


Voting: Your Right & Your Independence

American flags symbolize the importance of the vote voting for independence & self-advocacy among people with disabilities

“Election Night at Rockefeller Plaza” Photo by: Marco Verch, in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Voting. It’s the right of every American citizen. Voting: It’s your right. Participating in U.S. democracy is also a unique chance to self-advocate and express one’s independence. Both of these are core values at Advancing Opportunities as well; they are at the heart of our mission and credo. All too often, however, people with disabilities find themselves excluded from this critically important process. Fortunately, here in New Jersey, information and resources on voting are available to every individual with a disability.

Voting - Its Your Right

This brochure has information to help New Jersey voters. It was developed by the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School – Boggs Center, in collaboration with Disability Rights New Jersey and the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities.


Although the November general elections receive the greatest press (and social media) coverage, it is the primary election when the two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans nominate their candidates for the general election in November. These individuals represent a wide variety of views on important issues not only at the national level, but also (and sometimes more important) the state, county, and municipal levels. Information on the positions of the gubernatorial (in New Jersey) and other candidates are available on this special page.


Disability Rights NJ VotingDisability Rights New Jersey is New Jersey’s designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities pursuant to federal statutes intended to protect the legal, civil, and human rights of people with disabilities. The organization reminds us that people with a disability have the right to vote independently and in private. In addition, both the polling place and the machines must, by federal and state law, be fully accessible. Poll workers have been trained to offer voters with disabilities the assistance they need, but they cannot enter the voting booth or recommend a candidate. Voters with a disability may also bring a friend, family member, or agency worker to help out.

Although all voters should receive a paper sample ballot, one can also look up this information online at BallotpediaThe Alliance Center for Independence in New Jersey has many other excellent resources on its page should these be needed. General New Jersey voting information is available on the NJ Department of State website.

On Primary Election Day, June 6, 2017, Disability Rights New Jersey will have attorneys available by telephone to answer your questions concerning any disability-related voting problem you might experience. Call 800-922-7233 or e-mail between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Disability Rights New Jersey is New Jersey’s designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities pursuant to federal statutes intended to protect the legal, civil, and human rights of people with disabilities.

I Voted Sticker

Oh, yes, the November general election. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), “a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities,” has set up July 17 through 21 as National Disability Voter Registration Week, the focus of its Rev Up! campaign. More information on that and Crip the Vote will be featured in a future article in this space.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Making Assistive Technology Smart and Accessible

Screen reader assistive augmentative communication for blind and dyslexic dyslexia users

Giovanni Canobbio (left), Integration Technologies Group demonstrates a CCTV reader for low vision users to Todd Birkenruth (right), USDA, AMS, Disabled Employees Program Manager at the United States Department of Agriculture, Departmental Management Target Center 20th Anniversary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, Thursday, Sept 13, 2012. Since 1992, the USDA TARGET Center has provided Assistive Technology to employees with disabilities. By providing this technology the TARGET Center’s has assisted thousands of individuals with disabilities to further contribute to the mission of USDA. The Target Center has partnered with the Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP). USDA photo by Bob Nichols

Most designers create websites that are compatible with both traditional desktop computers and mobile devices. However, how many website designers have browsed their creation through a screen reader, a device that makes content accessible to users who are blind, vision impaired, dyslexic, or otherwise unable to quickly read text? Back in 2011, a programmer named Joe Devon asked himself that question and proposed a Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Jennison Ascuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto read the proposal and joined forces with Joe. So today, the third Thursday of May, is the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The purpose of GAAD is “to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital (web, software, mobile) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.”


This issue has gained additional importance in the context of recent issues concerning net neutrality and Internet privacy. In addition to increased independence for people with a disability, the dream and objective of the Internet being a democratic forum, a place where everyone can and should participate with equality is very much at play here.


So, again, what is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, why should you care, and how can you get involved? Jonathan Hassell interviews its co-creator, Jennison Asuncion, at the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN 2013) to get the low-down on this annual growing event. Here’s an informative interview with Jennison Asuncion from GAAD 2014:



Please go to the GAAD website to learn more.


Finally, the organization particularly recommends a recent article in PC Magazine,
“Augmented Ability: Assistive Tech Gets Smart.”

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending March 31, 2017

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending March 31, 2017

Deserted Village (Feltville) - Church and Store Building

This is one of the buildings at the Deserted Village, also known as Feltville. This tower is a later addition. The site is now under the care of the Watchung Reservation, Union County, NJ.

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support. As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them. Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Please stop by our website,, and find out all we have to offer.  In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:


We’re hiring!

