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Congratulations are in order to six AT Support Teams who completed all of the activities and assignments of the ABLE Tech training program for 2015-16! Three beginner and three experienced AT Support Teams have been awarded $250 to purchase AT to use with students in their districts. More than 250 educators participated in the workshops, webinars, and activities.
1st Place: Ardmore
2nd Place: Bixby
3rd Place: Jenks
1st Place: Oklahoma City
2nd Place: Kansas
3rd Place: Mid-Del
Registration is open for ABLE Tech 2016-17 AT Training which includes beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops.
BEGINNER: “AT Consideration and Assessment Workshop” (Level: Beginner) 8:30 - 12:30 p.m. | 4 CEUs
This half-day workshop is designed for teams who have never attended an ABLE Tech AT Support Team workshop as well as for educators who want to learn the basics of quality assistive technology (AT) provision. The workshop explains how to consider and assess the AT needs for students on IEPs and will include exploration of AT in a variety of categories including communication, vision, hearing, daily living, seating, positioning, environmental controls, and learning, cognition, development.
INTERMEDIATE: “AT Implementation and Operational Procedures Workshop” 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. |5 CEUs
This full-day, intermediate level, workshop is designed for teams who have attended our beginner workshop, “AT Consideration and Assessment”. This intermediate workshop teaches how to effectively and consistently implement AT with students, which is often the most overlooked step in successful AT integration. Additionally, ABLE Tech trainers will review student case studies to demonstrate AT feature matching. Teams will participate in “round robin” AT tables that provide an opportunity to learn more about the assistive technology available for loan from ABLE Tech. Pre-requisite: Beginner AT Consideration and Assessment Workshop.
ADVANCED: “AT Feature-Matching Workshop” (Level: Advanced) 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 5 CEUs
This advanced full-day workshop is designed for teams that have attended ABLE Tech’s AT Support Team workshops at the beginner and intermediate levels and would like additional hands-on experience with AT devices. Pre-requisite: Attendance at ABLE Tech beginner and intermediate AT Workshops in 2012-2015. Space is limited for this workshop.
Teachers and parents often ask ABLE Tech staff for help finding tools to help children with disabilities succeed in school. As Oklahoma’s Assistive Technology (AT) Act Program, ABLE Tech has many resources for not only finding, but also funding AT for individuals of all ages and needs.
Assistive Technology, AT, is defined as any item, device, or piece of equipment used to maintain or improve a person's capabilities, allowing them to function independently in recreation, education, employment, and daily living activities. Examples include speech communication devices, electronic magnifiers, and personal amplification systems.
ABLE Tech recently introduced new AT Discovery web pages, designed to make information easier to find. Each AT Discovery page covers a different category of AT, such as vision, hearing, speech, etc., and provides considerations, case studies, and recommendations of devices to try. Each page lists potential funding sources and links to the funding guide OK Funding for Assistive Technology, which explains the steps and strategies for acquiring AT and provides information about a wide range of public and private funding sources.
In addition to pages for the various categories of AT, AT Discovery will include sections for Universal Design for Learning, Guidance for Parents, and AT Curriculum, which educators and families can access at any time to learn about the process of providing AT devices, software, and services to students with disabilities. ABLE Tech staff will offer a series of AT Discovery webinars beginning this fall. Each webinar will highlight a different AT category, and include a training presentation and a case study. The goal is to provide information necessary to select and acquire AT as easily as possible! Learn more at okabletech.okstate.edu or call 800-257-1705.
ABLE Tech provides services for students in public schools through a contract with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Educators and family members can access ABLE Tech AT Consultation services, and borrow devices through the Device Demonstration and Loan Program. ABLE Tech also offers informational videos, webinars and workshops focusing on the provision of AT to students in public schools.
Working in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE) and other stakeholders, ABLE Tech has recently updated the Technical Assistance Document for Accessible Educational Materials (AEM). The document explains, in easy to understand terms, how to provide textbooks, workbooks, novels, and other curricular materials in specialized formats, such as audio, braille, large print, and accessible digital text. Input was provided by the State AEM Committee, which in addition to ABLE Tech and SDE staff, includes representatives of the AIM Center at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Liberty Braille, and the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
Find additional information about providing specialized formats and related AT on the ABLE Tech Accessible Educational Materials web page.
Does your school have any students who use braille? If so, the Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and braille transcriber or transcriptionist can take advantage of free online training programs to prepare to teach using Unified English Braille (UEB) before the 2016-17 school year begins. Get Information about online UEB transition courses.
UEB is a revision and extension of English Braille American Edition (EBAE) which is currently used. UEB includes new symbols, eliminates some current contractions, and is designed to better incorporate future changes. According to the Oklahoma UEB Transition Plan (available in PDF or Word versions) schools are expected this fall to begin providing handouts and locally-produced materials in UEB. TVIs should begin providing student instruction in UEB for literary materials, or UEB plus Nemeth Code if appropriate, to some degree for all grades. Students will also need to learn EBAE, as state tests will use EBAE through the end of the 2018-19 school year.
IDEA requires schools to provide accessible educational materials to students who need them in a timely manner, which Oklahoma has defined as “at the same time as other students or to the greatest extent possible.” If a student who is blind or has visual impairment needs textbooks, workbooks, novels, or other curricular materials in braille or large print, the district should contact Liberty Braille as soon as possible in order to receive them before school begins.
