Helpful and Compasionate Things to Say at an ARD Meeting

This is an excellent article from Westminster Technologies.  http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/11/25/10-helpful-and-compassionate-comments-heard-at-an-iep-meeting/#.VH-HnH4EOjk.email

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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Assistive Technology – UNITE!

By popular demand, reviving the Group of Assistive Technology Supporters (GOATS)

2 meetings have been scheduled for the upcoming year:

Assistive Technology Roundtable: Fall Meeting October 15, 2014 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM    Abrams Site, Brazos Room

Bring lunch and learn with our Texas representative from Don Johnston, Inc, Bob Keller. He will show what is new at DJI. This is a vendor supported event. We will also discuss the Group of Assistive Technology Supporters and plans for the year. Information from the Texas Assistive Technology Network will be shared.

Assistive Technology Roundtable:  Spring Meeting March 4, 2015 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Abrams Site, Brazos Room

At this meeting we will discuss issues of interest to the Group of Assistive Technology Supporters. Come prepared to share and to learn from your peers. Specific topic: Overview of Communication Apps.  There are numerous options for individuals who are non-verbal or have speech challenges which make them difficult to be understood by most people. This workshop is appropriate for SLPs, OTs, teachers, and parents–anyone who wants to help support the app for an individual user. Our presenter is Leah Gardner, Director of Assistive Technology at Ability Connection Texas.

 

Please send this message out to those who coordinate Assistive Technology programs, or those whom you would like to be more informed! and urge them to attend!  We think this will be a very productive group.

 

Related:  Upcoming workshop:  For those who are new, unsure of their knowledge of AT evaluation process, or for a refresher/revalidation:

The Assistive Technology Assessment: Team WorkNovember 10, 2014 9:00 PM – 3:30 PM    Abrams Site, DLC Room

This workshop will demonstrate for teams the process of considering, assessing, and planning for assistive technology devices and services. Roles and responsibilities of team members will I be discussed.  Diagnostician, SLP, OT, and AT personnel will present.

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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Network, network, network!

Have you ever wondered “Am I doing this right? Are the kids we are educating getting the best we have to offer?” Of course you have! We all want to be validated for what we do. We all have that secret desire to know what our colleagues are doing. Do I ever have an opportunity for you!

By request we have been asked to start a Low Incidence/Lifeskills Coordinator’s meeting. 3 have been scheduled for the upcoming year:
September 24, 2014: Initial planning meeting. Discussion of purpose of group. Discussion of Community Based Instruction. Plans for future meetings.
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Abrams Site, Pecos Room

January 29, 2015: Topic TBD. Discussion of LID Academy and Summer 2015 Lifeskills Teacher Bootcamp.
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Abrams Site, Brazos Room

April 15, 2015: Topic TBD. Debrief on new STAAR ALT test.
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Abrams Site, Brazos Room

We are excited about the possibilities of this group and the opportunities to learn from each other. Please send a representative to the initial meeting on Sept. 24. We think this will be a very productive group. Hope to see you there!

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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The Periodic Table of AAC

Augmentative alternative communication is an abstract issue that many people struggle to get their head around. I’ve found this fabulous visual (I’m AT, right?) that explains it in one page. The graphic is color coded with items about

  • GUIDING BELIEFS
  • AAC COMPETENCIES
  • INSTRUCTIONAL AND IMPLEMENTATION TIPS
  • COMMUNICATION FUNCTIONS
  • ADULT SUPPORT TIPS
  • ASSESSMENT CONSIDERATIONS

Sorry to yell at you with the big caps but I wanted you, the reader, to see the richness of this graphic. Genius! Thanks to Kate Ahern, one of my favorite bloggers, for creating this.

http://teachinglearnerswithmultipleneeds.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-periodic-table-of-aac.html

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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New Year Brings Opportunity for Learning

Push here to learn!

Push here to learn!

 

Happy new year to everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Why?  Let’s see, we had Thanksgiving with a couple extra days taken, then the Great Ice Age of Early December 2013 with 2 days out, then the marvelous and anxiously anticipated holiday break of two whole weeks!  I could get used to this!

But enough of this digression.  Finding yourself in a learning slump?  Feel like you don’t know anything about AT?  Try some webinars!  I cannot sing the praises high enough of some of our wonderful AT vendors who consistently provide excellent learning events for free.  Here are a couple to try:

1.  Ablenet Inc.  Live and recorded webinars:  http://www.ablenetinc.com/Professional-Development

2.  Don Johnston:  Live, product, and on-demand webinars:  http://donjohnston.com/webinars/

3.  Kurzweil:  Intellitools and Kurzweil webinars:  http://www.cambiumtech.com/special/webinars/

4.  Mayer Johnson:  Too many to list:  http://www.mayer-johnson.com/training/recorded/

But wait!  There’s more!  Region 10 has a subscription to the ATIA webinar series.  You can access many of the breakout workshops that will be offered at their upcoming conference without incuring one penny in travel cost!  Contact me for the code you must have to register for these live and recorded webinars. gayle.mcnurlen@region10.org   They are fantastic!  Take a look at the schedule here http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4305

If any readers know of other great webinar resources let me know and I’ll pass them on.

