National Assistive Technology Coalition
Final Report of Partnership Activities
Conducted by Infinitec, 2005-06
July 17, 2006
This project is supported by a subcontract under U.S. Department of Education Grant #H324EO50016 awarded to Illinois State University. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education and no official endorsement by the Department should be inferred.
Illinois State University – SEAT Center
United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago – Infinitec
Federal Grant Report
Objective 1: to expand the existing AT Coalition in Illinois
For FY06, the Illinois Assistive Technology Coalitions consisted of 93 agencies, 389 school districts, 1634 schools, and 893,695 students.
Originally started in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, UCP-Infinitec now serves students as far west as Macomb, as far north as Harvard (near the Wisconsin border), as far east as Champaign, and as far south as Ullin (near the Kentucky border).
In an effort to recruit new coalition members, Infinitec conducted 15 introductory assistive technology workshops and presentations for potential and continuing members. Quarterly meetings were held in each of the five Infinitec coalition regions, which consist of the Northern suburbs, Western suburbs, Southwestern suburbs, Mid-State, and Southern Illinois. As new technology became available, we also conducted a virtual meeting via Macromedia Breeze with members of the Southern Illinois coalition.
Because of our efforts, the Infinitec coalitions remain strong. Two new agencies have signed letters of agreement for Coalition membership in FY07. These agencies consist of 8 new districts, 45 new schools, and more than 31,000 new students.
In addition to expanding Coalition membership, we have also provided expanded services to Coalition members. Examples of these services include:
• Providing 65 onsite AT seminars to 2500+ professionals statewide.
• Infinitec sponsored Assistive Technology Equipment Exhibitions in September in Peoria and Tinley Park, and in May in Tinley Park, for professionals and families
• Disseminated information regarding state-wide professional assistive technology training programs by nationally recognized speakers including:
o Linda Burkhart, 2-Switches to Success
o Joy Zabala, AT in IDEA 2004
o Joanne Cafiero, Autism and Literacy
o Scott Marfilius, Integrating AT Throughout the Curriculum
o Dave Edyburn, Universal Design Guides
• Provided 15 local introductions to Assistive Technology and Infinitec Resources
• In response to Coalition member requests, we completed a newly designed, four-day training session, “Putting It All Together: How to Conduct an AT Assessment” for new assistive technology teams.
• Conducted “Learning for LIFE Cooking Curriculum” training, which piloted a tool kit containing 12 lessons, all accompanying instructional supports, picture communication symbols, props, boards, overlays, and data collection forms to more than 15 agencies.
• Regular education teachers, special education teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals took part in a 3-day training, “Alternate Assessment Activities,” from February through April. This training tied the Illinois Alternate Performance Indicators to existing Intellitools Classroom Suite activities. Attendees then learned how to modify these activities to serve the needs of the learners in their classrooms.
• Infinitec trainers have also created online multimedia presentations through MACROMEDIA Breeze on topics including:
o Assistive Technology Assessment
o Overview of Augmentative Communication
o Universal Precautions
o Software for Early Learners
o Keyboarding for One-Handed Typists
o Speech Recognition
Based upon feedback from coalition members, we look forward to continuing to expand our information, training, equipment, and technical expertise services in order to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms for the benefit of all learners.
Objective 2: To create an additional AT Coalition in one additional state
UCP-Infinitec was invited to speak to a number of Directors of Special Education in Kansas during the spring of 2005. This meeting and subsequent meetings resulted in the formation of the Kansas Infinitec Coalition (KIC).
KIC is comprised of 42 member organizations representing 154 school districts with 797 schools representing 254,778 students of Kansas. The KIC membership represents more than 50% of the students in Kansas.
Educated state department and directors of special education on assistive technology services for students with disabilities. Identified 42 agencies with support of Kansas State Department of Education interested in collaborating in the area of assistive tech. Conducted comprehensive AT needs assessment with these agencies to guide service delivery. Based on the needs assessment, established a state wide operational coalition delivery system in Kansas which provides state of the art assistive technology information, training, and equipment services to more than 50% of the schools in Kansas. Within this first year of development, the coalition has developed an infrastructure to provide the services, a business plan to sustain the services, created a forum for leaders and field based participants to evaluate and guide the services. Next year all is in place to go forward in continuing the comprehensive provision of AT services through this Kansas Infinitec Coalition forum.
The following are examples of services provided during this first year of our KIC partnership:
• UCP-Infinitec contracted with Dr. Sean Smith, Associate Professor, from the University of Kansas to offer training and facilitation in Kansas along with Infinitec staff.
• In partnership with Illinois State University’s SEAT Center, Infinitec was able to facilitate the online and hands-on portion of the Assistive Technology for All Teachers training module for KIC members.
• Training Programs:
o Regional/Local AT Seminars provided by Dr. SEAN SMITH, KU
• October 11, 2005, Wichita KASEA
AT Resources Overview for KIC Directors
• November 3, 2005, Edwards Campus, KU
AT Resources Overview for KIC members
• March 2, 2006, Edwards Campus, KU
AT and academics overview for KIC members
• May 9 and 10, 2006, Edwards Campus KU
Universal Design Guides developed
with Dr. Dave Edyburn, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Online course: AT2 OVERVIEW of AT for Staff
• Sept 25 and 26, 2006 Wichita
• Video/CD Training Modules for 10 Presentations
• Infinitec SmartSheet Manuals were distributed & more smart sheets are being developed
• Educational CD’s including Universal Design Guides, Freeware, Computer Systems Adaptations for Learning
• Durable Medical and AT Equipment Exchange
• Group Software Buy yielding $33,000 in the first six months!
• KANSAS INFINITEC COALITION WEBSITE: http://ks.myinfinitec.org
that provides all the above resources in downloadable format and available online to our staff 24-7.
The feedback from the Kansas Infinitec Coalition has been overwhelmingly positive. Based on that feedback, we look forward to continuing to refine, enhance, and expand our services to the administrators, teachers, therapists, and students of the Kansas Infinitec Coalition. FY07 membership has increased from 154 school districts to 173 school districts.
Objective 3: To evaluate the AT Coalition process
• Comprehensive Initial Needs Assessment
In order to determine the needs of every coalition member, we distribute a comprehensive initial needs assessment, followed by an annual survey of coalition needs. For the Kansas Infinitec Coalition, we distributed a needs assessment in the summer of 2005. Forty-two members responded with their needs and preferences in the areas of training, equipment, group buy, and information services, which allowed us to present them with numerous options in each of those areas.
UCP-Infinitec has a number of means of evaluating the AT Coalition process that are conducted on an ongoing and yearly basis.
• Quarterly Coalition Meetings are a critical forum to secure feedback on an ongoing basis regarding coalition operations and service.
• Equipment Surveys are included with each piece of equipment that is rented from the Infinitec AT library. This survey is related to the status of the equipment and service that can be faxed to mailed to the AT Center.
• Training Surveys are collected at all online and on-site Infinitec trainings. The attendees evaluate the training and trainers and these comments are reviewed after each training.
• Advisory Committees serve the Infinitec Coalitions in a number of ways:
o The Equipment Committee is comprised of representatives from all coalitions and provides advice and feedback on AT Library equipment purchase, policies, and procedures.
o The Group Buy Committee is also comprised of representatives from all coalitions and this committee provides input into which software and hardware applications that should be pursued for the annual Infinitec Group Buy.
• An Annual Survey is collected at the third-quarter coalition meeting. It asks three salient questions:
o What is the best part of coalition services?
o What are areas of concern that we need to address?
o Are there any recommendations for the future?
Objective 4: To develop and efficiently distribute best practice AT professional development materials
Infinitec created and distributed materials to its Illinois and Kansas coalition members during FY06. The development time involved in their creation was partially supported by this grant.
• SmartSheet Guide, Volume II: A simplified instruction guide demonstrating some of the most common AT tools. The guide also includes lesson plans tied to State Learning Standards to assist in more effective classroom implementation.
• Universal Design Trainer Guides: Developed by teachers for teachers, these sample lessons show how a content area can be modified to meet the needs of some students, most students, and all students. Ideas for assessment and modifications are also included.
• Lifelong Learner Kit Development: The Lifelong Learner Kit is a set of 12 lessons based on a single subject area. Pictorially based, this lesson kit is designed to be as simple as possible. Each lesson is tied to Illinois State Learning standards and contains picture symbols, sentence strips, a built-in easel, sequence board, data-collection forms, and lesson reflection questions.
• Alternate Assessment Activity Project: Teachers were taught how to use the Alternate Performance Indicators to create activities that could benefit the students in their classrooms. These activities were then gathered, and placed on the Infinitec website for all to use.
• Video/CD Training Modules: Video training kits were developed for use in Illinois and Kansas.
• Dr. Joanne Cafiero spoke to several coalitions on the topic of communication strategies for students with autism. Each coalition member agency received a copy of her book, “Meaningful Exchanges for People with Autism: An Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication.”
• 128 MB MP3 Players with “10 Tips for Using MP3 players in the Classroom” were distributed to each coalition member.
• Infinitec Family Services were also supported, allowing Infinitec to sponsor the Infinitec AT Awards, as well as produce a video training for families in English and Spanish entitled, “Reading Helps.”
• National Speakers were also partially grant supported:
o Joy Zabala, The SETT Model
o Dave Edyburn, Universal Design Guides
o Dave Edyburn, Accessible Text
o Deanna Wagner, Intellitools/AAA Project
• Enhancement of the Infinitec Coalition website.
• Creation of supplementary Macromedia Breeze Presentations.