Wearables as Supports for Executive Functioning and Independence

In this webinar with Luis Perez, you will learn about a number of wearables and smartwatches in order to help you select the device(s) that best meets your access needs while staying on budget. These include apps for managing time and information, staying on task, and successfully completing daily living goals. (Get the Presentation Slides and other documents in the Download Here box).


- [Instructor] It is top of the hour here, 5 o'clock so we're going to go ahead and get started.

- [Host] Alright, sounds good. Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining CTD for our webinar Wearables as Supports for Executive Functioning and Independence. We are pleased to introduce our speaker Luis Perez, a technical assistant specialist for the National Center on Accessibility Educational Materials. Without further ado we are ready when you are, Luis. Thank you.

- [Luis] Well thanks so much for that nice introduction. Hi, everybody. Welcome. I know some of you have some snow where you live but I appreciate you taking the time to join us for this webinar this evening where we're gonna look at wearables and how they can support a range of different learners with their executive functioning and increasing their independence. Get going here I just want to know if you already own a wearable and what kind of wearable it is. So I'll give you a minute or two in the chat area. Just let me know what do you have that you're already using in terms of wearables. But also, if you don't know what a wearable is that's okay. We can discuss that as well. I just want to make sure we're all on the same page. Alright so we have a few people here with the Apple Watch. That's great. I have one on my wrist right now. The Nimb ring for emergencies. That's one that I'm not familiar with, Sarah, so you may need to explain that one.

And again, there's quite a few things out there. So these are all devices that you'll have on your wrist, you might have in your pocket, but they tend to be an extension of your smart phone and allow you to get information in different ways. So we have smart watch. There's a link there for the nimb. Great, very good. Karen has the Re Vibe which I'll mention in my presentation. Awesome. So just keep contributing in the chat. I want to make sure this is as much of a conversation as possible. But before we get to the technology I do want to spend a couple of minutes just talking about executive functioning. So just like you did a second ago in the chat area when we talked about what you have already what's your definition of executive function?

So if you had to explain it to somebody who's new to this concept how would you explain that? So I'll give you a minute or so to do that. I see a few of you typing so Kelley says that's something she doesn't have at this time of the day Well yeah I mean it's not an infinite resource, right? You can sort of tap it out if you've had a long day that required you to do a lot of planning and so on. So let's see, so what is executive functioning? And it can be a really simple definition. Doesn't have to be anything too complex yet. Karen says difficulties with distraction, impulse control, organization. Someone's logged in a guest says processing, thinking, planning and basically how you get through the day.

These are all great great definitions so keep those coming. Volition, planning, organization. Great great great. Alright so now that you've provided some of these definitions let me just share with you how I define it. This is my personal definition. So to me executive functioning is a set of brain-based skills that are required for human beings to get things done. So in order to set a goal and be able to accomplish it you got to do all of those things that you mentioned in the chat. You have to plan. You have to get yourself organized. You have to be able to make use of information and so on. And now I only mention this because I do have a teenager, teenage daughter, so for me another way that I put this is the executive functioning is the get the kids out of the house skills. I know that sounds cruel but I say that in love 'cause really what we want to do is kind of build them up to be independent adults who are able to go through life on their own. So I'm not trying to be cruel. I'm saying that out of love. It's the get the kids out of the house and get them to become independent, productive adults and people who can get things done.

So in terms of the brain the executive functioning skills are basically directed by the frontal lobe which is in the front of the brain and if we think about it in terms of UDL this is part of the strategic network. So it's a network that's involved in planning, organizing, directing, motor actions. So the strategic network is involved whenever you are, let's say solving a math problem in the classroom or you're following a set of instructions in order to do a task. The strategic network is involved in directing all of those motor actions and planning for them. There's lots of different ways to visualize what the executive functions are. These are some ways that I visualize it. It's the part of the brain that's the air traffic controller. It keeps everything going and flowing smoothly so that you can get to point A to point B in accomplishing a task. Or anotHer way to look at it, it's a traffic cop as well. And then one last one. This is my favorite.

It's the brain's CEO and so basically just like you have an organization that has somebody at the top who's kind of the leader of the organization, person who sets the goals and then kind of directs everybody else so everybody's kind of pushing in the same direction to accomplish a goal. Well it's the same thing with your brain. Your brain has sort of a CEO or a director and so part of this presentation is we all vary when it comes to our ability to exercise those executive functions. So in terms of the skills that I mentioned, those brain-based skills, you can divide 'em into two categories: cognitive and behavior. But that's just kind of make them easier to learn or remember. They're both sort of intertwined and the can affect each others so it's not strictly cognitive or strictly behavior. There's an interplay there. But this is one way to think about it. There's all kinds of different ways that people organize the different executive functioning skills.

