Archives: 2016 Conference

THANK YOU to our Attendees, Presenters, Exhibitors, and Expo Guests!

The 2016 Assistive Technology Conference of New England was a HUGE success!

Pre Conference

Thursday, November 17th

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Apps and AT to Support Literacy, Language Development, and AAC (Barrington)

     Many students struggle with literacy (reading and writing), from lower-order skills such as phonemic awareness, decoding, and encoding to higher-order skills such as fluency, comprehension, and conversational discourse. In addition, students with complex communication needs using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are challenged with the task of not only learning to communicate with a new language system, but simultaneously learning and practicing their literacy skills. With ever-changing technology and advancements in communication and learning tools, this often leaves educators feeling as though they are underprepared in terms of knowledge and skill regarding the most effective way to support students struggling with language and literacy.  These challenges often beg the following questions: (1) How do educators collaboratively build a bridge to support students’ language, literacy, and communication to foster continued learning? (2) What role does technology play in supporting student learning? and (3) What high-quality, affordable technology tools are available to provide learning support across a variety of ages?  This research-based, informative, and engaging session features hands-on demonstrations and activities for participants interested in building the bridge to learning through technology.  Participants will learn about apps (iPad and Google Chrome) and other assistive technologies (web resources, extensions, devices) to support all learners from preschool through high school, including those who struggle with literacy and/or experience complex communication needs.  Many language, literacy, and communication tools to foster learning will be presented, including accessible educational materials, spelling and vocabulary building resources, story creating (e.g., narrative, re-telling, social stories), tools to foster articulation and questioning, and natural conversation starters and builders, as well as AAC apps/devices with embedded lesson plan supports.  Participants will engage in group learning and discussions specific to the technology presented, as well as opportunities to problem solve specific student needs and create example lessons. Participants will walk away with knowledge, skill, and implementation strategies to use immediately with students.  Join us and add to your toolbox of technology resources!

    Diana Petschauer, M.Ed., ATP, Founder/ CEO of AT for Education and Access4Employment.

    Kelsey Hall, TOD, SLP, AAC & AT Specialist


  • 8:30 - 3:30 Chrome Supports for Struggling Students (Tiverton)

    Come explore an array of Google Chrome apps and extensions that could be used as Assistive Technology supports to benefit ALL learners. By leveraging the power of this common browser, we can make significant customization to meet the needs of struggling students.  Areas of focus will include reading, writing, organization and more. Make sure to bring a Chrome device (Chromebook, PC or Mac w/ Chrome Browser) so you can participate in this hands on learning experience.

    Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

    Acc, AEM, EDU, BYOT

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Meaningful Switch Activities for People with Multiple Disabilities…. Classroom and Beyond…. (Ocean)
    This presentation is for staff and family members that work with children and adults with multiple special needs that access the world through the use of switches. You will meet Patrick and his mom, Mary Anne, as they show you the everyday application of switches in Patrick’s life and the role that assistive technology plays in Patrick’s self-employment.   In spite of Patrick’s multiple disabilities, he has operated “Purely Patrick” for the past 4 years.  This successful business, which continues to grow and flourish, consists of specialty food items with a splash of country flare….jars filled with ingredients for a taste of Vermont!   And all completed using assistive technology!
    Patrick’s products have reached 35 states and 6 countries, including Russia, Germany, England and Bangui, in the Central Republic of Africa.  For more information check out
    Jennifer Keenan, Special Educator and Assistive Technology Specialist, will also provide hands-on opportunities to experience meaningful switch access and low tech ideas that could be used in the classroom, work, play/recreation, home, community, and social opportunities.  We will discuss how to adapt commercially bought toys/games/appliances and strategies for including these switch activated AT tools and toys into meaningful learning opportunities.

    Jennifer Keenan, Special Educator, Assistive Technology Specialist, The Maryland School for the Blind

    Patrick Lewis, Entrepreneur, Purely Patrick

    Mary Anne Lewis, Mom, Occupational Therapist

    Acc , AT, T/VR

    Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

  • 8:30 - 3:30 What the TECH!: Strategies for Implementing AAC from Lite-Tech to High-Tech (Patriot)

    Teams often get overwhelmed when asked to support an individual’s use and implementation of AAC. But, it is important to know that oftentimes we are already doing what we need to be, and that facilitating AAC use and implementation is an expansion of traditional techniques. When introducing a team to AAC we begin by reviewing triadic language development, inherent to AAC use, and aligning this to traditional language development. We discuss the critical role a communication partner’s listening, responding, and application of aided language stimulation plays in fostering AAC use. Following this theoretical introduction we discuss the environmental and ecosystem adjustments that assist in facilitating communication and language growth for individuals using AAC. The theories and concepts discussed are further described and exemplified through distinct clinical case studies of individuals with different profiles. This enables attendees to follow different learners as they and their teams learn about using and implementing AAC in their respective environments, and empowers them to apply the content to their own cases and circumstances

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Free Assistive Technology Tools and Digital Tools to Use with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Salon V)

    This fast paced workshop will highlight a wealth of free tools that can be used with individuals on the Autism Spectrum and/or with other special needs in a variety of categories including reading, writing, communication, functional life and social skills. Participants will spend time exploring the various tools and show and tell materials as well as be provided with access to an electronic handout including the highlighted tools as well as other tools and resources. The tools will include those that can be used on the computer, iOS devices or printed out to use off the computer. Participants are encouraged to bring their own personal devices to this workshop.

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Dollar Store AT Solutions: Make-and-Take (Narragansett)

    Assistive Technology doesn’t need to be expensive!  This make-and-take workshop will provide participants with a “Low-Tech Accommodation Toolkit” that contains an assortment of low-tech AT tools that can be found at their local dollar store.  These tools are designed to provide students with increased access to the general curriculum as well as adapt currently used classroom materials to support the guiding principles of Universal Design for Learning.  This workshop serves as a “quick-start” guide to making your current curriculum material more accessible for students.

    Participants will have the opportunity to engage in independent and collaborative work sessions throughout the day, which will enable individual educators and teams to develop and customize presented solutions to meet the needs of their learners and classrooms.

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Access to Print, Supports for Writing and Video as Alternative Means of Expression (Greenwich)

    Learn how to provide on the fly access to printed materials using a variety of solutions on all platforms for your students struggling with reading printed content. Next give them a voice for written and oral expression using support tools for writing including alternate on-screen keyboards for tablets, customizable word banks, visual and language supports or customizable word prediction options on all platforms.

