1997 Conference Proceedings

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ED - TECH - O.T.

Shel Harris, O.T. (REG.)(c)
Special Education Technology - British Columbia (SET-BC)
Region #5, Coordinator
3005 - 11 th. Avenue
Prince George, B.C.
Canada, V2M-1P6
Voice/Message (250) 562-9650
Fax (250) 565-4235
Internet: sharris@set.gov.bc.ca

This presentation is the result of the work of a large number of people both in the Special Education Technology-BC (SET-BC) program and school staff throughout the Province of British Columbia. While I have the privilege of attending the conference and doing the presentation, I wish to acknowledge this work as a collaborative effort and thank all of the persons who contributed to this work.

SET-BC is a Provincial Resource Program established to assist school districts to educate students whose access to the curriculum is restricted primarily due to the following disabilities: physical handicap, and/or visual handicap. The mission of the SET-BC program is "To enable learners with special needs to develop their individual potential through the use of technology". SET-BC operates a provincial centre in Vancouver and seven regional centres throughout British Columbia. Last year, in addition to the ongoing support of existing students, SET-BC provided support to 422 new referrals.

School Therapists (Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists) play an important role in the selection and implementation of technology for students with special educational needs in the Province of British Columbia. Special Education Technology (SET-BC), a Ministry of Education Provincial Resource Program, works in collaboration with School Therapists, a Ministry of Health program, to provide supportive technology for students with physical handicaps and/or visual impairment.

In this presentation I will focus on 6 areas;

The first area:

...I will present the collaborative service delivery model that is used in the Province of B.C. to provide Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy services in the educational environment.

In The Beginning:

The Government of British Columbia was committed to providing provincial policies which ensured that support services to schools were delivered in a coordinated way. A commitment was made to develop protocols between the Ministries of Education, Social Services and Housing, Health and the Solicitors General consistent with the mandates of each Ministry. These protocols were approved and agreed to by the above mentioned Ministries, on the 10th of October, 1989. One of these protocol agreements, between the Ministry of Health and Ministry Education, was regarding the provision of Physio and Occupational Therapy to school age students. Further details will be presented on this area at the presentation.

The second area:

...review the Province wide technology training program that has been implemented by SET-BC for school therapists.

With the establishment of the province wide school therapy program Occupational and Physio therapists were available to support the implementation of the technology tools provided through the SET-BC program. This was in addition to the other duties that school therapists were assigned by the Ministry of Health. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, two separate province wide training sessions have been provided for School Therapists. A working group of SET-BC staff and members of the School Therapist group was formed to provide direction and goals for the training sessions. One was during the 1993-1994 school year and the second one was during the 1995-1996 school year. Dates for a third school therapists presentation are currently under discussion.

The goals identified for the first Province wide School Therapist workshop included; developing a closer working relationship between SET-BC staff and School Therapists, providing an orientation to SET-BC services and procedures, and providing information and hands-on experience with assistive technologies and software used by SET-BC students (with a focus on adapted access).

This workshop was a one day presentation and was presented in four locations throughout the Province. Efforts were made to invite every School Therapist employed in the province of British Columbia. A total of 87 therapists attended these presentations in the four locations.

The second province wide workshop was a two day presentation with the first day being focused on Ministry of Health issues and the second day being devoted to SET-BC issues. As this was the second time in two years that we had been able to meet with School Therapists we were able to provide more detailed information on topics identified at the end of the first yearÕs presentations. The goals of the second presentation included; an overview of the recent major changes to the SET-BC service delivery model; selecting appropriate access methods, a presentation of four assessment protocols; Case studies using the four assessment protocols; SET-BC Equipment Mounting Systems, Application process and demonstration; and Demonstration Stations exploring technologies for alternate access and equipment mounting. There were 90 School therapists that attended these presentations in the four locations.

The third area:

...review some of the tools and strategies that have been identified and made available by SET-BC for School Therapists.

The SET-BC program is committed to the collaborative consultation model of service delivery. A significant portion of the resources we have developed are available to the staff and students in the Province of B.C. As part of the access and equipment mounting goals of the second Province wide presentation, the following four tools were identified and made available to school therapists through the regional SET-BC offices.

"Queen Alexandra Technology Access Assessment", Susan Bonnel, Christine Lynch, Published by Queen Alexandra Centre for ChildrenÕs Health, Victoria B.C, 1995

"Physical Characteristics Assessment,Computer Access for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy" Gail McGregor, Geralyn Anderson Arango, Beverly A. Fraser, Karen Kangas, Published by Don Johnston Incorporated, Wauconda, Ill, 1994.

"Selecting Appropriate Computer Access Technology" Dennis Anson, University of Washington, (In Press, 1995)

Lifespace Access Profile "Assistive Technology Planning for Individuals with Severe or Multiple Disabilities", William B. Williams, Gerald Stemach, Sheila Wolfe, and Carlo Stanger, Publisher, Lifespaces Access, Sebastopol, CA, 1993, Available from Don Johnston.

The fourth area:

...present the process for the selection and provision of technology equipment mounting systems by SET-BC.

Special attachment of SET-BC loan equipment is sometimes necessary to provide access. Equipment mounting systems are available by request from the SET-BC Provincial Loan Bank. This resource is restricted to students who are unable to use the SET-BC equipment as a result of the severity of their physical disability. Three types of equipment mounting systems are presently available from SET-BC:

School based teams,through consultation with a qualified Occupational Therapist, may request one of the three types of Equipment mounting systems.

SET-BC loan bank policy B.4. "Mounting of Equipment" and SET-BC Mounting Equipment Request forms are available from the SET-BC web site.

The fifth area:

...share the results of the "Adaptive Workspaces" project that was undertaken by SET-BC during the 95/96 school year.

"A Resource Guide for the Development of Adapted School Workspaces", A resource for Educators, A decision making and planning tool for students with special needs. This project was undertaken by School District #39 (Vancouver) under the supervision of Paul Carson (SET-BC).

Students with special needs may require a variety of modifications to the school environment to fully support their integration into the regular school setting. For some students with special needs one of the most significant and beneficial modifications is the adapted workspace. This resource guide is intended to facilitate the development of appropriate workspaces for students with special needs in schools.

Information for this resource guide came from the feedback received through the Adapted Workspaces Questionnaire. This questionnaire was sent to 171 professional staff in all of the 75 school districts in British Columbia. The return rate of 80% represented 73 school districts. Copies of this guide can be requested from the SET-BC web site.

The sixth area:

...inform you on how to contact our web site and stay in touch with us.

Further information on the Special Education Technology-BC (SET-BC) program can be found at: http://www.setbc.org/


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