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Reflections and Visions
ABLE Tech will be offering three levels of training for in-person workshops in the 2017-18 school year. Watch your email in-box for session descriptions and registration information. ABLE Tech will also launch a new online AT Curriculum which educators will be able to access at their convenience, as well as improved website resources to guide educators through the steps of assessing students’ needs for AT.
Several lucky AT Support Teams have begun receiving new devices to use with their students after being selected as AT Award Winners. ABLE Tech has wrapped up its 2016-17 training year by awarding nine participating teams $250 worth of Assistive Technology. The teams chose items ranging from adapted loop scissors to wobble chairs.
Here’s what one participant had to say:
“One of my itty bitty's has the wiggle stool and he sat on it for 15 minutes the first trial. Normally, 2-3 minutes before he's up and going, on a good day. I can't wait to organize and document next fall, for evidence. Thank you so very much! “
- Sonya Arnold, Guthrie AT Team
To see who received the AT Award see May AT News You Can Use.
Wrap-up and Reboot
Thanks to all who participated in our AT Discovery Webinar Series for the 2016-17 school year! We hope you will continue to take advantage of this opportunity for free professional development. Preparations are underway for a new round of webinars to begin in the fall, which will cover topics such as documenting AT in the IEP, increasing access to curriculum through Bookshare, and the ever-narrowing gap between AT and Instructional/Educational Technology. Watch your email in-box for webinar dates and details.
We completed the 2016-17 series May 9th with AT for Computer Access and Ergonomics. Among the AT featured in this webinar, was an innovative distance communication solution which can be used as AT for students who receive educational services off-site. Click to see video about Double Robotics. (The link takes you to the company’s website. You will need to scroll down and click where it says “Watch Peter’s Story”.)
If you would like to watch any of the webinars again, you may access the archives at your convenience on our AT Discovery webinar series 2016-2017 webpage. Need documentation of your participation? Email Kimberly.Berry@okstate.edu to request a certificate for completing an archived webinar.
A third-grade student was initially referred to Jenks Special Education Teacher Tami Vallely for behavior issues, and he also had difficulty with writing mechanics. Vallely said the nine-year old was at, or above, grade level for all subjects, but struggled with writing-- even with high oral and reading abilities.
The IEP team chose to try Co:Writer from Don Johnston, to see if word prediction would help with getting his thoughts onto paper or into text. Through the process, Vallely determined that the student didn't really need word prediction; he just needed some of the standard features of word processing programs. She found that using the spell check feature gave him confidence to successfully complete writing assignments.
Now the student is writing page after page, has confidence, and his behavior issues are happening with less frequency. “He is a perfectionist, and was stressed about writing,” Vallely said. “Once he learned how to use the software cue of squiggly lines to show improper spelling, and then fixed his spelling, he found consistent success.” Valelly says this success has even transferred over to the paper-pencil writing process.
An additional positive outcome for the student has been taking on a “teaching role” with peers. Vallely says that he now shows other students how to use the spell-check feature, and this has built his confidence even more.
FREE Equipment for Individuals with Disabilities
Do you serve students with disabilities? Then please let their families know they may qualify to receive free smoke alarms and alert equipment!
ABLE Tech partners with the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) and Fire Protection Publications at Oklahoma State University to install smoke alarms and alert equipment at no cost to qualified applicants through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The program is for individuals who meet the following criteria:
To qualify, applicants must have a professional attest to their disability as part of their completed application.
Tools for Early Communication Skills
Support early communication skills with simple-to-use AT! Several devices can play a recorded message, and feature large, brightly colored buttons designed to be easy to press for individuals with limited motor skills. Some devices allow multiple messages, increasing the possibilities for interaction. Enabling Devices offers free downloadable resources with activity suggestions and ideas for messages to record on different types of digital speech output devices. Click to visit the Enabling Devices website. ABLE Tech Speech Language Pathologist Allyson Robinson also has a tip for educators: when recording messages for children, get another kiddo to record the voice, so that the child you’re helping can sound like a kid and not an adult!
Record any single message directly into the BIGmack Communicator and press its activation surface for playback, up to two minutes in length. With its large, 5-inch activation surface, the BIGmack is an excellent choice for students with visual impairments or who require a larger target area. Powered by a replaceable 9-volt battery, BIGmack never needs charging and can last for weeks or even months on a single battery.
The iTalk2 dual-message communicator gives children the freedom to choose between two activities, such as listening to music or a story. iTalk2 is also perfect for asking and answering questions, telling, and commenting. With 8.5 seconds of recording time per activation surface, the possibilities are endless. Add a toy or appliance for immediate positive reinforcement and to enhance messages.
This portable dedicated speech generating device features multiple message locations and several minutes of record time. Simply switching between the available recording levels provides opportunities for even more messages. Includes built-in carrying handle.
Step-by-Step Communicator with Levels
This multi-message device is ideal for pre-recording sequential messages to be used at specific times during the day, or for recording and storing sequential messages that are used on a regular basis. There is no limit to the number of messages per level within the 75 seconds of recording time with the Step-by-Step Communicator with Levels.
Each week ABLE Tech features one of the many assistive technology devices available for trial through our device loan program. Individuals have the ability to see, touch, and try AT to help them in the decision-making process by providing:
Our inventory offers a wide range of AT for communication, computer access, hearing, vision, daily living, environmental adaptations, learning/development, health, safety, and recreation.
Alternative Transition Assessment Survey
The University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center is collecting information from special education personnel to identify needs for future transition assessments and appropriately measure skills of students with significant cognitive disabilities. By participating in a survey, educators will be able to provide valuable feedback to aid in the development of a new transition assessment known as the TAGG-A.
As you may know, there are not many transition assessments that meet the needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities. The Zarrow Center needs input to help design an assessment tool that will appropriately assess students with more significant disabilities.
Completion of the survey is confidential and voluntary. The survey will take about 10 minutes or less to complete. If you should have questions prior to completing the survey, please contact Malarie Deardorff (email@example.com), Dr. Jim Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by phone at (405) 325-8951.