Thursday, October 29, 2009

ATIA 2009 Chicago - Day 1

Today was the first full day of the ATIA conference in Chicago. I really enjoyed the day, got to meet quite a few people - Chris Bugay-A.T.Tipscast, Karen Jankowski-EdTech Solutions: Teaching Every Student, Brian Wojcik-AT Cubed. That was really worth the price of coming, just the chance to meet a few of the people I read on a regular basis.

Before I talk about the sessions, I wanted to share a new link for my notes (small problem with Evernote, so went with Google Docs) - ATIA09 Notes

But the real reason I went was the conference sessions! My first session was 4 AAC techniques for every classroom. This was a really great session about how simple, training of parapros & teachers can increase independence, initiation of, and amount of AAC use. The results were significant, 5 weeks of implementation produced pretty significant changes in staff implementation. The 4 principles taught to staff were Positive Communication Environment, Partner Augmented Input, Sabotage, & Chain of Cues. The best part - all the training materials are available online! You can get all the material here at the Dynavox Mayer-Johnson site. More information from the session in my notes.

The 2nd session I attended was about the CAST Bookbuilder. Another good session, about a really great web product. You can easily create books for students to read, with text reading abilities, and "coaches" to aid comprehension. It's really a great tool, with several limitations. At this time there is not alternative access ability. So students who use switch access, or Intellikeys cannot navigate a book. Basically if you cannot use a mouse, and have very fine motor control you will not be successful using this site. You can get more information here: htt://

I also attended a session by Dave Hohulin about how to create and implement an AT Team. It was a good session on providing information to AT teams on best practices, the law, and time to work on case studies. It was extremely informative, and interesting to hear perspectives on how the law is interpreted in various states. One audience member was confused by the fact that in IL an AT Eval must be completed in 60 days (just like any other part of a re-eval). I really liked his simple checklist for implementing an AT eval: Identify, Information, Isolate, Investigate, IEP, and Implement.

Still another 1 1/2 days left of learning to do, so stay tuned for more ideas from ATIA!

- Patrick

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