Please review general Registration Information here.
Please review CEU information here.
CUES will be available through the AAC Institute.
Discovering the Joy of Assistive Technology Making- A Hands-on “AT Makers” Workshop
October 22, 2021 – 9:00-4:00 (EST)
This workshop will be presented live!
The assistive technology makers’ movement and the need for quick A.T. solutions for everyday challenges continues to grow. This workshop will discuss, demonstrate, and actually build skills in A.T. Making. Participants will learn the latest in quick tips for working with everyday plastics, double-sided tapes, hook and loop, multipurpose fasteners and more. Discover how to apply the “…ABLE” Principles in making devices that a collaps-able, reuse-able, adjust-able, port-able, reposition-able, expand-able, and using repurpose-able materials. Each person will also make 10 multi-use devices to take home with them. This includes – Devices for eating and drinking for grasping and holding challenges; devices for reading and writing; mounting solutions for mobility aids; devices for blind and low vision; a low-cost communication device; devices for relaxation and self-regulation and more.
THE COST OF THE WORKSHOP INCLUDES A MATERIALS FEE AND A BOXED LUNCH.
TO ALLOW FOR SOCIAL DISTINCING, THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE LIMITED TO 25 ATTENDEES. MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED.
COPIES OF THERESE’S NEW BOOK, MAKE STUFF AND LOVE PEOPLE, WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE WORKSHOP.
CUES will be available through the AAC Institute.
Presented by: Therese Willkomm
Technology Enhanced Social-Emotional Supports for Learning
November 1, 2021 2:00-5:00 (EST) CANCELLED
According to the RAND Corporation, there is growing acknowledgment that in addition to a firm grasp of academic knowledge, children—to succeed both in school and in life— must develop the skills to manage their emotions, cultivate positive relationships and navigate social situations. Students on the autism spectrum, along with those with ADD, executive function, or emotional disabilities juggle a myriad of social-emotional challenges due to the nature of their disability. Beyond their disability, they may be dealing with adverse childhood experiences, trauma, bullying, and more. Participants will learn how to utilize specific strategies as a part of a multi-tiered system of support to both prevent and overcome student behaviors and to address the responses of others to behavioral triggers. The session will examine digital tools that can be used to support social-emotional learning and development. Participants will examine best practices in addressing the need for identifying emotions, understanding social cues from others, executive function supports, stress management, and effective communication. We will explore ready-made resources and templates that can be used to create customized visual supports, games and other learning activities that promote social-emotional success by pre-empting or de-escalating inappropriate behaviors.
This is a Create and Take/Hands on Session and all participants will receive a 2 month free LessonPix subscription so that they can create during the session, and beyond!
Presented by: Beth Poss (This session will include product promotion for a company the presenter owns or represents)
- Participants will be able to explain at least 3 strategies that can be used to prevent or de-escalate challenging behaviors.
- Participants will be able to locate at least 5 ready-made resources that can be used to prevent or de-escalate challenging behaviors.
- Participants will be able to identify at least 5 digital tools that can be used to prevent or de-escalate challenging behaviors.
Kids Just Wanna Have Fun…and AT Can Help!
December 6, 2021 2:00-5:00 (EST)
This presentation will highlight play adaptations including adapted toys and books, communication supports, play guides to extend the play experience beyond cause and effect, and so much more.
Presented by: Judith Schoonover
- Name three or more readily available low cost or no cost materials that can be used to stabilize, display, or contain toys to provide physical and sensory access.
- Identify three or more ways to adapt toys to increase active participation in play.
- List three or more resources to find out more about adapting toys/play experience.
Building Writing Skills & Motivation with AAC Communicators
December 13, 2021 2:00-5:00 (EST)
Writing, a means of expressive communication, is often tackled last in the development of literacy skills of students who use AAC systems. The influence that literacy has upon AAC usage continues to be a hot topic for practitioners, educators and families. As students who use AAC progress over time, sometimes their development in written communication is stifled by their reading ability. There is often a tendency to hold off on written expression until a “certain reading level” is established. Educators may lack the awareness of the advantage that developing writing skills in tandem with communication skills have the potential of increasing their students’ retention and motivation in literacy.