Resolve to update your skills and knowledge.  Have a wonderful year full of successes for you and the students you serve.

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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Why Not You?

young lady pointing at you

The time is right, the time is now!  We are planning now for the 2014 Summer Lifeskills Bootcamp and we need you!  In 2013 we had 24 unique presentations by 17 presenters.  We exceeded our registration goal.  The comments from the camp came back so positive and upbeat.  Be a part of it and show the audience what you do with your students.

So we’re at it again gathering up proposals for presentation at this well attended event.  We want teachers or teams from our local districts to present on a topic of interest related to teaching the lifeskills student.  You will have 2.5 hrs. for presentation.  We will give you feedback and assist you in whatever way possible.

I’ve updated the website so everything should  be there-dates, times, and the proposal form you need to complete and email to me.  Just do it.  Your fellow teachers will be so appreciative.  Here’s the website:  http://www.region10.org/special-education/life-skills-boot-camp/.  The proposal will need to be here by Jan. 31. 2014.  Please consider presenting at this very important workshop!  We will open it up for registation after the first of the year.  Hope to hear from you.

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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Low Incidence Disabilities Monthly Guides

The Low Incidence Disabilities (LID)  network is publishing a monthly guide to help teachers stay on track and be organized for the year.  These helpful guides will provide guidance regarding a checklist of what should be done this month and curriculum/instruction suggestions.  There are many helpful examples and needed guidance provided.  Bookmark this site and return to it often.  I’ll try to post a note when a new guide is added.  While on this site be sure to check out the multitude of links and resources available!  Have a great and productive school year!

http://www.esc3.net/Page/487  Monthly Instructional guides for Teachers of Students with Significant Cognitive Delays

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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What Did You Do This Summer?

beachstudy

 

It’s back to school time!  Curb your enthusiasm, please!

I always think the summer will be my slow season but in the ten years I have been here, it has yet to be slow.  Here at Region 10 we had a busy summer.  To recap:

  1. June 11-13 was the Assistive Technology Statewide Conference held at Region 4 in Houston.  This event draws over 700 people and has sold out year after year.  It was a wonderful showcase of national and local presenters who covered all things AT.  Mark your calendar for next year:  June 10-12, 2014.  Consider being a presenter-free admission to the conference is awarded to presenters. 
  2. June 25-26 was the Low Incidence Academy.  Our presenter was Jill Beall from Region 7 who gave us an introduction to Environmental Communication Training.  We had over 40 attendees with a long wait list!  Mark your calendar for next year LID Academy:  June 27, 2014.
  3. July 30-31 I presented at the State Dyslexia Conference on Assistive Technology Solutions for Students with Dyslexia.  Attendees were able to see lots of free and some not-so-free AT products for their students.  We are so glad that the passage of SB 866 includes assistive technology for this group. 
  4. August 5-6 we hosted the Summer Lifeskills Teacher Bootcamp.  Over 300 people attended this event which included 24 unique breakout sessions.  Most of our presenters were teachers who are out in the field doing what you do every day.  I was so very proud of the presenters and I hope the event got everyone recharged and filled with ideas for the upcoming year.  Mark your calendar for next year: August 11-12, 2014.  Consider being a presenter!  People want to hear your story.\
  5. August 8 I presented for Rockwall ISD Boardmaker and searching Boardmaker Achieve (previously called Boardmaker Share) for activities that can be used during instruction and on the STAAR-ALT Assessment.  These teachers and paraprofessionals sharpened up their skills and found many useful items already created for their students.  This searching workshop will be repeated in the afternoon of Sept. 19, 2013 after Lorna Saldago presents information from TEA regarading STAAR-ALT.
  6. And finally, August 15-16 I presented at the 2nd Annual Low Incidence Disabilities Conference of South Texas.  This event, sponsored by Region 2 in Corpus Christi, had a variety of dynamic breakouts and keynote session for their attendees.  Ginger Williford, from Region 10 Early Childhood, was my co-presenter on Universal Design in Your Preschool Classroom.  Again, many resources were offered to the attendees. The local ABC television affiliate covered the event.  For a glimpse of “yours truly” see http://www.kiiitv.com/category/194871/video?&clipId=9204015&autostart=true

Whew!  What a summer!  Can I repeat this next summer?  Probably so, with alot of beach time in-between.  Hope your year gets off to a great start!

