ATIA 2019 Session Strands

The ATIA 2019 education program is planned around 10 strands that take a balanced approach to exploring the most important questions and issues facing AT professionals today, allowing you to focus on a specific area of interest or need. Each strand is led by invited leaders in the strand content or subject matter area. Sessions undergo a blind peer review by strand advisors under the leadership of Joy Zabala, education program chair, Ed.D., ATP to be selected for the final conference program.

Assistive Technology for Improved Function

Supporting Partner:  American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Sandy Hanebrink, OTR/L, Executive Director, Touch the Future. Inc.; representing Technology SIS, American Occupational Therapy Association; Robin Jones, Director, Great Lakes ADA Center; representing Technology SIS, American Occupational Therapy Association; Judith Schoonover, MEd, OTR/L, ATP, FAOTA, Assistive Technology Trainer, Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, Virginia; representing Early Intervention & School & Technology Special Interest Sections, American Occupational Therapy Association

Sessions focus on improving function, access, and meaningful participation by individuals with disabilities or functional limitations through the use of a continuum of assistive technologies including those acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, as well as address barriers related to aging in environments and communities such as school, home, work, recreation, and general public access.

Technologies or systems may include:

alternate keyboard/mouse, eye gaze, head pointers, scanning, switches, innovative text entry technologies, environmental control units (ECUs), mobile devices and apps, mounting devices, functional seating and mobility technologies, home modification technologies, activities of daily living technologies, adaptive recreation and disabled sports technologies, and technologies for improved public access. Sessions in this strand may be of special interest to occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, special educators, engineers, assistive technology professionals, makers and independent living specialists, as well as others who support individuals with disabilities and functional limitations that may impact access, participation, productivity, and achievement.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Aging in place
  • Accessible toys, play, and playgrounds
  • Community access technologies
  • Computer access technologies
  • Education access
  • Employment access
  • Environment access
  • Functional seating and positioning and AT in rehabilitation
  • Home access technologies
  • Adaptive recreation and disabled sports technologies
  • Transition to environment/community
  • Independent living
  • Customized 3-D printed solutions
  • Maker contributions to AT
  • Ergonomics
  • Leisure
  • IADLs

Contact the ATIF Team at

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Supporting Partner:United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC) logo

Amy Goldman, Vice President, Financial Affairs, United States Society for AAC (USSAAC); Carole Zangari, Professor, Nova Southeastern University

Children and adults with complex communication needs (CCN) due to developmental or acquired disabilities may benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and services. Sessions in this strand focus on the ways in which existing and emerging technologies, tools, and strategies are used to enhance communication, language, literacy, and independence.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • AAC assessment approaches, models, tools, and outcomes
  • Development and use of visual supports
  • Using AAC to build language and interaction
  • Effective AAC intervention strategies
  • Family supports for AAC
  • Funding for AAC devices and services
  • Implementation issues, such as generalization to real-world settings, teaming, and collaboration
  • Literacy supports for people who use AAC
  • Partner training and support
  • Pre-service training and professional development in AAC
  • Public policy issues that impact AAC
  • Service delivery models
  • Speech generating device (SGD), mobile device, AAC app, and interface design, features, and functionality
  • Supports for high-quality AAC services in educational, healthcare, and community settings
  • Technologies for teaching AAC skills
  • Vocabulary selection, development, and teaching

Contact the AAC Team at

Education & Learning: Early Intervention – 12

Kelly Fonner, Fonner Consulting, Assistive/Educational Technology Consultant; Daniel McNulty, State Director, PATINS Project; Beth Poss, Independent Consultant, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)

Sessions in this strand focus on the effective implementation of assistive with students in early childhood, K-12 educational programs, including virtual classrooms and homeschooling environments. Presentation proposals should be submitted from AT specialists, teachers, parents, related service providers, and/or support staff working with students who have learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, and/or multiple disabilities. Students & pre-service teachers are especially welcome as a part of the presentation team. Submissions are encouraged on assistive technology implementation, presentations of multiple products or systems are preferred over single-product-related presentations. It is imperative, since ATIA is an assistive technology conference, that your presentation addresses the use of technology within EI-K12 situations.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Technology to support developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood
  • Assistive technology supports for reading, writing, and research
  • Assistive technology supports for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math)
  • Accessible educational materials and related technologies in the classroom
  • Accessible educational materials and related technologies
  • Differentiated instruction and personalized learning through technology
  • Technology supports for executive function, behavior, and/or tasks in educational settings
  • Technology to support a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach
  • Technology that supports application of a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach in the classroom

Contact the Education/Learning Team at

Higher Education

Supporting Partner: G3ict logo

Christopher Lee, representing G3ict; Carolyn Phillips, Interim Director, AMAC Accessibility, Georgia Institute of Technology

College and university disability service providers and learning support staff are tasked with ensuring students are properly accommodated and supported.  Sessions in this strand focus on the implementation of assistive technology, alternative instructional material, and other accommodations throughout college campuses.  The session strand will highlight strategies and case studies that have been effective in improving retention and graduation rates for students enrolled in campus disability and/or learning support services.  Highlighted sessions will address topics such as academic and workplace transition, accommodating STEM courses, and campus-wide AT deployment and support.

