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Supporting Students with Disabilities in Writing and STEM Instruction: Integrating Both Realms
Presented by: Roba Hrisseh
This presentation will focus on assistive technologies and strategies to support students with disabilities in writing and computer science coding. First, strategies and technologies for writing instruction for students with disabilities will be discussed. Second, strategies and technologies for computer science coding for students with disabilities will be detailed. Third, reasons why integrating both subjects is effective will be discussed, as well as techniques as to how to integrate both instructions together will be explored. Finally, two different free technology-based graphic organizers will be presented to participants that help support students of all abilities within the writing process and the computer coding process as well. Real data will be presented of students who used both graphic organizers to improve their writing and computer coding scores. A chance for discussion and questions will be available at the end of the presentation.
Identify two types of technology-based graphic organizers to support writing and computer coding.
Identify additional tools to support writing and additional tools to support computer science coding (STEM).
Discuss several different strategies on how to integrate writing and computer science coding together within instruction and why that can be effective for students of all abilities.
Free & Low Cost Digital Tools and Technology
Presented by: Crystal Rose Hill-Farrell
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). 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 free and low cost digital tools for productivity and access. Participants will be encouraged to explore the built-in accessibility options on their own devices. There will be opportunity to learn with some “how to” and also “show and tell”. Facilitators will be available to answer questions specific to various devices. Computer, phones, tablets… have them all charged and ready!
As a result of this session, participants will be able to:
Create the start of a personal database of digital tools and resources.
Recognize the important questions (rather than answers) that help us identify a useful digital tool for an individual.
Understand our own level of knowledge about technology and how to be an expert researcher.
When It’s Time to Spread your Wings…..How to Support our Young Adults as They “Transition Out” at 22
Presented by: Cheryl Farley, M.S. Ed., O.D.
Transitioning out of the educational system at age 22 can be an exciting and overwhelming experience for our young adults. As our learners leave the entitlements of public education under IDEA, the supports that they had in place may no longer be naturally available to them in the adult world. In this session, we will explore some areas of the transition process and how both educators and families can support our learners in identifying assistive technology tools and supports that they can begin to implement during their transition years. Our goal is for our learners to become less dependent on personal support, and as independent as possible using assistive technology for when they enter the adult world setting. We will be focusing on mobile apps, specifically the iPhone, and Google supports available on the computer, Chromebook or mobile devices.
Participants will be able to:
Identify at least 3 strategies to support learners who struggle with executive functions.
Describe at least 3 techniques and/or strategies to address independent living.
Identify at least 3 assistive technology supports and/or tools that learners can access on their mobile devices to increase overall independence.
Assistive Technology & Engagement for All Learners
Presented by: Jamie Rifkowitz
Bringing engagement to the forefront of education is an important component to move skills forward. In this presentation, participants will learn how to leverage assistive technology and best practices in order to improve student engagement across grade levels and disciplines. Time will be dedicated to determine real-time strategies based on participant knowledge and needs. This presentation will provide curated resources that can be used in the classroom immediately. A few examples include Google Education Fundamentals, gamify your learning strategies and student choice resources, among others.
Participants will be able to:
Describe how assistive technology can enhance engagement.
Apply methods of AT for all classroom learners.
Understand the connection between technology and engagement.
Smart Technology in Schools
Presented by: Ramón Hernández
In this presentation, we will explore the ways that smart technology can be used to support students with disabilities in schools. We will focus on devices like smart buttons, smart lights, virtual assistants, and more. We will demonstrate how these tools can be used to provide students with greater independence and create a more inclusive and accessible learning environment. Additionally, we will examine best practices for implementing and using smart technology in classrooms. Whether you are a special education teacher, technology coordinator, or administrator, this presentation will provide valuable insights and practical tips for using smart technology to support students with disabilities and help them achieve their full potential.
To provide an overview of the benefits and potential applications of smart technology in schools, including how it can improve student learning outcomes and incorporate universal design.
To educate the audience about the different types of smart technology available for use in schools, such as smart lighting, smart buttons, and Virtual Assistants.
To highlight best practices and strategies for successfully implementing smart technology in schools.
From “We’re Not Ready” to Total Communication: Developing a Family-Centered, Community-Based, Interdisciplinary Approach for Accessing and Implementing AAC Supports with Medically Complex Children
Presented by: Brittany Sorice, Chelsea Maziarz, & Crystal Greene
Children with complex communication needs benefit from the support of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies to access language and to create meaningful, lasting relationships amongst peers and adults. AAC strategies can be utilized to support a total communication approach to language development, which recognizes all forms of communication as valuable language opportunities. Specific AAC strategies to support communication include but are not limited to: sign language, use of removable “low tech” photographs/symbols, static core word boards, and “high-tech” speech generating devices. Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) can be used to support both expressive and receptive language across a wide range of clinical presentations. Barriers to accessing reliable SGDs include: limited resources, misinformation in the community, access to evaluating Speech-Language Pathologist, and insurance coverage. This presentation aims to highlight the available resources within the state of Rhode Island, process for acquiring insurance funding, and a case study of a child with complex communication needs and dual sensory impairments. Journey through the process of parent education, evaluation, acquisition, and implementation from both clinical and parent perspectives in this discussion.
