Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Campus goes a little lupis

Here’s just one more example of the unique educational opportunities that GCCC offers its students, faculty, and staff in its commitment to enhancing education and cultural diversity and awareness on campus and within the community. As part of GCCC’s observance of Native American History month, the campus played host to the Seacrest Wolf Preserve who graciously brought to campus two of their bred British Columbian wolves for everyone to touch and observe. Yes, we said touch!

Seacrest Wolf Preserve honors its commitment to keeping the wild alive through its mission of “Preservation Through Education.” Along with the touchy-feelly part of the educational experience, preserve owner Cynthia Watkins also lectured on wolves to the gathering crowd.

The preserve is ultimately one of the most unique preserves in the lower 48 states, Alaska or Canada, in that guests to the preserve can experience the wolves up close and personal. Typically viewed through the chain link fence at other preserves, Seacrest takes guests on a journey into the wolves habitat on the preserve, home to Gray, Arctic, and British Columbian wolves.

Visit the Seacrest Wolf Preserve at for more information on the preserve, its mission, how you can help, and Wolf Encounter Tours dates and times.

Below are pictures from the GCCC event (even a few of our staff members got involved ^_^):

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Computer Books

Image via Google search

The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) in partnership with CourseSmart and the AccessText Network (ATN) have come together to request funding in support of an innovative, e-textbook rental program entitled the STudent E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP). While STEPP is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student, the program is unique in that its textbook offerings are specially modified for accessibility, and comply with Section 504 requirements under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

In brief, STEPP leverages the expertise of AMAC, one of the nation’s leaders in producing accessible educational text, with the established distribution network of CourseSmart, the nation’s number one electronic textbook rental service, and the reach of ATN, the nation’s only ―one-stop shop‖ for disability service providers with a need for alternative format text files. For the first time, students with disabilities will enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings inherent in a textbook rental program, as STEPP provides universally accessible e-textbook files for top titles.

The goals of the STEPP initiative are as follows: (1) To save students an average of 50 percent off the retail cost for purchasing textbooks; (2) To provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in textbook rental programs and experience cost savings; (3) To develop and demonstrate a viable business model for rendering e-textbooks for rent, which are universally accessible to all; (4) To create awareness of the availability of universally accessible e-textbooks for rent; and (5) To increase knowledge and awareness amongst all players in the marketplace of the need for and the profitability of providing universally accessible e-textbooks.

Over the next two years, CourseSmart, ALternative Media Access Center, and AccessText Network will utilize a $1.1 million grant awarded them from the U.S. Department of Education to support STEPP.

Read more information on the initiatives at,,, and

Can pesticides increase children’s risk for ADHD?

A study published in the June 6, 2010 Pediatrics journal adds to a growing body of scientific literature that points to possible developmental problems in children associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticides. These insecticides kill insects by attacking their brains and nervous systems. The Pediatrics study found that there was a strong correlation between evidence of pesticide exposure (as measured by pesticide byproducts called metabolites) found in the urine of children and the occurrence of ADHD. In fact, researchers found that a tenfold increase in metabolites was associated with a 55 percent to 72 percent increase in the likelihood of ADHD.

Neurology Now:
September/October 2010 – Volume 6 – Issue 5 – p 38
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000389997.48835.0c
DEPARTMENTS: Your Questions Answered: ADHD

Dr. Mitchell L. Goldstein, M.D., specialist in child neurology and practices with Western Neurological Associates in Salt Lake City, UT, suggests that the simplest way to reduce pesticide exposure is to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables, or if possible opt to purchase fruits and vegetables that are grown without exposure to organophosphate pesticides. However, he warns, children will still invariably have some exposure to pesticides in drinking water and the environment through breakdown of chemicals used in both residential and industrial settings.

Augie Nieto, the CEO of ALS Research

Augie Nieto

Augie Nieto laughs after his labrador, Hazel, jumps up on to his lap.
All images in this post courtesy The Orange County Register; ph. Leonard Ortiz

The September/October 2010 issue of Neurology Now has an awesome article on Augie Nieto, proclaimed the CEO of ALS Research. Co-founder of Life Fitness, a successful exercise equipment company, Nieto was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2004 at the age of 47.

The article is fantastic and delves into the details of the disease, Augie’s approach to marketing research on the disease and his use of his business acumen to help raise awareness and research funds (dubbed Augie’s Quest), and what research has found out about this disease, the new model organizations and labs are using to research the disease and Augie’s goals for ALS for the future.

Read the full article here at, or download the printable PDF version.

Aside from all the good information in the article, what caught our eye was, of course, the technology Augie utilizes to communicate, and even used to write a book.

Augie Nieto foot control

Augie controls his wheel chair mounted computer by using his toes and feet. The button on the left is used for a left-click and the right scroll wheel controls the cursor. The nautical themed board was made especially for Augie by the man that refinished his boat.

Augie Nieto foot control

With his feet in toe socks Augie selects letters on his computer screen to construct sentences which allows Augie to "speak" with a voice synthesizer. Augie wrote his latest book, "Reciprocity Incorporated", by using his toes to type out the words.

Augie and Lynn Nieto

Augie and Lynne Nieto chat in their Corona del Mar home. Augie has just finished his latest book, "Reciprocity Incorporated."

Augie Nieto

Using only his toes and feet Augie Nieto types out a sentence on the forward facing screen on his wheel chair mounted computer.
Ph. Leonard Ortiz for The Orange County Register

To see more images from the same article as the ones shown here and to read the related article, “Augie just wrote a book with his toes,” visit The Orange County Register or click here.

