Friday, November 30th
Delphi Study: A Prioritization of Skills to Enhance School-Based Assistive Technology Implementation
This study addresses the dearth of research surrounding assistive technology (AT) knowledge of in-service special educators and school personnel. Through a Delphi study utilizing the existing Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) this study identifies areas of greatest concern to practitioners for future training opportunities. Several areas were identified including the need for clearly defined and consistent AT assessment procedures, ongoing evaluation and data-based decision making of students changing AT needs, administration support related to ongoing learning opportunities, and the need for more professional developments.
Smart Eyewear based Authentication for People with Upper Extremity Impairement
In this project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is partnering with TechACCESS of Rhode Island to collect head movement data using a Google Glass (though this technology is not specific to Google Glass) from several people with various forms of upper extremity impairment. During the enrollment phase, the users are expected to put on the Google Glass and sit still for five two-minute session (As this is a cutting edge area of research the enrollment time is quite long. Future improvements will bring this down substantially.). The head movement data collected during the enrollment phase is processed to extract a ballistocardiogram (BCG) signal, which is a representation of the user’s heart rhythm. This BCG signal is then processed using a deep-learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm, which identifies the unique properties of the user. Once a user is enrolled, they can subsequently be identified within a few seconds of putting Glass.
Future Assistive Technology Practitioners: The Interprofessional Team
NEIT developed a degree program with a focused study in Assistive Technology including 5 AT content specific courses. The culminating project brings students together in interdisciplinary teams to explore new technologies students develop, which could impact the quality of life of people with disabilities across the lifespan. This workshop will expose participants to the structure of learning provided to the students in the degree program, with a focus on the culminating Capstone Course. It will allow participants to examine the program of study, discuss the capstone course components, and then critique the products and final presentations completed by the inaugural group of students.
Debra Adams, DPT & Meghan Broz, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP
Engineering AAC into the Modern Home
Communication happens everywhere. Within a home, people communicate with one another for essentially all possible functions – requesting, commenting, arguing, joking, protesting, and more! Communication enables individuals to meet functional needs, achieve independence, and attain social connections with loved ones. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) users require unique support in order to reach an equal level of communication success. This presentation will focus on ways to provide such support by naturally embedding AAC tools into a modern home. Using the CT Tech Act sponsored smart home at New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) as a model, the presentation will describe explicit ways to use low-, mid- and high-tech AAC in specific locations around a home. A demonstration of ways to pair AAC with smart home technology will give participants an awareness of the innovative possibilities for supporting independence across the lifespan.
The AT Lemon Law: Consumer Protection for Your AT
Most consumers are unaware of the existence of a Lemon Law for AT (much like the one for cars). When consumers do become aware of the law, it is often too late or they no longer have the proper records to take action. This poster session will be presented in conjunction with RIDLC’s new AT Lemon Law Packet. Both packet and the poster will provide information about the circumstances under which a device can be considered a lemon, and what steps can be done to enforce one’s rights under the law. The presentation will also review how one can use AT Lemon Law Packet to keep the records needed to prove the device is a lemon under the law, and what the best practices are for record-keeping. While the information about the law is specific to Rhode Island, the information about maintaining records and building a case would be useful to someone pursing a case in another state.
Elisabeth K. Hubbard
A Survey to Assess Awareness, Use, and Perceived Effectiveness of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Autistic Adults
Evidence supports the use of AAC for children on the autism spectrum with complex communication needs. A review of publicly available writing by autistic adults who use AAC indicates significant perceived benefits, including for autistic adults who can speak. However, this review by its nature can not indicate what proportion of adults on the autism spectrum could benefit from AAC, are aware of relevant AAC options, or make use of AAC. For this reason, a research survey has been designed to assess awareness, use, and perceived effectiveness of AAC for a broader sample of autistic adults. The survey is open to adults on the autism spectrum as well as to parents and professionals working with autistic adults, again in order to reach a broader sample of stakeholders. Discussion of preliminary findings from focus groups and from the survey, and implications of these findings will be presented, as well as background from key literature sites and processes followed in designing, developing, and conducting the study.
Alyssa Hillary Zisk & Elizabeth M. Dalton, Ph.D.
Poster Session Presenter Biographies
Debra Adams is the chair of the Rehabilitation Sciences Program at NEIT, focusing on Assistive Technology.
Meghan Broz is an ATP and adjunct faculty member of the Rehabilitation Sciences Program at NEIT.
Elizabeth M. Dalton, Ph.D. is currently adjunct professor for the Communicative Disorders Department, School of Health Sciences, University of Rhode Island. Dr. Dalton is PI for this study. Previously, she was assistant professor of special education at Rhode Island College, where she also worked as a coordinator for the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Dalton helped to found the TechACCESS Conference of RI (now the ATCNE), as well as the TechACCESS Center of RI. She consults on issues of Universal Design for Learning, technology applications in education, and curriculum development (currently focusing on online learning methods).
Christopher Emerling is a doctoral student at University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interest surrounds practitioner self-efficacy with assistive technology and how it relates to student outcomes.
Elena Fader is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Specialist and Speech-Language Pathologist at New England Assistive Technology (NEAT), an Oak Hill Center. She provides AAC consultations, and evaluations for individuals of all ages with complex communication needs and related disabilities. Elena also provides trainings and workshops to families, caregivers, and professionals to promote community awareness of technology to support communication and independence. She has extended her support beyond her immediate community by presenting at conferences at the local and national levels. Elena attended the University of Vermont (B.A., Phi Beta Kappa) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (M.A., U.S. Dept. of Ed. Autism Spectrum Disorders Fellow). She obtained her AT Certificate from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is licensed by the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is a current member of the ASHA Special Interest Group 12 for AAC.
Elisabeth K. Hubbard is a staff attorney at the RI Disability Law Center, Rhode Island’s Protection and Advocacy Agency. RIDLC provides free legal services to individuals with disabilities, including assistance with appeals of denials of funding from Medicaid, Medicare, vocational rehabilitation and school districts.
Krishna Venkatasubramanian I am an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science department of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). I also hold a collaborative appointment of Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. My research interests are in: Security and fault-tolerance for cyber-physical systems (CPS). Novel biometrics for wearable/implantable systems. Cyber-security for assistive technologies.
Alyssa Hillary Zisk is a(n Autistic) PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island. Among other areas, she studies Augmentative and Alternative Communication, both in the form of brain computer interfaces and as used by autistic adults. Alyssa hosted a United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication chat (#ussaachat) on AAC in the workplace and is a user of AAC herself.