Advancing Opportunities has immediate openings for part-time Direct-Support Professionals in residential care programs throughout New Jersey. In April, we will be holding job fairs on the following days, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 11. Budd Lake. Advancing Opportunities, 98 U.S. Hwy. 46 W., Budd Lake, NJ
  • Thursday, April 20. Parsippany. Family Resource Network, 322 U.S. Hwy. 46 W., Ste. 290, Parsippany, NJ
  • Tuesday, April 25. Marlboro. Marlboro Free Public Library, 1 Library Ct., Marlboro, NJ

Advancing Opportunities provides supports to individuals with disabilities and their families, so they can live fully in the community.

Our team includes a diverse collection of men and women committed to treating the people and families we serve with dignity and respect and providing the highest quality services and supports.

Employees of the agency enjoy paid training and an excellent array of benefits, including health care and dental benefits for all eligible full-time staff and a 401(k) retirement plan for all eligible employees.

If you are unable to make it to one of the job fair open houses, you can also visit us online, at:

Advancing Opportunities news:

Hoedown 2017 BarnMark your calendars for Saturday, April 22, 2017! It’s only a month away. Come and plan to join us for the best barn dance this side of the Mississippi! Each year, the agency holds several fundraising events. We consider them “friendraising” events as well. Join us and learn more about how you can help provide vital services and supports to children and adults with all types of disabilities.

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve):

New Jersey adds 1,500 beds to community-based programs to accommodate people with mental illness. Advancing Opportunities is a major player in this residential care, allowing for maximum independence for this population.

This mom from Hopewell, NJ, (Mercer County) has worked tirelessly to raise both awareness and appreciation for children with Down syndrome, advocating for local parents.


Enter a caption

Quinn, an 18-month-old boy with autism, purposefully stacks cans. Photographer: Andwhatsnext, via Wikimedia Commons.

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting):

A father and disability advocate creates an assistive technology app to assist his son with autism.

Quinn, an 18-month-old boy with autism, purposefully stacks cans. Photographer: Andwhatsnext, via Wikimedia Commons.

Special Education:

Slow processing speed and anxiety: here’s what you need to know.

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

This journal article examines the future of supported decision making for people with autism.

A violinist discusses using music to enact social change.

Assistive technology:

An exciting new piece of AAC assistive technology enhances accessibility for blind people.

With assistive technology, toddlers get up and go in their own set of wheels independently.

A neuroprosthesis enables a paralyzed man to feed himself independently.

This high-performance software for transcribing audio recordings can be a boon for people with dyslexia.

Employment for people with disabilities:

Programs in New Jersey offer young adults with autism independence and dignity through meaningful work.

Revisiting an autism employment success story: The Rising Tide Car Wash.

A recent report on PBS examines the need for more job opportunities for people with disabilities, who often still face discrimination. This is a matter of civil rights, as well as one of dignity and independence for the population we serve.

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!):

Here are ten books that feature positive depictions of characters with a disability.

“Make it Stop.” A brand-new and powerful awareness video to foster understanding of people with autism.

The Arts and People with Disabilities

Six blind professional musicians ranging in age from 17 to 65 come together in a London recording studio to create and record a musical tribute to Louis Braille.

After a debilitating accident, William Heard took up painting and founded an arts center in Mississippi.

People with a disability in the community (disability rights and acceptance; inclusion):

Tenafly, NJ, housing offers a chance at independence for people with disabilities.  A leading disability advocate wrote an editorial.

Disability awareness and appreciation:

Teens describe their experiences with depression and anxiety.

“Twin Brothers Worlds Apart.” This British documentary, telling the stories of identical twins (except that one had autism), has garnered considerable acclaim.

Medical news – research:

New insight has been gained into the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that may contribute to impaired sociability in some forms of autism spectrum disorder.

A drug used to treat excessive swelling seems to ease autism features in some children on the spectrum.

Two from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute:

Library Equal Access Program: Providing Visually Impaired Patrons Full Access to New Jersey Libraries


A new effort in New Jersey, the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP), offers speech and magnification assistive technology training to blind and visually impaired consumers 55 and older.  Libraries throughout the Garden State are offering classes in basic and intermediate computers. Advancing Opportunities is collaborating with the NJ State Library Talking Book and Braille Center and the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to provide training.  Fred Tchang, Director of Assistive Technology Services said, “There are many people who need assistance learning how to use an iPad and who need help browsing the Internet because their vision is changing. This unique partnership gives older clients with vision impairments the support they need to succeed in learning new technology.”