Newsletter: AT News You Can Use

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In the August, 2018 Issue:

  • AT Support Team Training: Register Now!
  • AT Discovery: Learning, Cognition & Development: Writing
  • Device Feature: Writing BirdTM
  • Transition Spotlight: Transition Activities Timeline, OTI

AT Support Team TrainingAT Support Team Training: Register Now!

2018 August AT News You Can UseRegistration is now open for ABLE Tech’s fall AT Support Team Training workshops. The 2018-19 lineup includes a three-workshop series which will be offered in Owasso during the fall semester, and repeated in Lawton during the spring semester.

AT Assessment Part 1- Consideration
Choose one:

  • Fall Session: September 13, 2018, Owasso Tech Center
  • Spring Session: January 17, 2019, Lawton (location to be determined)

Description: Participants will learn the process for Consideration of Assistive Technology (AT) for all students with disabilities, including legal requirements related to AT Consideration, and hands-on learning to help educators discover potential solutions available to help meet student’s IEP goals.

AT Assessment Part 2 – Gathering Information and Trialing Devices
Choose one:

  • Fall Session: Date: October 11, 2018, Owasso Tech Center
  • Spring Session: February 14, 2019, Lawton (location to be determined)

Description:Participants will learn the steps involved in conducting an Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment, and the procedure for borrowing AT to try with students. Educators will try their hand at making low-tech AT to help students with classroom tasks.

AT Assessment Part 3 – AT in the IEP and Implementation
Choose one:

  • Fall Session: November 8, 2018, Owasso Tech Center
    Spring Session: March 14, 2019, Lawton (location to be determined)

Description: Participants will learn how to write AT in the IEP, summarize the AT Implementation process, compare and contrast AT across disabilities, and identify funding resources for acquisition of AT. Afternoon breakout sessions will offer educators opportunities to see and try devices in the categories of their choosing.

AT trainings are free for Oklahoma educators and related service providers. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered for OTs, PTs, and SLPs. Get all the details and find links to register at ABLE Tech AT Support Team Workshops webpage.

Additional training resources include:

  • Webinars and Videos: ABLE Tech has a vast collection of instructional videos, AT device feature videos, and archived webinars. Live webinars are presented throughout the school-year and then archived for on-demand viewing. Click to go to ABLE Tech Youtube Channel.
  • Online Curriculum: Learn about AT devices and services whenever you want! This guided-study course mirrors our in-person workshops and is designed for educators to access at their convenience. Click to go to ABLE Tech Online AT Curriculum.

Oklahoma ABLE Tech is the Statewide Assistive Technology Act Program whose mission is serving Oklahomans with disabilities. ABLE Tech offers educational resources and training programs to Pre-K through 12th grade educators and related service providers through a contract with the Oklahoma State Department of Education. To learn more, visit our homepage here on this site.


AT Discovery Banner

AT Discovery
Learning, Cognition & Development

Writing

Handwriting is a complex skill involving visual perceptual, neuromuscular, and motor components. There are also cognitive and social-emotional factors that influence handwriting. These all make writing one of the most complex skills acquired by students. Making matters worse, there is a constant demand on students to produce written material for tests, worksheets, essays, and homework.

Students of all ages and abilities need help with writing, such as young students learning to use writing utensils who may have difficulty with the motor aspects (holding the utensil, stabilizing the paper, guiding their hand, etc.) or older students with difficulties beyond the physical requirements. In addition to clear penmanship, these students may struggle with spelling, word choice, or organization.

A research study estimated that in the beginning of second grade, 37% of students had a form of dysgraphia. Prevalence rates decreased to 17% at the end of the year and continued to decrease as students progressed through school (Overvelde).

In simple terms, dysgraphia can be defined as difficulty with writing. Dysgraphia can be classified under five types:

  1. Dyslexic
  2. Motor
  3. Spatial
  4. Phonological
  5. Lexical

You may notice that these students have poor spelling, illegible hand-writing, slow and effortful writing, inappropriate capitalization, excessive erasing, and trouble gripping the writing utensil, difficulty with hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills, stress when attempting to complete written assignments, disorganized papers, and overall incoherent written expression.

