1999 Conference Proceedings

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ALL ABOARD FOR SUCCESSFUL INCLUSION

Jill Gierach
AT Consultant
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, CESA 2

Paula Walser
AT Consultant
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, CESA 6

Shelly Weingarten
AT Consultant
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, CESA 1

Teachers and therapists continue to face the challenge of making and adapting materials to facilitate the inclusion of disabled children within the regular educational curriculum. This presentation will highlight KIDS: Keys for Inclusion of Disabled Students , a replicable workshop format designed for team collaboration in planning and implementing a literacy based thematic unit for all students. The proven intervention techniques of aided language stimulation and engineering the classroom for interactive communication can be overwhelming and time and energy intensive. Teachers and therapists have limited time to spend adapting materials and creating communication overlays corresponding to every unit taught. Time for teams of interventionists to meet to plan for individual needs within thematic units is often not provided.

KIDS: Keys for Inclusion of Disabled Students provides a framework for designing simple "make and take it" workshops for parents, teachers, teaching assistants and therapists using a thematic unit approach focusing on a book or story. A KIDS workshop provides intervention teams time to create and construct an assortment of simple assistive technology tools including: story props, augmentative communication overlays, adaptive materials , simple voice output devices and much more. Participants are provided with the provisions, tools and step by step instructions for construction of all materials. At the end of the day, everyone leaves with a complete unit of study including a book or story , a voice output device, story props, presentation vehicles for the props, communication overlays, and materials for extension activities . Each KIDS workshop is unique to the content of the story or book.

Another key component to the KIDS workshops in the use of the assistive technology tools within the thematic story. Participants are given ample opportunities to observe all materials created during the workshop in actual use.

Every KIDS workshop includes a brainstorming session for the creation of a list of extension activities incorporating the use of the newly made materials across the curriculum areas (art, music, snack, community outings, math, science, reading, etc) of the target population (Birth to Three, Early childhood, Cognitively Disabled - Severe, Etc.). These curricular tasks are then also matched to the state educational standards within the appropriate content area. Sample thematic literacy based units created for KIDS workshops presented in Wisconsin this past year will be demonstrated.

This workshop format has been well received by Educators within the state of Wisconsin. Participants overwhelmingly have requested that multiple KIDS workshops be developed for every school year with a new book highlighted at each workshop. This workshop format has been successful in combining state of the art research and ideas from national known experts into a format that is simple to accomplish within a classroom setting.This workshop is


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