AT Reuse News and Events

CT Schools Can Transfer Assistive Technology Devices to Graduating Students

Written by Gretchen Knauff, Director, Office of Services for Persons with Disabilities, City of New Haven

When children and young adults with disabilities leave a school system there is often a gap in services, especially when they transition from school to the adult service system or higher education opportunities. This gap is really evident for students who receive and use Assistive Technology (AT) devices as tools to assist them in their school programs. Generally, AT devices are returned to the school and the student must wait for a device from the adult service system. This can take months, leaving the student without the AT needed to accommodate their disability.

Did you know that this doesn’t have to happen?

Connecticut General Statute §10-76y, Assistive Devices, addresses this issue by allowing school districts, regional educational service centers, the Department of Education, and all other state and local governmental agencies concerned with education to loan, lease, or transfer an assistive device to the student, the student’s family or to a profit or nonprofit entity that serves people with disabilities.

What if the school purchased the device less than a year ago?

It’s okay. The school can loan, lease, or transfer the assistive device at any time. It does not have to be a surplus item. If the device is sold or leased, the cost would be determined by the depreciated value of the device. The school district may also transfer the device without a cost to student or family. Any sale, lease or transfer is recorded in a written agreement between the school district and the student, family or organization receiving the device.

Is there a benefit for the school district?

Yes, there are multiple benefits. School districts were reluctant to sell the devices because the money would go back to the municipality and not the school district. CGS §10-76y(b) directs the funds from the sale or lease of an assistive device to remain with the local or regional board of education serving the student. The money can be used to buy updated equipment rather than having an obsolete piece of equipment sit in a closet collecting dust. Everybody wins, especially the student with the disability!

AT Success Stories News and Events

A Booklover’s Story of Finding Her Voice

Co-authored by Ann Bedard, EASTCONN and Meredith Daggett

Sydney Daggett’s early life started in Texas alongside her twin sister, Maddie. Early on, her family noticed Syd was globally delayed. All of the typical milestones that babies and toddlers experience came much later for Sydney.

Sydney in her Book Nook

Years of Birth-to-Three services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy helped, but her family knew this would be a lifelong adventure. Syd’s mother, Meredith, knew she wanted to research every area to help Syd grow. She knew technology was improving and asked Syd’s school if she could try using an iPad to communicate. Syd used it minimally at first, but it proved to be a way to get her basic needs met.

After Syd’s father passed away unexpectedly when Syd was 7 years old, the family moved back to Connecticut. School staff and doctors diagnosed Syd as being on the Autism Spectrum among other diagnoses. They found out Syd has apraxia, which is a motor disorder that makes it hard to speak. This is the point where Syd’s mom knew they had to invest time and consistency in her talker (iPad with a speech-generating app). Fast forward to age 17 and Syd wears her talker as an extension of herself every day. It has become her communication with her world.

“She gets all her needs met, often asking for pizza and Chinese food daily! Drives us crazy and she’s lucky she’s cute! She can tell jokes and join conversations because of her talker,” Syd’s mom, Meredith shares. “We realize Syd is one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to use a talker, have lots of school support and have the training that comes along with a talker. This didn’t just happen though, it took years of advocating for Syd, patience, and getting all the support she needs.”

Now her family’s mission is to give back. Syd’s Book Shack & Boutique is a non-profit business created from their experience. Currently located in Guilford, CT, (and soon to be moving to a larger location in Madison, CT) the store is open 6 days a week selling used and rare books, handcrafted jewelry, and unique gifts. They want to raise awareness and funds towards supplying talkers to those who do not have access.

“We want to use this nonprofit as a way to acquire talkers for those who do not have the resources Syd has,” her mom explains. “Our plan is considering other avenues to help and benefit our community kids too. We wish to be able to give young adults like Syd job training and social skills using the store as the vehicle. All of us want this to be a community hang out where all are welcome and greeted with a smile. We have met so many amazing people along the way and look forward to meeting so many more.” To reach out, please visit:, @sydsbookshack,

AT Success Stories News and Events

AT Tools Benefit Student with Complex Learning Needs

by Stacey Fulton, EASTCONN

A student diagnosed with Dyslexia, poor phonological awareness, impacted by ADHD and speech apraxia was referred to EASTCONN for an AT evaluation, specifically focused on written expression. (The student was using some tools for accessing text and more recommendations were added for reading as a result of the evaluation.) Her handwriting was legible, but due to her very poor phonological awareness, it was difficult to decipher what she was trying to say. Prior to requesting an AT evaluation, the student was utilizing Read & Write’s word prediction feature on a Chromebook, but she was taking excessive amounts of time to complete writing tasks, resulting in frustration and eventually shutting down.

One issue was that the student had significant difficulties and took excessive amounts of time just logging into her Chromebook (even when provided with a visual of information for her account). Once logged in, she had difficulties finding the keys on the keyboard quickly. The student was bright, creative and had great ideas, but even the simplest words required a lot of effort and energy for her to spell despite the assistance of Word Prediction.

When using the word prediction, she was usually able to come up with the first letter of a word. Each time she typed a letter, she used the text-to-speech features to listen to the long list of words predicted. This required extensive time and energy and the student often became so frustrated, she was allowed to dictate her sentences while the staff scribed for her. Speech-to-text was also trialed by the district using Voice Typing (Google Docs), but because of her poor articulation, there were a significant number of errors (at the one-word level and sentence level).   It was felt that AT programs that provided the words (like Clicker Writer) would limit her ideas and creativity.

EASTCONN’s evaluator trialed Co:Writer Universal using topic dictionaries. Use of the topic dictionaries significantly helped this student as the words she wanted to use came up quickly (after 1 or 2 letters) and she was able to select the correct word by listening (out of a choice of 5). In addition, this evaluator trialed Co:Writer on the iPad and found that the student was quicker and more efficient with finding the letters on the on-screen keyboard and accessing the predicted words above the keyboard.

With everything in the same visual plane and no login, she became much more efficient. With the help of these tools, the student can be more independent and successful with some writing tasks, lessening the frustration and increasing the confidence in herself.

After a period of time using the recommended tools, the teacher reported: “EASTCONN found tools to unlock so many reading and writing tasks. They loaned us an iPad from their lending library (which proved to be a gamechanger, versus third grade’s traditional use of a Chromebook). After practicing in the resource room, she has now generalized her use of the AT into the general education classroom.”

AT Reuse News and Events

Supply Chain Challenges, AT3 Center publication

AT Reutilization Programs have never been more important

State and Territory Assistive Technology Act Programs face a number of challenges, and two years into the pandemic, supply chain issues have rippled well beyond the ER and personal protective equipment to include non-COVID-related medical supplies. The AT3 Center Issue Brief highlights the work of Assistive Technology Reutilization Programs to bridge the gap. We hope you find this publication helpful and encourage you to share this Issue Brief with others.

Announcement News and Events

Emergency Broadband Benefit becomes a Permanent Program!

Great news for households who need broadband access in their homes! In the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021, the Emergency Broadband Benefit became a permanent program – now called the Affordable Connectivity Program. Households who meet the 200% of poverty level may receive a $30.00 per month subsidy towards the cost of their broadband.

For full details, the following link provides a great explanation: How the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will Make Broadband More Affordable | Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

And the following will take you the FCC’s page that explains eligibility and the two step process to enroll into the program: Emergency Broadband Benefit | Federal Communications Commission (

Please encourage anyone you know who may benefit from this program to apply.

General News and Events

Using AT for Everyday Tasks

Written by Stacey B. Fulton, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS & Carlie Clayton, OTR/L

EASTCONN’s Assistive Technology Department teamed up with EASTCONN’s EXCELS program for an all-inclusive Thanksgiving activity! Our team included students, related services (OT/Speech) and a paraprofessional working together with assistive technology to make it possible to create a yummy Thanksgiving treat. In order to make pumpkin pie in a cup, two students were given a guided recipe book on an iPad with auditory and visual support to increase independence. Another student utilized a switch to activate a blender to crush graham crackers to make the “crust.” These tools enabled the students to make a delicious treat for themselves and their classmates with greater independence. The use of assistive technology can make for a more inclusive holiday and provide increased independence for people of all abilities!

Students working on individual recipes using their Assistive Technology   Student follows the recipe sequence one page at a time by listening to the directions read and following the visual steps.  Student uses a switch and Powerlink to turn the blender on to crush the Graham crackers.


News and Events Resource

How Assistive Technology Can Support Those Experiencing “Long COVID”

Reposted from IL_NET TA, National Technical Assistance Center for Independent Living

What Are “Post-COVID Conditions (Long COVID)?”

According to the CDC, post-COVID conditions are “a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.” Often referred to as “long COVID,” the scientific name is “Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC),” and may also be referenced as “long-haul COVID,” “post-acute COVID,” “long-term effects of COVID,” and “chronic COVID.” People who experience long COVID may have had severe, mild, or asymptomatic COVID-19 in the days or weeks after their initial infection with the virus. New research (not yet peer-reviewed) suggests persons with breakthrough infections who were fully vaccinated and under age 60 may be protected from long COVID, but those over age 60 are not. Long COVID presents as different health problems and combinations of symptoms within a wide range of severity. Common symptoms are extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, problems with cognition, and a racing heartbeat. Neurological symptoms appear to be the most enduring; many long COVID patients report problems with memory and “brain fog.” Children, as well as adults, may experience long COVID. Some studies suggest more women than men may acquire long COVID. (Read some experiences of people living with long COVID.)

In February of 2021, the NIH announced a new initiative to study long COVID. Among the questions the initiative seeks to answer is, “Does SARS-CoV-2 infection trigger changes in the body that increase the risk of other conditions, such as chronic heart or brain disorders?” As of July 2021, long COVID can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504, and Section 1557 if the condition substantially limits one or more major life activities.

The Unique Role of AT Act Programs Persons with long COVID may be experiencing disability for the first time in their lives. The national field of State and Territory Assistive Technology (AT) Act Programs has spent decades committed to serving individuals of all ages with all kinds of disabilities (and combinations of disabilities) wherever they live, learn, work, and play. AT Act Programs uniquely understand and respond to the needs of adults and children that arise from temporary and long-term disabilities. AT Act Programs provide a stigma-free environment for persons with disabilities (and those who serve or love them) to learn about, try out, and acquire the assistive technologies that maintain or improve independence. As we learn more about how to treat long COVID, those experiencing long-term effects from COVID-19 can benefit from the AT services millions of people have sought for staying in or getting back into their lives.

For example, AT Act Programs provide access to:

AT for Fatigue and Mobility:
• equipment for bathroom safety
• transport wheelchairs and rollators for reduced stamina and stability
• gadgets for completing daily living tasks with reduced dexterity (from joint and muscle pain) AT for Memory and Cognition:
• an understanding of built-in features of iOS and Android operating systems and apps common to smartphones
• loans of tablet computers with apps for accomplishing tasks and goals identified by the borrower
• smart pens for keeping up with meetings (or productivity apps that sync to audio recordings)
• low-tech solutions and strategies for remembering medications and other essentials
• smart speakers and how to use them to support cognition AT for Social Isolation and Telehealth:
• loans of tablet computers and laptops for video conferencing, social media, email, and recreation
• Echo Show and similar technologies
• simplified connected devices for memory impairment
• alternative computer access
• assistive listening devices

AT for Work:
• alternative workstations and workstation adaptations
• strategies and technologies for improving stamina at work
• information and referral for rehabilitation services and a deep knowledge of cross-disability services as a point of entry for those newly disabled

AT Act Programs provide free demonstrations of assistive technologies in an environment that is without pressure to choose any particular product. The programs additionally provide free or low-cost short-term loans of devices to fill a temporary need or to trial before deciding to purchase, as well as counseling on funding options. AT Act Programs are staffed by professionals who may be AT users themselves and who can link visitors to additional services as necessary or help problem-solve the needs of others in their lives (clients, family members, students). AT Act Programs are the only service network that provides this kind of solutions-driven, cross-disability, multi-age, assistive technology support for maintaining the independence of persons living with long COVID in the pandemic and post-pandemic world.

Find Your State or Territory AT Act Program




ICT Accessibility News and Events

Digital Accessibility Tip! Hashtags, Email Addresses and Usernames

Written by Adam Kosakowski, M.Ed., ATP

A hashtag is a metadata tool used to easily compile and cross reference digital content on the web. Hashtags also make it possible for posters to share a love of cats on social media with bigger audiences. Email addresses and usernames are, well, mostly used to receive junk mail and messages from people in high school you don’t want to reconnect with. Still, what do they all have in common, and what does that have to do with digital accessibility?

They all use words with no spaces between them! Today’s tip will focus on how you can type hashtags, email addresses, and usernames in the most accessible way possible.

Hashtags: Print Disabilities and Screen Reader Users

Whether you have useable vision or use a screen reader, try reading the following hashtag:


It isn’t easy! Where does one word end and the other begin? Does it say, “Cats are the best animal sever” or “Cats are the best animals ever?” Depending on the person reading or the screen reader and its settings, either way is possible. When I tested it with NVDA (a popular free screen reader) it said, “animal sever”; if I am trying to post a cat picture, why would I try to convey that message? It’s nonsense!

To help everyone more easily read this, try using camel case. Camel case is the practice of writing with no punctuation or spaces, but using capital letters for the first letter in each word within. With camel case, the hashtag above becomes:


I bet most people would agree, even those without print disabilities, that this is much easier to read. Also, it ensures the hashtag says “animals ever” and not “animal sever.” The same goes for screen readers; this helps screen readers correctly identify the intended words.

Email Addresses and Usernames

The above case is becoming slightly more well known in the circles that focus on accessibility, but what about email addresses and usernames? I have noticed next to no one use camel case with these and yet it is just as important!

For example, my email address is obnoxiously long. I have a ten-letter last name and the text after the “at” symbol is “Oak Hill CT.” Without camel case it looks like this:

Unless someone is familiar with Oak Hill or is employed in the same organization, the address is confusing when all lowercase. And when read with NVDA it says, “Adam dot Kosakowski @ Oak Hill dot org.” NVDA says something after “Oak Hill”, but it is not discernible. It sounds like it straight up skips the “CT”! This could make the difference between people knowing my email address and not. And while I’d like less spam, I want to help people with accessibility!

The solution is simple: use camel case. And when it comes to acronyms, make all the letters capital.

Here is my email without camel case vs with: vs

And here is my Twitter handle without camel case vs with:

@neatwithadam vs @NEATWithAdam

The capital “W” after the all-caps NEAT acronym may look weird, but this follows the two rules that ensure screen readers will read it perfectly:

  1. Capitalize the first letter of each word.
  2. Capitalize each letter in an acronym.

I hope you find this helpful!

This column is written by Adam Kosakowski, M.Ed., ATP

Adam works as an Assistive Technology Specialist at New England Assistive Technology (NEAT), an Oak Hill Center.

He can be contacted at and followed on twitter at @NEATWithAdam

Announcement News and Events

Center for Educational and Assistive Technology Partnering to Expand

The Center for Educational and Assistive Technology (CEAT) at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) is excited to partner with the Special Education Department and the Assistive Technology Program to increase community partnerships. Bogdan Zamfir, the Director of CEAT, is working with Dr. Lauren Tucker, assistant professor in the Special Education Department and Director of the Assistive Technology Program, to offer assistive technology services and trainings across the state. Through a partnership with the Connecticut Tech Act Project, the CEAT already offers a technology loan program for teachers in Connecticut, loaning out iPads and computers with assistive technology. Now, they are excited to also provide individual and group assistive technology trainings, consultations, and more.

In addition to building capacity around assistive technology in schools, the CEAT is interested in supporting the use of widely accessible built-in features for employment and higher education access.

At SCSU, the CEAT also has a lab with a wide variety of assistive technology available for interactive demonstrations and many of the assistive technology courses at SCSU provide hands-on experience for practicing teachers. To support SCSU undergraduate and graduate students, the CEAT loans computers, iPads and LiveScribe pens, trains students on note-taking strategies with the tool, and offers computers with a variety of assistive technology, such as speech-to-text, text-to-speech, graphic organizers, screen readers, and screen magnification.

Last school year, the Special Education Department at SCSU offered two free, mini-professional development sessions. The first focused on Assistive Technology Tips for Virtual Learning and the second provided examples of using Google Keep for Reading and Writing. These recordings can be accessed on the Assistive Technology Program website: The CEAT is excited to customize trainings for individuals or organizations to build the assistive technology capacity across the state.

If you are interested in learning more about collaborating with the CEAT at SCSU, please contact Bogdan Zamfir,

News and Events Product Spotlight

Movia Robotics Shares a Look into Robot-Assisted Instruction

Written by Muniba Masood​, Vice President, Movia Robotics

Kebbie RobotChildren with autism have always had to change for the world; but now the world is starting to change for them! Devoted to improving the lives of children with autism through Robot-Assisted Instruction, MOVIA Robotics is an innovative tech company that designs products for both the home and school environment. MOVIA’s Robot-Assisted Instruction (RAI) system integrates cutting-edge software and evidence-based curriculum delivered through captivating robotics platforms to engage children with autism in order to improve outcomes. The RAI system supports a pre-programmed curriculum with the ability to uniquely configure the experience based on each child’s educational and social-emotional learning goals. What’s more, MOVIA’s dedicated team of experts works with each family or classroom to tailor the experience to the individual, making sure each child is given all the tools he or she needs to succeed.

young boy with his parents using the Kebbi robot at home

MOVIA is also beginning to work with older students with autism, as they learn to transition from school to prevocational services and will eventually work with adults in vocational settings as well.

Teacher with young students using a MOVIA robot for instruction

Learn more on the Movia Robotics website.

MOVIA's 4 robots