Parents and providers will:
Learn the available assistive technology resources within the state of Rhode Island and surrounding areas.
Learn the benefits to interprofessional collaboration in supporting Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies for children with complex communication needs.
Discuss parent perspectives on the process of evaluating and implementing use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies for children with complex communication needs.
Making the Abstract Concrete in Low Tech AAC
Presented by:Meghan Broz, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP
Low tech communication supports can be utilized for a variety of purposes with students a wide range of communication abilities and needs. Whether the student requires increased information to identify symbols, such as an object symbol system, or is able to utilize pictures, the implementation of the system in a location-based format can be utilized to teach abstract concepts or improve ability to discriminate. Learn about how to utilize these supports in all settings for individuals with complex communication needs.
Participants will be able to identify:
When and how to use an object symbol communication system for students whose primary needs are not visual impairment.
When, how and why to utilize location based low tech communication supports.
Options for pairing abstract concepts (e.g., “help”, “break”, “space”) with concrete symbols or locations to enhance student abilities to learn and utilize AAC to communicate these concepts.
Implementing Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
Presented by: Quinn Kelly
This presentation will discuss how Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) can be used to support Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students’ American Sign Language (ASL) acquisition and expression. The presentation will also help provide professionals a guide as to which DHH students are candidates for AAC, and who are not, based on various criteria. The attendees will learn how to distinguish how to target AAC core words with correlating signs that can be targeted in a conceptual way, allowing for their signing to continue to grow. Professionals will acquire AAC tools, strategies and ideas that will follow language rules. There can be obstacles faced when collaborating and integrating the use of AAC in a variety of environments; therefore, it is invaluable that professionals that use AAC with DHH students create appropriate participation plans for communication partners. This can ensure success in spontaneous and routine communication situations. It is important that while coaching our communication partners we incorporate our plans into everyday life. This, as well as teaching the corresponding ASL signs, and the location on the communication system will allow for an ASL-English bilingual approach.
The participant will be able to determine which Deaf and Hard of Hearing students are candidates for AAC.
The participant will be able to explain how to implement ASL and AAC strategies during communication.
The participant can create participation plans for communication partners.
Finding His Own Path – Connor’s Communication Journey
Presented by: Linda K Cullen MEd MS CCC-SLP & Stephanie E Sweeton
Do you have a student who needs AAC but you just don’t know where to start? A student with limited access but so much potential? A student who you wish came with a crystal ball to show you the future? And a yellow brick road to get you there? We know that student, and his name is Connor. Join us as we celebrate Connor’s communication journey from the initial introduction of picture symbols and a plexiglass eye gaze board to switch access, switch scanning, a head mouse, and ultimately his amazing success with eye gaze. Connor is currently using his third AAC device, and we are awaiting delivery of his fourth!
Please join us as we celebrate Connor’s many communication achievements and what he has taught us: How physical access and communication access are connected. Why try and try again is so important with access methods. How the ideal access method changes everything. The power of a team approach to AAC. What we have learned from supporting a student who has always been remote.
Participants will be able to:
Identify 3 different access methods for AAC devices.
Explain why it is important to cycle back and try access methods that didn’t work before.
Name at least 4 critical members of the AAC team.
Connecting to My World from My Power Wheelchair
Presented by: Heather Cianciolo OTR/L, ATP/SMS & Jack Fidler PT, DPT, ATP
For individuals with limited use of their bodies, a power wheelchair can be the key to unlock independent mobility and communication with the world around them. A successful match of the client with Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) depends on how successfully the person can control their power wheelchair and access the programming capabilities that allow them to achieve a desired goal. This presentation will describe the different programming capabilities available on CRT level power wheelchairs which enable persons confined to their power wheelchair the ability to access their environment such as phone a friend, turn on the TV, open doors, access a communication devise, operate power wheelchair seating functions all with a selected input device. The terminology and applications discussed will be applicable to a variety of CRT power wheelchairs and devices that are commercially available. Client case examples will be used to help demonstrate possible applications across the lifespan.
Participants will be able to:
Describe current power wheelchair programming that enables power wheelchair users to operate environmental controls.
Discuss the clinical considerations for drive control selection and wireless technology integration.
Describe the different types of integrated technology that you can access with the wireless technology built into the power wheelchair electronics.
