2003 Conference Proceedings

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Goodwill Industries of Orange County
200 N. Fairview St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
Email: atec@ocgoodwill.org  Website: http://www.ocgoodwill.org/atec 

Leisa Salvo, M.S., CCC-S
ATEC Manager and Speech-Language Pathologist
Email: lsalvo@ocgoodwill.org

Jason Hilkey, B.A.
ATEC Sr. Technology Specialist
Email: jasonh@ocgoodwill.org

Ramon Castillo, B.S., OTR
ATEC Occupational Therapist
Email: ramonc@ocgoodwill.org

Kevin Daugherty, M.S.
ATEC Rehabilitation Engineer
Email: kevind@ocgoodwill.org

Becki Grier, M.A., CCC-S
ATEC Speech-Language Pathologist
Email: beckig@ocgoodwill.org

The Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) is a program of Goodwill Industries of Orange County. ATEC assists clients in determining the best technological solutions for overcoming limitations. Services include assistive technology assessment, adaptive computer assessment, augmentative and alternative communication, installation and training, an equipment loan program, and an open assistive technology lab.

Referral and funding sources for clients seen by ATEC include California Department of Rehabilitation, individual school districts, SELPA's (Special Education Local Planning Areas), various Regional Center offices, private insurance, MediCal, worker's compensation, friends and family. Approximately 450 people receive services from ATEC annually.

The staff includes two Speech-Language Pathologists, a Rehabilitation Engineer, an Occupational Therapist, two Technology Specialists, a Service Coordinator and an Assistant Service Coordinator.


Many school districts around ATEC have struggled to fulfill their requirements and needs in order to provide assistive technology (AT) to their students with disabilities. ATEC has developed relationships with these local school districts over the years, providing evaluations, student trainings, staff trainings, installations, technical support and other assistive technology services. A pilot program was started in 2001 with one school district and has since expanded to five districts that place ATEC services in the school district one day per week. Instead of the school district making a referral to ATEC on an individual-by-individual basis, a member of the ATEC staff provides school-directed service to students or school staff in the school district for an entire day.


Local school districts have not had the resources to provide all of the assistive technology services that they need to provide. In some cases, they have had difficulty considering assistive technology for students with disabilities. In other cases, they have not had the expertise to evaluate students with multiple disabilities. Usually, when the school needs assistive technology services, they contact ATEC, submit a referral packet, resolve funding, and arrange scheduling with school staff, parents and the student. This process can often take 1-2 months. Once the intake process is completed, 1-3 appointments are conducted at the ATEC facility, school or home, a report is written and submitted. If equipment is recommended, it is acquired by the school district, ATEC is contacted and a schedule for setup and training is worked out with the school staff, parents and/or students. ATEC then conducts multiple 2-hour appointments each week to set up and train the student and staff on the equipment. This process, from initial contact to training completion, may take several months depending on the assistive technology involved.


While the current model for assistive technology services worked for many students, there was a need to develop a process that required less time to completion, used ATEC's resources and the school's resources more efficiently, improved collaboration with the student's support team, and placed ATEC in the student's environment. The Placentia/Yorba Linda Unified School District has collaborated with ATEC to develop a pilot program in 2002. This service model places one ATEC staff member at the school district for an entire day each week. Upon arrival at the school district office on the prescribed day, the ATEC staff member will discuss the schedule for the day with the school contact for assistive technology. Prior to the scheduled day, the school contact for assistive technology will have already determined what services need to be provided during the day, and will have scheduled the appointments with the appropriate contacts at each school in advance. ATEC will take all materials needed for that day's appointments and drive to the schools as per the appointment schedule. At each school, student consultations, student/staff training or other services will be provided with the teacher or school/district staff member in attendance. If training is involved, ATEC will return each week to train the student and/or school staff on the technology. At the end of the day, a summary report is provided by ATEC to the school district contact. If equipment is recommended it will be itemized in the report. If the school has an inventory of the recommended equipment, it is often delivered, set up and the student and/or staff trained the following week. This process, from initial contact by the teacher or parent with the school district contact to the completion of training, can often be reduced to a few weeks. When a more extensive evaluation or training needs to be conducted for a particular student, ATEC will recommend the student to the ATEC center. This evaluation is usually shorter than the typical evaluation because much of the initial fact-gathering has already been completed during any prior meetings with the student at the school.

As part of this pilot program, the following materials are provided or discussed with the school district:

graph of pilot program model and typical school model


While schools are challenged to provide assistive technology services and keep services contained within the school district, outside service providers may be able to work closely with the schools to provide or supplement existing assistive technology services. The goal of this pilot project is to support school districts in providing assistive technology services until they are able to provide the majority of the services with school district staff, referring only those cases requiring extensive assistive technology knowledge to an outside provider.

As a result of the close partnership between ATEC and the participating school districts, students have received higher quality service, provided in a familiar environment, and completed in a timelier manner.


Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative. (1998). Student Information Guide. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from http://wati.org/assesmentforms.htm

ibid. (1998). Assistive Technology Checklist. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from http://wati.org/assesmentforms.htm

ibid. (1998). Environmental Observation Guide. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from http://wati.org/assesmentforms.htm

ibid. (1998). Assistive Technology Planning Guide. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from http://wati.org/assesmentforms.htm

ibid. (1998). Assistive Technology Assessment Procedure Guide. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from http://wati.org/assesmentforms.htm

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology. (2001). Indicators in Action Matrix. Retrieved September 20, 2002, from http://sweb.uky.edu/~jszaba0/QIATmatrix.PDF

Georgia Project for Assistive Technology. (1998). Assistive Technology Consideration Resource Guide. 528 Forest Parkway Suite C, Forest Park, GA 30297: GPAT.

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