July 2012 | News You Can Use

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The war is over. The digital natives won.

~~ Marc Prensky, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, 2012


It’s 2012, and while we may not be living like the Jetsons quite yet, you can’t
avoid technology any longer if you are connected with education. Just consider:

  •  Tablet computers are creating new pathways for students with disabilities to participate in learning and social activities (HispanicBusiness.com, 2012)
  •  Teachers are engaging in their own professional development online (EdWeek, 2012)
  •  SmartBoards are revolutionizing the ways teachers provide instruction (Virtual Strategy, 2012)

So, this month we offer resources to help you navigate the fast-flowing waters of technology in education.

Our best to you,

Your friends
at the National Dissemination Center
for Children with Disabilities



For IEP Teams Considering Assistive Technology.
This checklist is a resource to help IEP teams determine whether an individual child needs an assistive technology device or service to participate more fully in school life and learning.

La Tecnología Asistencial.
We’re also pleased to offer a brief discussion in Spanish of the uses and benefits of assistive technology, as well as a list of resources in Spanish on AT.

Find Your State’s AT Project.
Have a look at NICHCY’s webpage on the Assistive Technology Act, which was passed by Congress to promote providing AT to persons with disabilities, so they can more fully participate in education, employment, and daily activities. The webpage will connect you with the law itself, give you a summary of its purposes and provisions, and put you in touch with your state’s AT project that’s funded under the Act.

NICHCY’s Assistive Technology Pinterest Board.

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Logo of the IDEA Partnership.

Get the conversation on AT going.
IDEA Partnership’s resource material and dialogue starters on Assistive Technology can help to bridge a group’s conversation gap around the use of assistive technology. To begin, review the Facilitator’s Handbook, and then choose the topic and the appropriate dialogue guide starters for your audience.



Assistive Technology 101.
The basics of AT is a good place to start on our theme. This fact sheet from the Family Center on Technology and Disability introduces AT, gives examples of how different types of AT can help people with different kinds of disabilities, looks at how to choose the right AT device(s) for your child, and connects you to sources of more info on AT.

AT Solutions.
Lots of info in this 11-pager. Its contents? (1) Basic questions to consider when identifying AT devices well-suited for your child. (2) Illustrated examples of selected AT options. (3) Icons to indicate whether a device is high-tech, mid-tech, or low-tech. (4) A product list with vendor information.

What About AT in the Workplace?
Not surprisingly, AT can make all the different in the workplace, too. JAN (the Job Accommodations Network) is a valuable resource for employers (and employees with disabilities) to consult. Visit JAN’s Technology page for starters.

AT by its Function: Visit AbleData.
AbleData provides objective information about AT products and rehabilitation equipment- almost 40,000 product listings in 20 categories such as aids for daily living, education, computers, transportation, and products for people with different disabilities (e.g., visual impairment, communication, deafness/hearing impairment, physical). For each product, there’s a detailed description of the product’s functions and features, price information (when available), and contact information for the product’s manufacturer and/or distributors.

Reading is just plain fun.
It’s summertime, after all, reading is fun, and time is plentiful (for the kids, anyway).

Fun for children who don’t like to read, struggle to read, can’t read.
Everyone loves a good story. If your child struggles to read due to a disability, hook them up with Bookshare, the world’s largest online library of copyrighted content for people with qualified print disabilities. You really don’t have to read a story to enjoy the story. You can listen!

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Using Assistive Technology with Infants & Toddlers.
Infants and toddlers are likely to depend on the simpler forms of AT – like towel rolls to provide trunk support when sitting, an infant bathseat used by parents of all babies to provide sitting support in the bathtub, or a homemade communication device. Here’s an info-rich article to help you decide on AT for our little ones that supports their developmental learning.

And how do we train the adults to use the child’s AT?
This research brief, Evidence-Based Strategies for Training Adults to Use AT and Adaptations, summarizes findings from a research synthesis of the effectiveness of different types of practices for promoting practitioner and parent adoption of different kinds of AT and adaptations for young children with disabilities.

16 New Practice Clips.
Thanks, NECTAC, for this item! The Desired Results access Project, funded by California’s Department of Education, recently added a new “Practice Clips” section to its Digital Video library. The section includes 16 video clips that give early childhood staff with opportunities to practice a variety of skills, including observation, documentation, and assessment. Download the clips free, and use them in educational and professional development activities.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice – New Collection of Resources from NAEYC.
And thanks, NECTAC, for this item, too! The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has developed a new collection of resources on developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), an approach to teaching grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education.

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School’s out, but you may be gathering info over the summer to help you and your students, come fall. AT in the classroom can be BIG help-in fact, it can make all the difference in learning and performance for many, many students.

3 Tips for Integrating Technology in Your Classroom.
Innovative K-12 instructors can successfully bring technology into the classroom by assigning online course content, using adaptive software for students with special needs, and utilizing online student assessments and other digital tools.

10 Free Text-to-Speech Tools for Educators.
Easily select any part of a text and hear it in the voice and accent you want.

AT for Students with Learning Disabilities.
From Great Schools, this resource page will connect you with AT that helps students with learning disabilities with skills such as writing, reading, listening, organization and memory, and more.

Professional Learning Opportunities This Summer

Teachers Write: Free online summer writing camp.
We’re passing along this news from Reading Rockets, who says “Meet up with fellow teachers and librarians to work on your writing craft over the summer – for free! Then apply what you learn with your students next year. That’s the simple, brilliant idea behind Teachers Write – a collaborative, low-key way to sharpen your writing skills and become part of a community of educator-writers. Virtual “camp” runs from June 4th to August 10th.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Find out more at:

Making Sure Students Have Instructional Materials They Can Actually Use.
Accessible materials are a must for students with print disabilities-and that’s a lot of students. Visit the National AIM Center and check out its two free online courses that have been designed for educators, administrators, parents, and others involved in the provision and use of accessible instructional materials (AIM) in schools and at home.

AIM Across the Curriculum.
Learn about planning considerations, products, and solutions for access to the general curriculum, categorized by content area.

Check Out Game-Playing to Promote Skill Learning.
Arcademic Skill Builders are online educational video games that offer a powerful approach to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary, and thinking skills. See what’s available for your classroom and students.

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AT Self-Assessments.
The self-assessment was designed and field-tested by Tots-n-Tech to help states evaluate their systems and supports for the use of adaptations, including AT, in early intervention.

Web Accessibility: Guidelines for Administrators.
How can administrators in educational institutions, libraries, companies, and other organizations assure that the websites their employees create and maintain are accessible to people with disabilities? Without technical expertise themselves, how do they direct their staff in this area? This publication provides guidance to non-technical administrators regarding how to assure that websites in their organizations are accessible to everyone.

Resource on Home Visiting.

Toolkit: Planning Home Visiting Partnerships.
This toolkit from CLASP, intended for states, includes background on home visiting partnerships and information on available home visiting models and their potential for use in partnership with Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) caregivers; a planning guide for states to explore home visiting partnerships, including potential policy changes; and case studies of existing partnerships.

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Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement #H326N080003 between FHI 360 and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) of the U.S. Department of Education. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.


Comments on our newsletter? Too long? Too short? Off-target? Right on? Suggestions for future topics? Please feel free to contact us at nichcy@fhi360.org. We’re here to help you help children with disabilities.

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.