During this session we will address writing strategies and technologies for motivating and scaffolding the written requirements for all students in curricular areas. We will give examples of written work supports in language arts, literature, science, social studies and history topics, as well as writing for leisure, email, and blogging. Through these illustrations and further explanations of ways to boost communication and literacy, participants will construct a plan to address the impacts of AAC and literacy on their own students. Whether you have students on lo-tech or hi-tech systems, participation in writing activities can be motivating, educational and purposeful.
Presented by: Kelly Fonner
As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:
- List ways of using technologies to support the writing of AAC communicators.
- List ways of using technology to support the cognitive /expressive skills of written communication.
- Develop training and strategies that can potentially increase the productive use of alterative access methods for written communication for a student.
Nurturing Multiple Literacies for Learning – The Value of Infusing AT into Our Developmental Perspectives
January 10, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
After four decades of use and countless research studies extolling its impact on creating accessible learning opportunities, why is Assistive Technology still being relegated to a post-remediation plan for so many of our students and not seen as an integral path for fostering growth alongside educational interventions? Our recent world-wide remote learning experience provided educators with a baseline understanding of the value (and pitfalls) of digital learning, and we in the AT world were able to capitalize on this moment of “technology acceptance” to promote greater digital access for all. Unfortunately, many educators lamented this as a “lost year” in student learning and are retreating back to the more entrenched literacies which only provide a path to participation for a limited number of students. Handwriting, print reading, organization strategies, and other “natural” literacies which must be remediated require considerable amounts of time—time which may inadvertently foster disengagement of learners within their classrooms. This session will promote a more proactive and holistic approach to remediation that encourages early access to AT in order to support “access and sustained engagement” (Edyburn, 2010) with rigorous academic content and skill development for all students, creating a more equitable classroom experience for all.
Presented by: Mark Surabian
- Attendees will learn through case studies and research about how assistive technology consideration and implementation are both severely constrained by educational myths and the ableist presumptions of educators, parents, and even students themselves.
- Attendees will explore a developmental paradigm that encourages an Assistive Technology Literacy for All Students (ATLAS) by providing AT exposure in pre-school settings alongside standard literacies for all students, nurturing a multi-modal access to learning that may provide skills to address any possible learning challenges in their future.
- Attendees will be guided through extensive resources for free and affordable technologies to address challenges in reading, writing, organization, math, and note-taking, and learn how they directly sustain learning engagement.
Connecting Students to Digital Tools and Technology
January 24, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
Digital technology is for everyone but can be overwhelming. If we aren’t an “expert”, we might feel like we can’t properly support our students. Additionally, digital tools already built into devices are often overlooked in a world where so many assistive technology programs available for purchase (and beyond our budget). By knowing which questions to ask, and how to find answers, we can increase our knowledge without the need to become an expert in any one program. By using an individualized approach to working with students, we can provide access to a wider range of individuals within a reasonable budget. In this session, we will discuss some digital tools built into devices and free and low-cost programs; participants are encouraged to share tools and programs they have used as well. We will also review tips, strategies, and key questions to ask that can quickly engage students with digital tools. Finally, we will touch on how to best provide continued support to others (and ourselves) in learning and using digital tools for productivity and access.
Presented by: Crystal-Rose Hill-Farrell
- Create the start of a personal database of digital tools and resources.
- Recognize the important questions (rather than answers) that help us develop the knowledge and skills to help others.
- Conceptualize an approach to effectively engage students in utilizing digital tools and technology within a reasonable budget.
