2001 Conference Proceedings

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Ann Caragher, Coordinator
Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Viki Baggs, Speech/Language Pathologist
Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office
Bakersfield, CA 93301

The assistive technology needs are rising in Kern County as they are across the country. Professionals in Kern County need increased training to recognize and implement assistive technology needs for the disabled population. To improve assistive technology services for the disabled population, several agencies in Kern County worked together to sponsor a certificate program. Agencies involved in the certificate program include: Bakersfield City Schools SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area), California Children's Services (CCS), California State University - Bakersfield, Extended Studies, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office, Kern County Consortium SELPA, Kern High School District SELPA, Kern Regional Center and MOVE International.

Having received training from California State University Northridge‘s "Leadership in Technology Management," "Advanced Leadership in Technology Management," and "Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program" the presenters worked with the agencies to develop the program. The Kern County certificate program was the project of one of the presenters. The presenters used the Center on Disabilities’ ATACP (Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program) as a model for the Kern County program. Modifications were made to accommodate schedules, the local expertise, and available resources.

The first program started in January 2000 and was completed in April 2000. It was successful as reported by all participants and instructors. The second session will begin December 5, 2000. Completion is projected to be April 2001.

The course requires 100 hours of participation. Ten Continuing Education Units through California State University - Bakersfield Continuing Education are available to participants. Areas addressed include: Introduction to Assistive Technology, Vision, Audiology, Augmentative Communication, Handwriting, Computer Access, AT for Reading, Mathematics and Organizational Skills, Seating, Positioning, and Mobility, the MOVE Program, Assessment and Internet and Certificate Projects. The class schedule was also designed to accommodate the instructors and participants’ work and family needs. Instructional hours consist of 3 Saturdays for 8 hours, and fifteen weekly four-hour sessions. Sixteen hours require independent work. The instructor for each area is a local professional involved with assistive technology. Two speech and language pathologists who had completed training with CSUN teach the Introductory course, Augmentative Communication, AT for Reading, Mathematics and Organizational Skills, and Assessment courses. Two California Children's Services therapists provide instruction on Seating, Positioning, and Mobility. The California Children’s Services’ Occupational Therapist work with the two speech and language pathologists to teach Handwriting and Computer Access. The school's audiologist and an instructor for the visually impaired teach their respective sections. MOVE (Mobility Options Via Education) provides 8 hours of instruction on their curriculum for seating, positioning and mobility. Outside vendors make presentations. With local instructors the participants are able to identify and establish personal relationships with important contacts in the community for developing assistive technology services for the disabled.

To provide participants with hands-on learning experiences, the Kern Assistive Technology Center is used for computer use. Classes for MOVE are held at a MOVE Model Site to accommodate equipment availability. All the agencies work together for participants to have augmentative communication devices with which to work and use to take home and practice. Kern Regional Center provides a room for instructional classes.

The sponsoring agencies involved with the Kern Assistive Technology Center decided to limit participation to 20 individuals. A screening process was set in place to be performed by the speech and language pathologists and CCS therapists collaboratively. Due to the spontaneity and urgency to establish the program to begin in January 2000, only 20 participants applied for the first session. Applications for the second program are due October 10, 2000. They will be screened and accepted by the occupational therapist, physical therapist and two speech and language pathologists involved for 20 participants to start December 5, 2000.

Advertisement for the program is the responsibility of the Kern County Consortium SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area). Fliers are disbursed throughout the county. They are distributed at local conferences, meetings and through each SELPA office. The applications are submitted to the Kern Assistive Technology Center for the panel to review.

Costs are minimal. Overhead for room and equipment use is absorbed by the agencies involved. For those who completed the program in April 2000, the fee was $150 to participate and $35 per unit. Fees for the second year are $200 for Kern County residents and $500 for non-residents. Participants can elect to obtain units for $350. To keep costs low, most instructors volunteered their time for the first session. All instructors will be paid for the second session through the interagency agreement with the Kern Assistive Technology Center. Proceeds from the course were used to further develop the Kern Assistive Technology Center.