    Finally, learn how video can be utilized as an alternative to writing for creating book trailers, as a means of demonstration of learning, explaining concepts with simple animated “paper puppets”, illustrate elements in poetry and much more. Hands-on with “green screen” technology opens up a world of possibilities allowing any image, file, website or even video, etc. to be the  backdrop of student video recordings, create video in video, picture and captioning in video for supports to understanding plus many other effects. Provide your students with tools to bring all their creativity and ideas together into one project. All platforms addressed. BYOT

  • 8:30 - 3:30 Becoming an Effective Communicator (Rhode Island)

    There are many ways to define effective communication.  One common way we define it today is by educational standards.  As such, many AAC devices are programmed to support the user’s successful participation in academic communication activities.

    Participation in class by answering specific questions such as “What do we call the process of cell division?… (mitosis) can be part of academic life for an augmented communicator.  However, supporting the ability to answer such questions regularly puts a burden on teachers, therapists, and family members.  “Homework words” must be programmed and learned on a weekly, or even daily, basis.  Academic-focused efforts tends to replace learning how to communicate as an interesting person with one’s classmates, family, and friends.

    The most important use I have had for my AAC technology is to build and nourish lasting relationships.  How does one do this?  It is not with academic vocabulary.  It is through social and personal sharing.  One does this through using three hundred (or so) simple words that make up most of what people say.

    “Is your wife feeling better?”  “Did your son’s side win?”  “Where did they play?”

    The flexible vocabulary needed to initiate and carry on interpersonal conversations is called “core vocabulary”.  Core vocabulary is powerful tool that is organized differently in many devices.  This workshop will illustrate multiple devices and core vocabulary arrangements and highlight their similarities and differences.  This workshop will also cover the concept of learning vocabulary through motor planning and integrating that concept into one’s overall augmentative communication plan.

     Chris Klein, President, Become: AAC
  • 8:30 - 3:30 Assistive Technology Solutions for Reading, Writing, Note-Taking, Math, and Organization (Salon IV)

    For over 30 years innovative educators have employed a vast number of Assistive Technologies (AT) within their classrooms to address the many obstacles that may inhibit active student participation. Students with learning, physical, communication, and sensory challenges have benefited in countless ways from technologies that make classroom activities more accessible. Even ESL students have found various technologies beneficial for increasing their participation. This one day workshop will present attendees with information and demonstrations of latest assistive technologies for making materials more accessible thereby enhancing student participation reading, writing, note-taking, math, and organization tasks. Bring your own devices to augment your participation even more.

     Mark Surabian, Pace University’s Graduate School of Education, and Founder of

    Acc, AEM, EDU, BYOT


Friday, November 18th


Salon V
Salon IV
Bristol A
Bristol B
  • Please click each Room to view full session descriptions.  

  • Digital Pathways Toward College, Career and Community Readiness

    Thousands of students with disabilities (SWD) continue to drop out of high school each year. Unfortunately, too many are unemployed or underemployed, particularly in comparison to their non-disabled peers. One data informed decision making model, called TAP-IT, provides a 5-stage structured, team approach to assess student progress, plan effectively, implement, and routinely track student performance.

    When TAP-IT is used in conjunction with technology tools, such as the Transition Digital Portfolio and the IM Ready Secondary Transition Project mobile application, students, teachers, and families engage in a systematic, user-friendly process for compiling and reviewing essential data, information, media, and artifacts relative to secondary transition planning. Combining an effective decision making process with these online tools transforms secondary transition planning from unwieldy large print portfolios to dynamic, collaborative and action-centered planning that forges digital pathways toward college, career and community readiness.

    The Transition Digital Portfolio (DP) allows students to easily compile and organize information and artifacts, (text, electronic file, images, multimedia, blogs, hyperlinks, etc.) providing an authentic representation of the goals and/or standards the student is working toward and the progress toward reaching them. The IM Ready Secondary Transition Project mobile application provides a solution to greater independence through a cross-platform mobile app and web version that promotes independence for individuals with disabilities to go to school, work and move freely around the community.

    As part of this presentation, several of the key features of the TAP-IT Data Informed Decision Making Process, the Transition Digital Portfolio, and the IM Ready Secondary Transition Project mobile application will be demonstrated. In addition, results of a case study that included high school students in a diverse urban setting who used foundational features of the DP will be shared showing the benefits of providing digital tools for transition planning.

    Dr. Mark Trexler, Instructor, Johns Hopkins University

    Veronique Gugliucciello, Instructor, Johns Hopkins University

    Jeanne Dwyer, Coordinator of Assistive Technology, Johns Hopkins University



    The ADA and Transition-Aged Youth Seeking Employment

    Graduating from high school is a rite of passage that is both exciting and scary. To help smooth the transition from high school into employment there are important differences between the ADA and IDEA that young people need to know and talk about. We will discuss disclosure and asking for a reasonable accommodation on the job. It can feel tough to talk about a disability for the first time in a new environment, so it can help to think about the accommodations you need to do your job beforehand.

    Stacy Hart, ADA Trainer, Information and Outreach Specialist, New England ADA Center



    Supporting Transition with Assistive Technology

    This workshop will focus on transition planning for students who use assistive technology as they move to new teachers, placements or settings. We will begin with the assumption that IEP teams have already determined that a student with a disability requires AT and the student has been using that AT in the current educational setting. Even though the philosophy of AT transitions included in this workshop are associated to the transition planning that is required for students 16 and older in the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004, the processes and strategies discussed will be appropriate for transitions of AT users at any age. We will also discuss how to involve families and students in their own transition process.

    Nicole Feeney, AT Specialist & Special Education Teacher, NEAT Center

    Jane LeFante, AT Specialist & Special Education Teacher, NEAT Center

    AT, T/VR


  • Developing Functional Vision Skills for Success with Assistive Technology

    Visual Processing is important for success with many assistive technology devices. Assistive technology devices increase participation, social skills and cognitive awareness for individuals with disability, especially children.  Impaired sensory or cognitive function has been linked to problems mastering AT.  Visual processing plays an important role for sensory integration and cognition.  A simple vision training program can be implemented to allow for better development of the visual skills needed for successful use of assistive technology. It can also help self-perception of performance which often does not match actual performance.  Improving visual processing including oculomotor function, binocular vision, stereo depth perception, visual processing and visual field has been shown to relate to more efficient use of assistive technology devices. You will be presented with simple techniques to recognize areas of weakness and for improving visual skills for more successful use of assistive technology.

