November 2017, Volume 11
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In this issue:

Featured Video:
America's Got Talent 2017
Mandy Harvey, Deaf Singer and Songwriter

Assistive Technology (AT) Leadership Meeting - Register Soon

Are you someone who consults or provides coordination related to the consideration and provision of assistive technology?

Are you wondering what is happening in other AT regions around the state?

Based on input from the field, Alt+Shift is hosting this leadership meeting to help connect AT professionals across the state. Participants will be able to share their work, receive feedback on their work, facilitate discussions on topics of interest, and train each other on new processes and products.

The agenda is constructed by the attendees and is open for attendees to post to through November 10.  Information on how to add items to the agenda is on the registration form.  Please consider adding agenda items related to these high-interest topics:
  • Lending Libraries - How are they set up? How do you connect with your constituents?
  • High-incidence trainings - Share the content of your trainings. How are you addressing training needs for assistive technologies for students with high-incidence disabilities? 
  • Regional Updates - What is happening in your AT region? How do you structure your meetings? What activities are going on?
Online registration is now open. We hope you will contribute to the agenda and/or join us at Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) in St. Johns on November 27 and 28 for this event.

While there is no cost to attend, we require that you register. Please do so at your earliest convenience so we know how many people to expect. There is an option to attend virtually.

Contact Kate Fanelli with any questions.

Foundations of Communication Update

Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District (DSISD), located in the south central portion of Michigan’s upper peninsula, has engaged with Alt+Shift on Foundations of Communication training and implementation. DSISD has received the first training module, developed a work scope, and is underway with implementation. Alt+Shift will continue to partner with DSISD staff and looks forward to co-constructing implementation supports, strategies, and practices designed to help improve communication skills for students at DSISD.

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs

Date: March 6-8, 2018
Location: Detroit Metro Airport Marriott, 30559 Flynn Dr, Romulus, MI 48174 
Time: 8:30 - 4:00
Cost: $75 Michigan residents, $225 out-of-state
Registration and information is available at the Alt+Shift website.
Alt+Shift is pleased to offer this three-day introductory intensive course focused on conventional literacy instruction for students with moderate to significant disabilities. Drs. Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver will guide participants in how to provide daily comprehensive literacy instruction that includes word study, self-directed reading, reading comprehension, and writing. Course participants will examine student work samples, videos of classroom instruction, methods of instruction, and theoretical frameworks supporting universal literacy. The course is open to any and all interested educators and related services personnel concerned with supporting communication and literacy for students.

Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Reader is a collection of free web-based books. The books are easy to read and can be speech enabled. Users can access them through several means including switches and touch-screen. The books cover a wide variety of topics. Create your own books using the pictures provided or upload your own pictures. Books can be saved as drafts, edited, revised, and then published upon completion.

Upcoming Events: Michigan

#TalkingAAC Conference
November 1-3, 2017
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
East Lansing, MI

Michigan POHI/SXI Conference 
November 2-3, 2017
Macomb Intermediate School District
Clinton Township, MI

GET Supports for Autism Conference
November 8, 2017
Kent Intermediate School District
Grand Rapids, MI

Let’s Talk Tech to Reach All Learners
November 10, 2017
Macomb Intermediate School District
Clinton Township, MI

AT Leadership Meeting
November 27-28, 2017
Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency
St. Johns, MI

MCEC 78th Annual Conference
February 28-March 2, 2018
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Grand Rapids, MI

Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for Students With Significant Disabilities and Complex Communication Needs
March 6-8, 2018
Detroit Metro Airport Marriott
Romulus, MI

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

Lending Library Update

November 2017:
There are 53 items out on loan. 
Echo Show
Featured item:  Echo Show is a visual aid that works in conjunction with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled products. It  shows video flash briefings, Amazon Video content, music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, Audible audiobooks, and more just by asking. No hands necessary. The more someone uses Echo Show, the more it adapts to his or her speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

Borrower Highlight

Carolyn O’Hearn 

Spech-Language Pathologist (SLP)
Lapeer County ISD

Carolyn has been an SLP with the Lapeer County Intermediate School District (ISD) since the spring of 2013 yet still considers herself a newbie. She learned about the Alt+Shift Lending Library on her first day at LCISD and has been an active borrower ever since. She has borrowed multiple eye gaze devices, various switches, the Tobii Indi, and the SuperTalker. Borrowing these devices has resulted in purchases for her program and ultimately, more opportunities for autonomous communication!  

“I love knowing the Lending Library is available. For my complex communicators, I'm able to check out multiple devices and truly determine which best fits the student's needs (rather than simply taking an educated guess and keeping my fingers crossed). Also, I'm so impressed with how I can request an item to be purchased if I can't find what I need in the existing catalog.” -Carolyn O’Hearn

Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) Corner

You’re well into the school year now and it’s time to take stock of what’s happening in your classroom or with the students on your caseload.

Some thoughts:
1) Every student who requires communication support should have access. No one should have to prove their ability to access communication. No child is “too anything” to communicate.
2) Using aided language input all day, every day supports learning of language. Our typically developing children hear language used all day, every day and begin to demonstrate their knowledge after about a year of immersion. If our students using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are going to learn their language, and eventually use it to connect with others, they have to see it used in all environments. In other words, everywhere.

Be sure to take a step back and look at your practice. Are you providing EVERY student with AAC regardless of what they are “showing capabilities” for? Are you using the student's communication system to model for them how this language is learned? 

If your answer is no to either one of those questions, it’s time to take a step back and be sure you are really supporting students in their language growth. 

Upcoming Events: National

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention: Focus on the Big Picture
November 9-11, 2017
Los Angeles, CA

2017 NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
November 15-18, 2017
Atlanta, GA

Future of Education Technology Conference
January 23-26, 2018
Orlando, FL

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Pre-Conference and Conference 
January 30 - February 3, 2018
Orlando, FL

CEC 2018 Special Education Convention & Expo
February 7-10, 2018
Tampa, FL

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
November 14, 2017
December 15
January 31, 2018
March 12
April 26
June 1

Region 1A
December 8, 2017
January 26, 2018
March 9
April 27

Region 2
February 22, 2018 - Remote Meeting
April 25

Region 3
No meetings scheduled at this time.

Region 4
*dates subject to change, contact your regional AT Contacts to confirm.
November 9
December 14
January 11, 2018
February 8
March 8
April 12
May 10
June 14

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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