September 2022 - Volume 60
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In this issue:

An 80-second captioned clip from "My Disability Roadmap," a new film from co-directors Dan and Samuel Habib

Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR): Implementation Story

Interview with: Pam Jackson
Web & Social Media Manager
Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (ISD)
Alt+Shift: What problem were you having before you attended the Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR) training?

Pam Jackson: Our organization had just received a complaint from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for a website that was not accessible.

AS: What was different about the approaches in AMMR from what you were trying on your own?

PJ: I appreciated having access to experts who offered perspectives on how to get leadership to greenlight our process of getting the organization to adopt accessibility standards.

AS: How has implementing skills and knowledge gained through AMMR had an impact on your school district?

PJ: Staff are more aware and empathetic on why this work is important and necessary.

AS: How has implementing skills and knowledge from AMMR had an impact on your school district’s stakeholders?

PJ: We are proud to have brought our website into compliance with OCR's requirements and no longer need monitoring by them. Community members view us as a source of information, and we have shared our journey with many of them. Even some staff who were reluctant to bring their outside websites that promote our programs are now asking for those sites to be reviewed to ensure that they meet the standards.

AS: What is your next step for implementing skills and knowledge from AMMR?

PJ: We want to continue working hard to keep our website and documents we post in compliance.

Assistive Technology (AT)

To those of you who were on summer break, welcome back! To those of you who worked all summer, hello again! Now is a really great time to schedule time on your calendars to regularly identify, problem solve, and address possible AT needs. Remember that expecting one person (e.g., an AT specialist) to carry the weight of providing assistive technology for each student who requires it is not only a burden, it’s unrealistic! We encourage you to connect with other educators who can share their expertise and knowledge.
If you are curious who could be a helpful voice on your AT team, check out The AT Skills Inventory (pdf). This inventory is a compilation of information from eight national professional organizations, e.g., American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). that can help your team identify who can contribute knowledge and skills related to assistive technology as well as identify areas of improvement. While this inventory doesn't reflect every skill that each professional brings to the table, this document can serve as a great starting point for meaningful conversations.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Including Building Blocks to Autonomous Communication and Comprehensive Literacy for Autonomous Communication

As the new school year arrives, many educators are providing back-to-school trainings and/or looking for additional professional development resources. Oftentimes, professional development may not apply specifically to your caseload or student needs. We wanted to share a few resources for professional learning, growth, and development. 
  • The AAC Learning Center Moodle offers a variety of free modules on a variety of topics related to supporting individuals with complex communication needs. *You will need to sign up for a free account to access the Moodle.

  • Project Core offers free professional development modules focused on the implementation of AAC (including core vocabulary) as well as the emergent literacy strategies based upon the work of Doctor's David Koppenhaver and Karen Erickson. 

  • The Dynamic Learning Maps Professional Development (DLMPD) website offers free modules focused on emergent and conventional literacy strategies based upon the work of Doctor's David Koppenhaver and Karen Erickson. 

  • The Cerebral Palsy Education Centre online portal offers three modules focused on supporting individuals with complex bodies including those with cerebral palsy and sensory processing challenges. You will need to sign up for a free account to access the modules).

Delta Math

The Ottawa Area ISD, with the support of Alt+Shift, is addressing the barriers of time, money, and resources many schools currently face to provide a multi-tiered system of supports in mathematics.

Paper versions of the online screeners readiness and tier 3 screeners are available for each screening cycle. An Excel File was also created to generate Course Overview reports. Each grade level readiness and tier 3 screener measures student readiness for each high priority standard listed in the Delta Math Standards by Grade Level support document. Fraction Concepts and Algebra Concepts screeners are also available and span multiple grade levels to measure each progression.  Access to all paper screeners is FREE and each are located under the Online & Paper Screening tab of the Delta Math implementation support website.

If you have any questions about Delta Math RtI Program resources or implementation, please contact Mike Klavon at

Foundations of Math (FoM)

As you launch into the new school year, consider using the Math Accessibility Framework to plan instruction for students with disabilities. The framework is a great tool for special and general educators to use to ensure high expectations and strong support for students with disabilities. The lesson planner guides teams through a series of considerations when planning instruction. It includes taking a close look at the math content and goals of the instruction, student considerations (including strengths), strategies to support the student with the lesson goals, and a plan for how and when the strategies will be implemented. The Accessibility Strategies for Mathematics document can be a great supplemental resource as you begin using this framework for planning math instruction.


*Perspective is written by David Shachar-Hill. David is a Michigan State University graduate in the area of social science. Prior to that, he attended Okemos Public Schools where he received special education services from 7th grade on. So far he has lived in six cities. 

I grew up in the 90s and wasn’t ever very interested in computer games or proficient with technology. When I was nine years old, I became seriously ill with cancer and all academics took a back seat while I underwent a series of major medical treatments. I had developed multiple severe disabilities because of my aggressive cancer treatment. Three years later, I re-entered school and formal education, where I was first introduced to assistive technology as a special education student in need of tools to compensate for my newly acquired disabilities.

At the time, the assistive technology programs looked nothing like they do today. They were very glitchy and cumbersome, especially to someone who had never been very technologically inclined and with disabilities added to the mix. There were times when I became very frustrated and discouraged. I had a very good special education team supporting me but sometimes even they weren’t able to immediately find solutions. I feel that in those early days of assistive technology, it may have been better if AT professionals and students learning new technology had more effectively collaborated on finding solutions.

In hindsight,I realize that although those times were challenging, I started to learn some very important general skills such as patience, perseverance and willingness to try something new. I strongly believe that, as in my case, different students come to use AT from different circumstances, experience, and backgrounds and that instructional technology professionals and educators should bare this in mind when working with students.

The specific AT programs that I utilize today are different (thankfully much improved), but I’ve needed those same skills I began to exercise back then. I realize that I wouldn’t have been successful in school given my multiple challenges without embracing modern assistive technology. My situation may be unusual, but I know that many people with similar disabilities and challenges are likewise benefited by technology.


Looking for something to listen to on your commute to work or on your lunch break? Here are three podcasts that can help get you thinking (even more!) about your learners:

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) Fall Conference
September 20-22, 2022
Traverse City, MI

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics Online Book Study of Rough Draft Math: Revising to Learn
September 21, 2022, and October 12, 2022

10th Annual Autism Conference
October 6-7, 2022
Kalamazoo, MI

 Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference
Saturday, October 22, 2022
Live - Virtual Conference
#TalkingAAC Conference
October 4-5, 2022 Online Pre-conference Workshops
November 2-3, 2022 In-Person Conference (East Lansing)
November 2-3, 2022 Limited Virtual Sessions

Mathematics: Reaching All Learners Together (MRALT) Conference
Live Keynote Session - November 14, 2022 at 4 p.m.
Asynchronous Sessions available November 14 - December 2, 2022
*Registration will open in August

Upcoming Events: National

Closing The Gap 2022
Pre-conference Workshops: October 17-18, 2022
Main conference: October 19-21, 2022
Minneapolis, MN
November 15-18, 2022
ASHA Convention 2022: Resilience Reinvented
November 17-19, 2022
Hybrid Virtual Conference (New Orleans, LA)

ATIA 2023 Conference
January 31-February 4, 2023
Orlando, FL

Lending Library Update

There are 44 items out on loan. 

Aero Switch

The universal AeroSwitch from PRC-Saltillo is wireless and compatible with most devices running iOS, Android, and Windows using Bluetooth 4.1 or higher.

Connect to Other MDE OSE Grant Funded Initiatives

Michigan Alliance for Families

Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF)

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Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO)

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Michigan Multi-Tiered System of Support Technical Assistance Center

Michigan's Multi-Tiered System of Support Technical Assistance Center (MiMTSS TAC)

Visit the MiMTSS TAC website and look under “Announcements” for updates and events.

 Special education mediation services

Visit the SEMS website for updates and information.

Statewide Autism Resources and Training

Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START)

Subscribe to “START Connecting,” a monthly email with an article and information about START’s project activities, events, and resources.

Request Technical Assistance

If you have any questions about our offerings or resources, request technical assistance and someone from our staff will follow up with you.

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