2002 Conference Proceedings

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Dr. Debra K. Bauder
Assistant Professor - Session Leader/Presenter
Department of Special Education, Rm 147
University Of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: 502.852.0564
Fax: 502.852.1419
Email: bauder@louisville.edu 

Debbie Sharon
Director of Education
Bluegrass Technology Center
A member of Alliance for Technology Access
961 Beasley Street, Ste 103A
Lexington, KY 40509-4120
Phone: 859.294.4343
Fax: 859.294.0704
Email: dsharon@bluegrass-tech.org

The federally accepted definition of assistive technology allows for a broad interpretation of what is and what is not "assistive technology." According to the federal definition, AT is any item or product system, whether purchased commercially off-the-shelf or modified to improve the functional capability of an individual..." The first step in pursuing assistive technology is to begin at the bottom of the technology continuum with no-/low-technology solutions and to move up the continuum as individual needs dictate higher technology adaptations, which are often more complicated and costly. Therefore, in order to increase the awareness of AT and increase the likelihood of implementation, the presenters believe simple no-/low-tech and no-/low-cost adaptations are the primary means of integrating and meeting the needs of all students in all environments.

The term assistive technology alone can also create apprehension and resistance to enhancing the independence and functionality of students with disabilities. Simply the term "technology" creates visual images of cables, computers, and code, to mention a few. Through the Kentucky State Improvement Grant (SIG): Project ICARUS, efforts are being made throughout the state to collaborate with curricular consultants in enhancing the awareness of curricular adaptations that regular education teachers can use to enhance the learning experiences of all individuals within their classrooms. The focus of the training is being taken off of assistive technology and being placed on using simple low cost materials and adaptations to increase not only access to learning experiences, but the learning from those experiences as well.

Throughout this session suggestions will be made and examples will be demonstrated as to how materials that can be located in a home, school, basement, office supply store, garage sale, and/or discount store can be used to enhance the learning experiences of students with severe disabilities. The presenters will review their strategies, learning experiences, feedback, support system created, and adaptations.

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