    Dr. Cathy Stern, OD, FCOVD, FCSO, FNORA

    AAC, BLV, T/VR


    Touch as a Way of Seeing: Supports for Visual Impairments on Mobile Devices

    Mobile devices from both Google and Apple now include a number of advanced supports for users who are blind or who have difficulty seeing the screen. In this session, you will learn how to configure a number of low vision supports on these mobile devices, as well as how to set up and use the built-in screen readers for each platform.  We will go beyond simple navigation to explore advanced topics such as Braille display support and a number of alternative input methods. We will also look at the use of VoiceOver and TalkBack to perform common tasks such as surfing the Web, managing email, taking photos and more. Finally, we will explore some of the apps available on each platform to extend the capabilities of the built-in accessibility features, including apps for object recognition, access to print and more.

    Dr. Luis Perez, Independent Inclusive Learning Consultant – Apple Distinguished Educator, Google in Ed Certified Innovator


    Beginner, Intermediate

    Internet-of-Things for Special Needs

    The objective of this workshop is to educate the audience about Internet-of-Things (IoT) and their implications. IoT is defined as the network of physical devices and other items embedded with electronicssoftwaresensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.  The IoT has the potential to provide many benefits to individuals with disabilities. The workshop will discuss IoT based technologies for a specific population (autism). We will discuss WatchBuddies, which is a smartwatch-based technology for individuals with autism.

    Kunal Mankodiya, URI

    Nicholas Peltier, URI

    Alyssa Zisk, URI

    Alena Marcotte, Pathways, Trudeau Center

    AT, RSCH

    Beginner, Intermediate

  • Writing with Early AAC Users

    Writing is an essential activity of life.  It is a common core standard and an age respectful activity for all.  In this session we will look at all kinds of writing activities that can be used to teach augmentative and alternative communication skills through literacy work; and to teach literacy through AAC work.  Early and emergent AAC users enjoy seeing their thoughts and ideas on paper, as most people do.  We will explore how to engage individuals in writing activities using the alphabet through handwriting, typing or an alternative pencil as well as by using their AAC system.  Videos and sample activities will show how writing activities can be done with individuals of many different abilities as well as in groups.  Participants will create a plan to implement a writing activity with their own AAC users.

    Kate Ahern, M.S.Ed, Assistive Technology Specialist/Special Educator, Easter Seals MA

    AAC, EDU

    Beginner, Intermediate

    Communication is for Building Relationships

    Building and maintaining relationships is one of the most important things we do in our lives.  It is also one of the hardest.  Communication is a vital component to any relationship.  Be it a simple friendship or a long lasting partnership, no relationship can survive without healthy communication.

    Today in AAC, we see folks with a wide range of communication disabilities.  Some, like me, have mostly physical limitations.  Many have cognitive limitations as well.  People who use AAC are no different from the rest of society in that they want to build and maintain relationships, too.  For users of AAC, however, communication becomes a barrier to building relationships.  We are living in a fast-paced society where nobody takes the time to slow down.  Individuals with communication disabilities have a difficult time getting into conversations and sustaining them because they are not able keep up with the pace set by speaking individuals.  Unfortunately, nobody takes the time to stop and let users of AAC contribute to the conversation equally.  When a person can’t communicate efficiently, their opportunities to participate in conversations and build relationships are greatly reduced.  This session will focus on developing social and pragmatic strategies that AAC users can employ to address these challenges.

    Chris Klein, President, Become: AAC


    Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

    Let’s Talk About Chrome!

    Chromebook continues to take over classrooms and workplaces everywhere!  The Chrome browser, along with Google Apps for Education (GAFE), provide flexibility and support to a wide range of learners.  Come join in this edcamp-style conversation session where we will talk about all things Chrome.

    Have a question?  Want to share a success story?  The moderator will facilitate the discussion and session notes will be collected in digital format to keep the learning going even after the session.

    Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

    AT, EDU


  • How Can Individuals with Moderate to Severe Disabilities be Active Learners? (Vendor)

    Individuals with complex instructional needs require a high degree of flexible differentiated instruction to be actively engaged in the learning process.  A solution is not one-size-fits-all, but rather must be individualized.  AbleNet’s Action Dictionary answers the question “How can individuals be active learners?” By providing alternative access strategies for instruction.  Attend this session to explore the Action Dictionary and strategies that you can use to support increasing engagement and active participation for learners of any age.

    Alys Stets, M.Ed, Special Education Teacher, Hershey High School

    Mary Sagstetter, AbleNet, Inc., Business Development Manager

    Acc, EDU

    Beginner, Intermediate

    Make Accessible Worksheets on the iPad

    Print worksheets are an ongoing daily classroom activity. Because we know that many learners struggle with paper/pencil tasks, we try to use mobile devices to capture print to create accessible interactivity. Until now that involved multiple steps and apps. GoWorksheet Maker© converts print worksheets and tests into an accessible format so all students can use the same materials. Use the iPad camera, built-in document camera or PDF documents from any source. Add text-to-speech buttons, create word banks and text fields, or add multiple-choice questions with speech. Learners can drag and drop responses, type dictate responses from any keyboard, voice record responses, use simple draw tools for circling answers or draw lines to match answers. Learner and teacher exchange work digitally via cloud storage, Airdrop, Email, iMessage or print.

    Madalaine Pugliese, Assistive Learning Technologies, LLC

    Joshua Dickson, Assistive Technology Specialist, Communicare, LLC

    Acc, AEM, EDU

    Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

    Switch On: An Introduction to Switch Access on Mobile Devices

    Switch Control provides a robust solution for built-in switch access on iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone. With recent updates, switch access is now also available on Android devices. This session will focus on the latest features of Switch Control in iOS and Switch Access for Android, including the different access methods available on each platform. Features such as Recipes (iOS) for performing repetitive actions, Long Press (iOS) for adding more than one action to a switch press, Option Scanning (Android) and more will also be discussed. Along with a discussion of switch interfaces and other accessories for switch users, a number of communication apps that work well with Switch Control will also be demonstrated.

    Dr. Luis Perez, Independent Inclusive Learning Consultant – Apple Distinguished Educator, Google in Ed Certified Innovator

    Acc, BYOT

    Beginner, Intermediate

  • Best Practices for Digitizing Note-Taking Accommodations (Vendor)

    Why is note taking so difficult? What additional challenges do people with disabilities face? Why are effective notetaking strategies about more than capturing information? How can audioediting technology help students take better notes, remember more of what they hear, and regain control of their learning?  Learn the answers to these questions and more during this session!

