Saturday, March 27, 2021

SAVE THE DATE! - Friday April 16, 2021 - Virtual Ability, Inc. Mental Health Symposium


Bluebirds singing sweetly in a tree with new green leaves
Virtual Ability, Inc.
2021 Mental Health Symposium
Mental Health in Trying Times

Friday April 16, 2021 is Virtual Ability, Inc.'s Mental Health Symposium.  This year the theme is “Mental Health in Trying Times.”

Please view Virtual Ability's page for the event at Virtual Ability, Inc. - YouTube.

You can attend “live” in Second Life or watch the live stream on Virtual Ability, Inc.'s YouTube site.

We hope you can attend!

Important Goals for Maintaining Goal Achievement: Self-confidence and Satisfaction

Just be yourself, you are beautiful

We’ve all heard the stories about yo-yo dieting: the weight comes off then goes right back on. We know of people who have quit smoking or drinking… numerous times. The inability to maintain goals once achieved may seem inevitable, but there are individuals who have long-term success. How do they do it?

Of course part of the answer is that they have adopted lifestyle changes that support the goal. But there is more going on.

A review of factors associated with long-term weight loss maintenance revealed that those who managed to keep their goal weight had certain personality traits, such as an internal locus of control, and that the goal had intrinsic value.

Weight loss maintainers were more likely to engage with long-term self help groups and have face-to-face or web-based interventions. They had relatively low levels of depression. And most important, they were self-confident in their ability to lose weight, and they were satisfied with their results.

What does this mean for those of us with other types of lifestyle modification goals?

We all need to add increased confidence in our own abilities and increased satisfaction with the strategies we are using to support goal achievement to our actual lifestyle change goal. While not usually considered as part of goal setting, self-confidence and satisfaction are necessary for maintenance of lifestyle change results.

Monday, March 22, 2021

What is Adaptive Driving?

Car designed for those with disabilities

While not everyone with disabilities is able to drive a car, some can do so if they have the appropriate training and tools.

The process for adaptive driving begins with a clinical evaluation by an occupational therapist (OT). This is usually done following a referral by a neurologist or other physician. An occupational therapist qualified to perform driving evaluations often has had professional training to become a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). The OT/CDRS will check your current driving skills and your physical capability. The assessment will include your vision, reaction time, cognition, muscle strength in core, arms and legs, and range of motion. If any areas of weakness are identified, the CDRS may refer you to another specialist, such as a physical therapist (PT), ophthalmologist, or speech-language therapist.

The instructors in an adaptive driving training program will help you find the best adaptive equipment for your car, and guide you in practicing to use it. The CDRS will make other suggestions to help you learn to drive safely, based on your individual driving habits and needs.

Then it is time to get your own auto modified. The CDRS will write up the specific equipment that works best for you. These adaptive tools are best installed by a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association certified mechanic.

Unfortunately, insurance generally does not pay for adaptive auto equipment nor for the necessary evaluation and training. However, some car manufacturers offer rebates on the purchase of adaptive equipment to be added to their vehicles.

If you do not feel safe driving, or if you never thought you would be able to make use of that important independence tool called a car, consider finding out more about driver rehabilitation and adaptive driving. Many great options are available.

And away you go!

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

The month of March has been designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month. One purpose of this special time is to increase awareness of how to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI). Another purpose is to promote strategies which can improve the quality of life for persons living with TBI and their families.

TBIs are damage to the nerve tissue in the brain. They are caused by an impact or force to the head or body, or by a penetrating injury to the head. They are a major cause of death and disability in the US each year.

If the person with the head injury survives they may recover quickly or they may face effects that can last the remainder of their lives. They may have impaired movement, damaged vision, hearing or speech, problems with cognition and memory, or personality changes or depression. These issues will affect their family members as well as the person with the TBI.

Falls can cause TBIs and other serious injuries, and are a common concern among the elderly. Falls are the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) program with materials for older persons to explain how to help prevent falls and decrease fall risks.

