Location: Agave

A Multi-Tiered Approach to Assistive Technology from the Ground Up

Evidence for this presentation comes from the following sources: Every Student Succeeds ACT (ESSA) 2015, Florida State MTSS resources, the Specific Language System First approach by Chris Bugaj, and the Mesa Public Schools assistive technology growth data.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Describe 3 free tools that can be implemented across settings for all students and staff.
2. State 3 benefits of a multi-tiered approach for assistive technology.
3. Identify 3 resources that could be used to educate stakeholders on the benefits of a multi-tiered approach to assistive technology.

Braiding Possibilities for Indigenous Transition Youth Programs

The Native Center for Disabilities utilizes a braided Indigenous strength-based Decolonizing Disability approach of relationality, resilience, and respect with Indigenous methods of translating knowledge (e.g., storytelling) focused on cultural protective factors, in which the belonging aspect of being part of a culture and its traditions results in specific protective factors for those that belong, such as emotional wellbeing and resiliency in the face of negative outcomes. In addition to our Indigenous practice-based evidence, we utilized the following western-based evidence-based practices. Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, which views youth development ecosystems within the context of the system of relationships that form their environment. Broffenbrenner, who helped establish the federal Head Start program, defines complex layers of environment, including family and community environments and larger societal contexts, each having an effect on a youth’s development. Kohler’s Taxonomy (1996; Test, Fowler, et al. 2009) framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive secondary transition programs with five areas of transition implementation: student-focused planning, student development, interagency collaboration, family involvement, and program structures. Students in programs are offered opportunities in work experience, self-care and independent living skills, and transition planning and support, based on the evidence linking specific in-school activities to positive post-school outcomes.

Key Learning Outcomes

1.Participants will identify 3 Indigenous practice-based programs for Native youth transition programs.
2. Participants will describe how Indigenous practice-based evidence is utilized to create inclusive and culturally responsive transition programs.
3. Participants will document how to braid diverse funding streams and partnerships to develop Native youth transition programs.

Building a Community to Support Students for Work-based Learning Success

From our preliminary stages to our continuous implementation of this program, the Sonoran UCEDD in partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation has successfully increased the number of student participants, community engagement and family awareness and support. Our internal model for technical support through job coach training holds a high level of understanding on an individual basis. As our job coach training is in continuous collaboration and communication with the student, staff and employer. The conscious efforts to implement any necessary supports while working on the job help to increase the student’s independence, sense of self and overall awareness. With the development and sustainability of our employment partnerships, our programs involvement has also increased the benefit of cultural awareness, community engagement and student expectations for competitive integrated employment. Communities within the urban and rural populations we serve are now given the opportunity to build back into their own communities for future hire.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Awareness and understanding that these services do not end with us-rather they are continued through the help of our employers, students, schools, and family supporters.
2. Increased awareness and knowledge regarding the importance of building and maintaining relationships with employers and the community as well as educating others on the benefits of Work-Based Learning opportunities.
3. Shifting the lens with a First Employment outlook.
4. Increased knowledge base of skills and tools utilized throughout the process and development of a work based learning program and their experiences.

Evergreen Academy Preschool Training Program

Our training program has yielded significant success in guiding adults with disabilities towards fulfilling careers as preschool and child care workers within the community. Given Arizona’s status as a child care desert, characterized by a burgeoning birth rate and a shortage of child care workers, our program addresses a critical need while empowering individuals with disabilities.
Anecdotal evidence from our trainees underscores the program’s impact. Participants, many of whom have previously held service jobs, express a profound sense of fulfillment in their roles within the preschool environment. This shift in sentiment speaks volumes about the efficacy of our training in providing meaningful employment opportunities that align with individuals’ passions and capabilities.

The program serves as a replicable model for supporting adults with disabilities who aspire to pursue careers in child care. As trainees progress through the program, many are actively working towards securing community employment with the assistance of vocational rehabilitation services or Individual Supported Employment (ISE) programs.

Our evidence-based approach demonstrates the tangible success of our training program in facilitating the integration of individuals with disabilities into the workforce, thereby addressing critical societal needs and fostering personal fulfillment.

