Utah Assistive Technology Teams
May Newsletter 2016
Who Are We?
Utah Assistive Technology Teams support school LEAs and IEP teams to evaluate, acquire and manage assistive technology for students with disabilities.
The State of Utah is divided into 28 regional areas with one UATT team serving each region. In some cases the team will serve multiple school districts, and in other cases the school district may be large enough to have more then one team. Teams consist of, but are not limited to, speech pathologists, teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, administrators, computer specialists, audiologists, and vision specialists.
Currently Charter Schools are supported by UATT Central. If you would like an evaluation for a student, please contact Kent Remund (801-887-9533) or Julia Pearce (801-887-9534)
Two UATT Members Present at National Conferences
Robert Woodbury Presents at CSUN
In March I had the opportunity to attend the 31st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (commonly known as CSUN) in San Diego, California. During the conference, I was able to conduct a breakout session to present information about a research project I conducted as part of my recent graduate studies at USU (Go Aggies!). Much to my excitement (and dread), the session was well attended and it ended up being a great experience and a cool chance to share some ideas and represent Utah at an international conference.
The research project that I spoke about focused on training secondary public school teachers (both regular and special education teachers) about free text to speech tools they could use to help all struggling readers in their classrooms access grade level text. We measured how teacher attitudes and perceptions about assistive technology changed as a result of the training sessions. We also measured how many teachers reported using assistive technology in their classrooms after attending the training. The majority of teachers reported increased knowledge and confidence and over half of the respondents to the follow up survey reported using assistive technology in their classrooms after the training session!
I would like to share a few important lessons I learned from conducting this research and then from presenting about it at the conference:
- Many technology tools (such as speech recognition, text to speech, and word prediction) that we traditionally think of using to help students with disabilities can also be applied to help other students who may struggle in class, including English language learners (ELL) and students who are at-risk for a wide variety of reasons.
- Special education teachers are NOT the only ones who need to learn about assistive technology. Many regular education teachers are HUNGRY for any kind of tool or strategy that can help struggling students in their classes, whether those students have IEPs, are English language learners (ELL) or just struggle with keeping up in class.
Perhaps the most gratifying experience of presenting at the CSUN conference was when a fellow teacher caught me after the session and told me that she had never considered going to regular education teachers before and showing them the possibilities of assistive technology. She was so excited to go back to her school district and spread the word about technology that is becoming more and more affordable and available to help all students who may need it.
Nadean Lescoe Publication of News-2-You from Closing the Gap
May Tech Tip
TobiiDynavox rep, Leah Cooley, demonstrates the new Snap Scene app for early communicators.
Communication in a Snap! Take a photo and tag it with recordings to let your child communicate on the fly. Snap Scene turns everyday moments into chances to learn to communicate naturally.
Designed for young children, as early as infancy, at the beginning stages of learning communication who:
- Do not speak
- May be slower in learning to talk
- May speak but are difficult to understand
- At risk for communication challenges
Student Success Story
5th Grade Student Improves Reading and Writing with Assistive Technology
His comprehension and oral communication skills are within average, but he is not able to write due to sensory and attending difficulties. He has average reader comprehension, but his reading speed is very slow. He was referred to the Assistive Technology Team by his Mother. The following week, the AT team did an evaluation and initiated the trial use of an iPad with Speech-to-Text and the app Read2Go. Within a week, his mother and teacher reported that he is now reading the same book as the rest of the class because he can keep up by listening with the Read2Go app. He is listening to books at both home and school. He is also using speech-to-text to dictate his writing assignments. This is the first time he has been able to independently write with his 5th grade class! We were very concerned about this student's organization, fearing he would lose, drop, or forget to take care of the iPad. He has surprised all of us by responsibly bringing it back and forth from home to school everyday and using it to complete homework assignments! An iPad has been the an amazing tool for this student to independently participate on grade level with his peers!
AAC in the Mountains
Thursday, July 28th, 9am to Friday, July 29th, 4pm
2175 Sidewinder Drive
Park City, UT
Information for AAC in the Mountains - July 28th and 29, 2016
All UATT members must register through Eventbright.
This conference is fully sponsored through the UATT grant and will cover registration costs, travel and overnight accommodations for UATT members that meet state travel rules.
**Please see full travel rules by visiting the Eventbrite link above.
Detailed agenda is not yet available.
Deadline to sign up for AAC in the Mountains is May 30.