ATIA 2022 Pre-conference Seminars

Start learning early with one- or two-day educational seminars designed to give attendees in-depth education on critical assistive technology topics. Learn the in-depth professional development 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. 

Two-day Pre-Conferences by Strand:

One-day Pre-Conferences by Strand:

Two-day Seminars

Tuesday, January 25 and Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationStrand: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AT Bootcamp! Understanding and Implementing Assistive Technology

This two-day pre-conference workshop experience is designed for people new to the field of Assistive Technology or first-time conference attendees. Day 1 will provide a fundamental overview of assistive technology (AT) service delivery processes that includes AT consideration, assessment, and application as well as a structure to further your personal learning experience. Through an array of topics, the participants will obtain a snapshot of AT supports related to empowering access for people of all disabilities, ages and environments. Areas of AT covered during the first day will include Access, Mobile Devices and Communication. In addition, participants will develop an understanding of how to leverage access to both common and specialized technologies to realize a world where barriers are minimized and access/engagement is emphasized.

Day 2 extends participants’ experiences by strengthening their knowledge and experience working with AT devices, and providing AT services. This session continues participants’ explorations of AT devices including literacy, cognition, social integration. Furthermore, the session moves from the overview of AT services delivery processes from Day 1 to a deeper exploration of moving toward effective AT implementation using real-world examples, including AT implementation in a variety of in-person and virtual environments. Both days are designed to increase their own personal learning networks. Participants will have the opportunity to explore up to 5 sessions from the ATIA Learning Center in preparation for this pre-conference or for a short period after the preconference. Participants are also encouraged to attend the edcampAccess International unconference on Friday night – where the instructors will lead a session focused on the application of all the information that participants experienced throughout the conference week.


Headshot of Kelly Fonner Headshot of Mike Cole
Kelly Fonner
Kelly Fonner Consulting
Mike Cole
Use Your Words P.C.
Mike Marotta Headshot Headshot of Brian Wojcik
Mike Marotta
Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC
Brain Wojcik
Nebraska Department of Education
PODD Communication Books Two Day Introductory Workshop

Children who have complex communication needs or have only limited speech, in addition to other challenges, often struggle to interact and communicate. This may include children who have physical disabilities, multiple disabilities, sensory processing challenges, limited social interaction skills, and/or a range of cognitive limitations and learning difficulties. This two-day course will demonstrate the use of a Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) approach developed by Gayle Porter (Melbourne, Australia). Generic templates for multi-page “light tech” communication books have been carefully designed to support genuine communication for a variety of functions throughout the day. These templates may be customized for a range of access methods and other individual needs. You will learn strategies for creating multi-modal language learning environments that provide receptive models and expressive opportunities for language development and strategies for teaching and using PODD with children and their communication partners. Participants will have an opportunity for hands-on practice with PODD Communication books. *There will be a $20 fee at the door for the PODD manual and handout materials.


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

Strand: Education & Learning: Early Intervention – 12/Higher Education

AT Capacity Building Workshop: Intentional changes to strengthen your AT ProgramHigher Education

Capacity building is the investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of any program, including your AT program.

What changes in your AT program model have you considered to build capacity? What are barriers in the current systems of AT service provision that have kept you from moving forward? In this era of rapid technological changes, AT teams are taking a new look at the design of their assistive technology (AT) services with an eye to increasing capacity and integrating technology systems.

In this workshop, we will use a project-based approach to examine, improve and customize our models for AT services. Two models, the CITES Framework and Fullan’s Coherence model, will guide the work for defining the capacity you want to build. We will address the big picture of building capacity and explore concepts to help teams to analyze their current goals, service models.

There will be ample time for collaborative work to capitalize on one another’s ideas, resources and skills as you develop components of your AT services plan. Participants will work with Gayl and Janet to define the ways in which they want to build new program capacity, increase coherence across the agency and integrate AT services with instructional and information technology.”


Headshot of Gayle Bowser Aaron Marsters Headshot Janet Peters headshot
Gayl Bowser
AT Collaborations
Aaron Marsters
DoDEA Europe
 Janet Peters

Strand: Vision & Hearing Technologies/Transition and Workplace Accessibility/ Mainstream & Web Accessible TechnologiesVision and Hearing Technologies

Practitioner’s Handbook: AT Services for People who are Blind or have Low Vision

We will explore using remote technologies within the AT services in the current and post-COVID-19. This training will include collaborative learning opportunities and hands-on experiences with a variety of AT solutions. Theoretical principles of specific access technologies will be reviewed, as well as a discussion of emergent trends in technology and services, specifically as they relate to the current and post-COVID-19 pandemic. We will explore techniques and options for remote instruction, assessment, and configuration within the continuum of AT services designed for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. Other topics will include the comparison between available screen readers, discussion of layers of magnification and display settings, strategies for assessing customization needs in face-to-face and virtual environments, digital accessibility and universal design, as well as approaches to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies for people with visual impairments. *This is a BYOT session. Please have a Windows computer, Chromebook, or macOS computer, Android or iOS device, and either headphones or earphones.

