Conference Sessions

8:00 – 9:00 Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 Welcoming Remarks

9:30 – 10:45 Breakout Sessions

Talking with the iPad
Presented by: Ann Bedard of EASTCONN

The buzz about the iPads for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) continues. There are a wide variety of AAC apps currently available and more are being added and updated on a continuous basis. Come learn about what new AAC apps and updates have been released, how individuals could use an iPad to communicate, or if a specific app will meet their needs. Come see a range of apps demonstrated and discussed. This presentation will provide you with the AAC Apps Feature Checklist which will help guide you through the process of comparing, contrasting, and organizing the array of features incorporated into the more robust apps for AAC.

Focus: Employment, Education, Independent Living

The Job/Career You Have Always Wanted
Presented by: Steven Famiglietti, Blind Services Vocational Manager at NEAT & Charlie Collins, Owner of Vision Dynamics

This session will show you how to get past the “I am blind/low vision” thought when thinking about your career. Proper education and training will open the door to your success. “Feel the Fear and do it anyway”. Making an informed decision with proper action can change your life.

Focus: Employment

Workplace Solutions for Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Presented by: Mick Posner, Employment Consultant, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services & Chris Knigga, National Technology Institute for the Deaf, Director of Facilities Services and Sustainability

In this session, participants will learn about Assistive Technology devices and strategies to reduce barriers in the workplace and increase employment success for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Participants will learn creative ways to problem solve communication barriers, new technology options such as apps and software and will see a demonstration of video phones as well as how those are actually utilized in the workplace, plus much more.

Focus: Employment

9:45 am – 11:45 Hands-On Computer Labs

Lab A: Standards Based Curriculum from the Cloud for Students with Significant Disabilities
VENDOR SESSION – Presented by: Darlene Brodbeck, n2y & Unique Learning Systems

N2y moves learning to the cloud! N2y is a champion for students with significant needs and our quality products prove that one size does not fit all. Our interactive lessons in News-2-You, our weekly newspaper and Unique Learning System, our standards based curriculum aligned to the common core allow all students to participate in meaningful content across differentiated levels of instruction over six distinct grade bands. SymbolStix ONLINE allows for further engagement of students. Data collected from the comprehensive assessments foster quality decisions about educational planning for each student while demonstrating progress and increased measurability. N2y’s cloud based learning is accessible and requires no software resulting in fewer headaches of IT and Educational staff.

Focus: Employment, Education, Independent Living

Lab B: Free AT for Struggling Readers and Writers, Middle School thru Grade 12
Presented by: Carolann Cormier, MA, CCC-SLP, & Nicole Natale, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP, Education Specialists at CREC

There is a large amount of FREE assistive technology available for use with struggling readers and writers with or without disabilities. This hands-on lab will allow educators to explore the various FREE AT available to put into your educational “toolkit.” In addition to hands-on time, participants will be provided with resources for free AT. This workshop is appropriate for general and special educators as well as paraprofessionals, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists based in the classroom setting. Free apps for iOS devices will also be demonstrated as well (Bring Your Own Device for that portion).

Focus: Employment and Education

10:45-11:15 – Break / iPad Playground / Exhibition Hall

11:15-12:15 – Breakout Sessions

Assistive Technology and the Transition to College
Presented by: Bo Zamfir, Director of the Center for Adaptive Technology at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU)
and Lauren Tucker

The transition from high school to college is a significant step in the life of a student with disabilities. This session will give participants an overview of the differences between high school and college and go over some of the technology used to support college students with disabilities. The session will focus on technology to support students with learning disabilities including text-to-speech, graphic organizers and writing supports.

Focus: Education

Workplace Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
Presented by: Dr. Beth Loy, Principal Consultant with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

Learn the practical aspects to help individuals with disabilities and employers understand reasonable accommodations for the workplace and the ADAAA. Work through JAN’s interactive process, learn about JAN’s resources, and discuss situations and solutions. Leave this session with the tools you need to effectively work through workplace challenges.

Focus: Employment

Connecticut Assistive Technology Guidelines
Presented by: Smita Worah, PhD, Consultant, SERC & Tom Boudreau, Consultant, Bureau of Special Education

Technology influences every aspect of our lives and plays a vital role in education; it is part of the curriculum, a means of delivering instruction as well as a tool to enhance the learning process. Technology has transformed education, making it interactive, while opening new avenues for children and students with disabilities. This session provides an overview of the revised Connecticut Assistive Technology (AT) Guidelines and how AT can address access, participation and progress for students with disabilities. The unique online interactive web based document spans two sections; 1) AT guidelines for ages 3-21 and 2) AT guidelines for infants and toddlers under IDEA part C; and includes an in-depth review of the AT continuum and how teams can incorporate AT services and devices successfully to improve the quality of life for children and students with disabilities.

Focus: Education

12:15-1:45 – Lunch / iPad Playground / Exhibition Hall

1:45-3:15 Breakout Sessions

Mobile Tools To Support Workplace Accommodations
Presented by: Nicole Feeney, Technology Specialist at NEAT

Workplace accommodations and supportive technology tools can be extremely valuable for individuals entering or re-entering the workforce in a variety of employment settings. For those with specific difficulties or limitations that impact their ability to perform important job tasks, examining accommodation options and assistive technology tools can ensure that they become active members of the workforce. We will review mobile devices such as tablets, iPads, Livescribe Smartpens, apps and resources that can increase productivity and emphasize independence. This workshop will explore various assistive technology tools that can be used as accommodations in common workplace settings to ensure success.

Focus: Employment

ADA & AT For Employment & AT Evaluation for VR Consumers
Presented by: Gretchen Knauff of Office of Protection and Advocacy & Jennifer L. Baker Ph.D., ATP, Coordinator at NEAT

Explore employee rights and employer obligations regarding workplace accommodations under ADA. Learn what type of evaluation and assistive technology is necessary and what accommodations can be made to comply with ADA regulations.

Focus: Employment

AT For Independent Living
Presented by: Paul Ford, Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for My Place CT, DSS

This session will focus on the utilization of assistive technologies for individuals transitioning out of nursing facilities to community under Money Follows the Person (MFP): creative approaches, challenges encountered, lessons learned and success stories. Analysis of data collected by MFP and funding streams utilized relative to assistive technology will be discussed.

Focus: Independent Living

1:30 – 3:15 Hands-On Computer Labs

Lab C: Reading, Writing and Organizational Tools for All Students! Elementary through Post-Secondary
VENDOR SESSION – Presented by: Pamela Kancler, Assistive Technology Facilitator at Windsor Public Schools and Jessica Coulombe, Texthelp, Inc.

Join this hands-on session to experience Read&Write Gold, a tool currently being used in Windsor Public Schools to support struggling readers and writers. Pam Kancler, Assistive Technology Facilitator, will be sharing what Read&Write Gold features and strategies she uses in the classroom to empower her students. Read&Write Gold is a customizable toolbar that integrates with common applications giving students access to the reading, writing and organizational tools they need from within programs they use every day.

Focus: Education

Lab D: Hands on with Computer Magnification Programs
Presented by: Michelle Laramie & David Bergmann, Rehabilitation Technologists, Bureau of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB)

Participants will be introduced to two high tech competing products, including the features common to both Zoom Text and MAGic that magnify the computer screen and provide speech output. Participants will also learn to configure the many customizable features of these programs and specific modifications that may generally benefit specific visual conditions. The differences between the products will also be highlighted, enabling the consumer to make an informed choice regarding the selection of appropriate software.

Focus: Education, Employment, Independent Living

*Vendors/Exhibit Hall & iPad playground will be open all day, from 8:00 am to 3:15 pm