Technology & Learning Connections

AT & UDL News

Upcoming Events


ISRD Autism Training  


Dec. 6



Dec. 12

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Working with the Experts - OT/PT - The Use of Visual Supports & Strategies


Jan. 18



Jan. 25



Feb. 8



TLC Regional Meetings

Region 1  Dec. 13
Region 2  Apr. 10
Region 3  Apr. 12
Region 4  Apr. 26
Region 5  Apr. 26




FETC - Jan. 28-31, 2013


ATIA - Jan. 30 - Feb 2, 2013


Karen Kangas -  

Positioning Severe Impairments to Support Engagement 



May 7, 2013   



May 9, 2013


May 10, 2013


May 13, 2013 



May 15, 2013      




Technology & Learning Connections Website  


Florida's MTSS Technical Assistance Contacts 




AT & UDL Loan Library 










Exploring Technology & Learning Connections 

people with gears
"Technology & Learning Connections - MTSS: Increasing student 
achievement through the systemic alignment of technology, policies, 
and curriculum in a multi-tiered system of supports." 

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Keeping the Special in Education

Is assistive technology in schools becoming one-size fits all? The built-in accessibility features that used to be found only as stand-alone devices or as software are now very prevalent due in large part to the tablet and app market. School districts today are making large technology investments in these types of devices that may include such features as screen readers, zoom, voice recognition, word prediction and in some instances even alternative and augmentative communication. In a recent article, David Dikter, CEO of ATIA, explored this phenomenon in the September 2012 edition of "Friends of ATIA." He points out that although built-in accessibility features raise general awareness and helps to level the playing field for students with disabilities it also creates potential risks. Generic tools will work for some, but not for everyone and educators must not feel pressured to make these solutions work for everyone. We have a professional obligation to know what is out there now, what is achievable for students, and what is necessary to meet the needs of individual students.


You can view this ATIA newsletter (Issue 14) and past issues at the ATIA Newsletter Archives.  


New Roles for General & Special Education Staff in Inclusive Schools
Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen presented at the Adminstrators' Management Meeting in Sept. 2012 on how to support full inclusion. Her questions to the conference participants included:
  • What would it look like if all students were presumed competent to learn essential general education curriculum content? 
  • What would it look like if all students were participants in general education instruction in a general education classroom?
  • What would it look like if disability labeling occurred just for the purpose of receiving state and federal funding and for assuring eligibility for post-secondary services?
  • What would it look like if there was one curriculum based on one set of Common Core standards and all instruction was based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning?
  • What would it look like if all text and other instructional materials were accessible by all students?
  • What would it look like if all students had a way to communicate their wants, needs, and feelings, and about age-appropriate academic content and social topics? 
  • What would it look like if Response to Intervention (RtI) and School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SPBS) practices determined which students needed intensive support (in small groups or individually) in order to achieve standards and demonstrate prosocial behavior?
  • What would it look like if all students were expected to graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education, the military, and/or competitive employment, and an inclusive life in the community? 

Dr. Jorgensen has a wide variety of resources to help schools work towards inclusion. Below are a few.

  1. Book - The Beyond Access Model 
  2. Book - The Inclusion Facilitator's Guide 

You will find additional resources and articles on Dr. Jorgensen's website


ATIA Conference 2013 - Orlando
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Orlando Conference will be held on January 30 - February 2, 2013 at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando. This is an excellent professional development opportunity, with over 300 educational sessions, 21 pre-conference seminars, and an extensive exhibit hall.

Florida's Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is an Alliance Partner with ATIA. Districts and universities can use the MTSS Alliance Partner Code "APD3" when registering to receive a 5% discount off the published conference registration. Parents receive a 50% discount on all educational programs - 50% off any of the 212 pre-Conference Seminars and the regular conference registration. There is also a FREE exhibit hall pass for Friday, Feb 1 and Saturday, Feb 2. The registration starts the same for all the different types of registration (regular, parent, etc.).
Positioning Severe Impairments to Support Engagement - with Karen Kangas   
Karen Kangas is an occupational therapist with 30 + years of experience working with the evaluation and treatment of unique positioning needs of all individuals. Her contributions to the field of occupational therapy include:
  • Established training strategies with teachers/therapists/parents, and/or primary caregivers.
  • Advanced assessment processes for individuals who are severely disabled. 
Karen instructs using a "hands-on" approach through the use of sensory-motor integration, body positioning, and neurophysiology and workshop highlights will include instruction in:
  • Perform seating assessment for task performance.
  • Identify seating equipment needed for "postural management" vs. "postural control".
  • Identify mobility and access treatment strategies.
  • Apply and implement treatment strategies for mobility and access.
  • Perform a task analysis of an activity as the student's seating/positioning needs change.