This training is designed at the intermediate and advanced level primarily for professionals working in the visual impairment technology arena, such as Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS), Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs), Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRTs), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS), and Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVTs).


Headshot of Rachael Trinkowsky Stacy Kelly Headshot
Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky
Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches and UMass Boston
Sean Tikkun
Northern Illinois University
Stacy Kelly
Northern Illinois University

Strand: Assistive Technology for Physical Access and ParticipationAT for Physical Access

Discover The Joy of AT Making – A 2 Day “Hands-On” Intensive AT Makers Workshop

The AT makers movement continues to explode nationwide. Each year, new tools, materials, and techniques for the rapid fabrication of AT devices continue to be discovered. We continue to face challenges associated with limited time and limited money. In addition, creating Assistive Technology Solutions for individuals with disabilities has a very high failure rate and abandonment rate. Therefore, learning how to use available no cost, low-cost materials that are adjustable, reusable, portable, collapsible, will enable participants to not be afraid of failure but rather be willing to keep trying another way to succeed.

This two-day intensive workshop introduces participants to 36 new tools, and techniques for rapid problem-solving and the creation of multi-use devices for individuals affected by physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments. In addition, Day two will enable each participant will develop skills in utilizing the various tools and materials to make 15 different multi-use devices to take home.  Participants will also develop knowledge and skills through hands-on exploration of fabrication tools, and techniques for creating multi-use, flexible, and reusable devices.

Each participant will receive a MacGyver kit for rapid fabrication. They will learn amazing tips and tricks for working with 10 different specialty tapes; 10 different plastics; five different fasteners; five different types of foam; and six different specialty tools for cutting, heating and bending, deburring, and assembly. * $50 maker materials fee payable to speaker at session.


Headshot of Therese Wilkommen
Therese Willkomm
University of New Hampshire

One-day Seminars

Wednesday, January 26, 2022Higher Education

Strand: Education & Learning: Early Intervention – 12/Higher Education

Big Apple Charges Ahead! Assessments, HIAT, & Building School-Based Capacity

The Center for Assistive Technology at the New York City Department of Education is the largest centralized assistive technology (A.T.) team in the country! Our team is tasked with the responsibility of providing all things related to assistive technology to N.Y.C. for students ages 3-21 in various settings (public school, preschool, charter & private schools). From March 2020 through the Summer of 2021, we encountered COVID-19, shut downs, remote learning, hybrid schedules and phasing back to in person learning. All these events challenged our team to continue to think “out of the box” in carrying out our mission: To ensure A.T. mandates are carried out and, to provide quality assistive technology assessment, training, resources, and implementation support to students, families, teachers, and other school staff in fulfilling this mission, expeditiously, completely and with equity. Navigating our A.T. Dept. challenged our department to fundamentally rethink and rework how our assistive technology interactions and supports will be conducted. How were we going to proceed when our assessments and training have always been a hands-on and in-person experience? We then identified the advantage which full remote learning offers.

The thrust into full remote learning facilitated teachers and staff to learn and recognize the capabilities of instructional technology which significantly impacts access to the curriculum. For the first time in our school system, equitable access to technology for all students regardless of their socioeconomic status was provided. As we worked through the pandemic, our assistive technology team continued to be at the forefront by continuing to provide assistive technology assessments, support and training, all remotely, along with providing mandated assistive technology devices.

In this pre-conference session, we will share and highlight all our trials and tribulations as we continue to fulfill our mission for over 200K students in special education. Let us take you on a journey: from managing our assistive technology team to logistics of inventory & device management, through the remote assistive technology assessments, into the school-based capacity building for High Incidence Assistive Technology (H.I.A.T.) cases and over to preschool augmentative alternative communication (A.A.C.) consultations, then dive into our instructional A.A.C. application rollout, and, finally, to our full-day live synchronous virtual A.T. professional development day. What does it take to support the largest and most diverse public school system in the country with assistive technology? Come join our informative and interactive pre-conference where we will share our cross-platform solutions that are practical and achievable for students, and easy to implement by school staff. Hands-on opportunity to delve into our updated A.T. toolkit and new remote assessment kit will be provided.



