1998 Conference Proceedings

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CSUN's Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP)

Harry J. Murphy, Ed. D.
Founder and Director
Center on Disabilities
California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330 - 8340
818 677 2578
818 677 4929 FAX


In response to a need from the field for training in the area of assistive technology, the Center on Disabilities, in conjunction with the university's College of Extended Learning, developed a 100-hour course, "Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program" (ATACP) in early 1997. The ATACP was designed by Kirk Behnke, ATACP Training Coordinator of the Center on Disabilities. It was delivered for the first time to 61 participants in San Francisco in July, 1997 over a two week period. The participants came from 17 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Japan, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. The ATACP will be delivered in the southern California area, July 13-24, 1998, and in Washington, DC, August 10-21, 1998.

The ATACP offers the convenience of obtaining a certificate from the College of Extended Learning plus 10 Continuing Education Units (CEU's) in only a two week period of time.

The ATACP is portable and can be delivered anywhere in this country or abroad. The ATACP will be offered in Ireland in 1998.

Certificate Objectives

The ATACP is designed to provide a practical approach to the applications of assistive technology in meeting the needs of individuals with various disabilities in many settings. Participants identify a wide range of applications for assistive Technology in the home, school, workplace, and community environments; learn about existing and new assistive technologies for people with disabilities to include, but not limited to, augmentative and alternative communication, environmental controls, seating and positioning, mobility devices, computer access technology, and technology for people who may have learning, physical, cognitive and/or sensory disabilities; address individual needs through a collaborative team approach; identify resources that are available to support assistive technology devices and services; address leadership challenges regarding assistive technology implementation, and will implement this training into practice upon completion of the program.

The ATACP Curriculum

The curriculum covers seven areas: 1. Introduction to Assistive Technologies

2. Assistive Technology Applications

3. Guiding the Process

4. Leadership Challenges

5. Focus on Specialized Areas

6. Funding and Policy issues

7. Certificate Project

A practical independent or group project is required in order to earn a certificate. Participants are encouraged to develop a certificate project to meet the needs of an individual with a disability and/or their organization. Projects are developed and approved in consultation with the ATACP Training Coordinator and other ATACP faculty. A written report is due within 90 days after training is completed.

Parts of ATACP On-Line

For programs to be delivered in 1998 in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, the 100-hour training experience includes lecture, demonstration, discussion, observations, and presentations on applications of assistive technology. For the 1998 training sessions, there will be eighty (80) hours of live instruction over two weeks (ten training days), twelve (12) hours of on-line instruction in the areas of leadership and funding and policy, and eight (8) hours credit toward a required project to be completed within 90 days of completion of the program.

For programs to be delivered in 1999, the 100-hour training experience for sessions delivered in 1999 will consist of forty (40) hours of live instruction over five days, fifty-two (52) hours of on-line instruction, and eight (8) hours credit toward a required project to be completed within 90 days of completion of the program.

Because parts of the course will be offered on-line, those who are interested in taking this course obviously must have access to the World Wide Web. Once accepted into the program, participants will be given a password that will allow them to access information on-line. On-line participation is through Hypernews, an interactive software which encourages participants to enter into electronic dialogue about issues that are presented electronically.

The ATACP Network

The Center on Disabilities hosts a closed list serve for ATACP graduates. ATACP'ers are encouraged to raise questions, provide solutions, and suggest resources to assist ATACP peers. Job announcements in the area of AT are also posted on this list serve.


The cost of the 100-hour ATACP experience is $1,995 per person. Participants who successfully complete the program earn a certificate from the College of Extended Learning, 10 CEU's, and are eligible for the ATACP list serve.

Comments from Graduates

"It was a wonderful opportunity to increase and broaden my knowledge of assistive technology equipment, issues, and processes. I obtained the latest information on current trends and processes of service delivery and received hands-on experience with low-tech to high-tech applications for mobility, communication, and environmental access in the home, workplace, and school settings. In addition, the networking was incredible. I made connections that will continue throughout my career, and friendships that will last longer than that."

Caren Hill, Specialist in Physical Disabilities, Yolo County, California

"I heartily support your work through the ATACP class. As a human factors professional working in a very large corporation, I needed information about making workplaces, computers, and public sites accessible to people with every type of disability imaginable. No one person can know or keep up with all of the technological information available to make these accommodations or the current developments in this area. A class like the ATACP provides a good framework for organizing information and provides the resources needed to locate information when it is needed. As a result of the ATACP course, I feel much more confident that I am able to meet the needs of all our employees."

Lila Laux, Ph.D., Member of the Technical Staff, US West Information Technologies, Denver, Colorado.

"You did an outstanding job of providing us with resource and reference materials. I read part or all of the 100 reference articles."

Dick Stein, Coordinator, Computer Learning Center, Cerebral Palsy Center for the East Bay, Oakland, California

For Additional Information

Kirk Behnke, Training Coordinator
California State University, Northridge
Center on Disabilities
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8340
(818) 677-2578 voice/TDD/message
(818) 677-4929 fax

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