Session Strands:
ATIA 2021: AT Connected

The ATIA 2021 education program is planned around four Primary Strands, interwoven with Secondary Strands, to provide a balanced approach to explore the most important questions and issues facing AT professionals today, allowing you to focus on a specific area of interest or need.

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The Primary Strands are:

AT for Physical Access and Participation

AT for Physical Access strand icon

Supporting Partners:


RESNA logo



William E. Janes, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L; Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Missouri; Representing Technology Special Interest Section, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Judith Schoonover, MEd, OTR/L, ATP, FAOTA, AT Consultant, Representing Early Intervention & School Special Interest Section, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Therese Willkomm, PhD, Director of New Hampshire’s State Assistive Technology Program with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire (UNH); Representing the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)

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.

Sessions in this strand will focus on emerging and existing technologies or systems for: Alternate keyboard/mouse, eye gaze, head pointers, scanning, switches, innovative text entry, environmental control units (ECUs), mobile devices and apps, mounting devices, functional seating and mobility, home modification, activities of daily living, adaptive recreation and sports, and improved public access.

Topics in this strand may be of special interest to occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, special educators, engineers, assistive technology professionals, transition coordinators, independent living specialists, Makers, consumers, 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:

  • Accessible toys, play, and playgrounds
  • Adaptive recreation and disabled sports technologies
  • Aging in place
  • Community access technologies
  • Computer access technologies
  • Customized and 3-D printed solutions
  • Employment access
  • Environment access
  • Ergonomics
  • Functional seating and positioning
  • Home access technologies
  • Independent living
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
  • Leisure
  • Maker contributions to AT
  • Rehabilitation
  • School/education environments
  • Transition to environment/community

Contact the AT for Physical Access and Participation Team at

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication strand iconSupporting Partner:

Amy Goldman, Vice President, Financial Affairs, United States Society for AAC (USSAAC)

Angela Standridge, Education Specialist, Region 4 Education Service Center; Representing ASHA AAC SIG 12

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. All skill levels are welcome; submissions with intermediate or advanced content are strongly encouraged.

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/Higher Education

Education and Learning Strand IconKelly Fonner, Fonner Consulting, Assistive/Educational Technology Consultant

Luis Pérez, Ph. D., Technical Assistance Specialist, National Center on Accessible Materials for Learning (AEM Center) at CAST, Representing the Inclusive Learning Network, International Society for Technology in Education

Sessions in this strand focus on the effective implementation of assistive technology with students in early childhood and 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 and pre-service teachers are especially welcome as part of the presentation team. Submissions on assistive technology implementation are encouraged, and 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 support for reading, writing, and research
  • Assistive technology supports for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math)
  • Accessible educational materials and related technologies (AEM)
  • Accessible educational materials and related technologies in the classroom
  • Differentiated instruction and personalized learning through technology
  • Technology supports for executive function, behavior, and/or tasks in educational settings
  • Technology that supports the implementation  of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework  in the classroom

Contact the Education/Learning Team at

Higher Education

Supporting Partner:

Accesstext Network logo




Carolyn P. Phillips, Director of Education & Services, AccessText Network, Center for Inclusive Design & Innovation in the College of Design at Georgia Tech; Director and Principal Investigator of Tools for Life

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

Contact the Higher Education Team at

Vision & Hearing Technologies

Vision and Hearing Technologies Strand IconSupporting Partner:



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, avocational, 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
  • Captioning Tools and Services

Contact the Vision & Hearing Technologies Team at


Secondary Strands:


Supporting Partner:

David Banes, Director, David Banes Access and Inclusion Services UK

Cynthia Curry, Project Director, CAST

Leadership develops in many ways whether the leader, as an individual or organization 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
  • Strategic approaches to addressing needs
  • Developing improvement plans, using data, and assessing impact
  • Thought leadership
  • 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:

Rob Carr, ICT Accessibility Program Manager, 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 the 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)

Contact the Mainstream & Web Accessible Technologies Team at



Supporting Partners:

RESNA logo



Anya Evmenova, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University; Representing the Innovations in Special Education Technology (ISET) division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Lori Geist, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Representing the ATIA Research Committee

Heidi Koester, PhD, President of Koester Performance Research; Representing the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)

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, policymakers, 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 a 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 to 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


Transition and Workplace Accessibility

Supporting Partner:

Teresa Goddard, Lead Consultant, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

The Transition and Workplace Accessibility Strand focuses on technological and situation-based strategies for transitioning students and entry-level professionals to employment. Transitioning from secondary and post-secondary education to work often requires the successful use of assistive technologies in order to maximize access to career exploration experiences such as internships, cooperatives, and apprenticeships. Transitioning also requires an understanding of employer-based accommodation processes and technologies. Situation-based strategies matched to these processes and technologies, including innovative employment models, enable and empower young people with disabilities to not only find employment opportunities, but also to sustain employment for the long term.

Presentation proposals should be submitted from transition coordinators, transition specialists, transition teachers, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, vocational rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation engineers, educators, AT specialists, job coaches, and/or support staff responsible for preparing transitioning students or entry-level professionals with disabilities. Proposals from talent acquisition staff and employer-based teams working to build and sustain employer talent pipelines are also welcome. Presentations should emphasize the successful use of assistive and employer-based technologies, innovative employment preparation models, and/or case studies for transitioning students and entry-level professionals.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategies for acquiring and using assistive technologies for successfully transitioning students and entry-level professionals to employment
  • Strategies for accessing mainstream employer-based workplace technologies
  • Access-for-all or ease-of-use technologies to reduce barriers to employment for transitioning individuals
  • Strategies for using assistive technology as a method to expand career options
  • Case studies of innovative employment preparation models
  • Processes for using assistive technology as a workplace accommodation

Contact the Transition and Workplace Accessibility Team at

The Secondary Strands are interwoven into the Primary Strands and are led by Subject Matter Experts and representatives from strategic partner organizations.