    Dave Tucker, President of Sonocent LLC

    EDU, T/VR

    Speaking and Writing in the Clicker Classroom (Vendor)

    Come discover how Clicker and Clicker Apps link oral and written communication to enable all children to participate as fully as possible in the classroom. This session will explore how the Clicker family of products meets the needs of learners with literacy difficulties.

    The success of any student’s literacy development is dependent on proficient language skills. From being able to express basic needs and wants to developing an understanding of the features of a simple sentence to writing topic-specific essays and creating onscreen books, the Clicker Communicator iPad App, the Clicker writing Apps, and Clicker for Desktop provide a multifaceted approach to supporting learners’ communication  and language needs.

    Ensuring that speaking and writing activities are targeted at an individual’s needs and abilities is crucial for literacy success. Clicker resources are easily personalized to offer a range of supports at different levels in terms of ability, stage of literacy acquisition, genre, and subject matter.  Speech challenges, literacy difficulties, or learning disabilities don’t need to be a barrier to speaking and writing in the classroom.

    Kelly Davidowski, Crick Software

    Acc, EDU

    Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

    Free Speech! Speech Recognition as a Solution Across Platforms for Unlikely Users

    Speech recognition has become a powerful tool to increase productivity and improve access for individuals who have difficulty using traditional keyboard and mouse inputs as a result of physical, cognitive or perceptual disability.  Despite its mainstream use on mobile devices, speech recognition frequently causes frustration for new users.  This presentation will compare several commercially available free and paid applications and features available for multiple platforms and devices including PCs, Mac, iOS and Android tablets and iOS and Android smartphones.  Examples for using speech recognition to achieve educational, vocational and independent living goals will be shared.  We will describe client characteristics that work best for speech recognition, and strategies to overcome client limitations that may impact speech recognition such as dysarthria, accented English, literacy limitations, impairments in voice production, paralysis, cognitive impairments, and problem solving limitations.  Case studies, videos and live demonstrations will be utilized to illustrate these concepts.

    Kevin Berner, MS OTR/L, ATP, Clinical Supervisor, Assistive Technology, Easter Seals MA

    Tara Espiritu, OT, Assistive Technology Specialist, Easter Seals MA

    Acc, EDU, T/VR


  • Access on the Fly from Anywhere (Vendor)

    Do your students need access to classroom content, from print materials to electronic files, in multiple environments throughout the day, from multiple platforms, oh, and right now?! With a new, easy to use interface and a fast and flexible cloud based set of tools, learn how Kurzweil 3000/firefly can turn your iPad into an all in one scan, read and annotate tool for reading and writing assignments. Using even your tablet or cell phone snap and upload images of printed pages to the cloud allowing all your students to open them with tools for text to speech, writing, test taking tools, and more.Need in the moment reading aloud of a quiz, test or print materials for your student without the time for scanning the document into a computer? See how the Image Reader tool and a simple document camera can provide an independent “read station” for in the moment support. Accessibility is now threaded throughout your student’s day from place to place and device to device!

    Cami Griffith, Senior Account Executive, Kurzweil Education

    Dan Herlihy, AT Specialist, Connective Technology Solutions

    Acc, EDU

    Beginning, Intermediate

    Supporting Students with Dyslexia: AT, Accommodations and Literacy

    Dyslexia is the most common type of specific learning disability affecting 10-15% of the total population. In the US, approximately 1 in 5 students are coded with specific learning disability (SLD), many whom experience challenges in the area(s) of comprehension, oral expression, written expression, and/or basic reading skills (NCES, 2015).  With so many individuals experiencing dyslexia, it is critical that educators & service providers acknowledge Dyslexia and provide research-based interventions to support students in accessing the curriculum.

    This workshop will define Dyslexia and common profiles of students who experience this disability -strengths, areas of need, and presentation of learning difficulties in the classroom.  In addition, the CCSS and ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and the benefit they bring to students with dyslexia will be discussed. Learn how to develop goals, choose appropriate accommodations, and provide technology and specific literacy instruction to support access and success in education. Interventions designed to close achievement gaps by providing well-researched programming that is explicit, systematic, and multisensory in nature, combined with supportive technologies to foster literacy and independence. Embedding these interventions and AT tools into the curriculum personalizes learning and ensures access to language, literacy, and learning opportunities for all students, including in a UDL environment.

    Diana Petschauer, M.Ed, ATP, RESNA certified AT for Education

    Kelsey Hall, Ed.M., M.S., CCC-SLP, AAC/AT Specialist, Orton Gillingham Certified Instructor, AT for Education & Bridges to Learning

    AEM, EDU

    Reading Closer and Deeper with AT

    Assistive technology tools, like text-to-speech, have allowed many students to read texts independently, but how do we know if they understand what they have read?  They may be able to read, but do they get it? Do they notice patterns, sequences and details in the text?  Can they integrate what they read with what they know? Are they engaged with what they are reading? Participants in this fast-paced, interactive presentation will be introduced to classroom tested apps and web sites that support and develop close reading skills. We will also share techniques for engaging students in what they are reading. Bring your own devices to explore a variety of tools which promote reading independence and comprehension, guided by a Reading Specialist and an Assistive Technology Consultant.

    Karen Janowski, Assistive Technology Consultant, Ed Tech Solutions

    Leandra Elion, Literacy Coordinator, Adjunct Professor, Tufts University


    Beginning, Intermediate

    Beginner, Intermediate

  • AT for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

    Psychiatric disabilities or mental illness affects an estimated 40 to 50 million Americans, with many more people experiencing distressing symptoms each year. Very little is known by most mental health professionals, assistive technology specialists, rehabilitation counselors, or the general public about the important role that assistive technologies can play for people with a psychiatric disability. This presentation will introduce assistive technologies that are being used successfully by people with psychiatric disabilities to achieve employment and other life goals. This session will share specific resources that are inexpensive, customizable and very effective. Attendees will receive access to an extensive e-book of resources at no charge.

    Robert C. Bureau, M.Ed., CAGS, CCFE, Assumption College

    AT, T/VR

    Beginner, Intermediate

    ABC’s and XYZ’s of Technology for Aging

    During this session participants will explore a variety of technologies available to seniors as they age.  Attendees can expect to examine a variety of available apps and devices for vision, hearing, communication and memory.  The “If This Then That” protocol will be explored as a means to helping seniors maximize and enhance functional limitations.  New and innovative technologies, such as smart watches, the Amazon Echo and smart plugs, all used to help seniors age in place, will be explored.  Attendees can expect to leave with a broader knowledge of what exists and what is new and innovative in the world of assistive technology for seniors.

