ATIA logo: Assistive Technology Industry Association
Friends of ATIA Newsletter
April, 2013
"AT Leadership"
Welcome to the AT Leadership Edition!
Headshot of David Dikter smiling.
David Dikter, CEO ATIA


What is AT Leadership?


For ATIA, it's the effort we put into thinking about how, as an industry, we reach out beyond our member companies to professionals, family members, and AT users with high-quality AT information and knowledge relevant to their lives and their work. It's about constantly looking for ways to provide AT learning that inspires our community to share what it knows and to implement the ideas, technologies, and practices that can create transformational opportunities for persons with disabilities. It's also about how we bring together both our industry and their customers to continue to move AT forward, from new solutions to the ever changing needs of AT users.

AT leadership is also about engaging the larger world, expanding the boundaries of what we traditionally think of as the AT community to extend to the IT community, to mainstream technology developers, and policy makers, in order to further AT's broadest goals--a more inclusive and accessible society. It's also about valuing and playing a part within the emerging global network of AT leaders, and recognizing that the networks we have helped create can jump start the accessibility efforts of other nations.

Indeed, for ourselves as well as many of our readers, AT leadership is about working within larger systems and institutions, often as advocates, to raise awareness of the existence of AT, and see that it is considered, funded, and becomes a part of the larger whole.

This edition of FOA celebrates all of this work. Included here are articles from a diverse range of professionals/organizations about their leadership undertakings, including fresh approaches to professional development. We are also celebrating the success ATIA has had as an organization hosting AT professional development to reach far more than just our conference attendees, to include a whole new community that cannot make it to Orlando. Indeed our live and recorded webinars, and recorded conference sessions, now reach more people annually than attend a single ATIA conference. School districts are purchasing bulk licenses and entire staffs are accessing professional development in a way that works for their busy calendars and budgets. We're excited by this reach and honored to have your trust.  


Thank you for all that you do, and for letting us know what works for you and what doesn't. If you have an idea for a webinar you'd like to provide, please email [email protected]


--David Dikter, CEO ATIA 

Achieving Change Through Professional Development 

Ideas and resources for just-in-time learning from Beth Poss and Chris Bugaj 

Photo headshot of Chris Bugaj.
Chris Bugaj
Head shot of Beth Poss.
Beth Poss
Effective professional development for educators, including assistive technology professionals, must provide learning opportunities that are supportive, job embedded, instructionally focused, collaborative, and ongoing.  Learning is made authentic through seamless integration into each school day (Fullan, 1995). When professional development is provided on a just-in-time basis and is job embedded, assistive technology providers are engaged in learning through their daily activities and responsibilities. Too often professional development focuses on the new great thing, and this is the focus until the next great thing comes along. Successful professional development is focused and based on attainable goals in which educators make small sustainable changes that result in ongoing student growth. Intensive formal conferences, like ATIA, provide an opportunity to explore and connect with others working in similar capacities, but lasting change comes from professional development which happens in the moment and meets immediate pressing needs. 

Professional development needs to be provided in multiple ways in order to truly transform one's practice. Like students in school, adult learners have preferences for how best they like to engage with content. Whether these preferences are formed by acknowledgement of individual learning styles (i.e., "I'm more of a visual learner") or practical, daily-life logistics (i.e., "I commute two hours a day") people learn in different ways. For this reason, effective content delivery occurs when provided using multiple modalities. Traditional face-to-face workshops provide one such modality, but this method of content delivery is rarely effective in isolation. Providing a sweeping array of content acquisition options, including but not limited to face-to-face options, allows for the flexibility and learner-centricity necessary to make a lasting impact. 

What are some other available, easily implementable multi-modal options, that can be infused into professional development initiatives?

Audio, on just about any topic including those related to instructional and assistive technologies, can be freely acquired through podcasts using media content aggregators, such as iTunes.


Webinars have become an easily accessible, frequent offering throughout the AT and education world. Vendors, AT organizations, and institutions of higher learning offer webinars on a range of topics including AT consideration, use of iPads and tablet devices, and learning about the Common Core State Standards.

Video Tutorials

Can't remember how to create a custom dictionary in CoWriter? What exactly is the Vocabulary List Builder in Read&Write Gold? Chances are there is a video, likely on YouTube, that will show you how to do just about anything you want to do.