Augie is also the mastermind the technology seen above. Knowing that most people with ALS lose motor neurons in their peripheral nerves, Augie was also aware that certain types of ALS cause people with the disease to lose the ability to talk. With this knowledge, Augie was ahead of the curve, already thinking of ways to improve day-to-day living when his own voice began to falter. Finding out that his contractor, who was contracted to re-built Augie’s house for wheelchair accessibility, was a bit of a computer wiz, the two began developing TypeRight software, which allows people with ALS to type with their feet. Augie can type 40 words a minute using TypeRight.

Read the Neurology Now article, “The CEO of ALS Research,” to also read about a new device Nieto is currently testing that reads brain waves and translates them into data that can be read by a computer and translated into voice using voice-activated software.

…an interview with Samantha

Back in October we wrote about Cue Camp Virginia, oneof the many Cued Speech camps located throughout the country, and the particular camp that one of our own GCCC students, Samantha, attended. [read post here]

We sat down and spoke with Samantha a little bit about the Cue Camp and her life using cued speech.

How long have you been attending Cue Camp Virginia?

Since I was 3 years old so about 17 years.

Why do you attend the camp?

I attend Cue Camp Virginia to see old friends, meet new deaf people, hang out, cue and enjoy the activities that they have.

What do you do at camp?

The camp has different activities like canoeing, a bonfire where we roast marshmallows while someone usually plays the guitar, a dance on Saturday night and a lot of other games.

What do you learn from the camp?

People who are new to the camp come to learn about cued speech and learn how to cue.

What do you gain from the camp?

I already know how to cue so I really go to see all my friends and hopefully meet new friends and just to have a good time. The camp teaches people about cued speech and teaches them how to cue. They also have a few different professionals speak on deaf-related issues.

Do the same people attend every year?

Yes but there are always new people every year.

Do you continue contact with the other campers after leaving the camp?

Yes I still keep in touch with them after leaving cue camp. We either text or talk on Facebook.

Does your family attend thecmap as well, or do you attend by yourself?

My mom and I have been attending cue camp since I was 3. This year 2010, my boyfriend Bryan and I flew by ourselves together.

What have been some of your best experiences from the camp?

Meeting and making friends with people from all over the world and learning about their backgrounds and what led them to come to Cue Camp.

Do you have a most memorable moment

My most memorable moment is the dance that we always have on Saturday night. It just a lot of fun!

Do you have a most embarrassing moment you would like to share?

I don’t think I recall any embarrassing moment at cue camp.

Do you get more interaction with other deaf or hard of hearing individuals at the camp than you normally do in everyday life?


Do you meet many other cuers outside of the camp?

Not here in Panama City, but in Virginia where I used to live, there were a lot of people who cues there.

I know that Virginia is where you are originally from, how has the move to Florida been different from your life in Virginia?

There isn’t any differences.

How is the deaf community you interacted with in Virginia different from the deaf community you interact with here in Panama City?

In Virginia, there was an organization called Tidewater Association for Hearing Impaired Children. They had a lot of social events to go to. I haven’t heard of any organizations like that here in Panama City.

Have you attended any of the other carious cue camps offered around the nation?

I’ve attended Cue Camp in Maryland and North Carolina. There are also other cue camps in Maine, New York, Utah and Illinois.

Why choose to learn cued speech as opposed to American Sign Language or some other sign system?

I was 3 years old and my mother chose to do cued speech and I’m glad she did. I feel like it has helped my grammar and helped me to be more vocal.

Do all the members of your family know Cued Speech? Do they all communicate with you using cued speech?

Besides my mom, my dad knows a little Cued Speech but we read lips all the time. My cochlear implant helps me to hear some.

Are you fluent in American Sign Language or another sign system?

I am not fluent but I know some sign language.

Do you feel that knowing or not knowing another sign system gives you an advantage/disadvantage in communicating with the hearing community?

Cued Speech has helped me learn to read better and also has helped be speak better and become a better lip reader, so I’d have to say knowing cued speech has given me an advantage. I know some sign language but I don’t feel that I’m at a disadvantage just because I’m not fluent in it.

Are you able to interact in the hearing community without an interpreter? If so, how?

Yes, as long as it’s speaking one on one and not in a large group with people all talking at one time. I just speak to them and if they don’t understand then I say it again. If I don’t understand them then I ask them if they could repeat it. People who talk real fast are hard for me to understand and even if an interpreter is cueing for me it’s still too hard to see the cues that fast.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about Cued Speech and/or Cue Camp Virginia?

The website that you posted is very explanatory about Cued Speech. Cue Camp Virginia is a lot of fun whether you cue or sign or even if you don’t know either one. It’s a fun and relaxing place to learn about Cued Speech.

Traveling the Caregiver’s Road

BCAA 2010 Caregiver's Conference flyerThis Friday, November 5th, Gulf Coast Community College will be hosting the 2010 Caregiver’s Conference given by the Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance. This year’s theme “Traveling the Caregiver’s Road” will focus on mapping strategies for care. Topics will include:

  • Financial/Legal Planning
  • Stress Managament
  • Diet & Nutrition
  • Bladder Health
  • Quality of Life
  • Grief Issues
  • Medications
  • Safety

The event is FREE! to the community, and respite care is available (at no charge!) Event will be held at Gulf Coast Community College in the Student Union East building, Firday, November 5th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..

Please call to RSVP (850) 832-8282.

Click here to see a PDF flyer for the event.

Visit Bay County Alzheimer’s Alliance at or call (850) 784-0809.

Who doesn’t love a new home ^_^

Permobil moving

In order to serve your mobility needs, we are moving to our expanded state-of-the-art North American Headquarters on Thursday and Friday. We will re-open on Monday, November 8.

In case of emergency, please contact your local Sales Representative.

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