    Stacy Driscoll, M.Ed, ATP, LifeLong Assistive Technology and Assistive Technology in New Hampshire


    Intermediate, Advanced

    The Unique Impact of Social Media on Users’ AAC Experiences

    True inclusion for an individual using a speech generating device (SGD) in any environment is defined by that person’s actual degree of participation in a conversation. In the field of AAC we recognize the limitations of SGD’s and SGA’s (speech generating apps) to convey the fullness of communication for any user while among verbal peers. This presentation will draw our attention beyond those limitations to other avenues of personal expression and conversation through one of the most important channels that we all use – social media. Most of us can email, text, post, tweet, and express ourselves across virtual environments, but we typically don’t believe that any of those mediums could be as powerful as face-to-face communication. But for SGD users their experience is the opposite—some assert that digital communication can be of an equal and perhaps even greater value than face to face encounters with others. The digital world provides a communication pause just long enough to let SGD users communicate as peers with friends, acquaintances, and all others. The growing success of this multi-modal medium of communication is altering the world of AAC. In this presentation attendees will discover the powerful impact of Social Media applications for AAC users through an examination of real case studies and with demonstrations of the SGD applications which support digital communications.

    Mark Surabian, Pace University’s Graduate School of Education, and Founder of

    AAC, SM

  • Build Your Network with Social Media

    “Professional Development is the responsibility of the professional, not the institution.” This quote from Will Richardson (@willrich45) has never been more accurate.  Social Media has provided us with a dynamic range of options for learning and connecting with others.  Gone are the days of a “lone wolf” AT provider – you are now connected to the world!  Learn about ways to develop you PLN (professional learning network) through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and especially Twitter.  In 2016, PD really means “personal development.”  Bring your device and be ready to get connected.

    Karen Janowski, Assistive Technology Consultant, Ed Tech Solutions

    Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

    SM, BYOT


    Math, TECH and More!

    In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate a wide range of technology tools that will help teachers match assistive and educational technologies to national math standards and provide multi-modal teaching strategies for students with various learning styles. We will explore a continuum of tools and resources that can be used as part of a student’s digital toolkit – giving them better and easier access to the curriculum. These supports will address struggles with understanding concepts, calculation, computation, organization, aligning, and copying math problems down on paper.  As students struggle with mathematical skills, the importance of addressing difficulties with math through use of AT can be a critical. Participants will discover assistive and educational technology tools for classroom use, software, web resources and mobile apps designed to facilitate student success.

    Nicole Feeney, AT Specialist & Special Education Teacher, NEAT Center

    Jane LeFante, AT Specialist & Special Education Teacher, NEAT Center



    Video as Expression – Every Student has a Story to Tell

    Visuals, from images to video, can be a powerful tool to support learning, utilized to support teaching, learning and understanding of data, concepts, ideas and information. Students can also use visuals and video to help support communication of ideas, compensate for poor writing skills dues to writing disabilities or help express ideas and what they have learned. Topics include switch access to recording, using “green screen” technology, hardware tools, apps for recording and utilizing video, examples for classroom ideas, incorporating video into eBooks, captioning with video in video, text and images to enhance understanding and more.

    Dan Herlihy – AT Specialist, Connective Technology Solutions




Thank you to our 2016 Exhibitors!


Presenter Biographies

Kate Ahern, M.S.Ed, Assistive Technology Specialist/Special Educator

Kate completed a five year combined undergraduate and Master of Science program in special education at Simmons College in Boston. She taught special education in private, public and collaborative settings in Massachusetts for 15 years. She currently works as an assistive technology specialist and special education consultant for Easter a Seals MA and in private practice.

Kevin Berner, OTR, ATP 

Kevin is an Occupational Therapist and certified Assistive Technology Professional whose clinical area of specialty is in assistive technology and neurological rehabilitation. Kevin works as a Clinical Supervisor in the Assistive Technology Department at Easter Seals Massachusetts, and is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University.

Robert Bureau 

Robert has more than thirty years of experience as a speaker, workshop presenter, and faculty member. He has researched low-cost, effective strategies for achieving emotional wellness at the National Empowerment Center. He is the Director of Distance Learning for Graduate Studies at Assumption College and Faculty in the Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Program (Worcester, MA) where he teaches “Effective Use of Technology for Rehabilitation Counseling Professionals”.

Carolann Cormier

Carolann currently serves as an Education Specialist in the Division of Technical Assistance and Brokering Services (better known as TABS) at the Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford, CT.  Carolann has been with CREC since 1995 and currently works with the Special Services Support Team (SSST).

Carolann has written several publications on the topics of Assistive Technology and the workbook The Assistive Technology Guide to Maximize Learning for Students with Autism.

Kelly Davidowski

Prior to joining Crick Software as an Education Consultant, Kelly Davidowski was a classroom and intervention teacher in elementary schools, working mainly with students who struggled with reading and writing. Kelly uses her classroom experience to demonstrate and train teachers on the effective integration of Crick’s literacy support software.

Joshua Dickson, M.S.Ed

Joshua, an Educational Consultant and Assistive Technology Specialist, is a well-rounded and accomplished Educational Consultant who specializes is assistive technology, curriculum development, and inclusion supports for individuals of all ages and abilities.  His background is in autism spectrum and communication disorders.

Joshua’s pride in seeing others access and develop academic, social, and life skills is what continues to motivate his unwavering dedication.  Joshua joined Comminicare, LLC in 2015 to join a team of like-minded, progressive industry-leaders and broaden his reach in helping educators and school districts utilize the right training and technology to reveal opportunity for individuals and families across Massachusetts.

Stacy Driscoll, M.Ed

Stacy is the founder of LifeLong Assistive Technology, as well as, an assistive technology specialist and project coordinator for Assistive Technology in New Hampshire. She holds a graduate certificate in Assistive Technology and a master’s degree in Education.  Stacy has provided services to individuals with disabilities for over 25 years and conducts AT workshops on a variety of topics including aging and executive functioning.

Jeanne Dwyer

Jeanne is the coordinator of assistive technology for the School of Education, managing the Maryland Assistive Technology Network (MATN), which provides educators information on the most up-to-date assistive technology policies, practices and devices. As part of her work at the Center for Technology in Education, she offers professional development opportunities to MATN members through its semi-annual institutes, workshops, webinars, podcasts and the Maryland Learning Links website.