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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What are you doing this summer?

summer[1]

Ah summertime!  One of the best things about working in the education system, right?  So what are your plans?  Assuming maybe you’ll take some time for professional development, I offer these suggestions.

1.  Bob University:  Following last summer’s success — Bob Keller, a long-standing personality in the field of assistive technology and long-time team member of Don Johnston, is bringing Bob University back! Bob University 2013 is a series of webinars that will give you a fast overview of our programs, all in 30 minutes or less. This is your chance to learn something new and keep your skills sharp over the summer months.  Bob University 2013 will be covering everything from Read:OutLoud to First Author, Co:Writer, Snap&Read, Draft:Builder, and much more.  Take a look at the course schedule for each month and register for as many sessions as you would like (there is no limit!). To make it even more convenient for you, courses will be held twice each day — once at 7:30 AM CDT and again at 8:30 AM CDT.  Then just grab a cup of coffee, login to the courses you’ve selected, and get ready to learn!  I attended one this morning and found it to be a great overview of a new product they are offering.

 

2.   Accessible Technology Coalition:  This organization offers free webinars and many archived webinars.  Their June and July live webinars include Evernote and Students with Learning Difficulties  and Teach Keyboarding!   Ten more free webinars are listed now. See them all, including:

  • Self-employment as an Individualized Process from JAN (6/11)
  • Web and IT Accessibility Policies in Higher Education from EASI (6/13)
  • Establishing and Maintaining Support for AT from AbleNet (6/18)
  • Freedom from the Nursing Home using Technology from ATNetwork (6/18)

 

3.  AbleNet University:  http://www.ablenetinc.com/Professional-Development.   This site hosts lots of live webinars and a multitude of recorded webinars that range from 30-90 minutes.  They are all very high quality.  As an example, this is a 5 part series that I recently attended,  AAC Developing Participation Series.

4.  ATIA :  ATIA educational offerings are designed to provide the latest information on AT products, services and best practices from leading regional, national and international presenters. ATIA believes its educational programs further increase awareness of the innovative assistive technologies and services that enhance learning, working, and independence for people with disabilities.  Did you know that Region 10 has a subscription to this series, good until late September, so you can attend any of these free of charge.  Contact me directly for the code.  gayle.mcnurlen@region10.org

5.  Explore Karen Janowski UDL Toolkit.  Her description on her wiki is My passion is to remove the obstacles to learning for all students and these free tools offer opportunities for struggling learners that promote academic success. When material is digital or electronic, it is flexible and accessible. It is our responsibility as educators to provide materials that promote success.

Some of the topics to explore include Free Text to Speech, Graphic Organizers, Study Skills Tools, Literacy Tools, Writing Tools, Math Tools, Tools that Compensate for Handwriting Issues, and Helpful Apps, plus many more! 

So have a great summer full of fun, rest, and relaxation —  and maybe even some learning thrown in.  This should keep you busy!  Don’t worry about me.  I’ll be hard at work throughout the summer.  Not that I’m bitter and resentful about it………..

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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It’s Hip to be Hip

There were two items in the “news” today that I just can’t resist repeating.  Jacquielynn Floyd, columnist for the Dallas Morning News, wrote “Google Glass is another distraction I don’t need.”  I couldn’t agree more!  She blames it on the fact that she is “a hidebound old-timer automatically suspicious of and resistant to technological change” but I have a different reason to say no thanks to this technology.  These glasses with a tiny computer embedded enable wearers to take videos and photos, check email, surf the web among other things.  Wow!  Do we really want this level of distraction while people are driving, walking, and doing other activities of daily living?  I think not. 

However, there may be some application for individuals with vision impairments.  Time will tell, but I’m not lining up.

The second item was an email from eSchool News Online, 10 ed-tech tools of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  What a hoot reading about how progressive we thought we were using tools such as overhead projectors, tape recorders, floppy discs, dry erase boards, TI-80 graphing calculator, a search resource called “Ask Jeeves”, and (wait for it…..) …….the latest and greatest educational software such as Oregon Trail (woo hoo!).

Someday someone will write about the good old days when we used to use cell phones and laptops and –ha, ha– those funny things called iPads!  There is a very famous country song that talks about changes and what we miss.  Sometimes I wish it were a simpler time–not! 

Anyway, fun articles.  Check em out!

Gayle McNurlen

Gayle McNurlen

An occupational therapist by background, I have been dabbling in technology since the early days of the Macintosh. I got my dream job in 2003 as the assistive technology consultant at Region 10. I would much rather play with technology than do my real job so this seems to be a good fit for me! I am also the Low Incidence Disabilities consultant.

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