July 2022 - Volume 58
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In this issue:

Ruby's Rainbow
One mother's perspective on inclusion.

Emergent Literacy Family Retreat Opportunity

Camp ALEC will be holding an Emergent Literacy Family Retreat with Doctors David Koppenhaver and Karen Erickson!  Camp is September 22-25.  Participants, ages 5-12,  would arrive around 4pm for check in on the 22nd.  Campers will experience fun recreational activities like in years past-minus swimming and zip line while parents receive hands-on literacy training with Karen and David.  Please share this information with families. Applications are currently being accepted. 

Mathematics: Reaching All Learners Together Call for Presenters

We’re looking for educators to present at the 8th Annual (virtual) Mathematics: Reaching All Learners Together Conference (MRALT). Please consider submitting a proposal! See the Call for Presenters for further details.

Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR)

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a new series of twenty short videos covering digital accessibility including federal regulations, how individuals with disabilities use technology, and even remediating digital accessibility issues. The videos range from three to six minutes in length; perfect for short snippets that can be shared or presented in regular staff meetings or as part of your staff communications.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Last month, Texthelp hosted “Inclusive 365” authors Chris Bugaj, Karen Janowski, Mike Marotta, and Beth Poss on a roadtrip from the Texthelp headquarters in Woburn, MA to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Live 22 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. During their trip, the authors shared insights and best practices around inclusivity, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), student agency, EdTech, and more. Explore the Texthelp website or use Twitter to search #InclusiveRoadtoISTE for tips, highlights, and pictures of their journey.

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

Each summer, Coughdrop hosts AAC in the Cloud, a free synchronous online conference. This year, the conference focused on working collaboratively to support all students. Sessions targeted AAC practitioners, users, families, and supporters as well as AAC services or tools. If you missed the live sessions, you can continue to access the recordings from this and past years on the AAC in the Cloud website

Delta Math

Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention lessons integrate many of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) evidence-based recommendations from the IES and John Hattie’s Visible Learning for Mathematics. These recommendations include: Explicit instruction that is systematic, visual representations of mathematical ideas, progress monitoring, and motivational strategies such as personal goal setting and visually charting daily progress.

Tier 2 lessons begin with students reflecting and sharing what they already know and can do. The next three sessions progress through the concrete-representational-abstract (C-R-A) instructional sequence with the students building the math during session 2, drawing the math in session 3, and writing the math in session 4 based on visual imagery that was developed during sessions 2 and 3.

Tier 3 lessons do not include the first re-engagement session and stretches the C-R-A learning progression so that more time is spent using manipulatives before transitioning to drawing the math and then using numbers and symbols to represent mental imagery.

Watch the Tier 2 Intervention Cycle Overview support video to see how each 8-day intervention cycle integrates the evidence-based recommendations with Delta Math intervention resources. The following guides are also available to compare and contrast the Tier 2 and Tier 3 Intervention Cycles.
With the support from Alt+Shift, all Delta Math intervention resources and support are available for free at The Delta Math website.

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

Foundations of Math Implementation Story

Susan Erickson

Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Educational Service District (COP-ESD)
Special Education Teacher