Strategy-A-Day Calendar

Creation and distribution of a shared Strategy-A-Day (or Week) tear off calendar provides tiny, digestible chunks of information which allows the content to become accessible to the learner who would otherwise not have the time to absorb it. A tear off calendar can be created using any multimedia slideshow tool such as PowerPoint, Keynote, or A crowdsourced, open source Strategy-A-Day calendar has been created in Google Slides which allows anyone to create a calendar page or use an existing page in their own customized calendar.

Online Discussion Groups

Set up an asynchronous discussion forum using tools available from online learning platforms such as Blackboard, PBWorks, or Microsoft Sharepoint. Start with an engaging question. Be sure that it is open ended, facilitates the sharing of opinion or personal experiences and that there is not a single right answer. For more tips on a successful online discussion see 15 Strategies for Engaging Online Students Using Real-time ChatThreaded Discussions and Blogs

Social Bookmarking

There are a variety of tools, such as, Zite, and the ever-popular Pinterest, for curating and sharing content. is a long standing, widely used bookmarking tool that allows users to collect and tag web content within a group. Over time, a group of individuals can collectively contribute to the creation of a repository of resources. These tagged resources then become useful as a professional development modality. For example, a professional working in assistive technology might share a link to a list of resources tagged "corevocabulary" such as this one on Diigo

Effective professional growth occurs over time and requires a sustained effort by the learners and the content providers. While an initial face-to-face training can be the catalyst for launching a new initiative, it is day-to-day, job-embedded, ongoing, just-in-time opportunities that support growth. Each opportunity will add upon itself, accumulating until the content being experienced and learned becomes embedded into everyday practice. These daily opportunities drive a culture of change.

Beth Poss, Instructional Specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools. Chris Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP, Assistive Technology Trainer, Loudoun County Public Schools.


For an extended version of this article by Poss and Bugaj, please visit this AT TIPSCAST  blog page (where you can also download the audio). 


AT Leadership with an Ecological Perspective 


Photo headshot of Joseph Lane.
Joseph P. Lane
Joseph Lane shares the story of the Center for Assistive Technology's (University of Buffalo, SUNY) strategies and guiding principles.

The Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) was founded by Professor William C. Mann in 1988 and is where I have served as associate director since inception. The CAT was intentionally designed to serve all three university missions: scientific research & engineering development, professional education & training, and community service & outreach. These three missions were naturally relevant to the trans-disciplinary and cross-sector context of assistive technologies (AT) for persons with disabilities.

As an educator and occupational therapist, Bill viewed the person in their environment ecologically. My business and public management training placed the institutions comprising the entire system in an ecological framework. Together we "focused on function" rather than on diagnosis, technology or discipline. The Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID) Act of 1988, passed that same year, reinforced the functional utility--rather than medicinal effect--of AT devices and services by their very definitions.

To us, the functional focus expanded beyond the end user, to include AT's instrumental utility to the other people--the community and society as a whole. Thus we engaged and continue to engage a wide range of stakeholders within and across their respective organizations and professions. For example:

  • We address researchers, clinicians and students through traditional channels like textbooks, journals and conferences. 
  • Consumers and family members gain knowledge through assessment, training and demonstration programs, product information seminars, and focus group participation. 
  • We reach manufacturers through value-added activities like industry-standard consumer focus groups, prototype design and testing, and expert referrals. 
  • Policy-makers require one-on-one exchanges with their staff and advisers, supported by consensus-based evidence for change.
A functional ecological view is more operational than theoretical. That is, we are more concerned with the nuts and bolts of how things work--and work together--than in abstract concepts. A serious misconception that becomes obvious at this practical level is that government sponsored R&D activity directly benefits people with disabilities. Instead, we realized that the customers for R&D outputs are the corporations which are responsible for designing, making, deploying and supporting AT devices and services. In turn, their customers are people who prescribe, suggest, acquire and use AT. To the extent that the other AT stakeholders talk past, or work around these manufacturers and suppliers, they are missing the single most vital link in the device and service delivery chain. 
As a result, we continually strive to include the 'voice-of-the-customer' from manufacturers as well as from consumers, through participatory research, development and commercialization efforts. We credit CAT's lifelong partner, Western New York Independent Living Inc., and its Executive Director, Douglas J. Usiak, for sharpening our consumer focus and for providing access to consumers locally and nation-wide. A consumer-driven organization can access people in ways prohibited to others through current healthcare and privacy constraints.

