This week, Chris interviews Colleen Warn, Director of the Center for Assistive Technology for the NYC Department of Education. Chris and Colleen discuss how we can make assistive technology more equitable, especially for racially/culturally diverse students and students with a lower socio-economic status (SES). They talk about how their Center for Assistive Technology has pushed to teach teachers and staff about AAC, how they have changed the referral process to be more equitable, and how they seek to empower service providers across NYC. Colleen also shares about supporting her child, who has complex communication needs, and how her family has learned more about AAC.
Before the interview, Chris and Rachel talk about their upcoming preconference seminar, “Designing and Delivering Empowering Experiences to Teach Language Using AAC” and their excitement to be able to connect with learners in a more intimate and collaborative environment. Learn more at bit.ly/designaac
Key ideas this week:
🔑 One important consideration when looking at equity in assistive technology is the speed in which a school or district gets an AAC device when they need one. Make sure everyone gets a device at the same speed, regardless of SES.
🔑 If one district or school is sending in many more referrals than other districts, look at the makeup of the students who are not getting referred for AAC and their service providers. Are there cultural or SES barriers to implementing AAC?
🔑 When a related service provider (e.g. SLP) sends a referral to do an AT assessment, consider coaching that person how to do the assessment itself. This will improve their skills and may improve their ability to refer the correct students with AT needs in the future.
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