Topics include:

  • AT accommodation best practices
  • Establishing a successful accessible media program
  • Supporting students with AT in testing lab environments
  • Accommodating students in STEM related courses
  • Effective high school to postsecondary transition initiatives
  • Vocational rehabilitation in college to workplace transition
  • Campus wide assistive technology deployment and training
  • Supporting ASD students with AT
  • Promoting universal design in course and classroom settings
  • Utilizing AT for classroom accommodations
  • Accommodating student in E-learning environments
  • Accommodating veterans in higher education
  • AT STEM advancements for students with visual impairments


David Banes, Director, David Banes Access and Inclusion Services UK; Diana Carl, Independent Consultant

Leadership develops in many ways whether the leader emerges as one who inspires others or is assigned by administration. In today’s rapidly changing world, leaders face many challenges such as moving policy to practice, providing equitable services, attending to accountability measures, meeting the demands of new technologies and digital learning materials, addressing learner variability and providing professional development. Leaders at all levels are meeting these challenges with new and innovative approaches so that those who need AT are actively participating and making progress in their academic, employment and life goals.

Topics include but are not limited to

Leadership Principles and Sustaining Practice such as

  • Developing improvement plans, using data, and assessing impact
  • Using research-based methods of systems change

Professional Learning Best Practices such as

  • Implementing innovative approaches (e.g., online learning opportunities, video conferencing strategies, maker movements, job-embedded professional learning, communities of practice)
  • Developing professional learning partnerships and leveraging funds

Effective models of AT service delivery such as

  • Meeting legal mandates, moving from policy to practice to impact achievement of educational, vocational and life goals
  • Leveraging funds and providing service delivery that is cost effective and flexible
  • Addressing rapid technology innovation impacting on both products and providers
  • Integrating provision of accessible digital content into service delivery
  • Disseminating information by multiple methods and sharing of resources
  • Using strategies that ignite and sustain AT services (e.g., marketing, branding, social media)
  • Promoting cross-departmental and family engagement in the integration of AT in PK-12, postsecondary, and employment settings.
  • Reviewing international outcomes that inform AT practices
  • Focusing on the provision of AT in the context of the UD and UDL framework

Contact the Leadership Team at

Mainstream & Web Accessible Technologies

Supporting Partner: IAAP Logo

Rob Carr, Accessibility Coordinator, Oklahoma ABLE Tech; representing IAAP; Mike Marotta, ATP – AT Specialist; President, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC; ISTE Inclusive Learning Network’s 2017 Outstanding Educator Award Recipient

Sessions focus on the design and development of accessible technology as it relates to hardware, software, websites, mobile applications, proprietary applications, content, and documents. This includes application of the inclusive features and functions of mainstream technologies that lend themselves for use by persons with disabilities or those working with persons with disabilities.

Topics in this strand may be of interest to developers, designers, testers, content creators and others involved in the design and development life cycle; managers and executives who support the implementation of accessibility and accessible/assistive technology; and, users with disabilities and the direct service providers working to implement inclusive technology solutions.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Standards, policies, and best practices related to the design and development of accessible web and software tools and/or assistive technology solutions (including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, etc.)
  • Mobile and other accessible technology implementations (Chrome OS, iOS, Android, Windows)
  • Multimedia accessibility considerations and innovations (including standards and best practices in transcription, captioning, audio description and accessible multimedia players)
  • Applications of commonly used operating system tools (built-in features along with customizations)
  • Building and sustaining accessibility programs through policy, practice and governance
  • Issues and challenges related to accessibility in web and software design, planning or implementation
  • Testing and tools related to accessibility
  • Interoperability between information technology and assistive technology
  • Digital/technology inclusion initiatives
  • Accessible Web applications (including web 2.0, web services, extensions, etc.)
  • Portable and wearables (smart watches, Amazon Echo, VR headsets)
  • Accessible applications of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR)


Anya Evmenova, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University; representing the Technology and Media division (TAM) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC); Lori Geist, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chair, ATIA Research Committee; Heidi Koester, Ph.D., President, Koester Performance Research; representing the RESNA Research Committee

The goal of the research strand is to advance the AT industry by showcasing research that impacts the field of assistive technology and to facilitate evidence-based demonstrations and case-based dialogue regarding effective AT devices and services. Research sessions are intended to foster communication among stakeholders about research in the field of AT, including manufacturers, sellers, practitioners, policy makers, consumers with disabilities, family members, and academic researchers. In return, this will help stakeholders advocate for effective AT devices and services. Presenters in this strand are encouraged to emphasize the practical implications of their study to build the bridge between research and practice.