Since its inception, CAT has conducted over $75 million in sponsors research, development, and service programs.  This activity has translated into assessment and training services for close to four thousand clients, collaborations with inventors, corporations and agencies to bring nearly sixty devices to the commercial marketplace, the publication of hundreds of journal articles as well as the execution of numerous conference presentations and technical assistance projects.

In hindsight, our most significant progress has resulted from the informed brokering of communication between stakeholder groups on technological activities of mutual benefit. This brokering has benefited immensely from boundary spanning organizations within the AT field (ATIA, RESNA, AAATE), as well as those addressing mainstream audiences like the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA), and the Technology Transfer Society.  Of course the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), US Department of Education has provided the vision and the funding underlying most of the progress in the AT field across policies, programs and products.

A challenge we continue to face, however, is to prove AT's socio-economic value to the organizations in charge of regulatory and reimbursement issues. Insufficient support for AT manufacturers and suppliers suppresses their ability to innovate by capping AT cost and shrinking AT markets. There is still more change to come before the full value of AT is realized within this ecological system.

For information on current activity addressing AT Innovation visit the Center for Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer (KT4TT) Web site. For general information, visit the CAT Web site.  

Joseph P. Lane is director of the Center for Assistive Technology at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. He is also principal investigator for the national center on KT4TT.


Making PD Webinars and Webcasts Accessible to Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Insights and recommendations from Valerie Stafford-Mallis

Valerie Stafford-Mallis
Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 5 persons in the workplace today have hearing loss to an extent that it affects their ability to communicate effectively in challenging listening situations (source: Hearing Loss Association of America and CDC). Web-based meetings, conference calls, and trainings can be very challenging listening situations for the person with hearing loss. It is important to be aware that the ADA as Amended in 2008 and the Communication and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 mandate that persons with hearing loss have equal access to effective communication regardless of the manner in which the information is transmitted: face-to-face or by video or over the Internet.


Are you using WebEx, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect and/or Blackboard E-lluminate for professional development (PD) meetings and trainings? How would someone who is deaf or hard of hearing participate? PD meetings and trainings using these and other platforms can now be made accessible through remote captioning and video remote interpreting.


Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is the act of listening to an event (teleconference call, meeting, training session, seminar, class) and stenographically transcribing the spoken words into text, which is then translated into English (or Spanish) for the user. Captioning is the process by which the spoken word is transcribed and merged with a visual image. It can be done in real-time for live meetings or webinars. It can be done with a pre-recorded media file, a process known as post-production captioning. That's fantastic news for persons who are deaf and hard of hearing!


Skilled service providers can work with your electronic platform administrator to combine captions and visual images into the same screen. They can work with you to achieve a visually pleasing webinar that combines captions with the PowerPoint or the speaker on the same screen. It's best to use a provider who can provide diverse solutions (for webinars, webcasts, conference calls, etc) and who brings a passion to the work.


Accuracy is also important. Your provider should match professional skills with the demands of your PD subject matter. CART writers should capture 100% of what is said, at speeds of 225 words per minute and faster, with 98.5% accuracy. Interpreters should accurately interpret, both receptively and expressively, the meaning and substantive details of what is communicated.


In addition, CART writers and interpreters should have the documented legal right to work in the United States. They should also sign confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements to keep your information confidential. And the service provider's IT platforms must be secure. These are issues to confirm with any solutions provider you consider. Once you know what you are looking for, and what is possible, your professional development opportunities can be opportunities for all! 


Valerie Stafford-Mallis is the business development manager for Alternative Communication Services (ACS) LLC, a full-service captioning and sign language interpreting company. Prior to joining ACS, she served as a health educator consultant for the Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (FCCDHH).

Reclaim Professional Development with Edcamps
Edcamp logo which is a flaming apple.
Dan Callahan is helping re-vision PD!

Unfortunately for those of us in more specialist areas, it's pretty rare when district-provided professional development actually meets our needs. In my eight years as a special educator, I was frequently assigned to attend professional development sessions on curricula that had nothing to do with my classroom or to learn about resources and strategies that were new to my general education colleagues but quite familiar to me. Alternatively, professional development funds were limited and it was difficult for me to have access to meaningful, outside professional development conferences which can be quite expensive. To reclaim our professional development to meet our needs, I worked with a group of teachers in Philadelphia to create Edcamps.

