Tag Archives: Assistive Technology

Blog Updates and Future Meetings

Hello Everyone!

Our consortium is continuing to grow and prosper this year as a result of all the hard work our members are doing across the state. I have been able to make additional contacts for us in California, through the California Association for Physical and Health Impairments (CAPHI). CAPHI is another great resource that is available to us as OI teachers. They hold a conference every two years in different locations in California and are hosting webinars for OI Teachers through the Council for Exceptional Children. I highly recommend that you look into CAPHI and what they offer as they are a very large organization for OI Teachers in California. It’s great to see what other organizations, similar to ours, are doing to promote our field and support our teachers and students. You can visit their Facebook Page at:


You can also visit their website at:



I have added several new links that were provided at the recent GATE conference on December 5, 2014 in the links section, under the Assistive Technology section. The link to the GATE wikispaces site provides all of the information that was given by the presenters. If you were not able to attend this conference, the link will provide you with a chance to see what was presented as well as all of the materials that were given to the participants. I also have included links to two of the presentations that I attended, Tips and Tricks for OI Teachers by Renee Dawson, Debbie Brineman, and Jim Whitley of Cherokee County, and a presentation by Lee Green of the Floyd County School System on FREE Google apps and extensions that would be of great use to us. Lee is also the co-leader of the Google + Georgia Educators Group. This is a great AT resource utilizing Google supported apps and extensions that are incredibly useful to us as OI teachers. The GEG is a great networking opportunity and hosts meetings as well for further collaboration.

Please check out these new links! I have also provided links regarding these presentations under the useful apps tab.

Additionally, don’t forget to visit the Georgia Tools for Life website, their link is provided as well. They presented on many topics including accessing funding for AT, and other resources that are useful to us such as new AT equipment and resources that are now available. Their website includes all of the presentations that they gave at the conference, as well as an archive for all of their webinars.

Lastly, I have included a link to Parent 2 Parent of Georgia in the links section. This is a great organization that provides free resources and training to parents, students, and teachers of children with disabilities, across all age ranges and disability areas.

A quick re-cap of our remaining meetings for 2015:

January 14, 2015:

A panel discussion/seminar at the Scottish Rite campus for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta regarding various disabilities and their educational implications for students within the school environment. The program information will be provided very soon!

March 19, 2015:

Susan Ruediger of the Charcot-Marie Tooth Association will be presenting information and resources regarding CMT, a peripheral nerve disorder that affects at least 2.8 million people world wide, and hundreds of thousands of people here in Georgia. We will also be given a re-delivery of the GATE presentation by Renee Dawson, Debbie Brineman, and Jim Whitley of the Cherokee County School System on useful apps and Google extensions. The location is to be determined.

Here is the link to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association for more information on CMT:


May 14, 2014

Kyle Pease, of the Kyle Pease Foundation, will be presenting at Georgia State for our May meeting. He will cover various topics, including the mission and resources available through the foundation.

Here is the link to the Kyle Pease Foundation for more information:


Thank you for reading this long blog post, and I hope the information provided is useful.

January 16th Meeting in Cherokee County

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know about our meeting in January. We will be meeting on January 16th from 1-4 p.m. The teachers from Cherokee County have offered to host our next meeting. They are going to offer a presentation of various AT that is being used with some of their students. Jim, Debbie, and Renee presented this seminar at the GATE (Georgia Assistive Technology in Education) conference a couple of weeks ago. Their presentation was very informative, and involved the use of AT with students with physical disabilities specifically. I would love for everyone to be able to attend this meeting. I know that it may be farther than we are used to, but it will be well worth it. Also, I strongly recommend that everyone attend next year’s GATE conference as it offered a great deal of resources and information geared specifically to our population of students. I will make sure to keep everyone posted regarding next year’s conference.

***If possible, please e-mail me a list of any assistive technology devices, software, etc. that you are using with your current students, and a brief explanation of how you are using the AT. I think that it would be great to follow up the presentation with a discussion and sharing of AT that we are using with our students in order to expand our knowledge. I will collect the information and then share it with the group.

Our March 20th meeting will still take place in Gwinnett, unless I am able to schedule another tour. We can discuss possible options at the January meeting.

And, I have exciting news for our May meeting! We will be touring the Tools for Life facility at Georgia Tech. This is a national organization that provides a lending library of various types of AT, AT evaluations, and training to students and their service providers. The Tools for Life website offers a more detailed explanation of the services and resources they provide. This tour will offer us a unique opportunity to tap into a huge resource regarding assistive technology. The director of the organization, Carolyn Phillips, is looking forward to our visit. I will provide more details about the tour at the March meeting.

Here is a link to their website:


Meeting Minutes: October 11, 2012

Meeting Minutes from OI Consortium Meeting: October, 11 2012

Gwinnett Instructional Center, Duluth, Georgia

The meeting today centered on the topic of utilizing organizational strategies as well as various types of AT that will further increase a student’s overall organization.

Mrs. Bytheway presented a powerpoint presentation discussing the various realms of organization, and how students with physical and health impairments are more directly affected by a lack of organization resulting in failing grades, lack of confidence, etc.

The group also discussed options for students who are medically fragile and require multiple breaks throughout the day to prevent fatigue. One teacher discussed how a student would use Skype within the school in order to participate in her classes in another part of the school building that was more comfortable for her. This accommodation allows the student to attend school without causing extreme fatigue during the day, offering a creative solution to the problem of prolonged and frequent absences.

The group offered many suggestions as well regarding other organization strategies as well as AT that will further enable organization skills.

–         Teacher websites are useful for students to keep up with their homework assignments as well as long-term planning for upcoming tests and quizzes. It was also recommended that students use a regular hanging calendar to write their long-term or short-term assignments on as a visual reminder that can be displayed at home.

–         AT solutions that were offered were:

–         Scanning wands (Less than 50 dollars at Wal-Mart)

–         Web Based version of Kurzweil

–         Microsoft 7 version of their on screen keyboard (useful for students with Muscular Dystrophy or other degenerative conditions)

–         Utilize the hover feature instead of requiring mouse clicks.

–         Speech to text on Microsoft 7

–         Dragon on Iphone

–         Swiftpoint 300 Mouse

–         Having someone from CATEA come out again to offer another presentation on their research at Georgia Tech, or even going there to tour the facilities.

–         Attending another tour of the AT department at the ShephardCenter

–         The group also wanted to discuss how a planning tool could be developed for determining service hours for a student.

–         Lastly, the group wanted to discuss how to write IEP objectives for students who are served on a consultative basis. It was recommended that the each person brought a copy of their Present Levels of Performance in order to discuss possible service times for that student, and how the OI teacher should effectively serve that student. There may be differences among the counties regarding how students are served, and this would be a helpful exercise in comparing service models for OI Itinerants across the Metro Area. Lastly, the group discussed future topics for upcoming meetings.

Tongue Drive System at Georgia Tech

Please read this article concerning the Tongue Drive System research going on at Georgia Tech. Share your thoughts!


Shepherd Center Tour!

Hi Everyone!

I hope that your holiday season has gotten off to a great start, and I hope your school year has been successful so far!

I am pleased to announce that we have been granted a tour (with just our group) of the Shepherd Center on Thursday May, 10 2012 at 1:00 p.m. Please go ahead and mark your calendar so that you can be sure to attend! The tour will last approximately one hour, so we will need to find a place to meet up for the remaining meeting time that day. Any ideas are welcome!

Also, if you have come across any new ideas, technology, or just interesting topics, please e-mail so that I can post them, or make a post on your own! 🙂

Lastly, is there anyone using the TOBII eye-gaze technology in their classrooms? If so, can you let me know how it’s going, and what your experience has been so far?

Here is the website to the TOBII technology:


Also, I have found this AT forum that can be quite useful:


Please join the conversation by responding to this post!

Thanks so much,

Judy Bytheway

Meeting Minutes: May 2011: Assistive Technology

OI Consortium May 12,

GPAT Conference Registration: gpat.org

Submit proposal and receive free conference registration

Sally Kemp: Representative from GPAT, all materials that she
has handed out are on the gpat website.

Assessment and Accommodations for students with physical

Accommodations are changes to the access to the testing
materials, and are meant to add equity to the tests, not give a student a
better chance at making a higher score.

Modifications reduce the learning expectations, and
accommodations do not.

List of accommodations are found on the GADOE website on the
Special Education page of the DOE website.

Prior to testing, the testing accommodations should be used
regularly with the student in the classroom, and the student should be
comfortable and familiar with the testing accommodations.

There are standard and non-standard accommodations.
Sometimes there is pressure from administrators to have only standard
accommodations, as non-standard accommodations may affect AYP scores.

If you have questions concerning testing accommodations, you
may contact Melissa Fincher 404-656-4005 at the GADOE. Mary recommends that you
ask any questions concerning accommodations to your API.

Electronic versions of the CRCT are available through
Kurzweil, and the text to speech function can be turned off for students that
are need of just increased access to the test.

Learning Based AT Solutions

Remediation tools for Reading:

Thinkfinity (Access through DOE Website), Starfall,
Earobics, Simon SIO, Wordmaker.

AT Devices for Struggling Readers Chart is on the DOE
Website, Special Education, Resources and Materials, Or go directly to GPAT.org

Positioning Aids: Book Stands, Portabook Stands, Slant

Page Turners, page fluffers, powered turners

Tracking Aids: Reading
Window, Bar Magnifier, EZC Reader/Colored Reading

Contrast Aids: Highlighters, Highlighting Tape, Reading
Helpers, Colored Overlays, Saran Wrap

Colored Overlays are often overlooked, and should be
considered when working with struggling readers and writers.



Word Identification Aids: Talking Dictionaries and Reading

Stand Alone Magnification Aids

Specialized Format:

Bookshare and GIMC; Magnifier Mouse from Microsoft, Audio
Books,BookPort, The Victor (Daisy Reader)

Text Aloud; Only 29 dollars (Text to speech software)

Electronic Books: Project Gutenberg, Bookshare, Accessible
Book Selection (Accelerated Reader Books).

Search for HIAT in Goolge. That will take you to the E-Book

Also look into your library systems for access to E-Books as

Portable Text Readers: Classmate Readers that display and
read text; Intel Reader – OCR’s Text

Thinking Reader: Unabridged core literature books,
incorporated reading comprehension strategies and supports.

Start-Finish Series: High Interest-Low Readability, Age
appropriate topics, core-content books. Allows you to highlight text and
transfer into an outline.

Word Identification Aids: WordWeb Dictionary Thesaurus;
Lingos (Freeware Program)

Text Reading Software: Read Please 2003, Natural Reader,
E-Reader Pro, Microsoft Reader

PDF Reading Software available in Adobe

Word Processing:

Microsoft Word: Many different tools available such as text
to speech and Auto Summary, changing spacing of words, fonts, and backgrounds
for more readability.

Academic Suite Software: ClassroomSuite4and SOLO 6

Advanced Reading
Aids: Kurzweil 3000, Read and Write Gold, and WYNN

Text Enlargement Software: Zoom readers, JAWS

Types of Writing Difficulties: Dysgraphia, Writing Process,
Conventions of Writing (Spelling, Punctuation, Grammer)


Remediation Tools for writing and spelling:

Wordmaker for Writing, Thinkfinity, Simon SIO, Carmen
Sandiego Word Detective, Handwriting without tears, Speech recognition
software; Consult Chart for AT Devices for Struggling Writers…Available on the
DOE Website.

Page Ups, Clip Boards and book stands

Contrast Aids: Highlighter tape

Adapted Writing Utensils: Grips, PenAgain

Alternate paper of different lines, spacing, colors, and/or

Commonly misspelled words:

Use a personal dictionary, quickword books, Spellwell
Bookmarks; Talking Dictionaries/Thesaurus

Recorders: Devices for recording notes and responses; Echo
Smartpin or Pulse (Livescribe)

Handheld Scanners

Printed Graphic Organizers (Microsoft Word, Freeology,

Portable word processors: Neo, Fusion

Concept/Webbing Applications: Inspiration, Webspiration,
Kidspiration, Draft:Builder in SOLO

Speak Q, Word Q training is much easier than Dragon
training, reads training passages to students; however, it does have some
glitches and sometimes drops voice files for students.

Text correction software: Ginger Software: Provides support
for grammar, spelling, and vocabulary usage; Web based software; subscription

Electronic Worksheets: Omniform and Paperport.

Academic Suite Software such as Solo also has very good
supports for writing as well.

Voice Recognition Software: Microsoft Speech Recognition,
Dragon Naturally Speaking, MacSpeech Dictate.

AAC Devices with text to speech capabilities

WACOM :Bamboo, only 99 Dollars. Graphics tablet like device
that enables the student to write with their finger and can also be used as a

Microkeyboards for students with Muscular Dystrophy or
smaller aged students.

Math Instruction:

Teach using Concrete, moving to Abstract C-R-A (Concrete,
Representational, Abstract)

Web Based Remediation Tools:

Create a graph, National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, A
Maths Dictionary; Cool math 4 kids, The Ruler Game

Remediation Software: Attainment Software

Access Tools:

All similar tools that were used forReadingand Writing

Mathpad has a voice recognition component as well.

See Math Chart on DOE Website for AT Devices

Calculation and problem Solving Tools: Available on www.Kaydi.com

Barculator; Pieculator

Virtual Manipulatives: National Library of Virtual
Manipulatives; Classroom Suite

Print Materials: Flip Charts, Quick Math

Electronic Charts and Study Guides:

Math type and Equation Editor (Free); Microsoft Math;
Scientific Notebook; Ask Dr. Math, and Algebrahelp.com

Auditory Prompts: Step Pad

Adapted Calculators: Large Button, Talking, Fraction,
OnScreen, MoffSoft (has a tape that you can print out and an enlarge button,

Graphing Software: Microsoft Word, and Excel.

MathPad and MathPad Plus (Has virtual manipulatives)

Equation Editor in Word, Scientific Notebook, Geometer’s
Sketchpad, Effax FX MathPack (Provide Eligibility and they will provide the

Mathtype can be used with Math Daisy for voice output.

Portable Math Processors:


Money: Play Money, Charts and Guides, Money Calculator,


Adapted Rulers, Measuring Devices, Finger Grip Rulers


Master Clock (Clear Overlay)

Time Wheels

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