ATIA 2024 Pre-Conference Seminars

Tuesday, January 23 – Wednesday, January 24

Kick off your ATIA 2024 learning with a one- or two-day pre-conference seminar! These timely and in-depth seminars about critical assistive technology topics will help you put your personal and professional development journey on the right path forward.

Get the latest best practices and resources needed to successfully implement assistive technology in a variety of settings—including school, work, and at home—led by internationally recognized leaders in the field.

Pre-conference Seminars are in person only.

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Seminar Information

2-day Seminars
Tuesday, January 23 Wednesday, January 24

AT Bootcamp! Understanding Assistive Technology Services and System Features Kelly Fonner, Michael Cole, and Brian Wojcik

This two-day pre-conference workshop is for individuals new to the field of assistive technology or first-time attendees.

Day 1 provides a fundamental overview of assistive technology (AT) service delivery processes including consideration and assessment, as well as a structure to further your personal learning experience. Areas of AT covered will include access, mobile devices, and communication.

Day 2 continues with areas of AT including literacy, visual/hearing, cognitive, and social access. AT services highlighted include planning trials, implementation, and follow along.

Case studies and examples will be plentiful as well as practical application of concepts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify a minimum of three processes that surround good assistive technology assessment practices common to multiple settings.
  2. Describe features of at least 10 assistive technology tools that could meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
  3. Recommend at least two strategies for building personal learning networks through information resources and interpersonal connections.

Featured Speakers:

Kelly Fonner headshotKelly Fonner
Fonner Consulting
Mike Cole headshotMichael Cole
Use Your Words P.C.

Brian Wojcik headshotBrian Wojcik
Assistive Technology Partnership



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Communication, Learning, and Access: Severe Physical and Multiple Challenges Linda Burkhart

Are you working with children who have complex communication needs and who also face multiple, severe physical challenges, including CVI??

This two-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 for learning? A range of technologies from light tech to high tech will be demonstrated.

Explore creative and practical strategies to overcome these complex barriers to access language and learning.

Learning Objectives:

  1. List two principles about how the brain develops and describe at least three implications for teaching and learning for those students who face severe physical and multiple challenges.
  2. Explain three best practices in AAC regarding how to utilize what is known about how typical children learn language and apply these principles to creating a multi-modal communication learning environment for children who face complex challenges and require alternative access.
  3. Describe three strategies for teaching motor/cognitive skills for switch access to communication and learning for students who face severe physical and multiple challenges
  4. Describe three strategies for teaching motor/cognitive skills for switch access to communication and learning for students who face severe physical and multiple challenges
  5. Discuss three challenges that individuals with CVI might face when accessing communication and learning, and list potential strategies to enhance learning based upon these challenges.

Featured Speaker:

Linda Burkhart headshot

Linda Burkhart
Augmentative Communication and Assistive Technology Consultant/Specialist


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Leading Systems Change: Strategies to Clarify and Unify AT Capacity Building Gayl Bowser, Aaron Marsters, and Janet Peters

AT programs can improve their impact on student outcomes by systematically building their agency’s AT capacity. This session will offer ideas and strategies about capacity building for AT providers as well as practical tools and templates.

Participants will identify their most pressing AT needs and how they want to build new program capacity. Our focus will be to increase the coherence of AT initiatives across the agency.

AT teams are encouraged but not required to attend together. There will be ample time for collaborative work as you develop components of a three-year AT services plan.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will identify four changes they want to make in human, organizational, structural, and material types of capacity to improve AT services.
  2. Participants will develop an initial 3-year plan which includes a minimum of four improvement strategies to increase AT capacity throughout the agency.
  3. Participants will apply the four aspects of Fullan and Quinn’s Coherence model, a research-based paradigm, to facilitate systems change within their agency.
  4. Participants will share two of their goals or improvement strategies with the group in order to get feedback, extend their learning and to refine the 3-year plan.