In addition to braille and large print, Liberty Braille also provides iPads to qualified students to read their materials in accessible digital text from Bookshare. Before applying for an iPad from Liberty Braille, the student must successfully complete a trial loan of an iPad with an accessible book reading app from ABLE Tech. Submit ABLE Tech Device Loan Application and enter “iPad for Liberty Braille trial in the device requested blank. If you have questions or need assistance in setting up the trial loan, call 800-257-1705 and ask for Kimberly, or email Kimberly Berry. Learn more about assistive technology for reading with specialized formats on the ABLE Tech Accessible Educational Materials web page.
If you have students with a suspected visual impairment, and require help determining what services and formats of learning materials are needed, you may contact the Oklahoma School for the Blind (OSB) outreach services. Call Sherry Holder at 918-781-8200 x8266 or email email@example.com
OSB recently redesigned their website, and it is easier than ever to read and navigate. You can learn about the residential school, see upcoming events, schedule a tour, and apply for admission or outreach services. Check it out at http://osb.k12.ok.us/new/
Schools are required to provide educational services to students with disabilities, even when those students live in nursing homes and other residential facilities. That’s the message of a Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation dated April 26, 2016. Read the Dear Colleague Letter.
The letter was written by Michael K. Yudin, who at the time was Assistant Secretary for Special Education, and Ruth Ryder, Acting Director of the Office of Special Education Programs.
The letter was meant as a clarification of state education agency (SEA) and local education agency (LEA) obligations under IDEA, and serves as a reminder that schools are responsible for identifying, locating, and evaluating all children with disabilities who reside in the state, regardless of the severity of their disability. If an LEA learns of a child who lives in a facility located in a different school district than where the parents live, the LEA should seek guidance from the state education agency.
The letter points out that the state where the parents reside is responsible for providing FAPE to a child with a disability—even if the child is placed in an out-of-state facility. The letter also reminds schools that the amount and types of special education and related services provided to a child must be based on the child’s individual needs as set forth in the child’s IEP.
LEAs are typically responsible for all costs of providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE); however, for unusual situations, districts may contact the SEA to seek help with funding, as states are allowed to reserve a portion of IDEA funds to establish an LEA high cost fund to aid such districts. Read additional analysis of this topic in the May 12 issue of Disability Scoop.
A special education teacher recently contacted ABLE Tech for help trialing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems with a 7 year old student who has multiple disabilities. The boy is in 2nd grade and needs to be able to communicate in many environments, including regular education and special education classrooms, adaptive PE, recess, and on the school bus. He is able to move his head independently, and has strong eye gaze. The student currently uses vocalizations/laughter and body language to communicate, and the student has previously had success using head switches and an eye gaze board.
After consulting with ABLE Tech staff, the teacher decided to borrow an iPad with the Proloquo2Go app and a head pointer stylus through the ABLE Tech Device Demo and Loan Program. Proloquo2Go will allow the IEP team to change the size of the messages to see how big or small the messages need to be for the student to access them successfully. The head pointer with stylus will help the team determine if the student has the necessary head control to directly select messages on the screen.
During the initial trial, the teacher plans to look for a part of the student’s body that can be moved consistently, efficiently, and with little fatigue. This will potentially allow the student to use a switch to access vocabulary on an AAC system.
Depending on the results of this trial, the teacher may also consider trying the Tobii Dynavox I-15, which is a dedicated AAC device that can be accessed using eye gaze.
Do you need help selecting assistive technology solutions for your students? Request an AT Consultation.
The PCEye Go Mobile Kit is a speech communication device complete with computer access that allows you to control all the functions of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 using only your eyes. It is loaded with the Tobii DynaVox software. You can borrow this device for a 6-week trial here.
Our inventory offers a wide range of AT for communication, computer access, hearing, vision, daily living, environmental adaptations, learning/development, health, safety, and recreation. Search our inventory!
Each week ABLE Tech features one of the many assistive technology devices available for trial through our short-term loan program. Individuals have the ability to see, touch, and try AT to help them in the decision-making process by providing:
Check out the Weekly AT featured on our website & bookmark it to keep updated.
Helping students figure out what they will do after high school can be a daunting task, but the Transition Assessment & Goal Generator (TAGG) can help. The TAGG is an on-line transition assessment tool created at the University of Oklahoma for secondary-aged youth with disabilities, their families, and professionals.
Developers say Educators in all 50 states and multiple countries across the world are now using the TAGG, and they have received great feedback on the audio and American Sign Language (ASL) videos of the TAGG instructions and items. Users of ASL especially appreciate the student in the videos using ASL to sign TAGG instructions and assessment items.
To learn more about the TAGG, go to https://tagg.ou.edu/tagg/
There is still time to help enrich the lives of students with visual impairments with a summer learning opportunity. The Oklahoma Federation of the Blind is accepting registrations for BELL Academy, which will be held in Oklahoma City June 13-17 and June 20-24.
BELL stands for Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning, and the program will provide intensive braille instruction to students aged 4 through 12. Students will be at the camp both weeks from Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In addition to braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, benefit from peer learning and mentoring from blind adults, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum.
To learn more, visit Bell Academy (http://www.nfbok.org/bell-academy)