Participants in the first course consisted of eight speech and language pathologists, two psychologists, one school nurse, one occupational therapist, one teacher for the visually impaired, two special day class teachers, one regular education teacher, one regional center service coordinator, one vocational training specialist, and the assistive technology center specialist. One participant did not complete the program. Ten of the participants applied and received continuing education units.

Certificate projects varied. Two participants performed presentations to further assistive technology development. One performed a presentation on the use of assistive technology with low functioning children. The second presentation taught the participants and other staff members to use Intellitools products. One participant analyzed the time spent installing and learning to use "Via Voice." Another project analyzed the cost to download a book from the Internet and enlarge it. Other projects included classroom and district suggestions for assistive technology development, and developing the use of speech to speech relay service for a client.

Attached is the general syllabus for the program.

Kern County Assistive Technology Certificate Program
Goal: Participants will be competent service providers for assistive technology.
Prerequisites: Participants will be enrolled in the Assistive Technology Certificate Program. Participants will be actively working in an area that involves Assistive Technology.
Certificate Program Description: Participants will receive background information in assistive technology. They will receive hands-on experience with equipment to increase their ability to properly assess and provide services to individuals requiring assistive technology.
  1. Participants will have knowledge of what assistive technology (AT) is and who uses AT.
  2. Participants will have knowledge of seating, positioning, and mobility concerns and adaptations and when to consult specialists.
  3. Participants will have knowledge of assistive devices for sensory disorders such as hearing and vision.
  4. Participants will have knowledge of augmentative communication methods and devices.
  5. Participants will have knowledge of adaptations for handwriting difficulties.
  6. Participants will have knowledge of adaptations for reading and math difficulties.
  7. Participants will have knowledge of adaptations for activities of daily living.
  8. Participants will have knowledge of assessment for assistive technology.
  9. Participants will know the value of a team approach.
  10. Participants will be able to identify the appropriate service providers for consultation in different areas.
Procedures: Lecture, activities, discussion, assignments, hands-on experience, role-play.
  1. Introduction to Assistive Technology 8 hrs. KRC
    2 sessions - 4 hours each December 5, 2000
    Viki Baggs, MA., CCC/SLP December 12, 2000
    Ann Caragher, MS., CCC/SLP
  2. Seating, Positioning and Mobility
    2 sessions - 4 hours each 8 hrs. KRC
    Mari Farrell, OT January 9, 2001
    Audrey MacDowell, PT January 16, 2001
    MOVE - Sheron Renfro February 3, 2001 Blair
    Sat. - 8 hours
  3. Hearing/Audiology 8 hours KRC
    Gaylord Short, Audiologist January 23, 2001
    Deanne Sanders January 30, 2001
  4. Vision 8 hours, Ridgeview HS
    Sharon Ferguson Sat. TBA
  5. Augmentative Communication 28 hours
    Viki Baggs 1 8 hr. Sat., KCSOS TBA
    Ann Caragher 5 - 4 hour sessions, KRC
    Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, 2001
    March 6, 2001
    Jackie Cooper-Glenn 1 Sat., KCSOS TBA
    Funding: Aaron Markovitz
  6. Handwriting 4 hours, KRC and KATC
    Fine Motor and Simple Adaptations March 13 or 20, 2001
    Computer Access March 20 or 27, 2001
    Viki Baggs
    Ann Caragher
    Mari Farrell
    Debbie Farrell
  7. Reading and Mathematics 4 hours, KRC and KATC
    Study/Organizational Skills April 3, 2001
    Viki Baggs
    Ann Caragher
    Debbie Farrell
  8. Assessment 4 hours, KRC
    Viki Baggs April 17, 2001
    Ann Caragher
  9. Internet Project 8 hours
    Due April 17, 2001
  10. Certificate Project 8 hours
    Due May 14, 2001
    Viki Baggs
    Ann Caragher
    Mari Farrell
    Audrey MacDowell
    Total Number of hours: 100

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