Alt+Shift: What challenges were you encountering with math instruction before you started implementing Foundations of Math (FoM)?
Susan Erickson: Prior to implementing Foundations of Math, I struggled to understand the early numeracy skills that students need in order to develop symbol-based mathematical concepts. I knew that my students with complex communication needs did not yet have some of the language necessary to acquire early numeracy skills, but I did not have a plan to address those needed concepts in daily lessons. I also knew that the early numeracy skills included many ideas needed to make comparisons, understand matching and grouping, and to develop concepts of various quantities and attributes. However, I did not have a plan for systematically teaching those concepts.
Alt+Shift: What was different about Foundations of Math from what you were trying on your own?
Susan:  Foundations of Math training started my own learning journey into what is known about early numeracy skills and how both typical learners and learners with significant disabilities acquire these skills. I built a greater understanding of how early numeracy skills are acquired, what activities promote their development and how to build communication and language skills around these concepts. Foundations of Math gave me the framework to develop lessons that explicitly teach a concept while supporting learners with concrete and visual representations and expressing the concept with mathematical symbols.
Alt+Shift: How is implementing FoM impacting you and your colleagues?
Susan: Through exploration of resources provided by Foundations of Math training, our team is having conversations around teaching math concepts and early numeracy skills. We've looked at a scope and sequence for teaching mathematical concepts throughout the school year and over the grade levels. We still have some work to do with building our team approach, but we have common ground for having these conversations.
Alt+Shift: How is implementing the new approach impacting students?
Susan: Teachers and paraprofessionals are more focused on teaching across the entire mathematical conceptual areas and not focusing on rote calculations. Students are being provided with more focused lessons that provide them with visual representations (tactile or virtual), concrete models, and mathematical symbols to make connections. A primary focus for students who are complex communicators is to connect these concepts to their AAC and apply vocabulary that promotes understanding.
Alt+Shift: What is your next step for implementing FoM?
Susan: Our team will continue to delve into available resources, including virtual and concrete manipulatives and math story books.  We will also be working towards coming to a consensus on a common scope and sequence for grade levels, and a plan for training new staff in the fall


*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 from 7th grade on. So far he has lived in six cities. Even though he is an adult, he still enjoys building Legos in his spare time.

There are some people in our world who mentally categorize people with disabilities into one category and people without disabilities into another. This overly simple way of thinking can be very unhelpful because, however much these types of people may appear to look similar, in reality they are very much unique.
The topic of accessibility is  wide ranging and challenging. It is very difficult to broadly discuss all disabilities at once because individual disabilities can vary so much between each other as well as between individuals with the same diagnosis. Writing as a person with significant disabilities, I feel that accessibility may be best thought of in specific realms or arenas.
Focusing on accessibility in the area of education may be clearer and easier to think about. Because I am a person with many physical disabilities including visual impairment, mobility disability, and hearing disability, it is easier for me to relate to and discuss the accessibility accommodations that would be helpful to me and people with similar disabilities. I have had these disabilities to one extent or another for the past 22 years. Because of my experience, it is very natural for me to discuss these challenges and think about accommodations or modifications that can and have helped me and other people with similar disabilities in order to lessen, and to some extent, overcome these specific challenges.
There are other disabilities that other students face, such as more extensive hearing loss or deafness, blindness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), severe communication challenges, and others that I don’t have. I cannot directly relate to others' experience and  it would be much more helpful for people with these different disabilities to speak with experience about their personal disability and to advocate for what accommodations they have found to be helpful. I strongly believe this because I have unfortunately had the experience of having educational and disability experts trying to speak on my behalf while discouraging me from speaking about my specific personal challenges.

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Mini Series: Creating Discourse in the Classroom
Free for MCTM members
  • Vertical White Boards - July 27, 2022
  • Digital Escape Rooms - August 3, 2022
  • Number Talks - August 10, 2022
  • Presentations via Zoom 

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics Online Book Study of Rough Draft Math: Revising to Learn
August 17, 2022, September 21, 2022, and October 12, 2022
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

Upcoming Events: National

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Schools Connect
July 13-25, 2022
Virtual Conference
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Conference
July 13-15, 2022
Arlington, VA

Lending Library Update

There are 58 items out on loan. 

The Lending Library is still available. You can continue to borrow items throughout the summer!
Product photo showing an iPad sized device with a physical keyboard and small screen

Allora 2

Allora 2 is a speech generating device that uses text-to-speech.


Later this fall, Apple will release iOS 16 which will contain new accessibility features! Three of these features include:

  • Using Siri to end phone calls.
  • Set up auto-answer phone calls.
  • Announce notifications without headphones.

To learn more, read this 9to5Mac article about the new design features. How could your students or others you know with disabilities use these features to become more independent?

Connect to Other MDE OSE Grant Funded Initiatives

Michigan Alliance for Families

Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF)

Subscribe to the newsletter to stay up-to-date on events and special education news.


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

Sign up for email notifications and the newsletter from MDE-LIO.
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.