Monday, February 11, 2013

ATIA 2013 Conference

Several of our staff members recently returned from the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference in Orlando, FL ( . Over the next couple weeks, we will all be sharing our impressions on exciting tools / strategies we learned about. 

Today - Erica Kaufmann, Assistive Technology Specialist, shares her top two takeaways from the conference. 

Integrating AAC, Computer Access and Powered Chairs
Presenter: Karen Kangas
Session Description: Integrating the use of an AAC device, computer access and driving a powered chair for ease of use of each of these devices is critical for real independence by the user in managing themselves within their environments. Too often, an individual has all this equipment yet, requires another adult to give them access to each part. The current programmable electronics available on powered chairs allows integration to occur, which put simply, allows the individual to manage all their equipment independently. However, how the chair is programmed and what interfaces are needed are not always considered or obtained for the user. This session will focus on the equipment needed, the programmability needed and provide case study examples of how to create integration within the individual's own assistive technology. Using alternative access, as well as joystick access will be shared. Teaching and managing the integration will also be shared.

Erica reports: 
Karen Kangas talked about dual switch access.  She said that two switches are always better than one when using switches to control a powered wheelchair and communication device because having one switch causes a delay in access.  She also talked about how no one should stop at doing cause and effect.  There is always another step.

E-Readers in the Classroom
Presenter: Mike Marotta (Thanks Erica - flattery will get you everywhere!)
Session Description: With BYOD, we are seeing more e-reader devices show up in the classroom. Everything from a Kindle to a Nook to an iPad. But how can we use these devices to support instruction? This session will focus on e-readers and how we can use these tools to ignite a passion for learning. We will discuss how to find reading materials to support classroom learning and how to modify existing materials to work on these various devices. Resources will be shared via an interactive web presence.
Erica reports:
Something you talked about was readability.  I felt that this was so great for people who are blind or visually impaired because it gets rid of the "junk" on the page and allows someone who is using a screen reader, like JAWS, to navigate the page with the arrow keys or other reading commands more easily.

To learn more about Readability visit their website - 

Stay tuned for future posts related to our experiences at ATIA!

Wish you had attended the conference? Check out the ATIA Conference Recording Options

According to the ATIA website:
Selected Suite of Conference Sessions Available As Recorded Sessions - $300 Single with 5 and 10 Pack Options --- inclusive of CEUs
Recognizing the need to provide quality, affordable group training without travel and lodging costs, ATIA is offering archived, on demand access to 10 hours of conference proceedings post-event. This suite of the "TOP TEN" sessions* highlighting the breadth of educational content offered during the conference program provides affordable training for a group of educators from your school/agency or a district-wide team purchase, which might include teachers, SLPs, OTs and PTs.  

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