The Basics of Gaming Accessibility and How to Identify if a Game is Accessible or Not
February 7, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
This workshop will give participants an opportunity to learn the basics of video game accessibility and then apply that knowledge to case studies where they will analyze the accessibility of several games. The first portion will be a presentation covering how video games can be developed so that gamers who are Deaf/HoH, blind/Low Vision, or have physical disabilities can play and join the gaming community. In addition, the presentation will discuss how gamers and their families/caretakers can advocate for gaming accessibility. After this presentation and learning these important basics, the participants will be broken up into groups via virtual break out rooms. Each group will be given a specific video game to research and analyze how it is accessible or inaccessible to several gamer types, including gamers who are Deaf/HoH, blind/low vision, or have physical disabilities. Then, the groups will reconvene and report to the entire group their findings resulting in an in-depth discussion of accessibility for several games.
Presented by: Adam Kosakowski & Ramón Hernández
- Identify 3 ways a game developer can make a video game accessible to gamers with disabilities.
- Explain how to contact game developers to advocate for accessibility in their games.
- Analyze a video game and its features and identify 3 features that make it accessible or inaccessible.
Attacking the Sexual Assault Epidemic with Communication
February 14, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
This workshop is FREE
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than those without disabilities. Several factors contribute to this heightened risk, with communication challenges being a key reason. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) plays a critical role in supporting this population of individuals who are more vulnerable to abuse. This presentation will provide insight, strategies, and resources that human services professionals and families can utilize to protect their clients and loved ones. Resources include a preview of an adapted sexual health curriculum and a demonstration of ways to use an AAC device to help individuals learn, self-advocate, and report. Oak Hill, Connecticut’s largest non-profit for people with disabilities, has started a #SevenTimes campaign to draw national attention to this horrific statistic. By bringing awareness to the AT world, we hope to make immediate strides in attacking the sexual assault epidemic using the power of communication.
Presented by: Elena Fader & Margie Hislop
- Recognize at least two communication-related reasons that individuals with IDD are at a higher risk for sexual assault.
- Identify at least two ways that AAC can help to decrease the “#SevenTimes” statistic.
- Discuss at least three strategies that can be used to support individuals with IDD in learning, self-advocating, and reporting information related to sexual health.
AT Rights from Transition to Your First Job
March 7, 2022 (Tentative) 2:00-5:00 (EST)
As students go through transition and prepare for employment training and employment there are many questions about AT: When can I get an assessment? Do I get to keep my AT from school? What types of AT could I be entitled to? What entity is responsible for paying for what? Can I choose my own device? Does my employer need to provide AT? This session will answer these questions and explain the legal rights an individual has during the transition process from school and into adult services such as a BHDDH and/or ORS. It will also cover the reasonable accommodation process in the employer-employee relationship: what reasonable accommodations are, the interactive process to get one from an employer, and the legal rights an employee has if their employer refuses to grant one.
Presented by: Elisabeth Hubbard
- Participants will learn about the legal rights an individual has to various funding sources of AT during transition including the school district, vocational rehabilitation and adult services.
- Participants will learn about the legal rights a consumer of adult services has to periodic review of AT needs and the right to up-to-date and normalized technology.
- Lastly, participants will learn about reasonable accommodations from an employer as a source of AT and the legal rights under the ADA and related laws to those accommodations.
App Smashing for Reading, Writing, and Note Taking
March 16, 2021 2:00-5:00 (EST)
The iPad has steadily improved as an assistive technology tool for students with learning disabilities. The built-in accessibility of iPadOS includes text-to-speech, dictation, and word prediction that can help students with reading and writing. In addition, there are many AT-related apps that can be used to make language-based activities easier. Since many apps have single or limited functions, the challenge is figuring out how to combine apps in order to complete multi-step or complex tasks in school. The practice of combining apps into workflows is known colloquially as “app smashing.” This presentation will focus on various app workflows that LD students can use to complete various assignments. Attention will be given to schoolwork involving reading, writing, and note taking.
Presented by: Jamie Martin
- Participants will identify 4 app workflows that can help LD students with reading comprehension and fluency.
- Participants will identify 2 app workflows that can help LD students write essays and research reports.
- Participants will identify 2 app workflows that can help LD students with note taking.
