Assistive Technology Interview

AT in Action

Barrett Family Wellness Center

Overview of Center

Due to the lack of responses from various assistive technology specialists and educators, I turned to the worldwide web to conduct a research for therapy centers using assistive technologies to improve learning in children with disabilities. During the research process, I discovered the Barrett Family Wellness Center, a center working with children from birth to teenage years with a variety of learning and physical disabilities. The specialists at Barrett use a variety of assistive technologies and software to improve the abilities of students with a variety of communication and speech disabilities.

The center conducted its own video interview with two specialists, Andrea Quinn and Jill Johnson, both speech specialists at the Barrett Family Wellness Center. In the interview, the two review four iPad software programs used in at the center and display how to use each, including a description of the needs addressed through each program. Below you will find compiled responses to interview questions based on the video interview.

10 Interview Questions

  1. Choice of technology
    The choice of technology used in the interview include the iPad and iPad software, Pogg, Articulation Station, My Play Home, and Proloquo2Go.
  2. How is the technology implemented?
    The technology is applied by way of activities and application of the Ipad. Pogg is an alien app used to express and perform various actions like completing sentences and expressing through language. For example, if a child says the command Pogg eat, Pogg, the alien responds by eating food. This app helps students with language building and expression. Articulation Station is an app that assists students with articulation, It works with either letters, words, or sentences and allows users to record and play back information. This app works to assist with speech, specifically articulation of language. My Play Home is an app that also assists students that have language and speech delays through allowing users to explore familiar parts of life such as family and school life with language identifiers. Lastly, Proloquo2Go is an app used with children who have difficulties communicating. The app allows students to express a variety of wants and needs, such as wanting to drink of water or something to eat.
  3. Funding (Did they receive grants, or where did the funds come from? How were funds allocated?) It is not specified how the center goes about purchasing the assistive technology devices.
  4. Population served
    The assistive technology used at the Barret Family Wellness Center is intended to meet the needs of children from birth to teenage years.
  5. Who is impacted? (Is there a universal impact, or does it affect one student?)
    The assistive technology has a universal impact, intended to assist with communication and speech inabilities resulting from a variety of disabilities and set backs.
  6. Incorporation into the curriculum
    Due to the fact that the technology is used in a therapy center, it is not specified how it is incorporated into the curriculum; however, are specifically used to develop speech, articulation, and communication skills.
  7. How is training offered for the device(s)?
    The therapy center assists with determining what device is suitable to meet the needs specific to each child. The center also provides workshops and appointments to discuss specific cases and needs.
  8. How are the technology devices maintained? (What happens if one breaks?)
    The technologies are used and maintained by the specialists.
  9. Review likes and dislikes
    The specialists seem to like using the assistive technology devices displayed in the video.
  10. Do they have any way to track whether it is beneficial to student learning? If so, how? If not, why not and how could they? It is not specified whether there is a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the programs but my personal opinion says that improvements in speech and communication are illustrations of the benefits.

Strengths, Weaknesses, and Recommendations

The Barrett Family Wellness Center stated the importance of staying up to date and current with trends concerning learning improvements and programs. The efforts to stay current with the next best thing is the greatest strength for this center, it ensures that they will be up to date with the current flaws, additions, and upgrades to software. I actually have no recommendations for them, they already use the program I have posted about a number of times about, Proloquo2Go. The best method of supporting individuals with disabilities, as The Barrett Family Wellness Center does, is state current with changes or trends in technology and using research and practice to determine the best device to meet individual needs.

Assistive Technology March 2012