Edcamp is a form of unconference, which means that it takes the belief that the people doing the learning should be in charge of the learning. At the beginning of an Edcamp, participants walk in to discover a blank schedule board. Over the course of the first hour, they meet each other, discuss their interests, questions, and passions, and start to create the schedule. A person might go up to the board with a sticky note and place a session on the schedule because they have a lot to share, or they might place it on there because they have a lot of questions about a topic and want to learn more about it. Ideal Edcamp sessions are informal affairs designed around discussion and hands-on experiences which allow people to share what they know, ask questions, and work together to develop shared understandings of good tools and techniques for use with our students. If you go to a session and realize that it's not meeting your needs, you're encouraged to leave and go to a different session to make sure you make the best use of your learning time.

All of the learning is great, but you know what's even better? Every Edcamp is completely free to attend for all people interested in education. Thanks to generous sponsor support and a close eye on running Edcamps as efficiently as possible, Edcamps don't cost you any money to attend and frequently include such amenities as free breakfast and lunch, as well as many prize giveaways. Don't worry, though, as Edcamps don't cater to sponsors or offer vendor table tops or sessions.

So where can you attend an Edcamp? Almost everywhere these days. From the first event in Philadelphia back in May 2010, Edcamp has grown rapidly so that there have been more than 225 events across the United States and Canada, as well as having events in Sweden, Chile, Belgium, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong. All of these events are organized by local educators who believe that participant-driven professional development will help them develop stronger ties with other educators in their community to better help students grow. Some areas are starting to see enough Edcamps that they're beginning to have their own subject-specific events. The Boston area recently had Edcamp Access, the first Edcamp specifically devoted to meeting the needs of struggling learners.

If you'd like to learn more about Edcamp, please make sure to check out our Edcamp wiki, which has a complete calendar of upcoming events, as well as information to help you get started with organizing your own events locally. At the recently established not-for-profit Edcamp Foundation, we also offer additional resources for organizing events, including free consultation with an experienced Edcamp Organizer who can point you in the right direction for resources and ideas about how to run your event.

To be a professional educator today means really taking your learning into your own hands. Stop waiting for somebody to give you great professional development and start building it yourself. Use Edcamps to reclaim professional development for yourself again.

Dan Callahan currently works as an instructional technology specialist for Burlington Public Schools. In 2010 he helped launch the Edcamp movement of unconferences by organizing Edcamp Philly, and he currently serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors for the not-for-profit Edcamp Foundation.
2nd M-Enabling Global Summit to Feature ATIA Member Technologies and Speakers   
M-Enabling Summit June 6-7, 2013
June 6-7th, 2013 in Washington D.C.

With mobile applications and services for persons with disabilities expanding at a fast pace, members of ATIA promoting products designed for mobile platforms will be participating in the M-Enabling Global Summit and present during sessions dedicated to specific areas of mobile applications and services for seniors and persons with disabilities. 

The Summit is the only program exclusively dedicated to promoting mobile accessible and assistive applications and services for senior citizens and users of all abilities. Worldwide, these users represent a market of over one billion people. The event is expected to attract more than 500 participants from over 40 countries and is organized in cooperation with the FCC - Federal Communications Commission and ITU - International Telecommunication Union.

Participants will include executives of mobile service providers, organizations of seniors and persons with disabilities, government agencies, special education professionals, rehabilitation and assistive technology centers from North America and around the world who are early adopters of accessible and assistive mobile solutions. The Summit technology showcase features many ATIA member companies, mainstream IT vendors and industry organizations including the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), CTIA-The Wireless Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) alongside with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Adobe Systems, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Orange, Deque Systems, Freedom Scientific, IBM, Code Factory, and Intuit.

David Dikter, CEO of ATIA, will be speaking on how Assistive Technology Centers can partner with mobile service providers and assistive technology vendors to promote mobile solutions for persons with disabilities. More than 150 speakers representing all facets of the emerging mobile accessibility eco-system will share their products and innovations. Daniel Hesse, CEO of Sprint will address the Summit participants during the Summit opening session to emphasize how mobile market dynamics open new opportunities for seniors and persons with disabilities. Javed Abidi, Chair of Disabled People's International will share his global perspective on the benefits of mobile technology for persons with disabilities. Find the full program, including information on how to register or exhibit, at the M-Enabling Web site.

Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of the G3ict - The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs
Take the Lead on Workplace Accommodations with JAN!


Ann Hirsh explains the many ways to connect, learn, and collaborate with JAN


JAN logo, Practical Solutions, Workplace Success.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. JAN is a grant-funded technical assistance service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).

