Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
A few weeks ago I was notified by the School Occupational Therapist (OT), that he was consulting with Assistive Technology (AT) in regard to my son Matthew. It is written under his present level of performance in last week's Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting the following:
Student's areas of need based on school occupational therapy areas of expertise: Matthew's visual motor skills negatively impacts his ability to participate in his educational curriculum.
The impact of disability states he currently requires hand over hand assistance to near point copy his name. He demonstrates adequate visual motor skills to trace letters and his name with approximately 60-70% accuracy, but presents with less than 30 seconds attention to task when near point copying. School based occupational therapy, classroom teacher and assistive technology are currently collaborating to address Matthew's needs with his visual motor skills.
Both Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) were represented at the IEP meeting. Several years ago a Cheap Talk device was loaned out to us to follow Matthew within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) through the AAC department. We have a Cheap Talk 8 device with 6 levels of communications. This is known as a Voice Output Device or Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA). The AT department is currently considering utilizing Intellikeys for Matthew within the classroom.
When Matthew attended the Elementary School that Nicholas still attends his special education teacher purchased Stages - Alternative Assessment Strategies and Software-Based Curriculum Solutions for learners with special needs. There are seven stages, developmental in nature. Stages is a combination of solutions that helps you define learners' abilities as they develope cognitive and language skills.
The teacher retired the following year and gave me the brochure for Stages. I recently ordered the sampler CD that provides samples for each stage. You can call 1-800-793-9227 or visit assistivetech.com.
Back in 2001 I attended a seminar at the Regional Center that was put on by the Assistive Technology Center. This was a presentation by IntelliTools. Over that holiday break from school I was able to borrow from the AT Lab at the Regional Center the keyboard and software. The Access Pac included the folliowing:
IntelliKeys - Learn the basis of the keyboard through the tutorial.
IntelliPics - this is the software program that is the foundation for all the overlays/activities.
Overlay Maker - This is the program that creates the custom overlays for the IntelliKeys keyboard.
IntelliTalk - A talking wordprocessor to support language development.
ClickIt! - A program to enhance access for individuals with limited physical access and cannot access a mouse.
This data is based on my research and experience with my two children on the Autism Spectrum.
IntelliTalk Tutorial an 11 page pdf file
Switch In Time Accessible Software
Free stuff for MAC users
Hardware and Software Guidelines Article from Autism Coach.com
Funding Assistive Technology Family Center on Technology and Disability.
What type of AT does my child need?
Assistive Technology article from ASA
AT training for Educators, Specialists and Caregivers Resource Center Abledata also lists companies by State and conferences.
The Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO) provides information on AT applications that help students with disabilities learn in elementary classrooms, including tutorials.
Assistive Technology Summary from Protection and Advocacy (PAI). You can also order the Assessing Assistive Technology Manual from PAI. 1-800-776-5746
IntelliShare Classroom Activity Exchange This is a free exchange where you can also earn point that can accumulate for IntelliTools products.
Accessible Books You can view a demonstration of an accessible book, The Fishing Trip.
CSUN 2008 Exhibitor Listing this is held yearly in March at an airport Hotel in Los Angeles. Matthew's AAC accessor has spoken at this event several times. I am hopeful to get there one of these years. It happens around spring break.
IntelliTools live online product demonstrations They are still in the process of developing their summer schedule.
Project Kite - Kids Included through Technology are Enriched.
Assistive Technology for Children with autism - Written by Susan Stokes under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This article breaks down the differences between low tech and high tech AT.
Fact Sheet from California-Blind Services Strategies for using Voice Output Communication Devices with children who are deaf-blind.
Strategies using low-cost voice output
Augmentative Communication Online Users Group (ACOLUG) includes public archives and a link to join the group. I have been a member for several years now.
Using Adaptive Toys in the Home and Classroom A newsletter from Enabling Devices.
Online Mentoring and Consultation - Joanne M. Cafiero, Ph.D is the author of Meaningful Exchanges for People with Autism. She answers questions pertaining to autism and communication strategies.
Resources about Picture Symbols, AAC, Pecs & More! - An extensive listing on giving greetings
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.
HealthCare Gift Cards