1998 Conference Proceedings

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Paul Richard
Assistive Technology Specialist
Orange County Department of Education
200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Voice: (714) 966-4140
FAX: (714) 545-6312
Email: paul_richard@ocde.k12.ca.us 

Philip White - Manager
Leisa Salvo - Speech and Language Specialist
Assistive Technology Exchange Center
200 North Fairview
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Voice: (714) 836-0640
FAX: (714) 541-2387
Email: pwhite@ocgoodwill.org 
Email: lsalvo@ocgoodwill.org

In September, 1982, the Orange County Department of Education established an Assistive Technology Program which has become an integral part of the Special Schools' programs. The overall goal of the special schools is to provide opportunities for students to learn how to become more independent in their present and future environments.

Through the use of technology, special schools students who were in the past unable to actively participate in their environments now have a means to independently control events in their lives using a variety of switches to interact with computers as well as other electronic devices. In addition, students have been able to use this technology for a variety of individualized learning and communication opportunities.

A collaborative effort now exists between the Orange County Department of Education, California State University - Dominguez Hills, Goodwill Industries of Orange County, Orange County SELPAs and the Orange County School Districts in providing assistive technology to school-aged individuals. The system components include an Assistive Technology Certificate Program, the Assistive Technology Exchange center (ATEC), Orange County School District Training and the Orange County Assistive Technology Lending Library.

Assistive Technology Specialist Certificate Program

In a countywide needs assessment conducted in 1995 the following results related to assistive technology were obtained:

To address these expressed the Orange County Department of Education entered into a partnership with California State University, Dominguez Hills to develop the first Certificate Program in the area of Assistive Technology in the country.

The program consists of five (5) three (3) unit classes offered through Extended Education. It is a graduate level program offered to special education professionals and professionals in related fields two evenings per week. Students enrolled in the program will develop competencies in the following areas:

Knowledge of legal mandates and requirements for Assistive Technology services and practice Ability to conduct an Assistive Technology functional assessment Ability to identify resources and funding for Assistive Technology.

Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC)

A Goodwill Industries sponsored Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) opened in April, 1996. The Assistive Technology Exchange center (ATEC) is based on a cooperative system for Assistive Technology Evaluation and Assessment including a school-based assessment using the Lifespace Access Profile assessment tool. School-based referrals to ATEC occur if the assistive technology need cannot be addressed within the local school district or SELPA. A trial teaching period using AT Equipment from the O.C. Lending Library or through an agreement with ATEC is then provided to the student.

District Training Components

School district training includes an Overview of Assistive Technology in the Schools, Roles of school-based team members, Lifespace Access Profile, ATEC Program and Services and the ATEC Assistive Technology Referral Packet.

Assistive Technology Lending Library

A pilot project with the Greater Anaheim SELPA and the Orange County Department of Education is developing a database which identifies available (unused) assistive technology equipment throughout the SELPA. The lending library database can be accessed through the internet and updating done by trained SELPA personnel.

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