Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (R.A.T.E) Conference 2016

Information on the Keynote Speaker, Breakout Sessions, and Presenters

Thank you for making the 2016 R.A.T.E. Conference a success!

RATE 2016 Presentation materials available

Conference Schedule

8 am - 3:30 am Registration
8:30 am - 9:15 am Keynote Presentation
9:15 am - 9:30 am Grab and Go Booth, AT Table, Vendor Exhibits
9:30 am - 10:30 am Session 1
10:30 am - 10:45 am Grab and Go Booth, AT Table, Vendor Exhibits
10:45 am - 11:45 am Session 2
11:45 am - 12 pm Grab and Go Booth, AT Table, Vendor Exhibits
12 pm - 1 pm Session 3

Keynote Speaker

Picture of Hope
Keynote Speaker Hope, is an Assistive Technology Ambassador for Fairfax County Public Schools

Hope is an 11th grader in Fairfax County Public Schools who uses a variety of assistive technology throughout her school day. This year she is using a laptop with Google Voice to complete her writing assignments and feels like she is more organized and carries a lot less “stuff.”  She loves using Google Drive and Google Classroom and hopes more teachers will integrate it soon.  She continues to enjoy sharing her experiences as a student with disabilities, in the hopes that she might help others be more aware and successful. At the end of 9th grade she was accepted and attended the I’m Determined conference for students.  At this conference she met new friends and learned a lot about preparation for her future and the different ways she can advocate for herself in the future. They also talked about career options. She plans on attending every year she can. She continues to participate in community theater and is hoping for her breakout role in a school production one day soon. Hope has shared her story at a variety of conferences and schools. Hope is an Assistive Technology Ambassador for Fairfax County Public Schools and will be sharing her journey with cerebral palsy and how assistive technology has impacted her life at the conference. Additional information on the Assistive Technology Ambassadors program is available on our AT Ambassadors page.

Session 1

Access for All in the Early Childhood Classroom
Celeste Rodrigo and Malia Waller, Assistive Technology Services

Come and see a day in the life of an accessible early childhood classroom. The presenters will go through the schedule of an early childhood special education classroom and show how to adapt each component of the day to be accessible for all students!

Technology Tools to Support Executive Functioning
Genie Yurgaites and Amber Terry, Assistive Technology Services

Effective executive functioning skills are necessary for all students in order to access the curriculum. Presenters will offer an exploration of key technology tools and strategies that support the development of executive functioning skills for students in both low and high incidence classrooms.

Google for Writing
Eric Fleming and Marybeth Fleming, Assistive Technology Services

Come and explore some creative ways Google Docs is used to support the writing process. Learn to use special tools to help with research and data collection. Witness how easy it is to collaborate with others on projects and share documents. Voice Typing and other tools will be explored. Bring your computer if you would like to follow along.

Visual Strategies and Corresponding Apps (FCPS approved) for School and Home
Patricia Jewell, Assistive Technology Services

Participants will learn about visual strategies and related apps that can help students successfully participate in a variety of routines and activities in their lives. Participants will begin to link the needs of students with visual strategies and apps that can help support them. The presenters will share twenty-five reasons to use visual strategies and examples of how they can be incorporated into daily life.

Books for Everyone: Engaging Hard to Reach Students
Karen Burke and Julie West, Assistive Technology Services

This session will be a demonstration of how to use a library of open-source, accessible texts for individuals with disabilities of all ages. Participants will explore strategies to engage "hard to reach" students using fiction and non-fiction texts.

Special Education Apps and Web Site Resources for Teacher and Parents
Kristine Neuber and Clare Talbert, George Mason University

Participants will learn about resources available to teachers and parents on the newly updated TTAC Online and Virginia Family Special Education Web Sites funded by the Virginia Department of Education. Presenters will also demonstrate Apps designed and developed to support students with disabilities and their parents or teachers. Apps that will be demonstrated include: Apps to help with accessing Accessible Instructional Materials, the AT Considerations App to help determine appropriate assistive technology accommodations, the Brain Injury App designed to support students returning to learning after a concussion, Dispute Resolution, designed after the Parent’s Guide to Dispute Resolution and Make and Play an app that allows teachers and parents the ability to design their own board game for students on academic skills.