Inclusive Learning 365
March 21, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
This interactive session will focus on helping participants develop an inclusive mindset to meet all learners’ needs. A foundational principle necessary when adopting an inclusive mindset requires educators to believe all learners can learn. Educators working to design inclusive experiences embrace and acknowledge the fact that everyone is unique with different abilities, backgrounds, and preferences. Promoting an environment that is learner-centered, flexible, and embeds choice are necessary components of intentional inclusive design. Our session will allow participants to explore numerous strategies that promote inclusive learning, focused on all content areas, reading, writing, STEAM, executive functions, social/emotional learning, research and studying, and professional learning. Participants will be offered opportunities to experience a variety of inclusive strategies while creating a learning environment welcoming to all.
Presented by: Karen Janowski, Mike Marotta, Beth Poss, Chris Bugaj
- Participants will identify three barriers to inclusive learning implementation
- Participants will identify three characteristics needed by all educators working to promote inclusive learning
- Participants will identify at least five strategies that promote inclusive learning and design to reach all learners
A Roadmap for the AAC Journey
April 4, 2022 (Tentative) 2:00-5:00 (EST)
In this presentation, participants will learn about AAC, the different types, and the fundamental evidence-based principles and how to apply them in school settings. Participants will also discuss common myths and misconceptions while learning the facts surrounding AAC and AAC users.
Presented by: Nicole Natale and Edna-Jo Piccirillo
- Participants will be able to define and identify what AAC is and give at least 3 examples
- Participants will be able to identify at least 3 evidence-based strategies in AAC implementation
- Participants will be able to identify at least 3 myths in AAC
3D-Printed Keyguards – from Soup to Nuts
April 11, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
Individuals across the US and around the globe are 3D-printing their keyguards. They’re saving upwards of 95% on the cost of a commercial keyguard and getting something that is a better fit for their students/clients/family. In this presentation, you’ll learn the advantages of designing and printing your keyguard yourself. You’ll see the immense variety of options available to you for customization and personalization. You’ll learn that this is an accessible technology from a usability and cost standpoint. You’ll learn when it’s appropriate to look to a 3D-printed solution and when to turn to commercial companies. We’ll demo the design of multiple keyguards and print one in the background. 3D-printers and additive manufacturing have turned the world of devices for individuals with disabilities on its head! 3D-printed keyguards are the absolutely best place to start!
Presented by: Ken Hackbarth
- Understand the advantages of a 3D-printed keyguard.
- Learn the basics of designing a 3D-printable keyguard, then take your knowledge to the next level.
- Learn basics of 3D-printing and options for printing your design.
Post-Secondary Success Starts Early through Participation and Engagement in CBI
May 3, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
Youth with disabilities experience poor employment outcomes upon graduation that impact mental health, physical health, and quality of life. Engaging children in opportunities to develop transition readiness skills can begin in elementary school in relevant, purposeful ways. We will discuss how to develop these predictors to transition success in children beginning in elementary school using Community Based Instruction interventions. CBI provides a foundation for students that can be built upon for later success. A multitude of programming examples and low-tech AT strategies will be provided that can easily be implemented upon your return to the classroom.
Presented by: Deborah Schwind
- Identify the barriers and predictors of post-secondary success
- Identify 3 or more low tech strategies that can be incorporated in CBI in elementary school
- Discuss 3 activities that can be initiated in the school environment to impact work opportunities post high school
Writing for All: It Starts with a Scribble
May 9, 2022 2:00-5:00 (EST)
For children who write via non-traditional modalities, family and staff often miss the emerging steps of scribbling and drawing. We put an adapted keyboard in front of them or provide an alternative pencil and immediately expect them to write their name. We need to encourage, support, and provide creative opportunities for students with complex learning needs to experience the beginning stages of putting ideas to print through a variety of activities, strategies and technologies that encourage the acts of scribbling and drawing.
Presented by: Kelly Fonner & Donna McNear
As a result of attending this session, participants will be able to:
- Locate a minimum of 2 apps and 2 products to support scribbling for children/students with complex learning needs.
- Identify a writing scale that recognizes the value of scribbling and drawing.
- Replicate at least 3 scribbling/drawing activities with children/students who have visual impairment and/or physical challenges.