Track: Assistive Technology

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.

Coding Education and Accessibility in Schools

Software developing is one of the fastest growing fields in America. Because of this coding is being integrated into schools from a very young age. With a gap in coding education for students with visual impairments, APH has sought to provide adapted coding education materials. According to a 2018 Stack Overflow survey of 64,000 developers, 1 out of every 100 software developers is blind/ visually impaired. In January 2022 survey of 1,000 U.S. students commissioned by KX, a global provider for real-time analytics and data management software, found that 35% of the students surveyed reported that cannot currently code said that the lack of educational access is the primary barrier holding them back from learning. Code Jumper, Code Quest, and the Accessible Code and Go Mouse are available under Federal Quota and help bridge the gap in coding education for students with visual impairments.

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will gain knowledge of the Coding products that are available for students through APH.
2. Participants will learn the strengths and differences of each device to better determine which product will work best for each student they service and how each device can be integrated into all school subjects.
3. Participants will be able to code on the Code Jumper, Code Quest, and Assessable Code and Go Mouse

Powered Mobility in the Classroom

Research shows that those who used powered mobility devices showed improvements in cognitive skills, including attention, problem-solving, and spatial awareness. Research also shows that powered mobility use was associated with improvements in language skills in young children with mobility impairments. Studies also show that children who used powered mobility devices were more likely to participate in mainstream educational settings, which provided them with increased exposure to language stimulation.

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to use a kill switch to keep all students and adults in the classroom safe.
  • Understand how to toggle from attendant control and student control to use the power chair throughout the entire school day.
  • Provided integrated activities so language, mobility, literacy and AAC skills are being addressed through powered mobility.

Autism, Behavior, Communication: Made as Simple as ABC

Do you work with children with autism who struggle to communicate? Have you tried AAC and feel it is not working? We must consider the characteristics of autism and the research-based strategies for utilizing AAC. When we put these together we can be more successful. When we look at the characteristics of autism and think about repetitive actions, whether verbally or behaviorally, we need to understand how that looks when using AAC. We must remember that the purpose of the communication device is to communicate rather than demonstrate knowledge. That means each person gets to say what they want, when they want to, while maintaining agency over their body. That means others don’t force their hand to touch a button and they don’t use another person’s hand to touch buttons. It is their voice and their body. (Donaldson et al, 2023). That results in independent communication. How do we get to independent communication? Let’s look at Autism, Behavior and Communication and clarify the process of implementing AAC with this population. Join this class to accurately define what communication looks like using AAC, what changes you can make to increase functional use of the device, and what IEP goals reflect this.

Key Learning Outcomes

Participants will identify 3 strategies to use when a person with autism displays stimming behavior while using an AAC device.
Participants will identify 3 characteristics of autism that can impact the use of AAC and how to address each one.
Participants will learn 5 (SMART) components of an IEP goal required to measure increased functional communication using AAC.

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.

Getting In Touch: Providing Classroom Solutions for Blind Children through Technology and Tactile Literacy Skills

The Monarch is an incredibly innovative device which is slated to be released to the public during the fall of 2024. It has the potential to make available to blind students a world of tactile graphics and multi-line electronic Braille text to which students have never had access. However, research, combined with a large amount of anecdotal evidence, suggests that, in order to maximize the potential benefits of the Monarch, blind students need far more intentional instruction in tactile literacy than they are generally receiving.

During the first part of this presentation, participants will learn about and discuss tactile literacy teaching strategies for students of all ages. We will explore what works, what doesn’t work, and why.

During the second half of the session, participants will learn about the Monarch itself. We will explore its key features, demonstrate its powerful capabilities, and brainstorm a number of use cases as a group. Participants will also have an opportunity to touch the Monarch, with particular emphasis on viewing its tactile graphics and graphing capabilities.

For more information about the Monarch and the organizations involved with its development, please visit: https://www.aph.org/meet-monarch/

Key Learning Outcomes

1. Participants will learn and brainstorm at least 3 key strategies for helping blind students to interpret tactile graphics.
2. Participants will learn how the Monarch’s Editor, Braille Editor, Tactile Viewer, and KeyMath apps can support various classroom activities and assignments.
3. Participants will develop, as a group, at least three use cases for the new Monarch Braille Device.

AAC Adventures: Fun and Functionality with PRC-Saltillo Devices

Participants will embark on a journey through the functionalities of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices, delving into their capabilities for enhancing communication, literacy, and social interaction in educational settings. Through interactive demonstrations and guided activities, attendees will learn to leverage the power of these devices to create engaging learning experiences for students of all abilities. From exploring eye tracking and head tracking settings to harnessing the potential of assistive touch in iOS, participants will gain practical skills for optimizing access and usability for AAC users. By the end of the workshop, attendees will leave equipped with a repertoire of strategies and resources to maximize the potential of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices in educational and therapeutic settings, fostering both communication growth and enjoyment for students.

Key Learning Outcomes

Explore the versatile features of PRC-Saltillo’s AAC devices, including Accent, NovaChat, and Via, to enhance communication and engagement.

1) Learn innovative ways to integrate AAC devices into classroom activities, leveraging their capabilities to support language learning and social interaction.

2) Gain hands-on experience in customizing communication boards and visual supports using the intuitive interfaces of Accent, NovaChat, and Via devices.

3) Discover creative strategies for modifying games and activities from the AAC Language Lab to suit students across different language levels and systems, leveraging the unique features of PRC-Saltillo’s devices.

Assistive Gaming For All!

Join Lauren Janke and Bob Sagoo for an exciting hands-on event where we explore how assistive technology can make gaming accessible to everyone! Whether you are a life-long gamer or just getting started, come learn about different innovative devices and solutions that can create more opportunities to empower individuals with disabilities! We are excited to explore a variety of adaptive controllers, resources, and set-ups so you can get yourself, or others, gaming! Delegates will learn about the latest advancements in adaptive controllers, assistive technologies, and inclusive gaming experiences. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn, engage, and game like never before!

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Delegates will gain an understanding of AT hardware solutions for gaming on several platforms.
  • How to access and navigate the accessibility options built into gaming software.
  • Identify which particular games/controllers would be best suited to the abilities of the user and also the hardware needed to support them.

Pushing, Sliding, Rotating, or Pulling – Which Switch is the Best?

Adaptive switches and switch toys play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with various physical and cognitive disabilities. These devices are designed to empower users by enabling them to interact with their environment and participate in recreational activities.

Research consistently demonstrates the positive impact of adaptive switches on motor skill development and cognitive functioning. For individuals with limited motor abilities, these switches act as personalized interfaces, allowing them to control electronic devices, toys, and even communication aids. Studies have shown that the use of adaptive switches promotes fine and gross motor skills, fostering greater independence and autonomy.

Switch toys, specifically designed to be operated by adaptive switches, contribute to cognitive and sensory stimulation. Engaging with these toys encourages cognitive development, social interaction, and emotional expression. The evidence suggests that individuals, particularly children, using switch toys experience improved attention, sensory processing, and overall cognitive growth.

Furthermore, the adaptability of these switches to various devices ensures a personalized and inclusive approach to accessibility. This evidence underscores the importance of incorporating adaptive switches and switch toys into rehabilitation and educational programs, promoting holistic development and enhancing the overall well-being of individuals with disabilities.

Key Learning Outcomes

Participants will learn at least 3 things to consider when selecting a switch.
Participants will learn 3 reasons why positioning of the switch is important.
Participants will learn at least 3 different 3D printed switches.
Participants will learn basics of switch adapting toys.

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