Assistive Technology Ambassadors - Family Stories and Q and A
Caitlin Radek and Mollie Kropp, Assistive Technology Services

The Assistive Technology Ambassadors Program showcases the leadership, self-advocacy, and technology skills of FCPS students with disabilities. The AT ambassadors have all gone through a variety of struggles and successes. They would like to help educators and families better understand what students experience when learning to use AT tools to support their learning. Come and hear them and their parents share their journeys and answer your questions about assistive technology, both in school and in the community.

Speech Recognition Across Platforms
Ruth Mendelson, Assistive Technology Services

Not long ago, speech recognition required the use of specialized software and hardware. Now it is available on most devices. Speech recognition will be demonstrated on a PC and tablet device, using different software options, and participants will explore the pros and cons of the various options.

My Own AAC Group: Strategies and Tools for Creating and Leading an Augmentative Communication Device Group at Your School
Allison Schmidt, Assistive Technology Services

Come and learn about how to start and run an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) group at your school! Get AAC device users interacting and participating in regularly scheduled group activities with other peers with devices. Learn about technology and resources for leading your group, strategies to encourage AAC navigation and communication, and get hands on experience in leading and participating in your very own AAC group.

Session 2

Technology Tools to Support Executive Functioning
Genie Yurgaites and Lindsay Ivey, Assistive Technology Services

Many students struggle with planning, organizing, and managing tasks, which impacts their academic achievement. The presenters will focus on strategies and technology tools that can help support students with executive functioning deficits.

Google Voice Typing for the Writing Process
Rachel Perella, Assistive Technology Services

Dictating to the computer for writing has never been easier using Google Voice Typing. In this presentation, there will be a discussion about the characteristics of students who may require the use of speech recognition as an accommodation as well as suggestions for using Voice Typing throughout the writing process to include prewriting, composition, and editing.

Technology Tools to Support Struggling Readers
Karen Hawley and Rachel Connelly, Assistive Technology Services

Do you have students who struggle with reading and benefit from having materials read aloud? In this session, participants will learn about screen readers that make text accessible. They will also learn how to use features in Microsoft Word, Google, and other applications to help students understand digital text. Participants will explore several common tools, strategies, and features in these software platforms which are remarkably useful for students struggling with reading!

Implementing AAC Into the Curriculum
Jeff Powers and Ashley Higgins, Assistive Technology Services

This session will cover how educators can effectively utilize Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Systems as communication supports while engaging in instruction across content areas. Participants will review example case studies and explore web resources to help supplement implementation.

Behavior, Reinforcement and AT.....Oh my!
Lindsey Thoms, Malia Waller, and Amber Terry, Assistive Technology Services

Come and explore the different ways assistive technology can support teaching desired behaviors and provide reinforcement. Participants will leave with a special reinforcement treat that can be tailored for individual likes and dislikes of students.

SMORRES AAC: Modeling for Success
Karen Burke and Julie West, Assistive Technology Services

In this session the presenters will describe the mnemonic SMORRES (Slow, Model, Respect, Repeat, Expand, Stop). SMORRES assists with guiding communication partners through the steps of successful modeling for students learning to use high and low tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to communicate.

Overcoming Barriers: Assistive Technology for Students with Physical Disabilities
Valerie Riley and Lara Long, Assistive Technology Services

It takes a team to assist students with physical and multiple disabilities in the school setting. Using assistive technology can eliminate barriers and allow students to control, connect and participate in their curriculum and beyond. Discussion topics include the importance of the team (parents, student, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech and language pathologist, assistive technology resource teacher, vendors, etc.) and some barriers to this process. The presenters will focus on ways to reduce these barriers and provide case studies and examples of success.