Lindsay Huntley headshot Santos Headshot
Lindsey Huntley
NYCDOE Center for Assistive Technology
Maricris Formoso-Santos
NYCDOE Center for Assistive Technology
Colleen Warn
NYC Department of Education
Joseph Piazza
NYC Department of Education
Considering New Realities: Innovative Tech for Reading and Writing

This collaborative, fast-paced and highly interactive pre-conference workshop will thoroughly investigate reading and writing across the curriculum while modeling and providing hands-on opportunities to consider a variety of tools for instruction, remediation, accommodation and data collection. We will focus on providing a basis for understanding the skills necessary for reading skill and written language skill development. Many IEP teams struggle with how best to consider, plan and implement appropriate assistive and educational technologies with their learners with literacy challenges. Too often, educators rely on traditional instructional methods when working with learners who present with learning variabilities. Educators must incorporate methods that reach every learner using a learner-centered approach.

We will investigate the five basic components of reading as developed by the National Reading Panel and recognized as essential underlying skills for developing effective reading abilities. We will explore alternative strategies to support the development of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency, the five components of reading. Numerous technologies exist which support all phases of writing skill development and will be demonstrated and explored throughout the afternoon session of the workshop. The pre-conference session will focus on reading in the morning and writing in the afternoon.


Mike Marotta Headshot Headshot of Karen Janowski
Mike Marotta
Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC
Karen Janowski
EdTech Solutions


Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationStrand: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Designing and Delivering Empowering Experiences to Teach language Using AAC!

If a student is not successfully using verbal speech as her or his primary form of expression by the age of 3, the educators working with that student should be considering augmentative/alternative communication. But what are the considerations that will result in desired outcomes? Teaching core vocabulary and using partner augmented input/aided language stimulation are now more widely implemented practices than ever before.

This session does a deep dive into additional considerations including least-to-most prompting, morphological instruction (shifting the focus from just words to a more inclusive approach of morphemes), and explicit instruction of phrasal verbs (two or more core words put together which result in an altered meaning) consistent symbol/word location. Teaching students how to use language using augmentative/alternative communication can be a difficult task. It takes a consistent, collaborative effort for successful implementation. This interactive experience explores numerous strategies for teaching students of all language levels by engineering environments for rich, meaningful practice of language in the context of everyday routines.

Participants will explore how to design educational experiences using free and low-cost technologies which empower the learner and their support network to achieve lifelong language goals. It takes practice to learn any skill. Practice alone, however, does not make perfect. Instead, perfect practice makes perfect. To become a more effective communication partner, feedback and guidance are important factors. Participants will learn a systematic structure that can be implemented in either face-to-face or virtual learning environments for how to develop and foster skills in others so they can become effective communication partners and coaches. Participants will take an in-depth look at building 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 in every lesson and activity all day long in all environments. Participants will leave with a cogent, cohesive, and consistent plan of action to create a culture around learning a language using AAC; tying together comprehensive practical considerations, enjoyable and empowering instruction promoting joint engagement, and multi-faceted professional learning experiences for communication partners with an emphasis on coaching.


Headshot of Chris Bugaj
Christopher Bugaj
Loudoun County Public Schools
Rachel Madel
Rachel Madel Speech Therapy Inc.

Strand: Assistive Technology for Physical Access and ParticipationAT for Physical Access strand icon

The Highs and Lows of Accessing Participation through the Continuum of AT

The acts of playing, learning and the development of social bonds form the basis of childhood. Children fulfilling these roles use a wide continuum of tools and aids, from poster putty and pencils to iPads and Chromebooks. Children with complex physical needs also benefit from a range of tools to ensure the best possible access to those activities that will help shape their personality, and bring joy to themselves and those around them. While the SETT Framework is used as a standard for collaborative problem solving, feature matching of what the child needs and wants to do with tools, it can also be used to determine the manner in which the child will be assessed and the methods used to perform the assessment. Feature matching can be viewed as an ongoing process rather than solely a determination of a solution. A tool in the classroom may be vastly different that a tool at the pool, yet serve the same purpose.

This innovative seminar brings together two occupational therapists sharing the same ethos for enabling participation for all, but coming from different backgrounds. Our digital connection is a testament to new ways of working and expanding our personal learning networks beyond national boundaries. This session will focus on assessment and solutions to complex access challenges including positioning, switches, and eye gaze. The solutions arrived upon will range from simple light tech innovations created from easily found materials to more complex technical interventions. Case studies will be used to illustrate the process of assessment, feature matching, and ultimately the selection of a continuum of supports based on the situation in which they will be implemented. Participants will be encouraged to consider all possibilities across this continuum when supporting their caseloads, and to use their imagination and practical skills, as well as deep-dive into vital technical aspects when considering their interventions. Lite tech and high tech solutions will be examined side by side to determine the relative access benefit or barrier feature of each.


Headshot of Judith Schoonover
Judith Schoonover
Adaptations and Tools for Participation LLC
Charlie Danger
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust