Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Final Synthesis Questions and Reflections

As teachers part of our job is to reflect, on ourselves our lessons and our practices.  In each of our classes and professional development we need to reflect on what we have learned, what we still need to find out, and what we would like to learn more about.  Now that it is the end of the semester, I find myself looking back and what I have learned over the past few months about assistive technology.  The amount of resources I have found, accessed and incorporated into my profession is invaluable.  What was of the most value to be what learning about the principles of UDL, and how to alter my thinking what constructing my lesson plans.  Another area that is important to me is, how to include assistive technology into the students IEP and the students life appropriately.  There is still much more out there to learn about assistive technology and I hope to in the future.  Below are some final questions that sum up some information form throughout the semester.



Question 3: The student will be able to identify and implement primary considerations involved in selecting and designing and AAC system. (Pg 238-255)



1     Question 4: Identify low-tech strategies and solutions to enhance communication. (Pg 157)




     Question: Identify the decision making process for the selection of remedial and/or compensatory tools to support students with reading disabilities.  (Pg 86-89)





References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


Monday, April 15, 2013

AT and Math: Additional Activities and Resources

This post review an online math resource that is accessible for students.  The post below connects with Chapter 5, which connects to the previous posts on the focus questions from the chapter.  The textbook used can be found below in the references section.

1.
  •  Title: Arcademic Skill Builders
  •  Publisher: Arcademics
  • Website: www.arcademicskillbuilders.com
  • Cost: The games found on this website are free.  It is possible for someone to sign up for Arcademics Plus which varies depending on the use.  Some games are able to be downloaded on the iPad and the cost of those is either free or $.99.
  • Notable System Requirements: After downloading games on the iPad I experienced no difficulty.  When I went to play games online using the iPad I was unable to.  I played the games on my computer with no difficulty.  The website does not list system requirements.
  •   Purpose: The purpose of this website is to 
  • Structure: The website is set up as an arcade and there are a variety of categories that focus on a specific math topic(addition, subtraction, fractions, decimals)
  • Special Features: This is a free version, but there is an Arcademics Plus which can be paid for.  Allows to play against others but there is no interaction with other players so it is safe for young children.  There are many other games to play, not just math like spelling, geography, and language arts.
  • Strengths: Aligned with the common core standards.  Games are interactive, fun, there are many games to try.  At the end of the game it lets you know which answers you got wrong and right.  The response is immediate when you get a right or wrong answer.  
  • Weaknesses: When you click on a game to play, you have to wait until all other members of that game are ready to play, so it can take a while sometimes.  
  • Summary: Overall, I enjoyed this website.  If found the games to be fun and interactive and helpful when practicing or learning math.  This is a great website to use in the classroom and will be definitely something I will use in the future.  I have started making a portaportal website and this resource was one that I added and I informed other teachers to use in the classroom.  




4. Professional Portfolio Resources:

References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Assistive Technology Implementation Resources

The information listed below is a shortened version of the information that be found on the websites.  The information below is a basic introduction about successfully implementing AT into a students life.  Please click on each of the links to the resources listed below and learn more.  The amount of valuable information for educators on these websites is enormous and completely valuable, both would be beneficial to revert back to when the time comes to use AT with a student.
  • AssistiveTechnology Implementation: Working Together to Make a Measurable Difference
    • The purpose of this module is to learn the purposes and results of AT, big ideas in AT implementation, planning for AT implementation, and evaluating the effectiveness of AT implementation.
    • The model is broken down into 4 easy to understand steps
      • Step 1: Review present levels of performance and evaluation data
      • Step 2: Develop goals and objectives
      • Step 3: Determine if any tasks are difficult or impossible for the student.
      • Step 4: Decide whether or not AT services and devices are required and document decisions.
    • Dynamic AT evaluation (DATE)
      • Identify areas of concern
      • Gather information
      • Analyze information
      • Generate and prioritize potential solutions
      • Develop and Evaluation Action Plan (EAP)
      • Conduct trials and collect data on effectiveness
      • Formulate recommendations
      • Document
    • When making recommendations
      • Devices- what and why
      • Services- what, why, and for whom
      • Supports
      • Training- content and for whom
      • Follow-up
      • other needs or considerations
    • Ways to Use Assistive Technology
      • support achievement goals
      • expand educational/vocational options
      • increase participation in educational setting and activities
      • increase productivity
      • increase independence
      • improve quality of life
    • At implementation focuses on functional areas of concern, when and where they occur
      • functional skills include: reading, writing, hearing, seeing, behavior, recreation, communication etc. 
    • Effectiveness of Evaluation
      • clearly defined responsibilities
      • related to one or more goals
      • ongoing process
      • takes place across environments and activities
      • quantitative and qualitative changes
    • SETT Framework to establish baseline
      • Student- present levels, areas of concern, desires, expectations
      • Environment- arrangement, support, materials and equipment, access 
      • Tasks- communication, instruction, participation, productivity, 
      • Tools- accommodations, modifications, AT, supports, services, training
    • Demonstration Planning Form
    • Powerpoint
  • Making it Work: Effective Implementation of Assistive Technology
    • A successful implementation is:
      • Collaborative
      • systematic
      • recursive
      • flexible
      • based on curricular goals and needs
    • An effective AT implementation plan has the following steps:
      • Gather relevant information
      • Establish IEP goals
      • conduct assistive technology trial
      • Identify AT solution
      • Develop Implementation Plan
      • Adapt lessons for AT integration
      • follow up and plan transition
    • Challenges or barriers to effective AT implementation
      • Student: 
        • not motivated or interested in the AT solution put in place
        • did not participate in the selection process
        • not adequately trained
      • Team:
        • no planning time for the use of technology
        • not all team members are involved
        • not ready to technically implement the device
      • Environment
        • resource not available
        • school setting do not have space or equipment to support technology
      • Technology
        • it is too complex to be effectively implemented in the time frame 
        • does not function well in school environment
    • Methods of Gathering data
      • information forms/checklists
      • work samples 
      • client observation
      • photographs and video
      • interviews
      • review of the relevant search
      • formal professional assessments (SLP, OT, PT, physicians)
Additional Resources:




References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Reasonable assistive technology accommodations for students with disabilities in college.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 14 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews what assistive technology accommodations are available for students with disabilities in college.



1. Reasonable assistive technology accommodations for students with disabilities in college.

  • Note Taking
    • Typical: student note takers using carbonless paper
    • Technology: Use of a portable note taker.  Smart pen to record lectures and sync to notes
  • Understanding lectures
    • Typical: Sign language interpreters. 
    • Technology: C-print captioning, assistive listening system.

  • Taking Tests
    • Typical: extended time on tests, distraction-free environment for testing
    • Technology: word processing application for essay exams, sue of spell-check feature or handheld speller, use of calculator, text-to-speech software for reading support
  • Accessing course materials
    • Typical: Sign language-interpreted videos, arranging for materials to be translated into Braille
    • Technology: captioned videos, providing handouts in e-format, making course web sites accessible
  • Reading
    • Typical: providing readers
    • Technology: books in alternate formats, scan/read systems with highlighting and text-to-speech, text readers, audio books, video magnifiers
  • Completing papers and other assignments
    • Technology: screen magnification applications, screen-reading applications, text-to-speech and word prediction applications, voice recognition applications, graphic organizers
  • Accessing the internet
    • Technology: providing screen magnification, screen reading, or text-to-speech applications.  Making college web pages accessible
  • Registering for classes
    • Typical: priority registration
    • Technology: making college Web-based systems accessible
  • Telecommunicating
    • Technology: providing a telecommunications device for the deaf, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, video relay system.

Additional Resources:




References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Differences between the rights and requirements of IDEA in P-12 education and ADA in higher education.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 14 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post compares and contrasts IDEA and ADA education laws in higher education.


2. Differences between the rights and requirements of IDEA in P-12 education and ADA in higher education.

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 
    • Rights guaranteed by law: Free appropriate public education
    • Who is covered: Every child; concept of zero reject
    • Identification and evaluation of students with disabilities:  District responsible for identifying students with disabilities, evaluating them, and covering the costs
    • Determining services: IEP developed by team.  Curriculum modifications and special programs are common
    • Personal devices and services: Provided by district if determined to be necessary (and included in the IEP)
    • Role of Parents: parents must be included in the decision making process
    • Appeals Process: right to due process as stated in the law
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    • Rights guaranteed by law: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
    • Who is covered: Students who are "otherwise qualified"
    • Identification and evaluation of students with disabilities: College has no responsibility.  Students must self-identify and provide appropriate documentation.  If an evaluation is needed the expense is the student's responsibility.  
    • Determining services: Reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services must be requested by the student.  Academic adjustments that equalize opportunity for participation are required; substantial modifications to curriculum and lowering standards are not required.  
    • Personal devices and services: colleges are not required to provide these.
    • Role of the parent: college students are older than 18 and are considered adults, no parent consultation is required.  
    • Appeals process: college grievance procedure and then a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights must be filed.  



Additional Resources:








References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Designing the students augmentative communication system to meet the communication needs at home and in the community.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 12 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews using an augmentative communication system at home and in the community, and what communication needs must be met.




6. Designing the students augmentative communication system to meet the communication needs at home and in the community.


  • When individuals with augmentative communication systems are out in the community it can be difficult when they are trying to communicate with people who are unfamiliar with the system and to help this transition the devices can be programmed to ask specific questions.


References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

The importance of support with the use of augmentative communication systems at home and in the community.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 12 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews why it is important that support systems are in place when using an augmentative communication system at home and in the community.


5. The importance of support with the use of augmentative communication systems at home and in the community.

  • When students use their augmentative communication systems at home and in the community it reinforces the communication skills learned at school and helps them to generalize them to other settings.  
  • Teachers need to be actively involved and ensure that there is an appropriate carry over at home and in the community. 
  • Training should be provided to the families at home, and this could include strategies for expanded use of the system, and new vocabulary.  
  • It is important to consider the family functioning and cultural diversity prior to implementing the system at home.  
  • It is important that the individual have support from family and friends at home, and to keep using the communication skills taught at school.  
  • Tips for parents to promote the use of augmentative communication
    • provide direct instruction and use of the system.
    • identify vocabulary that is relevant to the home.
    • teach family members to provide opportunities for communication and to wait.
    • provide simple data and evaluation sheets for home and community use.
    • give parents permission to expand the child's communication
    • keep it simple




References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Augmentative communication integration into the IEP

The post below contains information found in Chapter 12 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews how to integrate an augmentative communication system into a students IEP.




4. Augmentative communication integration into the IEP

  • Augmentative communication evaluations should be a component of the development process and carefully considered for a student who is nonspeaking.  
  • The augmentative system components should be listed in the IEP along with how the system will be used.  
  • It is important that when a augmentative communication system is in the IEP that it is integrated across the school day which includes instructional and non instructional periods.  
  • The IEP must state clear statements that reflect the students communication needs in all environments and how the features of the system will be used by the student. 
  • When developing goals there are three areas to consider for augmentative communication users, these are:
    • communication
      • ex: The student will independently navigate the augmentative communication device without assistance or prompts.
    • instruction/academic
      • ex: Parker will use his augmentative communication device to make a brief presentation to the class about the history of the global race to space.
    • social interaction
      • ex: David will use his augmentative communication device to engage in three to four conversational turn takings with other students in four out of five opportunities to do so.  
  • Some additional components that need to be included in the IEP are:
    • List of augmentative communication services that need to be provided by related personnel (SLP, OT)
    • Identification of the party responsible for maintenance and operations.  






References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Strategies for teachers to overcome "Learned Helplessness"

The post below contains information found in Chapter 12 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews strategies to help students overcome "learned helplessness."



3. Strategies for teachers to overcome "Learned Helplessness"

  • Construct a brief daily report to parents that is communicated by the child
  • Provide choice making whenever possible that requires use of augmentative communication system.
  • Allow natural consequences to occur and provide approaches to repair. 
  • Have daily expectations of communication through specific activities such as choosing an activity during recess, choosing a book or picking where to eat for lunch.
  • Use powerful phrases on the device for the student to reject or protest something.  


What is learned helplessness? This is a psychological state or feeling or an individual feels powerless to to change their self or situation.  Some characteristics of this are decreased motivation, failure to learn, negative emotions.  Click on the link to learn more: http://www.education.com/reference/article/learned-helplessness/




References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Assistive Technology and Math: Low-tech and mid-tech applications to assist students with disabilities to complete math assignments.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 5 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews what types of low-tech and mid-teach applications are available to assist students with disabilities to complete math assignments.




7.  Low-tech and mid-tech applications to assist students with disabilities to complete math assignments.


  • Low Tech
    • Fraction Rubber Stamps
    • Manipulative number line
    • laminated addition and multiplication tables
    • transparent Ruler
  • Mid Tech
    • large calculators
    • talking calculators
    • coin abacus








References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Assistive Technology and Math: Educational Applications to teach math concepts, math skills and problem solving.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 5 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post provides educational applications to teach math concepts, math skills and problem solving.




6. Educational Applications to teach math concepts, math skills and problem solving.





References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Assistive Technology and Math: Technology tools to address visual-spatial or motor control difficulties.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 5 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post provides resources to address students who have visual-spatial difficulties, and motor control difficulties.

5. Technology tools to address visual-spatial or motor control difficulties.








References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Assistive Technology and Math: Educational Applications to address automatic/ math fact fluency.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 5 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post provides resources to help address automatic math fact fluency.



4. Educational Applications to address automatic/ math fact fluency.

  • FASTT ( Fluency and Automaticity through Systematic Teaching with Technology)
  • ArithmAttack- practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.
  • Timez Attack ( Big Brainz)- focuses solely on multiplication facts 2-12 times tables.
  • Arcademic Skill Builder - practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, integers, fractions and ratios.






References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.









Assistive Technology and Math: Key questions to consider when selecting educational applications to meet students' goal and objectives.

The post below contains information found in Chapter 5 of the textbook (found in the references section below) the post reviews what key questions need to be considered when selecting educational applications to meet student's goals and objectives.

3. Key questions to consider when selecting educational applications to meet students' goals and objectives.

  • What is the intended outcome of the use of the educational application? Ex: is it meant for automaticity of basic math facts?
  • Is the educational applications likely to fulfill its stated purpose? Ex: if the purpose is to build automaticity of basic math facts, does it repeat facts missed or provide feedback on how quickly and how many correct?
  • Can the educational applications be used as an alternative to traditional classroom activities to enhance students' participation? Ex: will the students learn their basic math facts using online manipulatives?


References:
Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Assistive Technology to Support Writing Summary

Writing is a process that involves multiple steps.  Those steps are (1) pre-writing, (2) drafting, (3) reviewing, (4) editing and (5) sharing or publishing.  Individuals with disabilities experience difficulty with the writing process and often avoid writing all together.  There are many tools and strategies that can help make the writing process easier, some of these strategies are listed below:
                            1. Pre-writing: graphic organizers
                            2. Drafting: word processing, word prediction, speech recognition
                            3: Reviewing: text-to-speech
                            4. Editing: text-to-speech, phonetic spellchecks, grammar checker
                            5. Sharing or Publishing: digital storytelling, word processor, blog

For these resources, tools and technology to be the most effective, they need to be paired with adequate training.  The textbook identifies a three pronged training (1) instruction on the writing process, (2) training on the specific technology, (3) training on how to use these technology tools to enhance the writing process.  Teachers need to be aware that what may work very well for one student, may not work as well for another.  Each students individual strengths and needs must be considered when choosing an assistive technology.