Leandra Elion

Leandra teaches in various educational settings.  She has a M.S. in Special Education and an M.Ed. in Reading. In the public school area, Leandra was most recently the Literacy Coordinator (K-12) for the Watertown Public Schools.  She also taught in Watertown as a reading specialist where she worked with students in tutorial settings or as a co-teacher in English, ESL and Special Education classes. She has taught students of all ages, from preschoolers and elementary students in Winchester, MA, to middle schoolers in Newton MA and also to high schoolers in Winchester and Watertown, MA.   She has also worked for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in their Special Education Planning and Policy Division. Leandra also works with teachers, and teacher interns at the college level both at Brandeis and Tufts University.   At Tufts Leandra is a Lecturer in Education, teaching the class The Inclusive Classroom which explores the ways in which students with special needs can be taught in inclusive settings that are based on Universal Design for Learning.  Immersing students in Assistive Technology is one of her passions.

Leandra follows many of her mentors and other inspiring educators on Twitter and Pinterest. You can follow Leandra on Twitter and Pinterest @2read4life and


Twitter:  @2read4life


Tara Espiritu, OTR

Tara is an Occupational Therapist currently working as an Assistive Technology Specialist for Easter Seals Massachusetts. She also has a background in Human Factors Engineering. Tara works with a wide variety of clients, from young adults with learning disabilities to home-bound older adults with Multiple Sclerosis.

Nicole Feeney

Nicole provides professional development, training, technical assistance, and consultation on the continuum of assistive technology devices and services to families, educators, therapists, clinicians, professionals; provides AT consultations and evaluations to people with disabilities of all ages; and offers AT demonstrations to promote community awareness. Nicole’s has taught students with special needs in the classroom as well as helped them to develop and improve their skills through the use of assistive technology. She has provided ongoing support, mentoring, and guidance to her students while promoting innovative approaches for their employment, independent living and community needs. A Master’s Degree in Assistive Technology from Southern CT State University has also allowed her to provide professional development and assistance to educators in K–12 settings.

Cami Griffith

Cami is a Sr. Inside Sales Executive for Kurzweil Education.  Prior to employment with Kurzweil Education, Cami spent time as a Severe Special Needs Teacher in the public and private sector.  She also worked for two other organizations developing assistive technology.  Cami has expertise in the areas of Autism and Behavior Modification.  She is a mom of two beautiful girls, likes being outside, reading and baking.

Veronique Gugliucciello

Veronique is an Instructor and Senior Program Coordinator with the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education. Currently, she leads the technical development and implementation process for digital portfolio initiatives. Ms. Gugliucciello holds a Master of Science, Counseling from the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts, Education from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Nerissa Hall

Nerissa, co-founding partner of Communicare, LLC, is a speech language pathologist and assistive technology practitioner specializing in AAC and tele-AAC. Nerissa offers assessment, intervention and consultation services, and teaches AAC and AT courses at Western Massachusetts colleges. She is also the Associate Editor of SIG 18’s Perspectives.

Kelsey Hall, TOD, SLP

Kelsey is a certified Teacher of the Deaf (TOD) and Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) as well as an AAC (Augmentative Communication) & AT Specialist. For the last 10 years, she has held a variety of roles in public education as a TOD and SLP throughout New England with students Pre-K through 12th grade, and is a consultant for AT for Education. Kelsey is also a certified Orton Gillingham trainer/ reading specialist. During her graduate schooling, she focused on language and literacy disabilities and early childhood language disabilities.  In addition, she wrote her master’s thesis on the effect of training SLPs in the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and related student language/AAC use outcomes.  Kelsey has a particular skill, experience, and interest in working with and training professionals in the use of AT and AAC apps and devices to support literacy and language development.

Stacy Hart

Stacy Hart is an ADA Trainer, Information and Outreach Specialist who provides technical assistance and training on the ADA across New England.  She has experience in all Titles of the ADA, the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board Codes, IBC, benefit planning and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Previously at Boston Center for Independent Living, Stacy worked with youth and adults with disabilities from diverse backgrounds achieve their education and independent living goals.  She specialized in explaining the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), helping parents through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process, and assisting with transition services for high school students. Stacy sees her work here as a continuation of making our communities more accessible and inclusive of everyone.

Dan Herlihy

Dan has worked in the education field for over 35 years, from Wilderness Programs for at risk students, Special Education classrooms, Network Administrator, Assistive Technology Resource Specialist and currently providing AT training and professional development for schools and learning centers. He presents nationally and internationally and has written articles for national publications, books on technology integration and tools for access, and produced CD’s of educational activities for students and templates for educators. His expertise is in taking diverse technologies, and connecting them together to provide solutions for access to the curriculum and communication of ideas and learning.

Karen Janowski

Karen is an assistive and educational technology specialist who maintains a private practice consulting to schools in the Greater Boston area. She presents both locally and nationally and is an adjunct professor at Simmons College, Graduate School of Education. She specializes in working with students with “high-incidence” disabilities including students with learning variabilities,  executive function challenges and students on the Autism Spectrum.

Hillary Jellison

Hillary, co-founding partner of Communicare, LLC, is a speech language pathologist and assistive technology practitioner specializing in AAC. Hillary offers assessment, intervention and consultation services, and teaches AAC and AT courses at Western Massachusetts colleges.

Jennifer Keenan

Jennifer has worked in the field of Special Education for over twenty years.  Jennifer earned her Masters Degree in Special Education/Assistive Technology from Johns Hopkins University and The Center for Technology in Education.  Jennifer currently works as an Assistive Technology Specialist at The Maryland School for the Blind.  Jennifer enjoys participating in Animal Assisted Therapy for Students with Special Needs, being a team member for Connections Beyond Sight and Sound, and Co-Author for website.

Chris Klein

Chris is a voice to those that have none and helping hand to those with disabilities, even though he was born with cerebral palsy and uses augmentative communication to help him interact with the rest of the world. Chris used his first augmentative communication device when he was 6 years old. This allowed him to be mainstreamed starting in third grade, and opened doors that nobody thought were achievable.

Chris is a graduate of Hope College and has studied at Western Theological Seminary. This has allowed him to speak at churches, conferences, retreats, and schools.   Chris travels all around the country sharing his story. This has led him to start writing Lessons from the Big Toe. It is his faith journey and provides unique insights regarding God, people, and the importance of community. It challenges the reader to see these concepts from a different perspective and examine these in their walks of faith.

Over the past four years, Chris has been working closely with people that use AAC. He has recently been elected president of USSAAC (United States Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication). He has realized that the AAC community has a real need for a mentor program, and this has led him to form an organization called BeCOME AAC. It stands for Building Connections with Others through Mentoring and Education about AAC. BeCOME AAC is committed to assisting persons with speech disabilities live in fulfilling way. BeCOME: AAC believes that the cornerstone to a full life is derived from the ability to participate in meaningful relationships with others and engage in everyday social interactions a fully ratified participant.