Connect with a JAN consultant

JAN's consultants are trusted for providing one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations (including AT), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation, and self-employment and entrepreneurship options for people with disabilities. There are many ways to reach our staff including: 
  • (800) 526-7234 (voice)
  • (877) 781-9403 (TTY);
  • Skype - Janconsultants;  
  • Email - [email protected];  
  • TEXT - (304) 216-8189;  
  • online chat; or through various social networking tools (visit 

Browse accommodation options


One practical and popular tool on the JAN website is the Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR). SOAR is designed to let users independently explore various accommodation options for people with disabilities.  JAN also produces a quarterly online E-News. Its purpose is to keep subscribers informed about low-cost and innovative accommodation approaches; the latest trends in assistive technologies; announcements of upcoming JAN presentations, media events, trainings, and Webcasts; and legislative and policy updates promoting the employment success of people with disabilities.   


Share your workplace successes 


JAN receives over 45,000 contacts per year - conversations with all of you that help us better understand what's working effectively in various workplaces. We have a great deal to learn from one another. We encourage you to share your experiences and interact with the JAN staff. Your accommodation success stories can benefit many others around the nation.   


One way to interact with JAN is through JAN's Interactive Ask JAN Blog. The Blog is a new opportunity to share with others your workplace accommodation solutions and success stories. Another opportunity to engage with JAN is through Twitter. JAN held its first Twitter chat on Real-Life Accommodations recently. The chat was a big success with considerable participation from JAN followers. Become a JAN Follower on Twitter and consider joining future Twitter chat events! 


Take advantage of free training opportunities 

JAN conducts free, monthly, online, live webcasts. These are archived for future use. JAN also has just-in-time training modules available on topics such as the Interactive Process and the ADA. Learn more at the JAN Training Hub.  

In addition to on-line training, JAN provides training on workplace accommodation issues, AT, and the ADA at national, state and local events around the country.  An example of this knowledge sharing is JAN's serving as a Co-Strand Advisor for the Workplace and Rehabilitation educational track at the annual ATIA Conference. ATIA and JAN have a long-standing relationship and have engaged in a number of efforts together. We value our relationship with ATIA and its members and look forward to working with ATIA as a new Alliance Partner!   


Ann Hirsh, MS, has been a co-director of JAN (with Lou Orslene) since 2007.

Features and Highlights
Achieving Change Through Professional Development--Beth Poss and Chris Bugaj
AT Leadership with an Ecological Perspective--Joseph Lane
Making PD Webinars and Webcasts Accessible--Valerie Stafford-Mallis
Reclaim Professional Development with Edcamps--Dan Callahan
2nd M-Enabling Global Summit--Axel Leblois
Webinar Series News
Couldn't Make ATIA Orlando 2013?--Conference Recordings (deadline 4/30)
Call for Presentations
Announcing AT Leadership! A New ATIA 2014 Conference Strand--Diana Carl and Denise DeCoste
New Specialty Seminars for OTs at ATIA 2014
Alliance Partners Update
The ATOB: A Farewell Note from Dr. Phil Parette
Special Mention: Stone Soup!
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Webinar Series News

Graphic of professionals on laptops in bubbles with lines connecting them to one another.


Upcoming May Webinars:

Join respected speakers to discuss a great range of topics 

Sharpen Your Social Media Skills

Speaker(s): Cathy Hoesterey, Assistive Technology Specialist, Bellevue School District


Live Webinar Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013 Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM (Note: All times are Eastern Time Zone.)


Overview: What do Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Blogging have to do with assistive technology? Plenty, as these social media sites provide numerous opportunities to learn about emerging technologies, find interesting professional development opportunities, and connect with other AT professionals and educators from around the world.  


Written Productivity Profile Updates

Denise DeCoste, Consultant/Coach, Accessible Technology in Education
Live Webinar Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM (Note: All times are Eastern Time Zone)

This webinar will provide an update on decision making for writing accommodations. New research on handwriting and keyboarding speeds as well as on writing pedagogy will be shared. Learn more about the Written Productivity Profile and get evidence-based information on assessing writing accommodations.

iPad and Writing: Apps for Reluctant Writers and Graphomotor Issues

Speaker(s): Donna Schneider, Assistive Tech Specialist/Special Education Teacher,
Anna Berardo  Assistive Tech Specialist

Live Webinar Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Time: 3:30-5:00 PM (Note: All times are Eastern Time Zone)

Overview: Dealing with reluctant writers? Have students that can verbally express all their thoughts and ideas but freeze when they have a pencil in hand? What about students whose handwriting is so poor even they can't read what they wrote? We have some apps for you. This webinar will provide participants with a demonstration of writing, note-taking, speech to text, scanner and PDF annotator apps that can meet the needs of many different struggling writers.  

