2001 Conference Proceedings

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Considering Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities: where to begin, building a district program

Dr. Susan S. Simmons, Special Ed Solutions
1177 Monterey Road, So. Pasadena, CA 91030
Phone: 626-799-9733
e-mail: Susan@spedsolutions.com

This seminar will cover the three critical components necessary for the use of assistive technology to access the curriculum for students with learning disabilities; materials, a district wide plan, and staff development. Each of the three areas will be discussed in detail with handouts to assist participants in developing or enhancing their programs. Participants will leave the seminar with an increased understanding of the minimum standard regarding implementation of a realistic program.

Summary Page

This workshop will be divided into three components with some time for questions and sharing.

First component will cover a variety of materials from pencil grips and raised line paper, portable word processors, screen reading and word prediction software. This time is not intended to showcase all available options, instead basic easily available software and low/no tech tools will be demonstrated with the purpose of laying the foundation to demonstrate the basic tools necessary to teach students with learning disabilities to access the curriculum and become independent learners.

The second component will be guidance in the development of a district plan for assistive technology for students with learning disabilities. A list of 10 questions will be used to guide the participants through the focused process of making a plan that meets their budget and creates opportunities for the students for whom they provide programs.

The third component will cover staff development models for developing competence in the area of assistive technology. Several models will be described incorporating all staff, key staff, and representative staff as a beginning point. Emphasis will be placed on providing the full range of assistive technology at elementary, middle and high school levels with technical staff available to provide support along the way. The staff development program must include workshop opportunities with hands on practice, follow-up opportunities to share teaching ideas using the tools and strategies initially covered and a person or persons who can be available to brain storm and trouble shoot when help is needed. Follow up is critical so that staff has some way of knowing if they are in fact integrating the techniques and technologies effectively. This component should also cover the IEP documentation so that uniform techniques are used to document the assistive technology being used with students.

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