References:

Dell, A., Newton, D., & Petroff, J. (2012). Assistive technology in the classroom. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Websites to Support Writing Using Assistive Technology

The Writing Process


Resource: Read Write Think

This website is a resource that is easily accessible and useful to parents and teachers.  Teachers are able to find detailed lesson plans for a variety of subjects which include useful websites, graphic organizers, and worksheets to go along with the lesson.  Some other tools readily available are printable worksheets, KWL charts, assessment tools, etc.  One resource that I found valuable was the writing starters section which includes a variety of printable organizers and worksheets to assist students in initiating the writing process.  For example the Book Review resource can help students summarize a book or article that they just read, and this worksheet helps to organize the information needed and gives students a focus.
This website is free, user friendly, easily accessible and easy to navigate.  The parent resource section can also provide useful resources to teachers in class.  There are a variety of resources available for grades K-12.  Some examples are a How To Revise and Edit, Practice Letters and Sounds Using Online Games, Alphabet Organizer, Crossword Puzzles, etc.  
Working in elementary education I would use this resource in multiple ways.  First I would inform parents of some interactive games, and activities they can use at home with their children to help practice skills, such as spelling and letter recognition.  I would also take advantage of the printable resources that have been provided on this website such as the the Book Review Form that helps students chunk important information.


Graphic Organizers


Resource: Inspiration Software

This website provides ways to reach visual learners using graphic organizers, outlines, plots and graphs, and mapping.  Learners that are best supported by this software are those that learn best by visual representations of information.  This website would also be useful for all students, to help chunk information or those students who have difficulty starting a writing task, making connections, sequencing etc.  This website was extremely useful, it was very informative and easy to navigate.  There are multiple programs that can be downloaded and purchased for use at home or in the classroom.  The Inspiration 9 software cost $9.99 and is designed for students grades 6- adult.  Inspire Data is designed for students grades 4-12.  Webspiration classroom does not provide a grade level.  Inspiration Maps does not provide a grade level.  The Kidspiration 3 is a software for kids that helps them understand words, numbers and concepts by visual representation.  I was able to download this and use for 30 days for free.  After having the opportunity to go through the different graphic organizers and play with the software it is definitely something that I will pay for in the future.  It is a useful tool for me to use as a teacher, and I can manufacture my own graphic organizer to print and use in class, or the students can type directly into the graphic organizer and put their name on it.  Kidspiration is $65.00 for a download and back up cd.  Some examples of graphic organizers, and concept maps are found below.




Resource: Mindview 3

This is a software is a professional software that uses mind mapping to visually brainstorm, organize and present ideas. This software looks more adult friendly and not useful in a elementary classroom.  This software looks it could be useful for some high school classes, college students and adults.  The website promotes MindView as useful to help improve reading and writing skills, note taking and revision, designing and organizing websites, graduation projects, advanced research papers, curriculum planning, and project planning.  There were examples specifically for teachers, and I found the substitute one useful but the lesson planning ones confusing.  It could take some time for one to familiarize themselves with the software.  The software is compatible with MAC and Pc, a single user for PC is $279 and a single user for MAC is $249.  Some screen shots can be found below of the maps that were used as examples on the website.


Word Processing for Drafting

Resource: LD Resources

This website is collection of resources on learning disabilities.  It allows people to post comments and respond to others on learning disabilities.  There are links to many resources such as camps, books, computers and software, and issues and ideas in education.  This is great resource for individuals with learning disabilities to find more information or technology that could be of assistance.  This website can also be useful for professionals in education and students in education programs, to locate information and up to-date resources in the field.