So I want to ask you what are some areas, and somebody already mentioned this, at the end of a long day when you've had your executive functioning has been at work really hard you may not be as fresh as you were this morning at 5 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon. But what are some areas that you're strong in and then what are some areas that you struggle with when it comes to executive functioning? And my extension of that, is this something that you're asking your learners? 'Cause they may also not be aware of those things that are strong and those that they need some support with. So planning and organizing, seeing the forest for the trees. Some people can get really caught up. I'm one of those, I get caught up in the details and it takes me a while to kind of step back and see the big picture. Long-term scheduling. This person by A. Gomez I'm gonna say. To do lists for Kelly are a helpful support. So again, they kind of keep you on track. You don't have to use your limited working memory to judge all those tasks in your mind. You can use a support like a checklist. Managing distractions. So again, I just wanted to ask that question, put it out there 'cause one of the key cornerstones of the Universal Design for Learning is learner variability is the idea that we all vary. We're all on a continuum when it comes to these skills, these capabilities.

So we're maybe strong in some areas but we may struggle in others. I want to share this resource with you. I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with Understood at work but they have a really nice explanation of executive functioning. So if you want to go to that link it's bitly bit.ly /executivefunction1 the number one and we'll see if we can put that into the chat area. I'll make it easier for you but Understood is a great organization. They do a lot of work around learning and attention and how we can support that in the classrooms. And even though it's oriented in the classroom there are other areas where this can be helpful as well. It's not just the classroom. Especially as our learners make the transition to higher education or the workforce or whatever their path is in life this is something that they will need, these skills they will need moving forward. So organizations like Understood.org are doing a great job providing information and support.

Alright, so here's the part that you came for But I wanted to provide that background on executive functioning just in case. I don't want to assume that you all have background knowledge in this area. So that was just kind of quick overview but again, at a place like Understood.org or even our own cast.org, C-A-S-T dot org whom I work for now we have some resources there as well related to executive functioning. But the next thing once you realized that you may need support in one area is it's nice to know that technology can help. So technology can provide some cues through the use of notifications and those kind of notifications can be provided to you in a variety of ways. It could be either through sound, it could be through vibration, which I'd really prefer 'cause then it's a little bit more discreet. You can get the information in a way that doesn't disturb other people and also doesn't let them know that you need to do something. And so you could be in a meeting and you can get that notification through vibration. You can use technology and of course create visual schedules for yourself and that can sort of break down a big project into smaller steps.

You can do a task analysis and use that visual schedule to stay on track. And then probably the most important for me is information management. I don't know how many of you are like me but I will misplace things from time to time and one of the things that's nice about technology, especially with the cloud now, is you can store things in one central location so that you are not always losing things. Unfortunately that means that the excuse of I lost my homework or whatever doesn't hold as well now so you know, there are lots of places where you can store information safely. So one of the supports, one of the way that technology can support executive functioning is with a wearable.

It's something that most of us put on from the moment we wake up in the morning and we keep it on until the day comes to an end and so it's basically with us most of the day and so it can provide those notifications, those reminders to get things done and so on. So I did prepare a handout for you so even if we don't get through everything tonight you can access that handout and it has a lot of the information that I'm gonna talk about. So I created a short URL for that. It's bit.ly B-I-T dot L-Y. You can see a pattern there, I kinda like bit.ly and then a /wearables and then CTD and that is case sensitive so it has to be typed exactly as it appears in the URL but I see Ana Maria is gonna put it into the chat area as well. Alright, so let's get started with some of the wearables that I'm gonna talk about tonight. The first obvious one or one that sometimes we take for granted is our fitness devices and this is not even the full lineup from companies like Fitbit and Garmin.

They're always coming out with new devices that you can purchase but they range in price from anywhere $50 all the way to a couple hundred. And so this may be something that you've started a fitness program and so you may already have one of these. Depending on the device that you have it may have the ability to provide alerts, to provide notifications. So if you already have a fitness device look into the settings in the app 'cause usually they have an app that you use to configure the device and set it up and so see if you can enable an alert or an alarm and so that's one really helpful support besides the fitness aspect of these devices and as Adina made a great point there that some of these devices, they'll be around for a couple of years and then they'll disappear like the beloved Pebble. I don't know how many of you had a pebble but that was one of the earliest smart watches and it had quite a following but then it was bought by Fitbit.

So Fitbit bought the Pebble and now Fitbit also has its own smart watch, the Fitbit I think it's ionic. So again, fitness devices, a good place to start if you want something that's not too expensive and that you can get multiple uses out of, not just fitness but those alerts and notifications. And then there are dedicated notifiers. This is one that I own. It's called the Ditto and it lasts quite a long time with a battery. In fact the one that I have I haven't changed the battery yet and the reason for that is there's no screen and the screen is usually the part of a wearable or a device that consumes the most battery so this just provides vibrating alerts and you could either put it in your pocket or you can add a strap to it if you want to wear it on your wrist and so it's just a very simple device and it's just for notifications and that's it. There's no screen so there's no way that you can really interact with it. Most of the interaction's through the app on your smart phone.

There are also kind of related to that there's some focus aids and here are a couple of those. FokusLabs ReVibe and that's a pretty interesting device. It's about $100 and with all of these I'm always hesitant to provide a price because it changes from time to time. There are sales and so on, especially if a new model is coming out but whenever I can remember it I'll mention the price. But the FokusLabs ReVibe this is supposed to be a focus aids. It provides vibration on an interval. So the idea is that as you're working every once in a while your attention may wander and so this will provide a nice gentle vibration to remind you to kind of get back on task. Get back to what you were supposed to be doing. And then the Time Timer just gives you a visual so you see a disk and that disk indicates how much time you have left, how much time has elapsed. So it's a nice reminder, especially if you struggle with estimating time and staying on track in that way. So and as Linda said the ReVibe could be a reminder just breathe which is important. Yeah, just take a breath every once in a while. Let the tension kind of flow through your body.

For me, actually, these reminder tools actually I'm visually impaired and one of the things is as I'm looking at the screen right now it does strain my vision and so if I stay looking at the same point my eyes start to get watery and tired so I use these reminder tools to remind me to just look up to a different spot in the room and that way my eyes don't get as tired or just take a break every once in a while. This is actually pretty exciting since I mentioned I'm visually impaired so I know a little bit about this area. There's a watch called a Dot, D-O-T and it basically is a watch that uses Braille to communicate the time. So this is specifically for people that are blind and that know how to read Braille. In addition to the time you can get some notifications. The one thing that I observed, and it is a little bit bigger than your typical watch but I'm sure as the technology improves it's gonna continue to get smaller and more portable. I didn't include it on the slides but I also wanted to mention, I'll type it into the chat area, this is one that I've been able to try it's called the Sunu Band, S-U-N-U and that's also a wearable that's specifically designed for people who are blind and it's so cool.

It's basically a band that you wear on your wrist so it looks almost like the Fitbit but it has a sonar signal that comes out of it and it's meant for white cane users so as you're walking around with your white cane you're pointing your wrist in the same direction and this band will emit a sonar signal that then bounces off the obstacles in front of you and it helps you with navigation. It helps you avoid those obstacles in front of you. So this is something that's still in development but you can actually purchase it. I'll see if I can, actually I have a link in the handout so just take a look in the handout. You'll see the Sunu Band. It's won a couple of awards for innovation, new technology for the blind, so I love to see things like that come out. We don't think of these as wearables but these have been really helpful to me, object tracking. So let's say you're always losing your wallet or misplacing your wallet or the remote or whatever it may be that you have difficulty finding.

You have things like Tile or TrackR and so you can attach these to those objects or your keys, for instance. And from your smartphone you can ping those items and then you can get sound notification of where they are and I have to tell you the Tile has already saved me more than once. I almost didn't make a flight because I forgot something at home and I had to run back for it and I had very limited time to find it once I got home and got back on my ride sharing car and so with the Tile as soon as I walked in the door I was able to ping the wallet that I had left and then I was able to go right to it, pick it up, get back in my ride sharing ride and then I finally made it to the airport. So these are in the range of $20-25 so if you think about $300 flight that I would have missed I think more than paid for itself. So it's just a helpful aid.

But one thing that I did discover though is these will last only for about a year because they have a battery on them and the battery runs out in about a year. In fact, the app will remind you that it's time to renew and the best time to buy these is around the holidays 'cause they'll usually have a pack of them. You can get three or four of them and the price is much lower. So just be aware of that that they're not serviceable. You can't take out the battery with these trackers, not all of them. There are a few, I think the TrackR one you actually can but the Tile one that I have I know that I can't do that so I need to plan for buying new ones at the end of the day or the year I should say. And this is a category that I'm really excited about, hearables So the AfterShokz on the left, those are bone conduction headphones.

What that means is that instead of covering your ears like typical headphones you actually wear them over your ears and then the pads of the AfterShoks kind of rest right on your temple and it uses the bones in your head to transmit the audio signal. So you can listen to content, could be a podcast, it could be music while your ears are not covered and so as a person with a visual impairment that means I can walk around and I can get information from say my screen reader while at the same time I can hear the ambient audio or the ambient noise and that keeps me safe while I'm walking around. And so AfterShokz is just one of the companies that makes these. There's a number of them out there and what's great about this is runners use them quite a bit. So originally it was developed as an assistive aid. A lot of blind people were using them. But it's really taken off with runners 'cause you want to be able to hear your podcast or hear your music but at the same time you want to stay safe.