Check the TLC Calendar page early 2013 for registration information. 

ISRD Autism Trainings  

Based on recommendations by ESE administrators, the Institute for Small and Rural Districts (ISRD) is in the process of collaborating with CARD to conduct regional Autism trainings for school administrators and their teams. The proposed dates for the Autism trainings are listed under Upcoming Events. Check the ISRD Calendar for all upcoming meetings and events. 

Visual Supports & Strategies: for OT/PT
Registration is now open for "The Use of Visual Supports and Strategies in Physical and Occupational Therapy" with Dr. Sylvia Diehl.  Details are available at the WWE website at:

Below are the locations and dates for the training opportunities:
  • Tallahassee - January 18, 2013
  • Plantation - January 25, 2013
  • Lakeland - February 8, 2013

For additional information, please contact Peg Sullivan at or (239) 590-748; or Karen Hallinan at  

Student Response Systems
These images include screen shots of the Mimio Software, hands holding a MimioVote, and the entire MimioVote case with the wireless receiver. 

Student Response Systems are wireless response systems that allow users to request and receive information via a "clicker" or hand-held response pad paired with specific computer software. Information is shared by infrared or radio signal to a receiver attached to the computer and depending on the users preferences the program will record and/or display live data. For students who have difficulty expressing themselves with paper and pencil, orally, or because of fear of being embarrassed with wrong answers, these systems allow for multiple means of representation and anonymous engagement. Facilitators can use these systems to check for understanding on the fly, receive immediate feedback, and make adjustments during delivery rather then during post-activity assessment. For a full listing of Student Responses Systems currently available at the store please go to Student Response Systems.

 AT & UDL in the Classroom 
Universal Design for Learning - and beyond!

Universal Design for Learning - and beyond!

This YouTube video provides a unique overview of the principals of UDL.   

This video was created at Xtranormal allows users to turn simple typed text into fully animated programs. This video is also an example of UDL application. Recognition Networks are being utilized by presenting content in different ways. Users of the program would be using both the Strategic and Affective Networks by expressing what they know in multiple means and it stimulates engagement for those who prefer this type of creative media. Accessibility systems such as switches and speech to text tools could also be incorporated in this program, creating access for  anybody that wants to make their stories come to life.  

Did You Know? 

Apps that provide live group polling using mobile devices.

Notability integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, recording, and organizing tools to help students take notes effectively.
gotalk now The app from Attainment combines the simplicity of GoTalk devices with the capabilities of iPads. 

Resources - UDL Toolkit
The picture shows a screen shot from the UDL Toolkit Wiki Page
The image is a screen shot from the UDL Toolkit Wiki Page

The UDL Tech Toolkit is an interactive glog/wiki that features a variety of free technology resources teachers can use in their classrooms to incorporate universal design for learning (UDL).  For those teachers new to UDL, the authors created a page about UDL complete with the definition and the ever-increasing importance of using technology in the classroom. This page briefly broaches the topics of AT and UDL, has a short video that explains the UDL principles and guidelines and provides links to additional resources for further reading/research. Hopefully educators can use this glog/wiki to help alleviate some of the overwhelmingness that can be associated with both technology and change.   

Our Partners

The TLC Team includes 5 Regional Technology Coordinators, 5 Regional Technology Specialists, and 5 Regional Local Assistive Technology Specialists (RLATS).  


Our local service partners include:  


The Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): providing services in the areas of Childfind, HRD, Parent Services, and Technology; including local TA&D, professional development, and capacity building in the areas

of accessible instructional materials, assistive & Instructional

 technologies, UDL, and virtual learning.


Local Assistive Technology Specialists (LATS): providing local support for assistive technology assessments, evaluations, and related assistive technology services.



Together we are working to help all schools implement a universal, differentiated core curriculum based on the Common Core State Standards.   

This newsletter was funded by the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Part B funds. The information included does not reflect any specific endorsement by any parties involved. Please email Gary Pearcy for further information.