Featured Speakers:

Headshot of Gayle Bowser

Gayl Bowser
AT Collaborations

Aaron Marsters Headshot

Aaron Marsters
DoDEA Europe


Janet Peters headshot

Janet Peters
Independent Consultant



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Discover the Magic and Joy of Making AT in Minutes: A “Hands-on” AT Making Workshop Therese Willkomm

This two-day hands-on AT Maker Pre-Conference Seminar explores rapid problem solving and skill development using an assortment of specialty tapes, plastics, adhesives, foam, and wire to create hundreds of solutions in minutes. Explore more than 100 solutions that can be quickly made for less than $5. Develop skills in making, mounting, and modifying solutions in minutes; rapid problem solving; and device creation using an iterative design and fabrication process. Learn how to apply the “….ABLE” principles in making AT devices using time-saving tips and tricks. Explore resource people, places, and data bases for extra help in making AT devices.

In addition, each participant will make 10 different multi-use assistive technology solutions to take home for specific tasks/activities at home, school, work, and play to accommodate specific functional limitations— blind low vision, communication, upper extremities, lower extremities, cognitive, mobility, and more. An additional materials fee of $50 will be collected at the seminar.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discover at least 50 different solutions that can be made using specialty tapes, plastics, and basic tools.
  2. Explore 20 different tools and materials for making assistive technology solutions in minutes.
  3. Develop skills in using tools and materials by making 10 different multi-use devices to take home with them.

Featured Speaker:

Headshot of Therese Willkommen

Therese Willkomm
University of New Hampshire




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Practitioner’s Handbook: AT Services for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Sarahelizabeth Baguhn, Stacy Kelly, and Sean Tikkun

This two-day seminar is designed for experienced AT specialists and others who provide training and support to people who are blind or who have low vision. We will explore the continuum of AT services designed for people with visual impairments and other disabilities, including the core domains for CATIS Certification through ACVREP for exploration, assessment, configuration, and instruction.

Other topics will include exploration of various types of AT, digital accessibility and universal design, as well as approaches to stay up to date with emerging technologies for people who are blind or who have low vision.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify and apply at least two competencies within the exploration domain for CATIS Certification.
  2. Compare at least two methods of AT assessment for people who are blind or who have low vision.
  3. Demonstrate at least two techniques of AT configuration for people who are blind or who have low vision.
  4. Given a scenario, discuss at least three different instructional strategies for teaching AT solutions to people who are blind or who have low vision.

Featured Speakers:

Headshot of Rachael Trinkowsky

Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky
UMass Boston

Saraelizabeth Baguhn headshot

Sarahelizabeth Baguhn
Western Michigan University and University of Alabama Huntsville

Stacy Kelly Headshot

Stacy Kelly
Northern Illinois University

Sean Tikkun headshotSean Tikkun
Northern Illinois University

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1-day Seminars
Wednesday, January 24

Access to AT in the NYC Public Schools: Shifting to a Student Strengths’ Model Lindsey Huntley, Jonathan Bronsky, and Carolyn Saxon-Rodier

Gain insight into the steps that have been taken by the NYC Public schools’ AT department to transition from an expert to a consultant model.

Participate in hands-on training modules with a focus on building school capacity in AAC, AT (access to literacy), and mounting and access considerations. Participants will also be introduced to cross-platform solutions and automated processes that have been utilized to streamline the assistive technology consideration and determination process.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify two assistive technology tools that can be used to help a student access their curriculum.
  2. Describe three strategies to support their school district with the process of considering and determining the assistive technology needs of students.
  3. Identify two assessment tools that can be used during remote and/or in-person assistive technology assessments.

Featured Speakers:

Lindsay Huntley headshot

Lindsey Huntley
NYCDOE Center for Assistive Technology

Jonathan Bronsky headshot
Jonathan Bronsky 
Carolyn Saxon-Rodier headshot
Carolyn Saxon-Rodier 
NYCDOE Center for Assistive Technology


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AT Design Lab: Building an Inclusive Technology Ecosystem Leslie DiChiara, Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, Rachel Herron, Mia Laudato, Kelli Suding, and Elisa Wern

A common thread in the AT world is the lack of awareness amongst educators and IEP teams of the available assistive and inclusive technology tools and how to leverage them for every learner.