You want to be aware of the cars or anything that's in the environment that could cause you harm. And then on the right here we have the made for iPhone hearing aids and this is just really really cool technology but really expensive which all hearing aids are expensive to begin with but what this lets you do is you can send the audio from your iPhone right to your hearing aid. That could be a YouTube video, that could be anything you can play on your device you can redirect that audio signal from your phone to your hearing aids and then you can also even set presets so that you can have a preset for a busy restaurant or different preset for say the library and those presets can come on based on your location. So as you walk into that busy restaurant your hearing aids adjust to that environment.

But the coolest feature for leaning is something called live listen and with live listen what you can do is you can put the phone in the front of the classroom so this is really helpful in higher education when you have these massive auditoriums. You can put the phone in the front of the classroom and then it sends the signal that it's picking up from the microphone on the phone all the way to your hearing aid wherever you're sitting in the classroom. So it's basically like an FM system in a way but it's just using your iPhone as the microphone and then sending it right into your hearing aid. And by the way, they are actually not just made for iPhone hearing aids. There is one company, and I'll see if I can find the name, that's making a ocular implant that has the same capabilities as these made for iPhone hearing aids.

So lots of progress being made in this category of hearables. So I'm excited about that. There's a few devices for kids and so this is a great way to get them started with wearables so you're not spending several hundred dollars. These are all typically under $100 or so. So you can see the Tech Kidizoom just has some basic apps that kids can use and them some of these are really meant more for safety like the Gizmo Pal or the Tinitell to where there are a few numbers programmed into them and then the child can use it to call home, call a caregiver. So they're somewhat limited on purpose 'cause they just have one function which is basically to keep the kids connected to those that need to know where they are. And some have even a GPS built in so you can track 'em I wish I had that earlier, you know.

My daughter is still a minor Let's say, Pat said we have purchased the Gizmo. Yeah, that's the issue sometimes. When it's turned off it won't work but here's another option for that traction and this is especially helpful for adults. Sometimes they'll resist wearing something that's visible or that they know it's there but these smart soles you can just slip 'em into their shoes and then whenever they're wearing those shoes you can track where they are using GPS. So lots of really cool stuff being developed out there. So before we go onto smartwatch let's see if you have any, any of these that you're using, what's been your experience, any that you would like to try that sound like they would help you. Somebody said reminds me of Black Mirror in terms of tracking but you know, this is not, it's not for everybody. There's specific use cases. So I can think with a smart sole it might be a situation where you have a relative who has Alzheimer's and so you, they tend to wander or somebody with autism that wanders and so it's just a tool that you can use for a little bit of peace of mind knowing that they're not gonna go out and get in trouble.

Pat says she knows a family using the Apple Watch and enjoying some of the benefits. So we're gonna look at that next so keep that in mind, Pat, and then feel free to share some of the information. The in soles, you can click on that link right above Adina and it'll show you how much they are. They're not that cheap If I remember correctly it was a couple hundred dollars. Alright alright I get it I get it. You're really interested in the Apple Watch. I'm gonna move onto that next So smartwatches. There are several categories of smartwatches. There's the Apple Watch, Android Wear is a little bit different in that there's a number of companies that make Android Wear watches. Android Wear is just the operating system so you have companies like Motorola that's made Android Wear base smartwatch in the past and so on. And then Samsung, because they want to be special, they have their own operating system which is, it's kind of based on the Android, it's called Tizen, T-I-Z-E-N. So these are really the three big categories of smartwatches. I myself use an Apple Watch. That's what I have on my wrist right now. So why did I choose the Apple Watch? Main reason is that it's the most accessible wearable that there is.

Apple has a long track record when it comes to accessibility. Starting on the Mac and then the iPhone, the iPad and now, of course, the Apple Watch. Also it has, I found that it had the biggest and most diverse app store in terms of the apps that are available for the Apple Watch although the idea of using apps on your wrist, I think that's sort of falling out of favor and that kind of gets at my next point. Sometimes, I know that I've thought this sometimes, does it do too much? Do we need basically the equivalent of a shrunken iPhone on our wrist? And then for some people the answer may be yes, it does too much so they just want something that provides notifications, provides alerts but again, you can choose, I think Apple is really refocusing the Apple Watch away from the apps a little bit and more into the notifications and the fitness if you look at a lot of their commercials. And then, of course, battery life.