Visit ATIA's Live Broadcast webinar directory for these and other webinars in the 2013 schedule!  

Newly Archived Webinars

Creating Assistive Technology Solution in Minutes - Quick Make and Take Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Speaker(s): Therese Willkomm, Director of ATinNH, University of New Hampshire

AIM Beyond the Classroom: New Options for Accessible Instructional Materials

Speaker(s): Cathy Hoesterey, Assistive Technology Specialist, Bellevue School District

iPads in the Smart Classroom

Speaker(s): Alexandra Dunn, Speech Language Pathologist, Inclusioneers/Upper Canada District School Board and Sasha Zekulin    Sharp's Audio Visual

AT Services: New Times, New Approaches
Speaker(s): Denise DeCoste, Consultant/Coach, Accessible Technology in Education

Visit our directory of recorded webinars for these and other topics. There are now over 50 recorded webinars in our archive. Recorded webinars offer an easy solution to busy schedules--view them anytime at your convenience!

Webinar Subscription Program:
A Great Way to Provide AT Training for Your Staff!

ATIA's webinar subscription provides access to all live broadcasts and archived webinars at a very affordable cost!  We offer multiple subscription levels so you can tailor the program to best suit your training needs. In addition, your teachers, administrators, therapists, AT Specialists, and staff can individually choose the topics that fit their interests.
ATIA's webinars cover a broad base of topics related to assistive technology across all disability areas. Each is taught by leading practitioners in their field. Instructors share their insights on technology as well as best practices for implementation.
For more details, go to our Webinar Subscription Web page or email [email protected] to be contacted to discuss the program. 
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Couldn't Make ATIA Orlando 2013?

View Conference Recordings from Top-Rated Sessions and Earn CEUs!

View at work or home at your own convenience.  Orlando Attendees - multiply your CEUs with 10 CEU Hours for just $105 - a savings of $220  - with special discount code!  
Last Chance:  program ends April 30th. For details on the sessions, fees and how to register, visit this ATIA conference recordings Web page  or email [email protected].
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Call for Presentations:
 Logo for ATIA 2014 Orlando
Submit April 22- June 21, 2013

Abstracts are welcome from new and veteran presenters for the ATIA conference to take place January 29th - February 1st, 2014 in Orlando. Past speakers and attendees can anticipate a special e-invitation shortly. Check the ATIA Web site for more details in the days to come.

Who should submit?

ATIA welcomes abstracts from a wide group of qualified individuals including accessibility professionals, AT professionals, educators, individuals with disabilities, family members of individuals with disabilities, OTs, PTs, RTs, researchers, SLPs, students and others engaged in the disability services and assistive technology fields.

What topics are considered?

At ATIA Orlando, presentations, workshops, smackdowns, and other forms of sharing and education cover the use of assistive technology in a wide variety of settings. These include school, home, recreation, rehabilitation, post- secondary education, and the workplace. Sessions are categorized under specialized learning tracks or "strands" to help attendees find educational opportunities relevant to their fields, interests, and certifications (i.e., Accessibility, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and Common Core Standards).

Three new educational strands announced for 2014

Next year ATIA Orlando will include three newly formed conference session strands:
  1. AT for Improving Functionality,
  2. AT Leadership, and
  3. AT Research
The Research Strand has an expanded group of advisors including representatives from  the AAC-RERC, the ATIA Research Committee, the RESNA Research Committee, and the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. For more on the AT Leadership strand, see the article from Strand Advisors Diana Carl and Denise DeCoste (below).

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Announcing AT Leadership! A New ATIA 2014 Conference Strand

Grpahic of a man in a suit conducting instruments on computer monitors.

You are invited

Assistive technology leaders at all levels take on similar tasks. They develop guidelines, disseminate information, provide ongoing opportunities for learning, evaluate data for continuous program improvement, and create and implement strategies for systems change. You are invited to join the ATIA community of practice and share your innovative strategies for building capacity, and providing effective assistive technology leadership.