On Thursday, March 25, at 1pm SLT (Pacific time), Namaara MacMoragh of the Brain Energy Support Team will present on brain injury recovery and daily life in the Meeting Room on Healthinfo Island. You are welcome to join us for this session in Second Life here:

You may also want to visit the Healthinfo Island poster exhibit “Brain Injury Awareness Month” here:

For more information on brain injuries, including school sports concussions, please see:

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Healthinfo Island March Topics!

For March we have a wide variety of topics.  Click here to visit Healthinfo Island, or click each poster for a link to its information.


Sugar Secrets - It's Everywhere

Resistant Hypertension

Poison Prevention Week

Health Benefits of Yoga

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is National Trisomy Awareness Month

Sleep Awareness Week and World Day

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

How to Hook Up a Speech to Text App Directly to your Computer; A 100% Digital Method

Speech-to-Text Applications Using Computers

By Mary Doge with contributions from Orange Planer

On March 20th, 2021, Orange Planer and Mary Doge were at Project Done! event discussing how to fix the SL voice issue I was having and the question of how a deaf person like me could understand his voice when he was testing it for me.  I told him I had a speech to text app hooked up to my computer.  He wanted to test how well it worked.  Here’s how the dialogue went:  

[08:05] Mary Doge: Can you say something again?
[08:05] Orange Planer: In 5 seconds
[08:05] Mary Doge: *grins*
(Orange Planer speaks slowly and clearly)
[08:06] Orange Planer: Anything?
[08:06] Mary Doge: You said, "Vote for the Slate of take our Union back?"
[08:06] Orange Planer: Correct.
[08:06] Mary Doge: omg!!!
[08:06] Orange Planer: Well, how about that.

Orange Planer tested it again by saying this at a normal speaking speed:

[08:15] Orange Planer: "As your prescription benefit manager for your employer, plan sponsor, or health plan, Express Scripts wants to let you know about some important plan information that affects how you get your prescriptions filled."

[08:13] Orange Planer: What text did you get?

[08:13] Mary Doge: let me type up what it said

[08:14] Mary Doge: Angie Prescription benefit manager for your employer plan sponsor or have plan Express Scripts wants to let you know about some important plan formation that affects how you get your prescriptions filled.

As you can see, the transcription has errors in it.   Hopefully, the speech to text industry should improve with time.  Considering it’s listening to someone over the Internet, through the Second Life voice platform, and then played into an Android cell phone, this is pretty good!

Android phone with speech-to-text transcription
Example of transcribed text

How do you do this set up, you say?  Just follow the steps below:

The first step is to hook up the audio cords and plug one cord into my phone.  I have a Y-splitter so that the audio cord from my computer’s audio jack is connected to my speakers and my phone.

Y-splitter for audio devices

The second step is to make sure the headset jack is being used.  I switch from the phone speakers to the headset by using the Lesser AudioSwitch app.  It can be found on Google Play Store in this link below:

Note 1:  according to the manufacturers they do not support Android 11.  Several features are natively included with Android 11.  This means you can use the features built into Android 11 to do the same things this application does.

Note 2:  There is no Apple IOS version of this application.  There may be another application in Apple’s Play Store that has these features, or the functionality may be built into the iPhone, but the authors do not have an iPhone with which to test.

Android phone using Lesser AudioSwitch

The third step is to start up the speech to text app.  I use the app Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications, which is an app that Gallaudet University collaborated with the developers to create.  It can be found in the Google Play Store at this link:

Android phone displaying Live Transcribe
& Sound Notifications window

The last step is to make sure the voice comes through clearly from Second Life.  I can do this by turning off the other channels and just have the voice channel active.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Tip - Cut Down Your Water Usage with One Easy Action

Drawing of hand placing droplet of water in glass
Saving Water

With this one simple action, you can conserve 64 cups of drinkable water every day.

Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.

Unfortunately, 42% of Americans leave the water running as they brush their teeth. That means each individual wastes almost 900 cups of water every week. And that water costs. If every member of a family of four remembers to turn off the water while brushing their teeth, the family water bill will be decreased by about 13% annually. That adds up to a savings of about $65. 

And that buys a lot of toothpaste!

For more information on how to conserve clean drinking water, please visit the EPA WaterSense website:

While there you can even sign a pledge to save water.