Friday, October 17, 2008

Workshop Sessions

8:00AM - How to assess, teach and use the Head as an Access site for AT: Given by Karen Kangas and Lisa Rotelli. If you get a chance, please take a class with Karen Kangas.  Karen's background is in seating and positioning. All I can say is WOW! She had me sitting up straight in my chair wide eyed and ready to learn at 8 am.


Here are the highlights of the presentation:


1. Get over the myth that the head isn't the place to start. Follow the development of the human body. The head develops before the trunk or limbs.

2. If you don't have proper position then you might as well start there without positioning then you can't have true control.

3.  Electronic switches vs. mechanical switch - the feedback isn't the click you hear but the success of participation.

4. Single switch access is the most difficult. Give two switch access to a student and you give a person independence.

5. Fatigue is cognitive not a physical fatigue.

6. Hands are the last extremity to develop. Control of the hands does not happen until puberty.

7. The Switch is not the activity. Do not make switch activation the activity. Making the switch the activity is similar to taking the pen cap off the pen and saying the student wrote a paragraph. Having the proper tool just makes the participating the activity.


Here is the task analysis of using a mechanical switch:


  1. Location
  2. Touch
  3. Press it
  4. Hold it
  5. Release it


It requires graded movement. Majority of individuals that are using switches do not have graded movement. It is all or nothing but we expect control.


10:00 AM Cliff Notes about Nimas


This may not be the most exciting conversation but it is important to understand how NIMAS and NIMAC affect accessible text.


  1. Students with a 504 are not eligible for NIMAS – NIMAC files.
  2. State and local educational agencies are responsible for having it in their contracts with textbook companies. This is not a special education issue as much as it is the issue with the person who is ordering the textbooks. So that means we need to start with a conversation with the people that ORDER the books.
  3. NIMAC and NIMAS are for elementary and secondary because they are covered under IDEA.
  4. All states were required to be registered for NIMAS.
  5. Definition of PUBLSHED the OSEP defines it as AVALABLE for PURCHASE from July 19, 2006 that means not that to book was created in July, 2006 but that it is STILL FOR SALE.
  6. PRINT DISABILITY has not been defined by IDEA – it is defined in other laws so the OSEP hasn't at this time defined what it means.
  7. All digital material is not accessible.

Websites of Interest:


12:00 – Taking applications with you. This is a workshop that talked about using the USB or flash cards to store portable applications. I didn't get a handout because I arrived late. I am hoping to get one from the presenter. But the presentation is about the applications that I wrote about in Sept.


2:00 – Closing the Gap 2008 Presentation, Portfolios That Work by Mary Ann Lowe SLP. D., CCC-SLP and Samuel Sennott: Portfolio's are not a new concept to education but the way that these portfolios are being used. The electronic portfolios are being used as a living document that grows and changes with the individual. It is a documentary of a child's progression in skills as well as keeping track of all the materials for the team in ONE location. No two portfolios are alike because individuals are not alike. The content materials are systematically placed but what goes into the content of the portfolio is left up to the individual. For more information, you can check out the website:


4:00 – Helping teachers understand UDL and Differential Instruction

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