This is really really the part that I would like to see improved a lot more. Because I have the older version one, so there's different versions of the Apple Watch. I've heard from other people that have the version three which is the latest one that the battery life has improved but it's still something that you're gonna have to charge every day or every day and a half or so and especially if you travel it's another thing that you have to remember to bring that cable 'cause it's not a common cable. It's got its own dedicated charger so that's one thing that's kind of a drawback but again, there's so many other things that are benefits that may be just kind of something you're willing to sort of trade off. In terms of some of the killer apps that I found with the Apple Watch this is one of my favorites, the fact that I can get directions using haptics and haptics is just another way of saying vibration.

So on your Apple Watch if you go into settings and then general and find sound and haptics, a couple of things here you can change the strength of that vibration and so that's what that haptic strength setting is and then if you're that person that you really need it to be a little bit stronger when it vibrates or else you miss that alert, you can turn on prominent haptics. So it's just gonna increase the force of the vibration a little bit so that you're not as likely to miss it when it comes on. So that can be used for notifications but it also can be used for maps. So for me this is just a huge thing in terms of independence and being able to move around independently. You can look up directions on your iPhone and then as you are driving or as you're walking somewhere the watch can vibrate in different patterns to let you know when it's time to turn right or when it's time to turn left and so you can do it on the phone, you can look up the directions on the phone and then the Apple Watch because it's connected to the phone it's kind of tethered to it, it just picks up that information and then it gives you the turn by turn directions using haptics.

Or you can do it on the watch itself as these screenshots show so you can search and then once you find, you can tell I needed some Starbucks when I took these screenshots so you can find different locations of Starbucks in this case. You can see the hours, the rating for that location and then it kind of gives you an approximation, how long it's gonna take you to get there and then once you start you'll see the visual, so you can flick up your wrist. You'll see something like turn right in 390 feet but also if you just don't need to look at it or don't want to look at it on the watch you can just follow along with the vibration patterns left or right. I use this feature quite a bit. Even when I'm in the car and, I don't drive, by the way, so don't worry about that. Everybody on the road is safe. But may be the navigator and so if I've looked up the directions for the other person then I can follow along with the watch.

For me this is also really important is I use ride sharing a lot, that's the way that I get places. That's how I get to the airport. That's how I get different places that I need to go, doctor's appointments and the like, and so I can call an Uber, call a Lyft, they both have Apple Watch apps, and then I can get updates on my Apple Watch as that ride is about to arrive and so on. So it's just, between those two options the haptic vibration for navigation in the environment and then the ability to track your ride, these are things that really increase the independence for people who have low vision, like myself, or are completely blind. For motor there's Apple Pay. So with Apple Pay you can, obviously the vendor has to support it but once you find a vendor that you use or you have a credit card that supports this you can set it up on your iPhone and then when you walk up to the terminal you can just sort of pay with the Apple Watch. You don't even have to take out your credit card.

You don't have to fumble with a credit card. You can just basically, it works on the proximity of the watch to that terminal so you basically bring it close to the terminal and what's nice about this. It's pretty secure because it's not actually exchanging the credit card number. It creates a token for each individual transaction so it's not only really convenient and helpful for somebody who just needs a different way to pay that's a little bit more accessible but it's also very secure. Just curious, any of you use Apple Pay in the chat and what's your experience with it. My biggest challenge has been finding places that support it but there's an increasing list of those where you can pay using our wrist. I see a few of you typing. That's great.

While you do that let us know about Apple Pay. These are all different options that are built in already that you may want to check out. I use Siri quite a bit to interact with my Apple Watch. There's a lot you can do with just Siri so that saves you from having to do a lot of swiping, a lot of tapping. I'll mention a few apps that use or make use of Siri. I love the Dock. I'll talk about the Dock separately in just a second but it's just another way that you can access your most frequently used or favorite apps without having to navigate that small honeycomb of apps on the home screen. Nightstand, you can place your Apple Watch on its side while it's charging and basically you get a simplified display. It's really nice. You can tap on it at night and see what the time is and so on. And then the other options here like the Heart Rate app, the Breathe app. I think somebody mentioned earlier every once in a while it's nice to take a break and I love the Breathe app 'cause it gives you a visual but also uses vibration to help you slow down your breathing.

So if you're having a tough day this is a great way to just kind of go out back and just take a second out of the day and slow down your breathing and meditate for a little bit. Great for self-regulation as well. Alright so accessibility features, I'm not gonna cover these in detail but I am gonna share with you a resource that I created where you can learn more. As I mentioned on the Apple Watch itself you have a number of accessibility options you can turn on. There's a full feature screen reader just like there is on the iPhone called Voiceover. There's magnification called Zoom and with Zoom you can use digital crown to zoom in and out or you can use gestures and those gestures just to account for the fact that you don't have a lot of space you can double tap with two fingers to zoom in and out. You can turn off some of the animation. So if you're somebody who's sensitive to motion you can do that here. That's what that reduce motion setting is.

