Breakthrough on VAT

Breakthrough on VAT - Ian LitterickThanks to a ruling by HMRC, thousands of assistive technology systems will be free of VAT. Previously, only desktop systems with a processor, keyboard and monitor are available to be zero-rated. Mobile phones and computers will be zero-rated for VAT if they are preloaded with assistive technology software which is designed solely for the use of disabled people, says HMRC. This decision has been made following lengthy discussions with HMRC and a VAT tribunal that found in favour of iansyst Chairman and BATA council member, Ian Litterick (pictured left).

During the tribunal, iansyst argued that our assistive technology literacy support app, CapturaTalk, supplied with a smartphone was designed purely for people with disabilities and therefore should be zero-rated.

More information about the breakthrough on VAT can be found on the British Assistive Technology Association’s News Page.

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Sonocent’s Infographic: The study habits of the modern day student

Sonocent have recently created an interesting infographic which shows the study habits of the modern day student.

So how do modern day students approach their studies? Do they think they have the study skills they will need to succeed? And what aspects of their studies keep them up at night?

Follow this link to view the infographic on Sonocent’s website >>

Sonocent Infographic

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The Benefits of Hiring People with Autism

This is a guest blog post written by Joe Thomas. 

In the UK there are more than 700,000 individuals living with autism, however, less than 15% of these people are in full-time employment. This is a dispiriting figure when you consider the many skills and talents people with autism have, skills which are highly beneficial in the workplace.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a disease or illness and it cannot be cured – the unique elements of autism are an integral part of the person’s make-up. As it is defined across a spectrum, people with autism will all experience it in a unique way, however, it usually has some effect on how individuals communicate and interact with others. As well, it is also important to remember that autism is not a visible disability.

Hiring People With Autism

In 2010, The Equality Act came into force in the UK and made it unlawful for any employer to discriminate on the grounds of disability. Perhaps this has made some employers reassess their approach to autism, however, employing people with a disability is not a matter of filling quotas. Instead, the focus should be on the value each individual can bring to the prospective role. Those who fall within the spectrum of autism have a huge amount to offer companies. Individuals with autism are often excellent problem solvers; have outstanding concentration and memory skills; pay great attention to detail; and are highly dependable, just some of the traits that companies are looking for in employees.

While every applicant who applies for a job should be treated as an individual, there is common ground amongst people with autism that can be reached, which, when recognised by companies can make the hiring process run much more smoothly.

Things to consider:


Some individuals with autism will find understanding body language and facial expressions difficult and this can sometimes hinder communication.

Repetitive Behaviours

People with autism will often see the world in a different way and thus they tend to enjoy the security of familiarity and routine. This is a positive trait in a working environment.


Interaction concerns how individuals with autism behave in the presence of others. For example, if they are concerned, they may retreat within themselves; or they may sometimes appear insensitive, but only because they find it difficult to read cues from those around them.

The Interview Process

People with autism often develop a keen interest in a particular subject and become hugely knowledgeable about it. If you can discover what this interest is during the interview, and encourage the candidate to talk about it, it can help put them at ease.

Sometimes jokes and sarcasm are not understood well by individuals with autism, as physical cues are hard for them to read. Therefore, be straightforward and express yourself clearly. Also, if there are gaps in the conversation don’t rush in to fill the silence, the person may just need a little longer to formulate their response.

The Induction Process

Once an individual with autism has been hired, there are simple steps you can take to make their first few days with you as positive an experience as possible.

  • Send induction material to the new employee early so they can take the time to read through and absorb it before they start. This will help to lessen first day nerves.
  • If possible, try to seat the person away from noise or people passing by regularly, as this can be unsettling. It’s also important to build structure into the day so individuals know what to expect.
  • People with autism can be perfectionists so it’s important to give regular feedback on how things are going and provide reassurance where necessary.

Individuals with autism tend to have strong skills in particular areas and can often outperform their peers in these capacities. It’s important therefore to tap into these strengths and allow the employee the freedom to utilise their skill-set within the working environment. When this happens much of the misunderstanding about autism falls away and employers recognise what a valuable asset the individual is to their business.

For more information click here.

Image of Joe Thomas

By Joe Thomas 

Joe Thomas is a writer and website developer from the UK. He enjoys creating useful information for those who suffer from all kinds of disabilities, and also raising awareness on certain issues.

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Spellex Dictation Gold: Updates for July 2016

Spellex Dictation Gold is software which works with speech recognition programs such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Microsoft. It provides specialised vocabularies for subjects such as medicine, law, veterinary medicine, and bioscientific/engineering. Spellex provides correct spell checking and conversion of speech to text to allow users to dictate their ideas with ease.


This week, Spellex have introduced a new and improved version of their dictation software which brings with it a range of new features and benefits for users. If you would like to upgrade your current software, please get in touch by emailing

Spellex Dictation Logo

New Features in Spellex Dictation Gold


1.     Updates to Spellex Dictation feature

    • Seamless, error-free dictation in Dragon NaturallySpeaking
    • Enhanced dictionary featuring complex terminology for advanced spellchecking, avoiding disruption when dictating ideas

2.     Introducing the Spellex Suite

    • Quick definitions for over 550,000 words
    • Human voice word pronunciations
    • Handy thesaurus to help improve writing

3.     DysLex™ font for easier reading

    • DysLex font is a popular font amongst those with dyslexia as it reduces the tendency to jumble characters and eases visual stress and frustration when reading


To find out more about the new and updated Spellex Dictation Gold, please get in touch by emailing

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Product Focus: Roger Pen from Phonak

What is the Roger Pen?

The Roger Pen is a wireless microphone designed by Phonak. Phonak have been developing and producing cutting-edge hearing solutions for more than 70 years. Their products focus on supporting individuals with hearing loss to live a life without limitations.

Image of the Roger Pen

The Roger Pen is a popular solution for people with hearing loss as it can help users to understand up to 62% more speech in noise and over distance compared to people with no hearing loss. It is also a stylish looking piece of assistive technology, available in 3 different colours, and has been designed with discretion in mind.

The Roger Pen features a directional microphone which automatically adapts to different noise environments including conference and interview settings. The user doesn’t have to change any settings – the microphone will automatically adjust to suit the noise environment.

The Roger Pen also comes complete with a handy lanyard which allows the user to hang the pen around the neck of the speaker that they are listening to. This is particularly useful in one-to-one conversations and means that the speech will sound clearer and be easier to understand. The microphone will automatically switch from being directional to omni-directional depending on which way up the pen is.

Image showing how the Roger Pen can be used in conversations

This piece of assistive technology is compatible with Roger receivers which attach directly to the user’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. This means that regardless of what hearing aid or cochlear implant the user has, there will be a compatible receiver.

Find out more

To find out more about the Roger Pen, please get in touch by emailing

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