Chris has presented at ASHA, ISAAC, and ATIA, as well as taught in several universities (Purdue, Penn State, Indiana, and Pittsburgh) about AAC.

Jane Lefante

Jane provides professional development, training, technical assistance, and consultation on the continuum of assistive technology devices and services to families, educators, therapists, clinicians, and healthcare professionals. She offers AT demonstrations to promote community awareness to organizations. Jane spent much of her teaching career at the West Hartford Public Schools in West Hartford, CT, where, during the course of her career, taught elementary aged students across the special needs spectrum in the classroom, the Pre K – 5 Special Needs population at the Early Learning Center, as well as worked as a Reading Interventionist. In the private sector, she has provided ongoing support, mentoring, and guidance to students and families to individualize learning experiences through assessment and the use of AT. Jane earned her Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts, as well as an official certification as a Reading Consultant at Central CT State University. She has had classroom training hours in Orton Gillingham and Wilson Language System training. She also has the Assistive Technology Professional/Assistive Technology Applications Certificate through California State University at Northridge.

Mary Ann Lewis

Mary Anne practiced as an Occupational Therapist for 27 years.   She started in adult rehabilitation, but after 12 years, switched to the world of pediatrics after her son Patrick was born 14 weeks prematurely.  Quickly learning that pediatrics are “not just little adults”, she used all her newly gained knowledge (and empathy) from Patrick and applied it to her own skill set.  Mary Anne followed  Patrick to The Maryland School for the Blind where she worked for 16 years as the Occupational Therapy supervisor.  In 2009, Mary Anne and her husband moved to Stowe, Vermont, where they now own and operate a Bed and Breakfast.  In 2011, Mary Anne helped her son, Patrick, develop his own business using his strengths and assistive technology.  In her spare time, Mary Anne enjoys skiing, bicycling, reading and knitting.

Patrick Lewis

Patrick, 25 years old, has had his own business since the age of 19.  Patrick has cerebral palsy, intellectual delay, is blind and non-verbal.  Patrick’s business, “Purely Patrick” focuses on his skills and strengths (    Using assistive technology, Patrick makes “specialty food items with a splash of country flare: mason jars filled with ingredients for a taste of Vermont.”  Patrick has the support of a job coach 25 hours a week.

By participating in his business, Patrick has many opportunities to participate in the community: trips to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients, the hardware store to get the Mason jars, the post office to mail his on-line orders and numerous craft shows and Farmer’s Markets in and around his hometown of Stowe, Vermont.  In addition, Patrick has a chance to practice social skills as well as gaining a feeling of self-worth and dignity.

Patrick has presented at the Vermont Voices and Choices conference, Vermont APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First), Stowe Rotary and the 2015 and 2016 New England Assistive Technology Conference.  In his spare time Patrick enjoys adaptive skiing, swimming and singing.  He loves music of all kinds.

Kunal Mankodiya

Dr. Mankodiya is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Dept. of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, USA. He pursued his postdoctoral research at Intel Science & Technology Center affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. He received Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Luebeck, Germany, with an emphasis on wearable health monitoring. He holds B.E. (Saurashtra University, India) and M.Sc. (University of Luebeck, Germany) degrees in Biomedical Engineering (BME).  He has published a number of journal and conference articles and book chapters in the areas of BME, embedded computing, human-computer interaction, digital signal processing, and robotics. He has published a book on wearable health monitoring that serves as a hands-on guide to program high-end embedded processors for healthcare applications. His embedded design of a wearable ECG system based upon smart textiles has earned him the SYSTEX student award 2010, University of Ghent, Belgium.  He is a member of IEEE, ACM, and Biomedical Engineering Society and serves in the professional society in various capacities, including technical program committees and scientific workshop organizations. He also serves as a reviewer for various journals and conference proceedings in the fields of Human-Machine Systems, Humanized Computing, Sensors, Internet-of-Things, and Pervasive Healthcare.  He organizes Internet-of-Things Hack-a-Thons every year to promote entrepreneurship and startups in the area of IoT.

Alena Marcotte

Alena Marcotte, M.S., BCBA, LBA is the Director of Special Education at Pathways Strategic Teaching Center.   Pathways is an education and treatment center serving students ages 3 to 21 with autism and other developmental disabilities.  Alena received a Master of Science degree in School Psychology from the University of Rhode Island in 1999.  She is a certified School Psychologist through Rhode Island Department of Education.  In 2007, she received certification as an Administrator of Special Education.  In November of 2014, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and is currently licensed as a behavior analyst in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  She is a member of the Association of Behavior Analyst International (ABAI) and a member of the Rhode Island School Psychology Association (RISPA).

Mike Marotta

Mike is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional who has been providing direct services to individuals with all disabilities for over 25 years. He runs his own technology consulting firm, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC. As an evaluator, Mike works collaboratively with teams in all environments (school, workplace, and community) to effectively match the individual’s needs to technology supports.
Mike is a nationally and internationally recognized presenter who was previously a trainer for California State University at Northridge (CSUN), providing practical and in-depth training to professionals interested in specializing in assistive technology. In addition, Mike is an adjunct professor at Simmons College (MA); California State University, Northridge (CA); Ramapo College of New Jersey (NJ); and Felician College (NJ) where he teaches courses for pre-service teachers and Masters level educators in Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning. Mike is also a member of the Faculty at the Center on Technology and Disabilities ( and presents on an array of topics. Mike is the Director of the Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center at Disability Rights New Jersey, Manager of Professional Development at Learning Ally and serves on the CAST Accessible Educational Materials Advisory Board.

Nicole Natale

Nicole is a speech-language pathologist who has been providing AAC and AT services to students for over 13 years. She currently provides technical assistance and training to school districts throughout the state of CT on a wide variety of topics in AT. She also completes AT and AAC evaluations for students and supports districts with AT implementation and consideration. Nicole co-wrote with Carolann Cormier “The Assistive Technology Guide to Maximize Learning for Students with Autism.”

Nicholas Peltier

Nicholas is a Computer Science Undergraduate student at The University of Rhode Island. He is an Android Certified Application Developer, and also has experience with programming both Android and Pebble Smartwatches. Before working at URI’s Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering Lab, Nicholas worked as a PASS worker at The J.Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. There, he worked with children with various disabilities to help them better interact and function as individuals in their communities and everyday lives. Nicholas feels it has been quite a blessing to be able to use his talents and skills as a programmer, to help a group of people who mean a lot to him.

