Pre-Conference Seminars

Start Learning Early

Pre-conference seminars are one- or two-day educational seminars designed to give attendees in-depth education on critical assistive technology topics. They deliver the in-depth professional development needed to successfully implement assistive technology in a variety of settings—including school, work, and at home—and are led by internationally recognized leaders in the field.

Two-Day Pre-Conferences by Strand:

One-Day Pre-Conferences by Strand:


Two-Day Pre-Conference Seminars

Tuesday, January 28 – Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | 8 AM – 4 PM

Assistive Technology for Physical Access and Participation

PRE-1TW: Communication, Learning and Access: Severe Physical and Multiple Challenges

Are you working with children who have complex communication needs and who also face severe physical and multiple challenges, such as Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Rett Syndrome, CVI and/or Multiple Disabilities? Do you find them struggling to juggle the challenges of motor coordination, sensory processing, communication, language, and cognition for learning?

This 2-day workshop will look at what current brain research tells us about learning, motivation and engagement. How do you provide a comprehensive aided-language, motor and vision learning environment for children who face such significant challenges? How do you teach motor movements for accessing communication devices and computers? How do you move children beyond cause and effect to discrimination and functional use of switches? How do you adapt access for literacy?

A range of technologies from ‘light tech’ to ‘high tech’ will be demonstrated. Come explore creative and practical strategies to overcome these complex barriers to access language and learning.


Linda Burkhart headshot
Linda Burkhart
Augmentative Communication and Assistive Technology Consultant/Specialist


Education & Learning: Early Intervention – 12

PRE-2TW: Effective Technology Tools and Strategies for Reading and Writing Differences

This collaborative, fast-paced and interactive two-day seminar provides participants with effective strategies and tools to reach learners who struggle with reading and written expression. It is geared toward practitioners who work with students with high-incidence disabilities who would like to advance their knowledge and skills with this student population. We will explore the neuroscience of learning to provide a foundation for intervention and explore innovative strategies, tools and data collection methods for reading and written language success.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session. Please bring any devices you use professionally. 


Headshot of Karen Janowski Headshot of Bridgette Nicholson
Karen Janowski
Assistive and Educational Technology Consultant
EdTech Solutions
Bridgette Nicholson
Occupational Therapist / Assistive Technology Consultant
Custom Solutions


PRE-3TW: iPad Boot Camp: Using the Amazing iPad in 2020 – New iOS, iPads, Apps, Accessories, Adaptations, and Accessibility Features.

This two-day iPad Boot Camp will demonstrate new and amazing ways to use the built-in features of the iPad to accommodate for specific functional limitations. In addition, participants will fabricate four multi-use devices to support the iPad for individuals who experience vision, hearing, communication, or physical impairments. Day 2 focuses on awesome new apps to support individuals with disabilities at home, in schools, at the workplace, and in the community.

*This is a BYOT session. Please bring an iPad.

*There is a $20 materials fee associated with this program. Fee covers the in-session supplies and should be paid to the speaker directly during the seminar.


Headshot of Therese Wilkommen
Therese Willkomm
Director of ATinNH
University of New Hampshire



PRE-4TW: AT Boot Camp: Foundations Through Implementation

During the Assistive Technology Boot Camp, new-to-the-field participants engage in learning about AT devices such as those used to support communication, literacy, socialization, sensory needs, and accessible educational materials.  The presenters provide an interactive overview of AT devices in the context of real-world examples and how essential processes regarding AT consideration, assessment, and implementation are used to create successful AT outcomes.  Strategies for building one’s own learning network and resources as well as future trends in AT will also be explored.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session.  Please bring a laptop or tablet device that can access the internet. 


Headshot of Kelly Fonner Headshot of Mike Cole
Kelly Fonner
Assistive Technology Consultant
Fonner Consulting
Mike Cole
Use Your Words P.C.
Headshot of Scott Marfilius Headshot of Brian Wojcik
Scott Marfilius
Assistive/Educational Technology Consultant
Marfilius Consulting
Brain Wojcik
President: Education Specialist, Assistive Technology Partnership
Nebraska Department of Education


PRE-5TW: The Changing Roles of AT Teams 3.0

During this two-day workshop, we will challenge you to envision AT services in the context of Universal Design for Learning for professionals and to move forward to develop district, state or regional visions of ways to respond to the changing role of AT teams. Interactive activities will offer an opportunity to analyze your current service model, focus on improving service delivery, and develop new online tools to increase efficiency and data collection, build agency-wide capacity, and plan effective outreach.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session. Please bring any technology that allows you to work in Word, Excel and PPT. 


Headshot of Gayle Bowser Aaron Marsters Headshot Denise DeCoste Headshot
Gayl Bowser
Independent Consultant
AT Collaborations
Aaron Marsters
Instructional Systems Specialist for Assistive Technology
DoDEA Europe                        
Denise DeCoste (presenting virtually)
Assistive Technology Specialist/Consultant
Accessible Technology Consulting


Mainstream & Web Accessible Technologies

PRE-6TW: Google Chrome 4 All! Circles of Implementation

Are you in a Google school? Are you working with students and staff to facilitate academic success? Are you hitting roadblocks? We are all responsible for successful implementation of the Google Chrome Tools. From student to teacher to administrator to tech department – let’s talk about all aspects of the process. Join this two-day deep dive as we collaboratively work to improve performance and meet our ultimate goal: academic success for students. We will explore strategies to promote a culture of coaching to achieve effective implementation to meet the unique needs of every stakeholder.

*This is a BYOT session. Please bring any laptop with the Chrome browser (Chromebook, PC or Mac). Participants must have a Google Account and know their password.


Mike Marotta Headshot
Mike Marotta
Inclusive Technology Evangelist
Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

Vision & Hearing Technologies

PRE-8TW: Practitioner’s Handbook on AT Implementation for People with Visual Impairments

This is a 2-day pre-conference training for experienced AT specialists and others who provide training and support to people who are blind or visually impaired. We will explore techniques for using and configuring assistive technologies designed for people with visual impairments and other disabilities, strategies for assessing customization needs, digital accessibility and universal design in various environments, as well as approaches to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies for people with visual impairments.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session. Please bring a windows computer, Chrome or Mac computer, Android or iOS device, and headphones or earphones.

The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP) is pleased to co-sponsor this pre-conference seminar.





Headshot of Rachael Trinkowsky Headshot of David Ferguson
Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky
Technology Training & Vocational Coordinator (Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches), Faculty (University of Massachusetts Boston)
David Ferguson
IT Manager
Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind
Sean Tikkun
Assistant Professor
North Carolina Central University



One-Day Pre-Conference Seminars

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | 8 AM – 4 PM

Assistive Technology for Physical Access and Participation

PRE-9W: “Game of Access” Switches, Mounting and Positioning: Conquer Your Fear!

Hold the Door! Florida’s MTSS project invite participants time to explore various switches and mouse alternatives with an emphasis on conquering access to the curriculum. This session will also provide an overview of the critical considerations for seating and positioning for educational access and domination. Communication devices, computer and interface alliances and conflicts will be presented and include hands-on with a variety of switches and their features.

*This is a BYOT session. A laptop computer is recommended.


Headshot of Janet Good Headshot of Kathie Glus Headshot of Lourdes Day
Janet Good
Regional Technology Coordinator/Speech Language Pathologist
Kathie Glus
Training Facilitator/Speech Language Pathologist
Lourdes Day
AT Consultant
Self Employed
Headshot of Nancy Hoppe Headshot of Teresa Pinder
Nancy Hoppe
Assistive Technology Specialist/District Level
Lee County
Teresa Pinder
Regional Local Assistive Technology Specialist (RLATS)
Levy County Schools


PRE-10W: Meaningful Participation in School: Making Transition Happen From the Beginning

New and mainstream technologies, as well as the re-emergence and acceptance of DIY interventions have profoundly changed the way all students interact with resources for learning. Beginning in elementary school, designing a range of academic, non-academic (art, music, PE, lunch), and prevocational tools and activities from DIY to high tech for students with differing abilities can allow them to engage in authentic educational experiences as they prepare for life beyond high school. Participants in this interactive and hands-on session will make a low tech toolkit from easily found materials to provide access and promote participation in school activities and will be provided with a digital toolkit to begin or continue that process.

*There is a $10 materials fee associated with this program. Fee covers the in-session supplies and should be paid to the speaker directly during the seminar.

*This is a BYOT session. Please bring a laptop or tablet to view and interact with resources.


Headshot of Judith Schoonover Headshot of Deborah Schwind
Judith Schoonover
AT Consultant
Loudoun County Public Schools
Deborah Schwind
Occupational Therapist
Loudoun County Public Schools and Northern Va Comm College


Augmentative and Alternative Communication

PRE-11W: Beyond AAC Modeling: Effective Language Instruction for AAC Learners

Many AAC learners benefit from systematic language instruction in order to grow their vocabularies and move beyond basic sentence structures. This workshop provides a foundation of language development and instructional strategies for AAC language teaching, along with systematic approaches to teaching core vocabulary, academic vocabulary, and grammar. Specific activities, suggestions for free/low-cost materials, and case examples will also be shared.


Headshot of Carole Zangari Headshot of Gloria Soto Headshot of Gail Van Tatenhove
Carole Zangari
Associate Professor of SLP; Executive Director NSU CARD Satellite
Nova Southeastern University
Gloria Soto
San Francisco State University
Gail Van Tatenhove
Speech-Language Pathologist
AACell, Inc.



PRE-13W: Emergent Literacy and Communication for Beginning Communicators of All Ages

Do you want to know more about teaching literacy and communication to the students with the most complex disabilities in your life? This session will help! We will describe the conditions necessary to maximize literacy and communication learning, provide support to get started with symbolic communication intervention using core vocabulary and describe and demonstrate a practical approach to comprehensive emergent literacy instruction.


Headshot of Lori Geist Headshot of Karen Erickson
Lori Geist
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
Karen Erickson
Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, UNC Chapel Hill


Education & Learning: Early Intervention – 12

PRE-14W: Write On: A Strategy-Based Approach for Improving Student Writing Through Technology

Technology can be used to help students practice, develop, and hone their writing abilities. While technology may make writing accessible for individuals with disabilities, technology without evidence-based strategies often leads to limited success and frustration. In this interactive session, participants will learn different strategies for how to use technology to help learners use technology to become more efficient, effective, and confident through every stage of the writing process, from pre-writing to publication.

*This is a BYOT session. Please bring any device you regularly use for writing tasks. Ability to access the Internet, Google Docs, and/or Microsoft 365 is preferable.


Headshot of Beth Poss Headshot of Chris Bugaj
Beth Poss
Public School Administrator/Change Agent and Innovator
Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
Christopher Bugaj
AT Specialist, Inclusive Design Coach, Speech-Language Pathologist
Loudoun County Public Schools

Higher Education

PRE-15W: Web Accessibility: Seeing Both the Forest and the Trees

Web Accessibility in higher education requires both system-level and personal action. This pre-conference will enable participants to leave with a broad understanding of both, and be able to take away new skills. The morning will provide important overview and the afternoon will provide a choice to either engage in planning for your institution or personal skills in document accessibility. We encourage two or more team members from higher education attend together.

*This is a BYOT session. Please bring a laptop or tablet.



Headshot of Cyndi Rowland
Cyndi Rowland