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From Rags to Resources Sumter School District Two Assistive Technology (AT) Team Valeska Gioia B.A., M.S. Special Educator/Assistive Technology Consultant.

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Presentation on theme: "From Rags to Resources Sumter School District Two Assistive Technology (AT) Team Valeska Gioia B.A., M.S. Special Educator/Assistive Technology Consultant."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Rags to Resources Sumter School District Two Assistive Technology (AT) Team Valeska Gioia B.A., M.S. Special Educator/Assistive Technology Consultant & Cindy Roberson RPTA, Assistive Technology Consultant

2 Introduction Valeska Gioia is an Assistive Technology (AT) Consultant for Sumter District Two School. She has been a special educator for five years in the state of New York and South Carolina. She holds a B.A. in Elementary/Special Education and a M.S. in Educational Technology with an emphasis on Assistive Technology.

3 Introduction Cindy Roberson is a Registered Physical Therapy Assistant and has been practicing since She has worked in the schools for the past 16 years. Cindy has a passion for working with children with Sensory Integration and Spectrum Disorders. Assistive Technology has been a large focus of hers for the past 6-7 years. Cindy has been a member of the AT Team in Sumter and has had the privilege of presenting at the Closing the Gap International Conference in Minnesota, the SC Speech-Language Hearing Association Conference, and at a previous SC AT Expo.

4 Serving the Population We serve a wide variety of students who have various abilities. We work with mildly-to-profoundly disabled students. We serve students with spectrum disorders. We train teachers in the use of assistive technology. We serve students who are transitioning from school to workplace.

5 We serve a wide variety of students who have various disabilities….. Mental Disabilities - Mild - Mild - Moderate - Moderate - Severe/Profound - Severe/Profound Learning Disabilities OrthopedicNeurological Spectrum Disorders Multiple/Combination

6 What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology - any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Assistive Technology Act of 1998, amended (P.L )

7 Environments in Which Assistive Technology is Used Recreation Community Home Education Work

8 How Did We Get Here? Multidisciplinary team of specialists including OT, PT, SLP, and a Special Educator. Funded by a Grant. Space provided.

9 Gotta Haves Dedicated administrative support. A strong multi-disciplinary team. A dedicated space for the AT lab. FUNDING!!! Guidance from a mentoring AT team or agency. A Budget. Specific goals and objectives relevant to your students’ special needs. Follow through – AT Cheerleader Squad.

10 Ordering Equipment Research existing AT equipment and resources in your district. Research what is needed to accomplish goals and objectives for your students with special needs. Become familiar with suppliers and their products (remember it’s a business). Request demos, loans of devices to determine effectiveness of equipment before purchasing. - Data collection will support the purchase. - Data collection will support the purchase.

11 Things to Consider… Low tech, low tech, low tech!!! Velcro and picture symbols, text or objects. Computer access - Classroom computers and what operating system - accessibility options. What type of software – needs of students. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Positioning.Costs.Budget.

12 Low Tech Low-tech devices include visual schedules, task books, pencil grips, mouth pointers, cup holders, magnifiers, etc. Low-tech solutions include teaching students to organize their thoughts or work using flow- charts, task analysis, webbing, and outlining.

13 Low Tech First thought should always be “low tech”: - Student Environment Technology Task (SETT) - Student Environment Technology Task (SETT) - Small adjustments - Position Changes - Lighting - Work Surface Communication needs: Receptive and Expressive. Device capabilities: Input and Output. Batteries are not always needed.

14 Low Tech

15 Built-In Computer Accessibility Options Voice recognition software Text-to-speech software Screen magnification Sticky keys, toggle keys, and filter keys On-screen keyboard Contrast adjustment Show sounds and show sentry Mouse keys

16 Computer Access

17 Helpful Software Kurzweil – Screen reader Solo – Read:OutLoud, Write:OutLoud, Draft:Builder, and Co:Writer DT Trainer for Autistic children Dragon Naturally Speaking Boardmaker® PixWriter Writing with Symbols 2000

18 The purpose of AAC intervention is to facilitate meaningful communication during daily life activities. Consider: Message Selection Integration into Environment PortabilityCost Ease of use Flexibility Training Availability Service and Support

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21 Positioning is Extremely Important PostureBreathingStabilityComfortFunction Prevention of onset of secondary disabilities Pressure management

22 Helpful Positioning Equipment

23 Activities of Daily Living WritingReadingDressingBathingGroomingMobility Food Preparation Recreation

24 “Low-Tech” Aids for Daily Living

25 Funding Grants are available for AT funding. Consult your district to see if an AT lab is feasible. If there are limited funds, you can start small and build up over time. Some suppliers are very generous and will lend software for demonstration/loans labs. If you do open your lab with an initial grant, make sure that additional funds will be available when the grant money runs out.

26 Cost/Budget Breakdown Software Low-tech devices AAC devices Resources (books, CDs, etc.) Advertisement (brochure, cards, flyers) Supplies (printer ink cartridges, paper, card stock, laminate, etc.) Conferences *Remember--Most of these items are extremely expensive and you will have to build your lab over expensive and you will have to build your lab over time. Great things take time!! time. Great things take time!!

27 AT is on the Rise Many schools all over the country are developing AT labs so all students can be successful in their academic endeavors. Transitioning high school students to work is extremely important and we need to make this process successful for all concerned.

28 Special Thanks to all the Wonderful People at SCATP The trainings are informative. The staff are knowledgeable. The lab has many devices available for loan. The support and service is amazing. They always seem to have time for you. Without this great resource, all these wonderful conferences, trainings and assessments would not be taking place.

29 For more information, contact: Valeska Gioia Cindy Roberson


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