Accommodations, such as additional time, and modifications, such as reduced report lengths, are sometimes offered to enable students with dysgraphic characteristics to complete assignments. Assistive technology (AT) can also be a tremendous help to students with a broad range of writing difficulties from spelling and grammar to thought organization and the physical act of writing. Implementing AT can bridge the gap to facilitate the skills that your students need.

Writing AT can be as simple as a slant board to raise the writing surface and provide more leverage, or paper with raised lines for tactile feedback and spatial awareness. More high-tech AT options include alternative keyboards, voice recognition software, or applications specifically for writing/reading.

Sample solutions available in the ABLE Tech Short-Term Loan Inventory:

Crayola EZ Type Keyboard

Slant Board

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Crayola EZ Type Keyboard Slant Board Dragon Naturally Speaking

For more information on how to discover, trial, and implement AT devices to assist your students and improve writing skills in your classroom, as well as case studies, go to https://www.okabletech.org/at-discovery/writing/#education

Overvelde, A., & Hulstijn, W. (2011). Handwriting Development in Grade 2 and Grade 3 Primary School Children with Normal, At Risk, Or Dysgraphic Characteristics. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 540-548. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21269805


AT Device Feature

Writing BirdTM

Writing BirdThe Writing-Bird™ is a low-tech assistive technology device which may be appropriate for anyone who has difficulty holding pens. The device helps individuals with limited dexterity, hand coordination, or a weak grasp to write clearly again.

The Writing-Bird™ is lightweight, yet feels substantial in the hand. The tool is designed to work for individuals who are right or left handed. The Writing-Bird™ slides easily along the writing surface using upper arm strength. Only slight downward pressure is needed to write. Gentle pressure on the bird's tail allows the pen to move from word to word without smearing ink on the paper.

  • Pen-hole diameter measures 3cm.
  • Made of durable, frosted acrylic.
  • Perfect for individuals who lack thumb to fingertip pinch.
  • Ideal for persons with arthritis or neurological disorders.

Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $25
Purchased from: Amazon.com

Click to see Writing-Bird™ video on ABLE Tech YouTube Channel.

Click to see Writing-Bird™ in ABLE Tech Device Loan Inventory.

Each week ABLE Tech features one of the many assistive technology devices available for trial through our short-term loan program. Our inventory offers a wide range of AT for communication, computer access, hearing, vision, daily living, environmental adaptations, learning/development, health, safety, and recreation.

Search our Device Loan Inventory!


Transition Resources

Transition Spotlight: Transition Activities Timeline

Transition Council logo

Preparing students for Transition can be a daunting task involving multiple agencies and programs. The Oklahoma Transition Council has prepared a timeline to help educators, families, and students know what needs to be done, and at what times, so that a student with disabilities is prepared to enter school, move between schools, and finally begin their adult life, whether that means continuing their education, entering the workforce, or moving into other community settings after high school. 

This timeline is a recommended list of programs, services, and activities that you can use to begin helping your students and their families prepare for the future.  The items listed in each age group are considered “best time to start”; however, they are not the only time.  You can always revisit something that you did not have an opportunity to do at an earlier time.  Click here to see the Timeline of Transition Activities.

Oklahoma Transition Institute: Oct. 15-17

Registration will be opening soon for the 13th Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI). Oklahoma's premier transition professional development, will take place October 15-17 at the NCED Conference Center and Hotel in Norman. The theme is Strategies for Success:  Creating Connections. More than 600 participants attended last year, and organizers are hoping for even more this year.

OTI is accepting presentation proposals, and offering opportunities to sponsor, exhibit, place an ad, and donate. Click here for more information about OTI.

Linda Jaco Signature

Linda Jaco, Director

Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Oklahoma State University
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 800.257.1705

Kimberly Berry Signature

Kimberly Berry, Assistive Technology Teacher

Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Oklahoma State University
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 800.257.1705

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