I Didn’t Know My Smartphone Could Do That! – Smart Phone Accessibility Features for People with Cognitive and Physical Disabilities
Presented by: Andrea D. Fairman, Ph.D., OTR/L, CPRP, ATP, Nia Monteiro, & Chapin Graham
For many of us, using our smartphones has become second nature. However, not everyone has the same experience depending on familiarity and functional abilities. Persons with cognitive disabilities or those who are new to using smartphones may find the interface confusing rather than intuitive. At the same time, individuals with physical disabilities may have difficulty interacting with the screen to complete common tasks. Research has also shown that smartphones continue to be underutilized by individuals with disabilities due to barriers such as the inability to complete complex gestures, lack of device use training, inexperience, and more (Patrick et al., 2020; Stephenson & Limbrick, 2013). As technology advances, so does the number of smartphone accessibility features available to users. These accessibility features can be implemented to help individuals with disabilities interact more effectively with their smartphone devices (Pew Research Center, 2022). However, many remain unaware of these features and how to utilize them (Patrick et al., 2020; Stephenson & Limbrick, 2013). This presentation focuses on describing how the utilization of accessibility features can benefit individuals with disabilities and provides a hands-on approach to becoming familiar with locating and implementing common accessibility features on IOS and Android devices.
To understand how accessibility features on a smartphone device can benefit individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities.
To become familiar with the different accessibility features available on IOS and Android devices.
To understand how to locate and implement common accessibility features on IOS and Android devices.
Assistive Technology for Independent Living: Remote Supports, Smart Home & Assistive Technologies in Action
Presented by Pamela Fields & Amy Rubin Mandell
Given that the current service delivery system for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and related disabilities and barrier issues is unsustainable, systemwide transformation is required to assure the right supports for each person. There are nationwide waiting lists for services and the costs keep growing. There is a staffing crisis for direct support professionals. And the major I/DD funder, CMS, released a final rule with new expectations for independence and community inclusion. Attendees will learn to rethink services and we will provide resources, including successful case studies, to help you build capacity to increase independence through successful implementation of assistive, smart home, and remote support technologies. Assistive, smart home, and remote support solutions presented will include remote supports systems, medication management, cooking safety, supports for healthy/independent cooking, simple video-chat solutions, GPS monitoring, supports for all areas of independent living (cleaning, managing appointments, shopping) and more. We will demonstrate how providers, family members and caretakers are able to get remote feedback as needed, all while enabling independent living options in the community for people with I/DD and other disabilities. Cases will address various abilities/needs, showing that the possibilities are wide-ranging and individualized, providing increased independence while ensuring safety, wellness, and community involvement.
Participants will be able to:
Demonstrate 8 -10 types of assistive, smart home, and remote support technology that is available to increase independence for people with IDD and other disabilities.
Demonstrate how assistive technology, smart home technology, and remote monitoring can be utilized and customized to meet individual needs and understand how to assess its effectiveness through 3-5 case studies applied to one’s own provider agency, program, or to meet individual needs.
Identify how to begin this journey and move forward with 1-2 people with IDD or other disabilities within one’s organization to provide increased independence through the successful implementation of assistive technology.
MAKING Assistive Technology
Presented by: Ken Hackbarth
When people think about “making” assistive technology, they typically imagine an individual with a disability paired with a nerdy craftsman. The craftsman learns of a need of the individual, disappears into his or her workshop for several weeks, and then reemerges with a custom solution. The craftsman then rides off into the sunset – job well done! The image would be comical if weren’t, in fact, the most common story. Unfortunately, this story ignores everything we know about the world of disability and the domain of product development. An effective process for making assistive technology will mirror the way that commercial businesses make things. In this session we’ll define a “maker” as well as “effective” making. We’ll examine our assumptions about who can be a maker and what skills are required to produce assistive technology that meets the needs and desires of as many people as possible. Finally, we’ll look at some cases of successfully “made” assistive technology along with the tools and services that support these efforts.
As a result of this session, participants will:
Learn an effective process for creating new assistive technology.
Understand the roles and skills necessary for creating assistive technology.
Understand when it’s appropriate to create DIY assistive technology – and when it’s not.
R3: A New App to Empower Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Against Abuse
Presented by: Krishna Venkatasubramanian & Tina-Marie Ranalli
This session will discuss how we co-designed a new app for and with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). We will demonstrate the app, discuss the accessibility features specifically designed for the I/DD community, and present the collaborative design process of working with the community.
Participants will understand:
Using technology to teach abuse to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
How to co-design technology with the community.
How to make technology accessible for a variety of populations.