About the new strand

The AT Leadership education track recognizes the common interests of ATIA's former Policy to Practice and Professional Development strands. Those in leadership positions, whether at a team, district, regional or state level, face many challenges with moving innovation and change forward to impact achievement of educational, vocational and life goals. Current realities include meeting federal, state, and local mandates with shrinking funds. Yet, today's networking tools and fresh approaches to professional development offer new avenues to potential success. Conference session topics may include:  

  • New approaches to professional development (i.e., job-embedded, online professional learning communities)
  • Coaching and mentoring to develop communities of practice
  • Innovative methods for AT integration within a UDL framework
  • Dissemination of information and sharing of digital resources
  • Outreach initiatives to effect systems change 
  • Meeting legal mandates and moving from policy to practice
  • Effective models of AT service delivery
  • Assessing impact and using data for improvement planning

Do you have a leadership strategy or practice you'd like to share at ATIA Orlando 2014? Please visit this ATIA Web page. We look forward to seeing you there!


Strand advisors:  


Photo of Diana Carl.
Diana Carl
Photo of Denise Decoste.
Denise DeCoste
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New: Specialty Seminars for Occupational Therapists at ATIA 2014 Orlando! 

Logo for AOTA: The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

January 29th, 2014  


AOTA is pleased to announce that it will be offering two 1-day specialty pre-conference seminars that will be co-located with the ATIA 2014 Orlando conference. The seminars will address different areas of occupational therapy and will be focused on the inclusion of assistive technology in both settings. One of the pre-conferences will be for practitioners working with children in educational settings and the other will be for practitioners working with adults with low vision. AOTA members will receive a 10% discount on the pre-conference fees.


AOTA will be announcing the pre-conferences at its annual conference in San Diego (April 23-27).  More details, including presenters, overview and learning objectives will be posted at the ATIA Web site next week.

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Alliance Partners Update

ATIA is pleased to announce a new Alliance Partner:

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides free technical assistance
on practical accommodations solutions at every stage of employment; the interactive accommodation process; disability and employment related legislation; electronic accessibility of on-line application tracking systems; assistive technologies; localized referrals, and the business case for disability inclusion. JAN customers include employers, service providers, as well as people with disabilities and their families. Welcome JAN!
Learn more about ATIA's Alliance Partners.
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 The Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits Journal: A Farewell Note from Dr. Phil Parette
Photo of Professor Howard P. Parette
Professor Howard P. Parette

Serving as editor of ATOB, and collaborating with ATIA in its production over the past nine years, has been a distinct privilege in my professional career. This experience would not have been possible without the production contributions of ATIA and Dr. Brian Wojcik, Coordinator of the Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center, the interest and support of many fine individuals who have disseminated their work in this scholarly forum, and the commitment of ATOB Review Board members who provided peer-review expertise.


Since the first volume was published in 2004, ATOB has maintained an annual presence in the field, and has been abstracted both in the ERIC and EBSCO databases. As such, it will serve the field for years to come. The final issue of ATOB--The Role of Higher Education in Preparing Education Professionals to Use Assistive Technology--is now available (free of charge) at the ATIA ATOB Web page.


Thank you for this opportunity,

Howard P. Parette, Ed.D.,
Editor of the Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits Journal, and
Professor, Department of Special Education, Illinois State University  

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 Special Mention: 
"Stone Soup" 
A Theater Production of the Academy of Ability

Graphic image of a bowl of soup.

April 25th, 2013, 7 p.m.

College Park United Methodist Church
633 West Princeton Street
Orlando, Florida 

Come see and support the amazing kids of the Academy of Ability as they perform Stone Soup! Each child has a special part, and the performance will feature children using their voices and speech generating devices to say their lines (including ECO2 from PRC, Dynavox and Tango).

Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children. All proceeds go toward the Academy of Ability's summer camp program.    


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Our next newsletter theme

Eliza Anderson headshot. "Going Mobile!" We'll be following up on the energy of the M-Enabling Summit and reaching out to learn about initiatives focused on mobile AT and the accessibility/cross-over appeal of consumer mobile technologies.

This edition is due for release in mid
June. Contact me if you have a program, initiative, or event you would like our 15,000+ subscribers to know about.

Contributions may be between 300-500 words (and we are flexible). Send your article to [email protected] by June 7th, 2013 (editing support is provided). Thanks again for your enthusiasm!

--Eliza Anderson, Managing Editor, Friends of ATIA newsletter


Assistive Technology Industry Association
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Chicago, Illinois 60611