AIM for success: Assistive Technology for Students who Struggle with Reading
Ian Moore, George Mason University

For students who struggle with reading, technology can be leveraged to support their individual needs. Technological features such as text-to-speech, tagged images, text annotation, or modified text remove barriers and make curriculum content accessible. The provision of accommodation features such as these is known as accessible instructional materials (AIM). AIM is converted from traditional print like textbooks, worksheets, and tests into; accessible formats such as Braille, large print, or electronic and audio files. AIM provides students with access to new content, increases independence, and boosts success. This session will discuss what AIM is, how these materials benefit students, how to use various assistive technology devices with AIM, and how K-12 students with disabilities in Virginia can access these materials through AIM-VA, a service provided through the Virginia Department of Education.

Using Your iPad to Improve Accessibility
Diana Ree-Reeder and Jen Fier, Assistive Technology Services

General tips and specific features of the iPad can be utilized to improve access for students. This session is relevant for students with needs related to organization, reading, vision, and more. Participants may learn about some features they would like to use themselves as well!

AT Writing Tools at Your Fingertips!
Jennifer Carr and Alexis Preston, Assistive Technology Services

Come and explore writing tools for the students in your classroom. Participants may learn that they already have all of the technology tools students need! Participants will take a look at embedded supports in Google Documents, MS Word, Smart Notebook, Adobe, Kidspiration, and Inspiration.

Session 3

AIMing for Success – Exploring Accessible Instructional Materials
Jennifer Regardie, Assistive Technology Services

Come and learn more about accessible instructional materials available through AIM-VA, Learning Ally, and Bookshare. These resources will be further explored and demonstrated for session participants.

Google Classroom for Beginners
Eric Fleming and MaryBeth Fleming, Assistive Technology Services

The presenters will share information about Google Classroom, which is one of the free Google Apps for Education. Participants will learn how to create, share and grade assignments easily as well as keeping their classes organized.

AT Writing Software Tools
Jennifer Carr and Alexis Preston, Assistive Technology Services

The presenters will demonstrate a variety oft AT writing software programs. These programs include such titles as Co:Writer, Draft:Builder, Write:OutLoud, Kidspiration and Inspiration.

Reading with AAC
Jeff Powers, Ashley Higgins, and Lindsay Ivey, Assistive Technology Services

Come and learn how to incorporate an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system into various reading lessons in the elementary, middle and high school self-contained classrooms.

Strategies for Success for the High School and College Bound Student
Rachel Connelly and Judie Lieberman, Assistive Technology Services

Come and see the latest Google Classroom with techniques for note taking, organization and study skills. Mobile apps and technology tools will be demonstrated with links to lessons and resources. These tools can be utilized in both the secondary and post –secondary settings to support students with executive functioning needs.

Technology Tips for Students with Dyslexia
Michiyo Vangellow, Assistive Technology Services

The presenters will provide an overview of dyslexia. Participants will learn about various technologies that may assist students with dyslexia in accessing the curriculum. Participants will be shown hidden tools within Microsoft Word and Google Apps for Education to assist students with reading electronic text and following the writing process. Other specialized software and website tools will be discussed.

Which Switch?
Betsy Komoniewski, Assistive Technology Services

What is switch access and what does it look like? Come and learn about a variety of different switches for access to toys, computers and iPads. Participants will explore switch interfaces, scanning options and switch accessible programs and resources.

Creating Your Own Possibilities-Building Independence with AT
Lindsey Thoms, Assistive Technology Services

Do you wish your child or students could be more independent? Does your child have trouble with new places, waiting, completing a task and/or understanding social cues? In this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn about and create low-tech tools such as schedules, token boards, task boxes or social stories to foster independence.

Using Your iPad to Improve Accessibility
Jen Fier and Diana Ree-Reeder, Assistive Technology Services

General tips and specific features of the iPad can be utilized to improve access for students. This session is relevant for students with needs related to organization, reading, vision, and more. Participants may learn about some features they would like to use themselves as well!

AAC Approaches in Early Childhood
Celeste Rodrigo, Assistive Technology Services

Come and learn how to approach augmentative communication with our youngest learners. Technology Outreach Program Support (TOPS) teachers and a speech and language pathologist will be sharing their tips and tricks on AAC implementation in the early childhood classroom.