2002 Conference Proceedings

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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN A SMALL INNER-CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT: THE WHY AND HOW

Anthon McLaws, O.T.
3348 W. McDowell, Phx. AZ 85009
602-484-4700
jmclaws@Isaaceld.k12.AZ.us 

Kim Scott, P.T.
3348 W. McDowell Phx. AZ 85009
602-484-4700
Kscott@isaaceld.k12.AZ.us 

Carole Corcoran, Early Childhood Spec. Ed. Teacher
3301 W. McDowell Phx. AZ 85009
602-233-3321
Ccorcoran@Isaaceld.k12.AZ.us 

Stephanie Allen, Spec. Ed.Teacher, Middle School
3348 W. McDowell Phx. AZ 85009
602-484-4700
Sallen@Isaaceld.k12.AZ.us 

Cindy Hart, Spec. Ed. Teacher, Elementary
3348 W. McDowell Phx. AZ 85009
602-484-4700
Chart@Isaaceld.k12.AZ.us 

Sandie Scott, Speech Pathologist
3348 W. McDowell Phx. AZ 85009
602-484-4700
Sscott@Isaaceld.k12.AZ.us

During the past four school years, The Isaac School District in Phoenix, Arizona, in conjunction with Southwest Human Development has developed a district-wide assistive technology program. This program, called "Better Education through Assistive Technology" (B.E.A.T.), is led by seven district employees. Team members include a general education teacher, three special education teachers (1 preschool teacher, 1 elementary teacher, and 1 middle school teacher), a speech language pathologist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist. The B.E.A.T. team recognizes that the extended A.T. team members include the director of special education and other administrators, classroom teachers and support staff, community leaders, and parents. This assistive technology team has implemented a progressive A.T. program, which is a model of best-practice standards in the Phoenix area. Several years ago only a handful of district students had access to and were using A.T. devices and services. Currently, many hundreds of special education and regular education students use A.T. and all teachers, paraprofessionals, and parents have access to A.T. information, equipment, training, and services.

There are several key aspects that are necessary when developing an A.T. program in a small inner-city school district. These include a team approach to implementing assistive technology, creative funding of assistive technology projects and equipment, the development of an assistive technology resource library, and integrating assistive technology into the classroom and community.

A team approach is necessary for a successful assistive technology team. This A.T. principle is applicable to all school districts, not only to inner city or low-income districts. The presentation will discuss the principles of development of policies and procedures, team training, and team organization. Parent involvement/training in A.T. decisions will be emphasized.

Creative funding resources were used to establish A.T. services and equipment in the Isaac School District. These resources include mini-grants, large grants, use of existing resources (district funds, Medicaid, IDEA, and existing classroom resources) and collaboration with other organizations.

Development of an Assistive Technology Resource library was critical for A.T. implementation throughout the district for both assessment and classroom use. This discussion of an A.T. library will include: how it was established, what to include in the library, and how it functions.

Integrating assistive technology into both the classroom and the community is an ongoing process for the successful education of all children. Discussion topics will include: teacher/staff training, target classrooms, family training, school board presentations, Special Education director support, and inter-district collaboration.


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