Resource: Write:OutLoud

Write OutLoud is a text-to-speech tool for individuals who having difficult writing, spelling and problems with grammar.  This is a simple text-to-speech tool that is easy to use for students and parents.  The cost of this software is $84.00 per computer. This tool can be used from elementary age students to adults.  This software can be used with younger students who are beginning the writing process and have difficulties with spelling and grammar.  Some of the features of this software are the talking spell checker, dictionary, homophone checker, bibliographer, and a standardized test mode.



Word Prediction

Resource: Co:Writer 6
The co-writer helps individuals write better.  The interface is simple and user friendly, the writer needs to" think it, try it and then choose it."  Word prediction software is intended for students who have difficulty writing for many reasons that can include grammar, spelling, syntax,illegible hand writing and difficulty getting translating thoughts into writing.  Co-writer automatically assigns grammar to words based on the usage.  A single use computer license is $290.  





Resource: Write Online

This is a software that can be downloaded onto a computer but can also be accessed online.  The downloaded version is recommended so it can be used without an internet connection.  The cost of this software is $300.  This software can be used by all individuals but individuals with writing difficulties can benefit along with students who experience difficulty in spelling, grammar and have illegible handwriting.  The software predicts as you type, and suggesting words that fit into the context of what you are writing.  





Speech Recognition


This speech recognition software can be used by a variety of individuals including those with disabilities.  Those would would benefit from this are individuals unable to type, write, or have illegible handwriting, and have difficulties in spelling, and grammar.  The individual talks and the software types.  The cost of Dragon Dictate for MAC is $199.  This software uses your voice to create and edit text.  This software is easy to use and easy to access, it can be used for any individual including adults who work in business or writers and authors.  Dragon can help make typing and using your computer easier by voice.  

Resource: SpeakQ

SpeakQ is an add on software to WordQ, and it requires WordQ to work, SpeakQ is only available in Windows.  The cost of wordq + speakq package is $279.  This software lets you type the words you know and then speak the words that you do not know, and offering suggestions for words that you may be unable to pronounce or spell.  The program helps to improve grammar.  SpeakQ reads the typed words out loud, the user can add word prediction which allows you to see and hear the choices available.  This program can help younger students work on grammar and spelling while writing, in high school it can assist students who have difficulties with grammar and spelling while writing.  


Text-To-Speech 

Resource: TextAloud
This software is converts text in word, email, web pages and pdf files into natural sounding speech.  Audio files can also be created to listen to on portable devices.  This software can benefit those with reading difficulties, dyslexia and can be useful to all individuals.  There are a variety of voices that a user can choose from when using the software.  This software can be useful for individuals learning and new language and students taking a language in school, there are voices in other languages such as french, spanish, german, and russian.  This software is only compatible with PC and the cost is $29.99.  





Resource: Ginger Software
This software is a proofreader that helps correct spelling and grammar mistakes based on the context of the sentences.  This software can assist students in reading comprehension, writing, speaking and learning.  Students can learn from the grammar and spelling mistakes that they have made.  This can be useful when a student that uses English as a second language to learn grammar and spelling, and help writing.  Ginger is compatible with Microsoft word and outlook, the cost is free!

Phonetic Dictionary


Resource: Write: OutLoud

Write OutLoud is a text-to-speech tool for individuals who having difficult writing, spelling and problems with grammar.  This is a simple text-to-speech tool that is easy to use for students and parents.  The cost of this software is $84.00 per computer. This tool can be used from elementary age students to adults.  This software can be used with younger students who are beginning the writing process and have difficulties with spelling and grammar.  Some of the features of this software are the talking spell checker, dictionary, homophone checker, bibliographer, and a standardized test mode.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Receptive Communication

Receptive communication is the individuals understanding of language.  When a language learning disorder exists, below are some characteristics that someone may see in an individual with difficulties in receptive communication:

Pragmatics: difficulty answering questions or requesting clarification.
Semantics: Figurative language, and dual definition problem, conjunction confusion (and, but, so...)
Syntax/ Morphology:  Difficulty with negative and passive constructions (don't, isn't, do not), article confusion ( A, or, on)
Comprehension: WH question confusion, confusion of letter that look similar and words that sound similar.


