March 2022 - Volume 54
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In this issue:

Shane's disability plays a huge role in our relationship, but not in the way that most people expect. 

Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR) Implementation Story

A headshot of robyn schmidt.
Robyn Schmidt
Information Technology (IT) Lead
Saline Area Schools
Alt+Shift: What problem were you having before you attended the Accessible Materials Made Right (AMMR) training?

Robyn Schmidt: A lack of awareness of our accessibility needs and the creation of digital content not being accessible to all.

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

RS: The training that AMMR provided was unique because it covered a variety of skills that we needed to make materials accessible all in one place.

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

RS: Gaining knowledge and awareness that our digital creations are not accessible for some staff, families, and community members.

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

RS: More of our digital content is available to all staff, families, and community members.

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

RS: Continuing our monthly awareness tool or training tips to our staff. With the plan of continuing the education of creating accessible materials for all.

Assistive Technology (AT)

There are two exciting opportunities this month in the AT community:

Region IV presents Shelley Moore: On March 10, Region IV is hosting Shelley Moore, a teacher, researcher, consultant, and storyteller, in person for a discussion about inclusive education practices. Watch Shelley’s motivating Tedx Talk to learn about the importance of presuming competence. Participants will learn about inclusive education as well as have an opportunity to examine a framework that puts students in the center of planning and aims to adjust the contexts to respond to their needs (instead of the other way around).
  • Location: Monroe Intermediate School District (ISD)
  • Cost: $30
  • Participants can earn 5.5 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs).
  • Learn more information and register on the Region IV website.
Joy Zabala Fellowship: Last year, the AT community lost fellow educator and AT leader, Joy Zabala. In her memory, the Joy Zabala Fellowship in Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials was created. This fellowship will support emerging, early career professionals who, in collaboration with a seasoned mentor, will a) strengthen their expertise and skills in services supporting assistive technology (AT) and/or accessible educational materials (AEM) and b) share what they learn with the larger community of stakeholders. The focus of this fellowship is to expand and guide the provision of services of AT and/or AEM. Visit the CAST website to learn more about this opportunity.

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

The path to autonomous communication (to say what I want to say; to whoever I want to say it to; whenever, wherever, and however I want to say it) for our AAC users is through literacy. 
Many of you have engaged in our Comprehensive Literacy for Autonomous Communication courses based on the work of Dr. David Koppenhaver and Dr. Karen Erickson. They published a book, Comprehensive Literacy for All: Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write in which each of the literacy strategies are described with great detail as well as real-life scenarios and student examples. 
If you're interested in diving deeper into the text and comprehensive literacy instruction, you may want to join the Facebook Group Comprehensive Literacy for All Book Study. The group of educators and families is starting a virtual book study on March 1, 2022.

Delta Math

The development of visual fluency cards were inspired by Graham Fletcher’s Multiplication Subitizing Cards and are available to print on the Tier 2 Intervention and Tier 3 Intervention tabs of the Delta Math Response to Intervention (RtI) Program implementation support website.  These cards are designed to support student understanding using visual representations for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They help students see and discuss the following fluency strategies: Add from the larger number, make a ten to add, think add to subtract, multiply by 5 and some more, and think multiply to divide.

4 flash cards showing a sequence of steps for solving a multiplication problems

Directions are available on table tents to provide 3 different activities that progress in complexity.

  • Activity 1 is a card sort where all cards begin face up.
  • Activity 2 is a match-up game where the Number Problem cards are dealt face-down and the Visual Answer cards are dealt face-up for players to take turns matching the problem cards with their visual answer cards.
  • Activity 3 is a match-up game with both Number Problem cards and Visual Answer cards dealt face-down for students to find pairs with the equivalent values.