And then you can turn on the on/off label in addition to just using color. Not everybody can perceive the color and so you can add an additional visual cue which is a one or a zero to let you know whether something's turned on or off. So those are the main settings for accessibility on the watch itself but you can also go onto the phone and there's a My Watch app and that's where you do a lot of the configuration for the Apple Watch. And so there's a section on there called general accessibility and so you have additional options there for grayscale, reducing the transparency and much more. The other thing that I've highlighted here is you can enable an accessibility shortcut. So let's say that you use Zoom a lot or you use Voiceover a lot, well you can set up the accessibility shortcuts so that the crown when you triple click it, when you triple press it I should say turns on that feature so that way you don't have to navigate through a bunch of menus.

So the crown, the digital crown on the side of the Apple Watch becomes a shortcut of sorts. Now, I said I was gonna share a resource with you. I have created a number of videos and so these videos demonstrate Voiceover, Zoom, all of those accessibility options so if you access this playlist bit.ly, B-I-T dot L-Y /applewatchaccess and that will give you access to those videos so that you can see this in action. And even though I'm using an older Apple Watch these have not really changed that much. They're basic features that are built into the Apple Watch. So whether it's version one which was the or version zero I guess now, the original Apple Watch, or you have the latest one, version three. These features are gonna work in a very similar way. Alright, so let's talk about apps. So apps, basically remember these. There's a connection between the iPhone and the Apple Watch. So you purchase these apps on the app store. They're basically iPhone apps.

It's just that the developer has put in an extension that then allows the phone and the Apple Watch to communicate with each other and so the Apple Watch can display information from the phone and it can also send information to the phone. Now the version three that just came out not too long ago in the fall does have an LTE radio on it so you can do a few things without requiring the connection to the phone. So for instance, you can take phone calls, you can stream music, however, it's an additional $10 a month for the data plan so I'm not too keen on that. I don't know how many of you are. But anyway, there is a little bit more independence from the phone if you're using that latest Apple Watch, the version three.

Now my friend Stacy who may be on the call, I don't know there's a long list here but she may be on the call, Stacy Driscoll who's an expert in this area as well, executive functioning. And there she is, Stacy. Hi, Stacy. Say hi in the chat. She's an expert in executive functioning as well as wearables. Her and I, we created this Apple Watch App Matrix and I think Anamaria said that you can also click on the link on the screen and that will also take you to this App Matrix. So it will show you some of the apps and some of the needs that the apps address 'cause that's the main thing is thinking about okay, what is the area that either you yourself needs some help with, some support with or the person that you're working with. What is the area that they need support in and does the device do that? And with the Apple Watch it's not a dedicated device. It's a really flexible one where you can install a range of apps. So look through the matrix and see if you can find one that matches your needs.

But I am gonna discuss a few that I use myself and then I'm also gonna cover a few strategies that I've found helpful. But before I do that one of the things that I found really helpful is the Dock. So this was introduced in Watch OS 3 and what it does it allows you to determine up to 10 favorite apps and what's nice about it is you can access them by pressing the side button. I don't know if you, those of you who have an Apple Watch you probably agree with me that it's kind of difficult to navigate that honeycomb where all of the apps show up. So with the Dock you can designate up to 10 of these apps. They're updated more frequently so when you launch 'em from the dock they kind of open up fairly quickly.

You can remove some of the apps in the dock just by swiping to the left and you'd see a remove option and then if you freed up a slot, so if you have less than 10 then when you tap the side button and the dock comes up you can press and hold and you can save additional ones in there. So it's just basically a way, a shortcut that allows you to get to your favorites, your favorite apps without having to go through the honeycomb. It's more of a usability feature for the Apple Watch. So my big tip for executive functioning is see how much you can do with Siri. It just really speeds up what you can do with the Apple Watch. A lot of these apps support it. The first three that I'm gonna cover, of course, are built in so the timer you can just pull up Siri, right, you press the digital crown, so that little button on the side with the circular one, not the rectangular one. You press it and hold it down, you can use your voice and so you can set up timers and then you can go into the app and you can do things like customize it but if it's a really simple timer you voice should be more than enough.

You can set alarms and what's nice with the alarms is once you set it up with your voice you can go into the app and you can use the digital crown to make adjustments. So you can see here I have the number 12 highlighted. Well, when that's highlighted I can use the digital crown to move through and select different values for the alarm. And then the final one is reminders. Again, you can use Siri, use your voice and set up those reminders. The app is just there to give you a list and so that you can check off things as you complete them. So those are built in but there are a couple of other apps that I use to kind of enhance what those built in apps can do. My favorite, this is how I manage my life and I highly recommend it, it's an app called Fantastical. It's from a company called Flexibits and what I like about Fantastical is that it combines the calendar and reminders in one app. So it's all there. I can see my reminders. I can see all my events. I can use force touch.