All research approaches are invited, including exploratory, descriptive, hypothesis-driven, and systematic review. Reviewers will be looking for clear presentation of the key aspects of your study.  All submissions should include a clear problem statement and/or hypothesis, a description of your research design and methods, your results (or preliminary analysis), and a discussion of implications.  Other sections of the submission will depend on what is most applicable for the research approach you used. Additional submission guidance for various approaches follows:

  • Studies of consumer performance, perceptions, attitudes, use, and abandonment related to assistive technology. As applicable, describe the population addressed, the nature of your sample, and the instrument or survey you used.
  • Examination of assistive technology assessment, intervention, and service delivery. Be sure to describe the intervention being studied.
  • Effectiveness of specific assistive technology approaches, such as service delivery models, AT devices, training, etc. Describe the approach(es) being studied and the methods used to determine effectiveness.
  • Product development research: Include a description of the innovation, the design process, target population(s), and how it is being implemented.

Contact the Research Team at

State Assistive Technology Programs

Kathleen Laurin, Technical Assistance Specialist, Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training (AT3) Center

State Assistive Technology Programs under the Assistive Technology Act provide a wide array of services to improve access to and acquisition of assistive technology for persons of all ages and abilities.  Sessions in this strand will be of interest to attendees who administer or implement these activities on a local, regional, or statewide level (including but not limited to AT Act personnel) as well as those who need to know about those activities on behalf of the people they serve.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • AT device demonstration and AT equipment loan and lending library management
  • AT reuse programs and policies
  • AT advice and services
  • Models for providing training and technical assistance in AT
  • Coordination and collaboration models for improving “systems”
  • AT and Emergency Preparedness
  • Strategies for funding AT
  • Fee-for-service models for providing AT services
  • Innovative strategies for promoting your AT services
  • AT and aging programs and policies
  • AT and transition from school to work programs and policies
  • AT and transition from institutional to community living programs and policies

Contact the State AT Programs Team at

Vision & Hearing Technologies

Supporting Partner: ACVREP logo

Carmelina Hollingsworth, Project Director, Resource Materials and Technology Center: Deaf/Hard of Hearing (RMTC-D/HH); Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D., CRC, CATIS, Technology Training and Vocational Coordinator, Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches; representing ACVREP

Sessions in this strand focus on assistive technology for people who are visually impaired, blind, deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired and hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. Presentations are related to issues that impact the use of assistive technology in independent living, educational, a vocational, and employment settings. Submissions should be considered by teachers, related service providers, SLPs, AT specialists, and other support staff who work with people who have sensory loss.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Using AEM for learners with sensory loss
  • Using AT for reading and writing for persons with sensory loss
  • Implementing UDL with AT for learners with sensory loss
  • Personal and assistive hearing technology
  • Refreshable braille displays
  • Braille translation software, braille embossing, and tactile imaging solutions
  • Remote communication services for deaf/hard of hearing
  • Digital talking books, E-books readers (apps and dedicated devices)
  • DAISY, ePub and other digital book formats
  • Accessible tablets, cell phones, and apps
  •  Optical character recognition (OCR) solutions (dedicated devices, computer based systems, apps for smartphones and tablets)
  • Screen reading software, screen magnification software, menu driven accessible software, as well as other accessible software solutions for people with visual impairments
  •  Low vision devices
  • Speech-to-text services and voice recognition software
  • Assistive Communication Technology (videophone, text phone, alerting device)
  • Web and media accessibility
  • GPS and other wayfinding systems (dedicated devices and apps)
  • Accessible medical & health monitoring devices
  •  Emerging technologies for people with sensory loss

Workplace Accessibility

Supporting Partner: JAN logo

Teresa Goddard, Lead Consultant, Job Accommodation Network

The Workplace Accessibility Strand focuses on technological and situation-based strategies to support young people and adults with disabilities as they pursue part-time and full time employment, internships, and volunteer opportunities that may lead to employment and increased independence. Topics in this strand will include utilizing technology tools to maximize access to employment opportunities for people with disabilities through reasonable accommodation and optimized accessibility. Presentation proposals should be submitted from vocational rehabilitation counselors, AT specialists, job coaches, human resources professionals, related service providers, and/or support staff working with employees and jobseekers with disabilities. Presentations emphasizing case studies, implementation success stories and other delivery models within different workplace settings are encouraged.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Assistive technologies for work related tasks
  • Apps for use by transitioning students, employees, and job seekers with disabilities
  • Access-for-all or ease-of-use technologies to reduce recruitment and employment challenges for people with disabilities
  • Accessibility issues for the workplace and personal use
  • Resources for action plans to promote adult success
  • Case studies and delivery models for implementing reasonable accommodations in the workplace


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