If you have questions about using the visual fluency cards to support student understanding using visual representations, please contact Mike Klavon at

Foundations of Math

The Learning Trajectories are introduced in the Foundations of Math course as a way to assess and plan developmentally appropriate instruction. In addition to the trajectories, the website has a number of other great resources including games and a section on inclusion. Directions for assigning the games can be found in the games section on the main resources page. The games section provides access to a variety of online math games and can be a great way to engage reluctant learners. To explore, or assign the actual games, you must sign up and login to the site. 
The Inclusion section of the site provides examples of ways to infuse math into existing transitions and routines. Along with instructional samples, there are suggestions for how to support students with a wide range of diverse abilities. While it might be a little overwhelming at first glance, it is worth sticking with it as there are a lot of great suggestions and ideas embedded in each example. 


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

One of the biggest and most important features of education after the pandemic should be continued flexibility. All learners have different learning needs and circumstances, and these have become more evident given the varied strains of the pandemic.
Even before the pandemic, flexibility and practicality has been beneficial. Different models of education have allowed different students to realize benefits and gains.
One example is addressing various learning styles. I used to be a visual learner who looked at text, graphs, and pictures to take in information. At the age of 10, I suddenly found myself with many disabilities, including a visual disability. I started to become much more of an auditory learner. In middle school, high school, and college I relied on recorded lectures and listening to books on tape for learning. My learning style had completely changed due to my disabilities.
I have also benefited from flexible learning environments in other ways. In fourth grade, my teacher allowed and encouraged students to complete different assignments related to the books we had read. We could write a letter to the author, create a poster related to the book, or create a sock puppet of one of the main characters. In high school, my English teacher provided a variety of different options for essay topics. The creativity and flexibility this encouraged was very powerful and effective. Everyone in the class had different experiences and interests and both my elementary and high school teachers were happy to invite all of their students to explore what was notable in their lives.
Finally, all of the format changes that have been implemented in public schools, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to make material available and more accessible for students who may or may not have been able to get to a physical classroom on a daily basis have also helped students who previously had challenges accessing educational material. When materials are available to all students in a digital format, students can use assistive technology or various apps to access the content. Learning is so much easier when the content is available digitally and can be accessed in a variety of ways.

Upcoming Events: Michigan

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children 82nd Annual Conference
March 2-4, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI

Region IV presents Shelley Moore
March 10, 2022
Monroe, MI

Michigan Reading Association 66th Annual Conference
March 11-14, 2022
Lansing, MI
Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference
March 16-19, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI
Michigan's - Speech - Language - Hearing Association Conference
March 24-26, 2022
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
East Lansing, MI
21st Annual START Conference
May 2, 2022
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
East Lansing, MI

2022 MiAEYC Annual Early Childhood Conference
Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children
May 5-7, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI

Upcoming Events: National

Council on Exceptional Children Special Education Convention and Expo 2022
Virtual: February 1-4, 2022

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Conference
July 14-16, 2022
Arlington, VA

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Connect Conference
July 13-25, 2022

Closing The Gap
October 19-22, 2022
Minneapolis, MN

Lending Library Update

There are 103 items out on loan. 

The Alt+Shift library is open.
Please return items/devices to the Alt+Shift office at:
1037 S U.S. Highway 27
St. Johns, MI 48879


TD Pilot

The newest eyegaze technology for the Lending Library! The TD Pilot is an eye-controlled communication device for iPad. Designed to empower people with disabilities to communicate and use their favorite apps, this iPadOS-based speech generating device features an eye tracker. It enables communication and full use of iPad apps for people with disabilities, via eye control and other access methods.TD Pilot is a light, durable speech generating device designed for augmentative and alternative communication. It can be controlled via eye tracking in all kinds of lighting conditions, even outdoors. It comes pre-loaded with TD Snap and TD Talk to meet a range of communication needs. The device also offers a rear-facing Partner Window for more natural face-to-face conversations.


Readtopia is a special education curriculum designed for teachers who work with late elementary, middle, and high school students with autism and other complex needs. It serves as an integrated comprehensive reading curriculum across several domains of study including English language arts (ELA), math, social studies, life skills, and science. Educators who do not currently have access to Readtopia can sign up for a free 6 month trial

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

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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.