How can we better equip them to selection, acquisition, and use of AT? Our session serves to provide a bridge between the expert and coaching models, equipping participants with the structure, tools, knowledge, and support to build their own Inclusive Technology Ecosystem.

The facilitators will model this approach and provide continued learning opportunities after the live session via continued dialog through our #CommunAT. True change happens with continued dialog through our #CommunAT of support and reflection that leads to change in practice and increased capacity to meet the needs of all learners.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe and apply the AT process in order to impact a minimum of five areas for improvement for educators to meet the unique needs of each learner.
  2. Collaborate with colleagues and facilitators to identify at least three areas of improvement to facilitate an Inclusive Technology Ecosystem in their school.
  3. Define at least three new tools to apply and use in your settings to impact inclusive learning for all.

Featured Speakers:


Leslie DiChiara headshot

Leslie DiChiara
North Bellmore UFSD

Hillary Goldthwait Fowles headshot

Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles
Kennedy Krieger Institute

Rachel Herron headshot

Rachel Herron
PATINS Project

Mia Laudato
Dynamic Inclusive Solutions

Kelli Suding headshot

Kelli Suding
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

Elisa Wern headshot

Elisa Wern
Alachua County Public Schools


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Designing and Delivering Empowering Experiences to Teach Language Using AAC Christopher Bugaj and Rachel Madel

This interactive experience explores strategies for teaching even the youngest students language by engineering environments so all communicators have opportunities for rich, meaningful practice of language in the context of everyday routines.

Learn current best practices about AAC principles such as how to support language learning, select appropriate vocabulary, and get AAC users engaged in the process. Explore how to design educational experiences using interactive technologies which empower the learner and their support network to achieve their lifelong language goals.

This presentation will also teach participants how to build the skills of communication partners and how training centered on coaching empowers parents and educators to take ownership of promoting the use of AAC systems all day long, in all environments.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe five contemporary resources to teach vocabulary to those learning language using AAC.
  2. Describe one contemporary, evidence-based strategy used to teach those learning language using AAC. 
  3. Identify and develop the practice of coaching communication partners of those learning language using AAC.

Featured Speakers:

Christopher Bugaj
Loudoun County Public Schools

Rachel Madel headshot

Rachel Madel
Rachel Madel Speech Therapy Inc.


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LoTTIE (LoTech Tools/Interventions for Everyone) for Life: Exploring a Continuum Judith Schoonover, Scout Merry, and Sally Norton-Darr

New uses for familiar digital, commercially available, or DIY items specifically employed or devised to meet an individual’s needs can increase buy-in by all. Originally, Low Tech Tools for Inclusive Education (LoTTIE) Kits were designed to assist students with reading, writing, math, and organizational skills.

We propose focusing on low tech interventions for everyone. Developing this type of LoTTIE kit could be a valuable barrier breaking bonus in every AT provider’s arsenal. This make and take session will increase awareness of easily found/or made supports along a continuum, and implications for use to enable participation across the lifespan.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Name three or more familiar tools used in unique ways to support learning, living, or social inclusion.
  2. List three or more tool features that can be represented more than one way from light tech to high tech.
  3. Discuss three or more DIY tools that can be fabricated from easily found materials.

Featured Speakers:

Judith Schoonover headshot

Judith Schoonover
Adaptations and Tools for Participation

Scout Merry headshot

Scout Merry
Program Coordinator, Missouri Assistive Technology


Sally Norton-Darr headshot

Sally Norton-Darr
Educational and Assistive Technology Consultant




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Registration Information

  • Two Day Pre-Conference Seminar: $ 555.00
  • One Day Pre-Conference Seminar: $ 330.00

Please visit Hotel and Lodging for information on reduced rates for Monday and Tuesday at the off-site hotel for Pre-Conference Seminar attendees.

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