Key Learning Outcomes

Anticipated learning outcomes are as follows
1) Participants will gain an understanding of the program works to support both the trainees and the families we serve.
2) The presentation will help participants to understand the the possibilities of growth and success for adults with developmental disabilities in a child care training program.
3) Participants will leave with the knowledge of how the program was created and how it is replicable in different and diverse contexts. Our goal is to help new programs in different cities create more careers for differently abled adults that are based in human-to-human interactions.

Incorporating Mental Health Supports and Assistive Technology for Our Individuals in All Settings

In creating this session, the presenter has utilized a number of evidence-based approaches. First, formal research studies have provided the foundation for both understanding the increased anxiety levels in all individuals today as well as the application of needs which have shifted since the inclusion of virtual connectivity. Anxiety research includes published studies on both students and adults, e.g. Wu, Kuan, et al. (2023), Haliburton, et al (2021), and others.

The focus on both activities for de-escalation has come from direct interviews with experts as well as anecdotal observations in actual settings. For assistive technology, the research around it has provided a foundation for working with groups to directly identify strengths and weaknesses or various devices as well as the ability to distinguish which tools can be most beneficial. The presenter will interact with the attendees to pursue the lines of questioning to be addressed before trials might begin on appropriate assistive technology.

Because of this combination of published research, expert interviews, and anecdotal field experiences without bias toward any specific approach or device, attendees will be able to make more informed decisions on the best supports for their individuals as there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach which works.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will learn and try multiple ways to calm themselves down in an effort to be able to share that with their students or consumers.
2. Participants will engage with various forms of assistive technology to enhance what they are able to do in classroom and workplace settings.
3. Participants will discuss the various tools and applications that they currently use and how those could be adapted into other settings or activities.

Phonics Phun – Practical Strategies for Supporting Learners with Disabilities

Ehri (2004, 2015) asserts that successfully identifying words – including unfamiliar words – is one component to successful silent reading with comprehension, and that doing this efficiently requires readers to use a variety of skills and strategies. This is far beyond ‘sight reading’, as documented by Adams (2000). Many of the current methods of teaching phonics have been documented to be difficult for students with significant disabilities (Flores et al, 2004). This session will cover strategies that are evidence based for students with disabilities including making words (e.g., Hanser and Erickson, 2007.) and onset + rime (Greasley, Tanner, & Chapman, 1997). For a summary of research, see Comprehensive Literacy for All by Erickson & Koppenhaver, 2020 (pp. 165 – 181).

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will review informal phonics assessment tools.
2. Participants will analyze multiple strategies for phonics instruction and select those most appropriate to their students.
3. Participants will identify two light tech and two high tech tools to support phonics instruction.

Write That Down! Supporting Writing for Students with Multiple Challenges

Dr. Karen Erickson and Dr. David Koppenhaver devote a chapter of their groundbreaking book, Comprehensive Literacy for All, to the topic of emergent writing. See pages 64-65 for the research brief about emergent writers. They site numerous studies showing that , for example, ‘children significant disabilities do benefit when provided with the range of learning opportunities reported in preschools serving typically developing students (p. 65).

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Describe at least 4 alternative pencils and match them to student needs.
  • Summarize at least 3 activities for generative writing throughout the day for emergent learners, including individuals who use AAC and learners with CVI.
  • Recommend 3 strategies for providing feedback regarding writing to emergent learners.

Conducting an Effective and Impactful Customized Plan for Employment

Marc Gold & Associates (MG&A) is known internationally as a leader in Customized Employment. MG&A’s approach to Customized Employment has been incorporated into state and federal policy and practice for over 20 years. This approach has proven successful for transition aged youth as well as adults. MG&A played a vital role in incorporating Customized Employment best practices into the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. MG&A also co-authored the Essential Elements for Customized Employment (funded by The WINTAC in 2017), a document that summarizes the fundamental components of Customized Employment.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participates will demonstrate an understanding of the components of a successful Customized Plan for Employment.
2. Participants will understand how to set up a synergistic Customized Plan for Employment meeting.
3. Participates will develop skills through conducting a mock Customized Plan for Employment.

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