Email : 
LinkedIn :
Instagram : @pellyprograms

Dr. Luis Perez

Dr. Perez is an inclusive learning consultant and award-winning educator based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has more than a decade of experience working with educators to help them integrate technology in ways that empower all learners. Luis holds a doctorate in special education and a master¹s degree in instructional technology from the University of South Florida, and he is the author of Mobile Learning for All: Supporting Accessibility with the iPad, from Corwin Press. Luis has been honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) in 2009, and as a Google in Education Certified Innovator (2014). He is also a Book Creator Ambassador and a TouchCast Ambassador (2016). He currently serves as the Professional Learning Chair of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which recently recognized him as its 2016 Outstanding Inclusive Educator Award recipient.. His work has appeared in publications such Teaching Exceptional Children, Closing the Gap Solutions, THE Journal, and The Loop Magazine.  In addition to his work in educational technology, Luis is an avid photographer whose work has been featured in CNET, Better Photography magazine, Business Insider,  the New York Times Bits Blog and the Sydney Morning Herald. Luis has presented at national and international conferences such as South by Southwest EDU, STE, CSUN, CEC, ATIA and Closing the Gap.

Diana Petschauer, M.Ed., ATP

Diana is a RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional and founder/ CEO of AT for Education and Access4Employment. Diana has over 20 years of experience in Special Education & Assistive Technology, K12, Post-secondary & adult services. She presents locally and nationally including at conferences such as ATIA, New England AT, Closing the Gap, & CSUN and is a faculty trainer for CTD, Center on Technology and Disability ( as well as ATinNH at the UNH Institute on Disability. Diana manages her multi-disciplinary team of consultants who provide AT & AAC evaluations, training & services for students and adults to access education, employment, home & the community. ATforED and A4E are New England based companies, services provided nationally, in person as well as live webinars, online meetings and online learning courses.

Madalaine Pugliese

Ms. Pugliese has 40 years of experience in K-12 education, plus 25 years in higher education, and is a nationally acknowledged consultant in assistive technology integration. Madalaine has received international awards and recognition for her innovations including: Apple Distinguished Educator by Apple Computer, Inc.; “Shaper of the Future” by Converge Magazine; a recipient of the Pathfinder Award from MassCue; and the highly respected Elizabeth Dalton Award recognizing leadership in the field of Assistive Technology.

The Smithsonian Computerworld Honors Program recognized Madalaine’s work with a Laureate Award twice: In 2000 as Director of the Assistive Technology Project for the Massachusetts Department of Education, and in 2001 as the author of the Stages Developmental Framework (book and accessible diagnostic software).

Her achievements include: Former Director of Assistive Technology Graduate Program at Simmons College, Boston, MA; one of the Ten Most-Influential Assistive Technology Specialists in the country by Microsoft/IntelliTools partnership; Former developer and Director of the Assistive Technology Project for the Massachusetts Department of Education; Former Co-director of Camp Apple and summer program for educators on new instructional technology; and Founder of Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology, a nonprofit organization offering information and resources for families with needs for adaptive technologies

Mary Sagstetter

In her current role at AbleNet, Mary’s expertise focuses on providing school districts across the nation with standards based curricular programs and assistive technology solutions for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Mary has 29 years of experience serving the field of Special Education, the last 18 of which have been with AbleNet Inc.

Dr. Cathy Stern, OD, FCOVD, FCSO, FNORA

Dr. Stern has a private practice near Boston limited to diagnosis and treatment of behavioral/developmental/neurological vision problems.  Treatment includes neuro-optometric vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, and perceptual learning programs. She presents courses about acquired brain injury, vision and learning, special needs and assistive technology.  Email: and on the web at:

Alys Stets

Alys is the Secondary Multiple Disabilities Support Teacher at Derry Township School District, Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Her role includes integrating differentiated instruction to access standards based curriculum for students with complex instructional needs, especially through the use of assistive technologies. She has worked in the field for 9 years, with a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education and M.A. in Severe/Multiple Disabilities.

Mark Surabian

Mark has utilized assistive and instructional technologies to directly serve the educational and vocational needs of thousands of individuals with disabilities for over 29 years, across five states, in both private and public school systems, in residential and work facilities, and within home-based learning programs. He developed and presently operates, a free assistive technology support program at the JCC in Manhattan, where he has served the needs of over 2500 children and adults with communication, vision, learning, and physical challenges. As an Assistive Technology Consultant he has provided services to NYC DOE, NYS Acces-VR, and to well over 50 school systems across the Tri-State area to address the curriculum, UDL, and participation needs of students, and further provide training/support for educators.

Mark is an instructor for Pace University’s Graduate School of Education, a frequent lecturer on assistive technologies at local colleges (Bankstreet College, Columbia University Teachers College, NYU, etc.), and has conducted trainings for NYC educators through the Everyone Reading Assn., the NYC Special Education Collaborative, and the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project. He has consulted for AT technology developers (AMDi, BlinkTwice, LC Technologies, Panther, Total Talk, etc.) and advocacy agencies (MS Society, Advocates for Children, ARISE, etc.). He has collaborated on numerous research projects around the use of AT for learning, communication, and accessibility. His lectures range from voluntary parent trainings at local agencies and conferences, to contracted staff trainings on Educational and Assistive Technologies for both high and low incidence disabilities and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Mark is currently working on a dissertation examining educator perceptions on the value of Cloud-based AT for students with learning challenges.  His free resources may be found at

Mark Trexler

Mark is a Program Coordinator with the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications with a concentration in video production and multimedia from Kutztown University; a master’s degree in instructional design and adult learning from Penn State University; a Master of Science degree in Special Education, with an emphasis on secondary/adults and a doctoral degree with a concentration in Urban Education Curriculum and Work-force development from Johns Hopkins University.

Dave Tucker

Dave has delivered talks on the challenges of note taking and the solutions offered by the latest assistive technology at conferences across North America and Europe.  He is President of the multi-award-winning educational firm Sonocent, who make software which has enabled over 110,000 students with disabilities in Europe and North America to take notes independently, without support from peer notetakers.  Dave is a champion of the spoken word and has dedicated his career to helping students and professionals harness its potential to transform the way they work.

Alyssa Zisk

Alyssa is a doctorate student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI. SHe received their masters in Mathematics and undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Mandarin Chinese, and Mathematics from URI as well. Alyssa works for the Art of Problem Solving as a teacher of mathematics. Her interests include assistive technology, with a focus on communication supports and anything where math will help.