Visual Daily Schedule
These schedules assist students in their daily routine.  Individuals with ASD function well when there is a structured routine in place, having the schedule clearly posted in the classroom or on their desk will help them prepare for the day and know what is expected, with little to no surprises.












NO Symbol (visual)
This visual card can be placed in a variety of places, most useful would be on an individuals desk to help them answer a question.  Another place this can be used in the classroom is in areas that students should not be accessing or touching.  In some life skills classes there is a stove, and the NO symbol can be placed on there.   These are a variety of symbols all meaning No, the teacher needs to choose one symbol and be consistent, it is important that the students know what the symbol means and respond to it appropriately.


















Mini Schedules/ Specific Activity Schedules
These short activity schedules keep students focused on what needs to be completed at that specific time.  One schedule that I constructed for a student who had difficulty with finishing morning procedures, it provided what needed to be completed each morning, and this schedule was placed on her desk so she was able to see it everyday.
























Change Symbol
It is important when to acknowledge something different is going to happen in the daily schedule, like a speaker, assembly or field trip.  Below is an example I constructed in word to show what the schedule could look like with the change.


Sequential Step Directions
Sequential step directions help students complete a single task or goal.  They can be placed at the sink in the classroom for hand washing, morning procedures, and at home for brushing teeth, washing dishes, doing laundry.  This can help students gain independence to complete a task it also allows the teacher time to do something else, instead of after each task telling them what to do next, the students can work at their own pace and always know what they should be doing.









Activity Termination Symbols

When a student is completed a task it allows them to use a card, symbol or object to let the teacher know instead of yelling out or disrupting other students. Students can easily keep them on the side of the desk, front or on the top and can be changed when needed.





Resources:

Owens, R. (2010). Language disorders: A functional approach to assessment and intervention. (5 ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
http://atconsiderations-asd.wikispaces.com/Receptive+Communication
National Consortium on Deaf and Blindness

Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Expressive Communication


 Expressive communication refers to the language that is communicated thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants.  When a language learning disorder exists, below are some characteristics that someone may see in an individual with difficulties in expressive communication:

Pragmatics: difficulty initiating or maintaining a conversation.
Semantics: word finding and definition problems
Syntax/Morphology: difficulty with negative and passive constructions, relative clauses, contractions, and adjectival forms.
Phonology: Inconsistent sound production, especially as complexity increases.
Comprehension: WH question confusion, confusion of letters that look similar and words that sound similar.

There are many strategies that a teacher can incorporate into the classroom to help individuals with expressive communication difficulties, some of those strategies include break cards, choice cards and past event templates.  Some other strategies include the use of Picture Exchange Communication Systems, Speech Generated Systems, and All Done/Finished cards.  When choosing a strategy for your student make sure you take into their needs but also their strengths.  Each student is an individual and choosing the best strategy for them will be based on their individual strengths and needs.



Break Cards:
Break cards are important for individuals with difficulties in expressive communication, to help control frustration levels when they are unable to communicate effectively.  This teaches students to realize when they are reaching levels of frustration, and also it teaches them strategies to cope with frustration.  Some pictures below provide examples of break cards that can be used.  It is important to understand each and every students as an individual because what one student successfully uses as a break card, may not work for other students, so take each students needs, frustration levels and coping strategies into consideration when choosing the appropriate break cards.







Choice Cards:
Choice cards are not only important for individuals with autism, but can be very useful for all students in the classroom.  Choice cards can be very simple, such as choosing the banana or pretzel for snack and can be used in other areas such as music, to help choose and instrument.  Choice cards are not something that can and should only be used in school, parents at home can incorporate choice cards for their children by making chores for them to complete such as doing the dishes, setting the table, feeding the dog, or cleaning up toys.  This is something that can be used universal and allows individuals with expressive communication difficulties a choice, instead of someone else choosing for them.  