So basically for those of you that are unaware, force touch is where you kind of press and hold a little bit more firmly and if I do that I can then add an event and I can use just Siri voice recognition to add those events on my watch. So again, it's just combining two apps so I have less to worry about. It's all in one place. That's what Fantastical does for me, reminders and calendar. And then the other one is Due and Due is, it looks like any other reminder app but what I really like about this one is that it has a nag feature and I don't mean, well, I guess it is like a parent, me being the parent that's usually doing the nagging these days. But by nagging I mean that it keeps reminding you. So for instance if you set it to remind you every five minutes it will keep reminding you to go in and sort of dismiss that reminder. So if it's something really important like taking medication this is, this is a good app for that. That's what I use it for because I'm supposed to take my medication in the morning and in the morning I'm not all that alert or sometimes I don't want to be that alert so I will typically just like I do with my alarm clock hit the button a few times and so it's nice to have this app that keeps coming back and reminding you you've gotta do this.

Another app that I use quite a bit, and this is more for the absent minded part of me, the part that's always if I put something into a sticy it's probably going to get lost So this is a memos app. I can use my voice to record a memo. It's not using Siri so it's not transcribing things. It's an actual recording and that recording then gets transferred over to the iPhone or there's also a companion Mac app. So basically it's a really simple app. It just shows you a big microphone on the screen. You tap on it, you record your voice and then you can listen to it back by tapping the play button. So it's nice to have that ability to save information whenever it occurs to you. So you don't have to wait until you pull out that phone from your pocket because it may seem like a simple thing, reaching into your pocket, but it could be that something gets in the way of you actually doing that, reaching into your pocket and getting the phone and then you forget and that information is lost so having an app like this that allows you to really quickly take a memo, a voice memo, it's really helpful.

Are there any One Note fans out there? So this is a great app from Microsoft. It's available for a number of platforms but it, I use it on the iPhone obviously 'cause then I can also get the extension for the Apple Watch and with One Note you can create really simple notes and then those notes will get transferred over to the iPhone version of the app. So you can see there I've created a really simple one for an address that I might need while I'm taking a trip or something like that and that I may be referring to several times. And this one uses Siri so you can just save that note with your voice and then it gets converted into text. So I'm always looking for things like One Note, Google Keep, even though as far as I'm aware it doesn't have an Apple Watch app but it's another one of those apps that works across a number of different platforms so I can access that information in a variety of different ways. These are a few other ones that I've tried but they haven't really stuck and that's okay.

It's okay to try out a number of apps and then if it doesn't work for you, maybe it doesn't have the features that you need or it just could be that the interface it's not what you need. The interface may be too confusing or a few times the colors of the interface were an issue for me, I couldn't really see it very well. So there are a number of reasons why an app may not work for you. So Clear, Todoist and Timewinder. Of these three the one that I've had the most success with is Timewinder and I'll just share a strategy with you that I use to get some of my work done and it's called a Pomodoro Technique. So I will type that into the chat area so that we're all on the same page maybe and see if I can. There we go, Pomodoro Technique. And basically what that is is you can set up intervals. You're gonna work for say 25 minutes and then take a five minute break. You're gonna work again for 25 minutes, take a five minute break.

So you can take, instead of saying oh, I'm gonna work for three hours which might be a little bit intimidating you can just break that task down into 25 minutes increments and so once you do three or four of these 25 minute intervals then you take a longer break and you kind of recharge your batteries 'cause remember, things like executive functioning they're not unlimited. Working memory's not unlimited. There are some limitations so with the Pomodoro Technique I've adjusted it for myself 'cause I do a lot of writing and so I do 50 minutes. I'll do 50 minutes and then I'll take a 10 minute break. And I'll do about three of those and then I'll take say a 20, 25 minute break and recharge my batteries. So I've taken that long period of work and I've broken it down into something that's a little bit more manageable. Ana Maria just showed, well, whoever's on under Ana Maria's account just shared a link that will take you to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique. It's a really powerful productivity technique.

Here's a tip that I learned from Jamie Knight. If you don't know Jamie you should definitely follow him on Twitter. It's @jamieknight. And he's an autistic web developer at the at the BBC. So he develops websites and web applications for the BBC and he's a person with autism. So this is a great tip. He's using the different watch faces on the Apple Watch as a way to sort of plan his day. So he has an Apple Watch face for play which is the Minnie Mouse or Mickey Mouse, and by the way, in case you don't know you can turn on spoken time for those two for the Minnie and Mickey Mouse. So you can basically tap the screen with two fingers and it will speak the time with Mickey or Minnie's voice, of course. I wish they would add it for the other characters 'cause I'd really want Buzz Light year to say the time to me but alas for now it's just Minnie and Mickey. So he's got that one for play time then he's got a really simple one which is the extra large watch face.

