July 2020 - Volume 43
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In this issue:

Featured Video:
Jacob Blumenstein's International Dyslexia Association Acceptance Speech

Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR)

Summer is a great time to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy a change of pace. It’s also a great time to evaluate the progress you are making in the journey toward 100 percent accessibility on your website. When you think about it, you may feel overwhelmed when you consider how much there is to do. However, take a moment to remember where you were when you started and think about how far you’ve come. Spend some time reflecting on the past few months and consider all of the lessons you learned. What worked well and what didn’t? In what ways were your students able to continue learning because of accessible design? Was anyone left out because they couldn’t access everything?
If you need a refresher or are just getting started, don’t forget that all of the Accessible Materials Made Right courses are available free of charge and year round (summer included)!

Assistive Technology (AT) Leadership Group

The AT leadership group is composed of educators who are regularly involved in considering, providing, and supporting assistive technology use by students. Small task groups are beginning to meet in order to create specific resources that could be used by anyone in the state to help with AT training and implementation. Task force topics include:

●      AT Consideration: How do we ensure all students are adequately being considered for AT and how do we empower more staff to be comfortable with considering AT? What resources are intermediate school districts and districts using? What resources have yet to be created?
●      Accessible Learning Design/Universal Design for Learning (UDL): How can we design lessons and materials that will benefit all of our students within a variety of learning environments?
●      Colors, Captions, and Contrast; Creating Accessible Materials: How do we ensure that the platforms and resources used are accessible to our students and that our students have the tools they need to benefit from them?
In addition, the AT leadership group has been meeting regularly for Lunch and Learns (informal meet-ups covering relevant AT topics). The next AT Lunch & Learn meeting is August 6, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST. The focus of discussion will be on remote/hybrid professional learning. All are welcome to join AT Lunch and Learns!
To learn more about joining a task force, receive information about future AT leadership meetings, or join the AT-Contacts Listserv, email

Statewide Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Collaboration

Last month, Alt+Shift hosted the first AAC Talk Time, an informal gathering with a focus on connecting with peers from across the state. Fifteen Michigan educators attended and discussed topics such as Prentke Romich Company (PRC) Saltillo support from Darcy Lees (Michigan’s PRC consultant), troubleshooting AAC teletherapy, virtual evaluations, and the loaning and tracking of AAC devices. Join us for our next AAC Talk Time on Tuesday, July 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. If you'd like more information on how to join, contact Don’t forget you can join the Michigan AAC Listserv to ask questions, share resources, and connect with professionals across the state. 

Delta Math

The Delta Math paper Algebra 2 readiness screener is currently available, and the online version will be ready for field testing on August 15, 2020. The paper screeners are free and include opportunities to gather performance data on each readiness standard during the fall, winter, spring, and summer school screening cycles.

Algebra 2 readiness is measured using assessment items that target student abilities to evaluate linear and non-linear functions for a given value, determine if functions are linear or non-linear, graph linear and non-linear functions, solve systems of linear equations, and factor quadratic expressions with the leading coefficient equal to one.

All paper readiness screeners can be downloaded from the “Online & Paper Screening” tab by selecting the screening cycle and choosing the grade level to find the screener, screening packet, answer key, and course overview. Online training and technical support for math Response to Intervention (RtI)/Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) leaders will be available at no cost.
If you have any questions about Delta Math RtI program resources or implementation, please contact Mike Klavon at

Enhancing Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Difficulties

Looking to improve engagement during remote learning? Increasing the use of accessible educational materials (AEM) may help. AEM is print and technology-based educational materials that are designed (or improved) in a way that makes them usable by a variety of learners, no matter the format.
The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center) has a page on Teaching with Accessible Math that focuses on tools for making math notation more useable through text-to-speech, handwriting, speech recognition, and other supports. At the bottom of that page, the AEM Center has a recorded webinar featuring these tools if you’d like to see them in action. The webinar features:

●      General use and knowledge of MathML (from beginning).
●      Equatio - starting at 22 minutes, 55 seconds.
●      Microsoft OneNote - starting at 44 minutes, 17 seconds.
●      Desmos - starting at 53 minutes, 15 seconds.
●      MathShare - starting at 55 minutes, 30 seconds.

You can also download the AEM math webinar handout.

Foundations of Math (FoM)

There is a new quick win available on the Alt+Shift website related to the Components of Number Sense. The Strengthening Number Sense quick win focuses on what each component is, how to support the development of it, and activities and games to play to strengthen overall number sense. These activities can be used for at-home learning as well as in the classroom. 

Foundations of Math: Teaching Students With Significant Disabilities (FoM:SD)

In collaboration with future FoM:SD course instructors at our partner sites, we have put together a 35 minute, watch whenever it is convenient for you, FoM:SD Remote Learning Webinar to help you start to think about how you will transition from Emergency Remote Teaching to a more permanent online or remote teaching situation next year.
There is a Table of Contents right at the beginning (along with a link to the slides) so you can skip around if you wish.
Topics include:

  • Introduction
  • IEP Considerations (3:19)
  • Assessment and Instruction (12:20)
  • Coaching Families (18:15)
  • The Big Picture (Why are we teaching math using the FoM approach?) (29:20)

Upcoming Events: Alt+Shift

AAC Talk Time
July 28, 2020
9:30 to 10:30 a.m. EST
AAC Talk Time
August 18, 2020
9:30 to 10:30 a.m. EST

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics Summer Book Study
June -  August, 2020

8th Annual Autism Conference
October 8-9, 2020
Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites
Kalamazoo, MI

2020 Van Riper Lecture Series
October 29, 2020
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI
December 7-9, 2020
Kellogg Conference Center
East Lansing, MI
Math in Action: Call for Presenters and Save-the-Date
February 20, 2021
Allendale, MI

Upcoming Events: National

American SpeechLanguage-Hearing Association (ASHA) Schools Connect 2020
July 8-20, 2020
Tang Math Virtual Academy (K-8)
July (dates vary depending on course)
100 Days of Professional Learning
April - September 2020
Build Math Minds Virtual Summit (K-6)
August 3-5, 2020
National Autism Conference
August 3-6, 2020
13th Annual Clinical AAC Research Conference
October 8-10, 2020
University of Pittsburgh
National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
October 19-21, 2020
St. Louis, MO
Closing The Gap 2020
October 28-30, 2020
Prior Lake, MN
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Regional Conference
November 11-13, 2020
Tampa, FL

Lending Library Update

There are 81 items out on loan. 
A tablet with a handle on top and large icons visible on the home screen

New Item:

The Nova Chat is an AAC device featuring Chat software from Saltillo. It features an external amp for clear communication in a variety of environments. The Nova Chat 8 is a smaller device from Saltillo using an Android platform allowing for familiar set up and portability. 


Kate McLaughlin, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) based out of Connecticut, is a self-proclaimed AAC enthusiast. Her Facebook page, “The AAC Coach,” contains several infographics about AAC that can be shared with parents and other educators. These graphics have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Icelandic languages. Topics include AAC strategies (ex: following your learner’s lead, verbal referencing, teaching yes/no), ideas for what to model during various activities (for example, gardening, beauty day, and watching YouTube) and great AAC reminders (for example, your mindset matters and presume potential).

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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.