Inclusive Technology Smackdown
Presented by: Mike Marotta, Naomi Leibowitz, & Payton Williams
Sharing is everything right? Wouldn’t it be nice if a group of people could just sit down and share different technology tools that can be used to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities? If you answered ‘yes,’ then this session is for you! Join us for this interactive Tech Smackdown. In this session, participants will share with each other different technology tools that can be used with and/or by individuals with disabilities. This is a session for practitioners led by practitioners. Come join us for a fast-paced and exciting experience for sharing your knowledge and learning with others. Bring your devices with you to share because this session is all about YOU!! The time flies by so come ready to learn. The facilitators will compile a list of shared tools for future reference.
Describe at least three creative solutions using iOS, Android, or Chrome apps to increase independence.
Identify at least 4 everyday technology solutions that can be used as inclusive / assistive technology to increase independence.
Collect a minimum of 8 resources to expand creativity and effectively match an individual’s needs to the features of technology tools.
Assistive Technology Providers: The Next Generation
Presented by: Beth Randall, OTD, OTR/L & Erin Naggy, OTD, OTR/L
This roundtable discussion session will welcome all those who educate future assistive technology professionals as well as current providers and consumers of assistive technology services. We will discuss the standards for assistive technology education for occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and educators and share how those standards are addressed in our teaching. Participants will be encouraged to share their strategies, successes (and failures!), and priorities in teaching the provision of assistive technology. The presenters intend to engage participants educating a variety of future assistive technology providers including occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, educators, and more. Current service providers and AT users are also welcome! Tell us what you want new educators and therapists to know when they enter practice.
List the key concepts essential to preparing new practitioners for entry level practice in assistive technology.
Identify one new learning activity or assignment they can apply in their own teaching of assistive technology principles.
Collectively create a shared resource document to take back into the classroom and/or practice.
Incorporating Access and Sensory Strategies Transparently into Multiple Environments
Presented by: Dr. Raymond T. Heipp
In our post-pandemic educational, therapeutic, and workplace environments, levels of anxiety have created issues surrounding both access to and the ability to complete tasks. In dealing with individuals, professionals have sought to provide sensory relief and then return those individuals to the tasks at hand. In reality, a combination of sensory support and alternative approaches to AT usage can allow individuals to create self-regulating habits as well as increasing their own cognitive and workplace abilities. This session looks at providing levels of transparency with both AT and Sensory Supports within any environment to assist in this process. In a hands-on format, we will review ways of approach in both Access through AT and self-regulation through socially and environmentally appropriate manners. Participants will take a journey into holistic environments which can provide support to both the neurodiverse and the neurotypical, developing life skills along the way.
This session is presented by a vendor of assistive technology.
Identify strategies to create transparency with AT.
Interact with various sensory strategies which provide support for all individuals.
Design a foundation for the movement into transparency with both AT and Sensory Supports.
Universal Design for Learning: The Path to Student Success
Presented by: Jeff Greaves
Universal Design for Learning: The Path to Student Success: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an inclusive approach where ALL students proactively get the learning supports they need. Inclusive educators need to be equipped to help students challenge reading and writing obstacles they face. In this session, we will show educators and administrators how to use assistive technology to make learning accessible to a wide range of students with diverse learning styles and abilities through learning tools. We’ll dive into Texthelp’s Literacy Bundle which offer the most complete toolkit available to meet the different ways and styles in which students learn today —from students who have challenges that affect their ability to read to the most advanced students who appreciate a structured approach to tackle assignments. We’ll also look at kickstarting the writer inside each student with grammar- and vocabulary-smart word prediction, translation support and speech recognition to help unstick ideas and get them to flow in writing. It is time to break down barriers to inclusive education and provide effective alternatives so ALL students can travel the path to success.
This session is presented by a vendor of assistive technology.
Demonstrate how a UDL model helps districts.
Demonstrate our flagship digital tool Read&Write.
Demonstrate digital tools that can accompany Read&Write. (OrbitNote).
Removing Vertical Accessibility Barriers
Our firm has developed a technology that provides accessibility to cabinets and shelves that are mounted on a wall above 48 inches high. Current options for above-head-height accessibility are either unsafe, inefficacious, or unaffordable, which create the additional barriers of usability and affordability. We’ve removed the affordability barrier through the efficiency in our robotic technology design, the safety barrier by developing a durable design, and removed the efficacy barrier by developing multi-directional linear robotic technology that lowers objects from 6 feet high and higher to within arm’s reach. During our presentation, we will share some of the challenges with developing this first-of-its-kind functionality and how we envision this technology has the potential for significant societal impact.
This session is presented by a vendor of assistive technology.
Gain awareness of a pervasive accessibility barrier.
Learn how technology can help remove this barrier.
Call to Action: Recruit potential partners, expand accessibility, advocacy for disability rights.