That's one that I use sometimes just because it's easier for me to see but for him this removes a lot of the other elements on the screen. So he's just focused on what time is it, how much time do I have left and then he's got another one that's his morning one and it basically has all of the things he needs in the morning, a timer, maybe it's a timer for preparing breakfast or something like that, what's happening in his day, the date and then the little home icon there is for controlling his lights which I'll mention in just a second. The other tip at the bottom I've included is he also, you can send playlists over to your Apple Watch and so what he's done is basically he wears headphones all the the time just for sort of controlling the noise around them and so he's created an audio playlist that is basically functions just like a visual schedule. It just walks him through the steps of what he has to perform at a specific point in time.

So I think that's a genius way to use the Apple Watch as a way to keep you on track. From what everybody said most of you are interested in the Apple Watch or have Apple Watches already but just be aware that a lot of these apps are either have a version for Android Wear or Android Wear has similar apps to do with Google Keep or if you like just press record. There's one for Android Wear called Wear Audio Recorder so again it allows you to take those voice memos so you don't lose that information. And the same thing for Tizen. So if you're one of those people that got a Samsung, you're a Samsung person. You have a Samsung phone, a Samsung TV, you just like Samsung you have either built in features like alarms and reminders or you can find apps like My Task so that you can you can keep track of your to-dos using our watch. So I focused primarily on executive functioning and we have just a few more minutes but I want to mention a few things just really quickly.

There's an app called Proloquo2Go. It's a really robust communication app and it, too, has an Apple Watch component. You can either use preset phrases, and this is one of those apps that supports the speech component of the Apple Watch so with those preset phrases you can tap with two fingers and it will actually read that content aloud. Or you can use a phrase builder that's built into it and with the phrase builder you'll select different categories on the watch and then using the digital crown you can build a phrase that can then be read aloud by the Apple Watch or you can just kind of turn the watch. If you notice it's the opposite of what you would expect and the reason for that is that when you get to be say the coffee shop you can bring up that phrase and then just kind of flick your watch towards the person in front of you and they'll be able to read it. That's why it's reversed.

And then something that I'm really big into is home automation. I have hue lights all over the place. I have 'em in this room that I'm in right now and I can either use Siri on my Apple Watch to turn the lights on and off or I can open the home app on the Apple Watch and I can do things like turn the lights on, turn them off, dim them so if I don't want it to be too bright and then I can also change the color. So the Apple Watch is basically the controller for my connected lights, if you will. And the company that I use is Hue and it's primarily because it's supported by everything that I have. It's supported by my Apple devices, by my Amazon Echo, by my Google Home. If anybody decides to break into any of these things I'm gonna be in trouble 'cause I'm trying to be as connected as possible. Couple of things that will help you get more out of your Apple Watch. First is the band. I struggle with, the first one that I got was the plastic one that's for sports.

That's really difficult to clasp on and off and so the nylon one from Apple, I found that to be really easy to put on and off. It's really really light as well and then if you are traveling a lot and you don't want to take that charger there are a number of batteries out there. This is the one that I use from a company called Zens, Z-E-N-S and it's great, it allows me to get a whole weekend out of my Apple Watch without taking the extra long cable that's kind of heavy. So again, I'm gonna leave a few minutes here for any questions. I'm gonna go through the chat, see what kinds of questions you have. Those of you that are using the Apple Watch if you can share some stories as well I would love to hear success stories or challenges. In the meantime, here's the link again to the Apple Watch App Matrix that Stacy and I have put together for you.

So let's see what we have in the chat. The last screen that I'm going to share with you is if you want to connect with me or if you want to share anything you've learned tonight with the rest of the community you can find me on Twitter @eyeonaxs so that's one way you can connect with me or if you have questions. So Kelly says in Maine. That's great, you've gone away you've found a way to get some waivers that pay for this type of AT. Again, it's not for everybody but it can make a big difference in terms of independence and being able to access information in a different way. Just a reminder from Ana Maria, we will have a recording of the webinar. This will be downloadable. You also have the the matrix as one of your handouts. You have the handout itself that has links to all of the devices and the apps that I mentioned. So if you've kind of missed something no worries. You can go back and review and you can access that.

- [Speaker] Hi, this is Todd from CTD. We always love feedback. Thank you, Luis, for such a great webinar with so many great resources. But we always appreciate feedback from anybody who has anything to say, good or bad, so if you can click the Survey Monkey link there it helps us know what you thought about today's webinar. You can also tell us what you're looking for in the future. And then for those of you who are looking for a certificate of participation after you've completed this survey you can download that as well. Luis, unless you have anything else thank you so much.