2001 Conference Proceedings

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Kelly Fonner
Education & Assistive Technology Consultant
Lake Geneva, WI
E-mail: kfonner@earthlink.net 

Paula Justice
NC Network for Early Childhood Assistive Technology
Greensboro, NC
E-mail: justicep@guilford.k12.nc.us

The average classroom teacher, special educator, or therapy service Provider does not always have the opportunity or time to explore products from all of the assistive technology companies. Often service programs and professionals get "dedicated" to a line of products. Maybe they were only introduced to one line of products, they may have built a relationship with the manufacturer, or simply lack awareness to the vast world of assistive technology. Often we find that people just don’t understand that products from different companies can be used together. In a small, but competitive market, the manufacturers themselves, knowingly or not, influence this lack of "mixing" products as well.

We see this repeatedly with the products from two well known companies, Don Johnston and Iintellitools. For example, professionals think that they can only use Write:OutLoud with the Discover Board, or Intellitalk with the Intellikeys. Hopefully, no one ever told them this, it seems to be one of those assumptions that those of us who do training and consulting in assistive technology are confronted with constantly. "Yes, you can use your Intellikeys with Co:Writer and Clarisworks. Really, it does work. Let me show you...."

Last year at the CSUN conference we did this in a lecture format and had many requests to bring this to a hands-on session. So, during this presentation, several examples of "mixing" products will be practiced, including:

By building awareness of and practice in product line "mixing", we hope to save families, educational and therapeutic programs costly errors from lack of information, duplication of products with similar features and to encourage the use of all products to their full potential to the benefit of those that need them.

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