 


Past Event Cards:
Individuals with ASD have difficulty relating past events.  One way for a teacher or parent to help students make the connections it to construct a template for students to either fill in or circle the option.  Below is an example of a template for a student, but individuals needs must be taken int consideration when constructing the template.  This template would be useful at the end of the school day to recap the day.  In one case a student must circle their response, and in another case a student must fill in the blank space.  

Today I ate _________________( peanut butter & jelly, ham & cheese, turkey & cheese) for lunch.  
The book I read today was ________________________. 
I went to _______________(gym, art, music) today.  


Resources:
The resources listed are not from the information on this post, but resources for professionals and parents to read for additional information.  
Owens, R. (2010). Language disorders: A functional approach to assessment and intervention. (5 ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
PECS USA How-To-Templates Break Cards
ASD: Home and School, Anxiety, Breaks
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness
Assistive Technology Supports for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thursday, March 14, 2013

IEP Considerations and Assistive Technology

Part of IDEA 2004 requires that during the IEP and goal writing process assistive technology needs to always be considered for the student.  Assistive technology can be low tech and simple such as a pencil grip to high tech such as an iPad, it always needs to be considered even if this student is currently not using one.  In some cases additional training and instruction on the use of the assistive technology may be required for the student and teachers involved.  Since the IEP writing process is a team effort, multiple individuals and professionals have the opportunity to weigh in on the student and their strengths and needs in different environments and situations.
When writing and/or reading IEPs present levels and constructing annual goals we need to be aware of the components that need to be in every IEP goal. View the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website for additional information.  The components that need to be included in the goal when considering the use of assistive technology are (1) Area of need (2) Direction of Change (3) Level of Attainment (4) Functional Task child needs to complete (5) if additional training may be required.




This post will provide five examples of IEPs including their present levels and the annual goal.  Each IEP goal leaves room to add assistive technology, I will identify the best technology device/software for each goal.




1. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Steven is a four-year-old boy diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder. His placement is in an Early Childhood classroom. He is able to understand and comprehend when spoken to, but does not communicate his needs consistently. When choices are simplified and broken into steps, Steven will try to communicate wants and needs. Peer interactions are limited.

Annual goal: Steven will use a picture board or voice output device to express wants and needs  adults and peers in both home and school at least four times each day.



2. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Jeff likes to interact with his family. He enjoys eating and being involved in meal time and other functional activities in the home. He has not been able to participate in cooking or cleaning except to look toward the item that is needed next, or make a sound when his mother purposely “forgets” something.

Annual Goal: Jeff will use a single switch to activate adapted utensils and appliances to assist family members in targeted functional household tasks during three out of four opportunities.




3. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Brandon communicates by using unintelligible vocalizations. He will physically obtain desired items independently and indicates refusal by pushing objects/people away. Brandon currently understands cause/effect relationships and will activate a switch with voice output to obtain a desired activity. It is questionable whether he understands the specific meaning of the utterance he has produced or if he simply knows that pressing the switch earns him an activity.

Annual Goal: Brandon will select activities and interact with peers/adults within those activities four out of five times when provided with voice output devices.





4. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Eric participates in regular education programs for his academic subjects. His hand strength is limited and he fatigues quickly when doing any handwriting task. Civics and English homework are a particular problem because of lengthy assignments and reports that need to be completed.
Annual Goal: Eric will use a computer or portable word processor to complete 100% of his assignments in 10th grade English and Civics classes.

 



5. Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance: Kelly is in the third grade classroom for most of his day. He has a full time paraprofessional who assists him. He is unable to use a standard keyboard because of his physical limitations. Additionally, his speech is frequently unintelligible. He currently uses single message and multiple message voice output devices, eye gaze, and limited direct selection to complete his academic work. Kelly is functioning at about the second grade level in most curricular areas.

Annual Goal: Kelly will use an adapted keyboard with custom overlays and a computer with talking word processing to complete all academic work.

 







Resources:

All IEPS, present levels and annual goals were written by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative.