March 2018, Volume 15
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In this issue:

Featured Video:
Ben Gretchko's Graduation Speech

Alt+Shift Update

Alt+Shift is pleased to announce a one-day professional development opportunity presented by Mike Marotta. The event is for all educators, including classroom staff, administrators, related services personnel, and technologists (including assistive technology (AT), educational technology, and technology in general) who work with students who may require assistive technology to be successful in school.

Is assistive technology consideration REALLY happening for all of your students? 

Do all students have access to the assistive technology that they need in order to access, and progress, in the curriculum? 

Does every adult in your building or district know what he or she needs to know about assistive technology?

This full-day training will help your team begin to:
  • Think about a sustainable, team-based, local district approach to AT consideration.
  • Consider the skills and knowledge that the team would need.
  • Plan how best to develop those skills and knowledge in team members.

Participants will also learn about a 40-hour AT Journey Symposium being offered next year and how this one-day learning experience will lead into more in-depth, hands-on learning and planning for effective AT service delivery. 

Dates and Locations:
April 24, 2018 - Romulus
April 25, 2018 - St. Johns
April 27, 2018 - Grand Rapids
May 14, 2018 - Gaylord
May 16, 2018 - Marquette

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $30 for individuals, $20 per person in teams of three or more; some complimentary administrator registrations available (see registration form for details).

State Continuing Education Clock Hours are available.

For more information including registration, download the Start the Assistive Technology Journey flyer and visit the Alt+Shift website

(Mi)2 Update

Fall 2018 Foundations of Math registration and Foundations of Math: Teaching Students With Significant Disabilities registration are now open.

The two 5-day trainings will again be offered at Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) in St. Johns from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Foundations of Math
August 1 and 2, 2018
October 3, 2018
November 5 and 6, 2018

Foundations of Math: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities
August 3, 2018
October 4 and 5, 2018
November 7 and 8, 2018


Looking for some lesson plans and data-tracking tools for teaching core vocabulary? Check out the Core Word Starter Lesson Plans located in the Prentke Romich Company Augmentative and Alternative Communication (PRC AAC) Language Lab. You’ll find designated lessons for teaching core along with data-tracking sheets. The data tracking sheets track both frequency of core vocabulary use and communicative functions. This is an excellent resource if you are working on teaching new core vocabulary. In addition, it will provide you with a way to collect data and track student progress.

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs
March 6-8, 2018
Romulus, Michigan

Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference
March 7-9, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michigan Reading Association 2018 Annual Conference
March 17-19, 2018
Detroit, Michigan

Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) 2018 Annual Conference
March 21-23, 2018
Frankenmuth, Michigan

Language Acquisition Through Motor Planning (LAMP) Training Workshop
March 22, 2018
Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Michigan Speech Language Hearing Association Conference
March 22-24, 2018
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Start the Assistive Technology Journey
April 24, 2018 - Romulus, Michigan
April 25, 2018 - Saint Johns, Michigan
April 27, 2018 - Grand Rapids, Michigan
May 14, 2018 - Gaylord, Michigan
May 16, 2018 - Marquette, Michigan

17th Annual START Conference
April 30, 2018
East Lansing, Michigan

11th Annual Life Without Limits Through Assistive Technology Conference
May 10, 2018
Detroit, Michigan

2018 MCTM Conference (Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
July 25–27, 2018
Traverse City, Michigan

Michigan Reading Association 2018 Summer Literature Conference
August 1-2, 2018
Bellaire, Michigan

Lending Library Update

There are 60 items out on loan. 
Google Home Mini
New item:
Google Home Mini

Google Home Mini is a voice-activated speaker powered by Google's virtual assistant service. The speaker can be linked to smart devices to enable hands-free voice control over compatible appliances, smart devices, and environmental control units including the Philips Hue Starter Kit (also found in the lending library). As a stand alone device, it can provide information in response to questions via natural language interactions. When you ask for help, it can tell your voice from others for a more personalized experience.

Lending Library: Borrower Feature

Val Wieten
Val Wieten
Speech-Language Pathologist 
Coopersville Public Schools

Val used the lending library for the first time in November of 2017 after hearing about it at the #talkingaac conference at Michigan State University. Val borrowed some iPads loaded with various communication apps and that included cases adapted to meet the students’ needs. She has also borrowed an Accent 1000. When asked about the student’s experience with the items, Val responded, “Because of the lending library, one of our students has been able to try multiple devices. This free service will certainly help our team make the best recommendation for his device. Our target student was using a low-tech device prior to using the lending library, and we never truly had his buy in. After using LAMP on an iPad, our student is now typing in 'Word Find' and adding new vocabulary to his talker. He’s even eager to use it during class!” She added, “I have been and will continue to recommend the lending library to others. It makes everything so easy and truly benefits those with complex communication needs!” 

Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) Corner

Remember when you were about two years old and learned to say “no”? No? Well, about that time in your life, you started to express your autonomy—your separateness from the adults in your life. You started to use more words (many of them incorrectly), and as you increased your variety of words, your adults guided your language development to its present form. Our students using PODD also need to have access to enough words and the autonomy to make errors so that we, the communication partners, can guide them to more developed communication.

The autonomy of our students’ communication should be supported throughout every aspect of their day. We can accomplish the development of autonomy by modeling things our students could say. One example that comes to mind is, each day we greet our students as they arrive at school by saying hello, shaking hands, and otherwise starting the day off with positive statements. We then wait for a response. This is the key. We don’t tell the students to say “hello” or “good morning” or “have a great day.” We model and wait. 

Keep in mind that waiting is the hardest part but also very necessary to the development of our students’ autonomy. 

Upcoming Events: National

CSUN - Assistive Technology Conference
March 19-23, 2018
San Diego, California

UDL-IRN Summit
April 25-27, 2018
Orlando, Florida

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Conference
July 11-15, 2018
Arlington, Virginia

International Literacy Association 2018 Conference
July 20-23, 2018
Austin, Texas

Closing The Gap 2018
September 26-28, 2018
Prior Lake, Minnesota

11th Annual Clinical AAC Research Conference
September 28-29, 2018
Saint Louis, Missouri

Regional Assistive Technology Meetings

Michigan is divided into five Assistive Technology regions.  Most regions meet regularly to discuss issues pertaining to their profession and to further their professional learning.  To find out what region you are in, and who your Assistive Technology (AT) Contacts are for that region, visit the AT Contact List.

Region 1
March 12, 2018
April 26, 2018
June 1, 2018

Region 1A
*Contact your regional AT contacts for additional dates.

Region 2
April 25, 2018

Region 3
No meetings scheduled at this time.

Region 4
*dates subject to change, contact your regional AT Contacts to confirm.
March 8, 2018
April 12, 2018
May 10, 2018
June 14, 2018

Alt+Shift, encompassing Michigan's Integrated Mathematics Initiative, is an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Grant Funded Initiative out of the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education.

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