Coding Core: Teaching Language to Users of AAC Using Coding and Robots!

Chris Bugaj ; Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools

Description: Learning language through AAC devices and learning to code has a natural synergy as both are ways to communicate using a structured rule set. Participants in this session will experience free and low-cost tools, many of which might already be available in their schools, to teach language through the engaging and empowering mediums of block coding and robots!

Escape the Room with Inclusive Strategies

Chris Bugaj ; Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools

Description: Work individually or divide up into teams to see if you can Escape The Room! Collect the clues, decipher the riddles, and solve the puzzles to claim your prize! Along the way you'll experience a variety of instructional strategies useful for designing inclusive and accessible educational experiences! Leave with a list of practical tools, resources, and ideas to help teach every learner. Even if you fail, you win! Will you ESCAPE THE ROOM?

AAC Agreements: Crowd Sourcing "Better" Practices in Language Learning

Chris Bugaj ; Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools

Description: What should everyone know when working with a person using AAC? Participants will learn existing universal truths, known as AAC Agreements, created during discussions at previous conferences. Participants will choose an activity such as discussing the use of existing Agreements, finding evidence that supports (or refutes) an existing Agreement, or developing a new Agreement. Participants will leave aware of the Agreements and part of a community interested in evidence based practices for AAC implementation.

From switch toys to switch access and AAC.

Michael Dicpinigaitis, Student

Christine Baudin, M.S., CCC-SLP, Private Practice Consultant

Description: The first part of this session will be presented by Michael Dicpinigaitis. Michael will discuss the ins and outs of creating and running the free lending library: and how you too can replicate such a program in your community. He will also demonstrate how to adapt a simple battery operated plush toy and provide you with resources so you can do the same! The second part of this session will be presented by Christine Baudin, M.S., CCC-SLP. Christine will discuss what you can do to introduce AAC when you have that very complex student who is learning switch access and may also have an accompanied visual impairment. Partner assisted auditory scanning (PAS), 1-switch scanning, 2-switch scanning, and auditory scanning will be reviewed. Two robust vocabulary options that grow with your students’ language learning needs without compromising motor plan will be shared.

Building Teacher Capacity to Support Students in Inclusive Classrooms

Alicia M. Drelick, Rowan University

Description: Accessible technology tools should be implemented in inclusive classrooms to ensure all students are accessing learning materials and demonstrating their knowledge to the best of their ability. As many teachers are unaware of these tools, it is critical the school-based AT experts and teacher preparation programs work to build teacher capacity around the use of accessible technology.

AAC for curriculum participation and written production: Inspiring the Village

Catherine Fredericks, Wayne Township Public Schools

Description: The email feature of AAC applications can encourage reading and support written production for students not yet able to write or type using conventional supports. Use of the email feature increases AAC awareness, changes perceptions, and encourages interaction with school staff, families, and individuals in the community. Videos of students using AAC email in various ways will be shown.

Coding and Robots in the Special Needs Classroom

Christopher Harris, Pennsauken Public Schools

Jennifer Duda, Mercer County Special Services School District

Description: Kids with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder thrive when learning computer science - particularly if presented in equitable ways that address individual student needs. Through intentional and accessible practices that allow kids to explore, create, and develop a community of learners, we tackle the most common learning disabilities seen in schools to reduce barriers to learning so all kids can code.

Living and Aging-In-Place: Can your Home Handle It?

Garth Heid, Advancing Opportunities

Description: Come learn about supports available to children and adults with disabilities and their caregivers to help them be independent and safe in the home. This includes everything from home accessibility (ramps, bathroom modifications, lifts), to aids for daily living, and Smart Home Technology. Funding will also be discussed.

Using Both Speech and AAC to Support Communicative Independence

Kathryn Helland, TECHOwl PA

Description: AAC is augmentative when it is used part-time. This may be the case when someone has difficulty being understood by unfamiliar listeners, or when they can't rely on spoken language in all contexts. This can be an important tool for people with autism or Down Syndrome. It should be seen as a valid individual choice.

Pi for Everybody: An AT+Edu Partnership

Keri Hennessy-Wilson, Asbury Park School District

Mike Marotta, Assistive Technology Advocacy Center, Disability Rights New Jersey

Description: Come learn how the New Jersey AT Act Project partnered with the Asbury Park School District to create a Raspberry Pi project to teach coding to students with disabilities. In addition, we explored Assistive Technology solutions in order to increase independence for residents across NJ. Staff also collaborated to raise awareness in local schools about people with disabilities and the power of AT.

Art and Music Supports for People with Disabilities

Adam Krass; Adam Krass Consulting, LLC

Description: Creating art and music by people with disabilities is the focus of this presentation. Participants will learn about a wide variety of assistive technologies which can increase an artist of musician with a disability's level of independence. This presentation will include case studies and demonstrations.

Don’t Let My Voice Go: AAC and Transitions

Tracy Lee, Gramon Family of Schools

Description: Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems provide individuals with significant speech and language difficulties a means to communicate. At times of life transitions, such as early intervention to school-based services and then to adult life, resources to provide AAC systems and supports change. This session will address considerations to meet the needs of AAC users at these critical times.

So what is Accessibility, really? What’s the fuss.

Naomi Leibowitz, Assistive Technology Advocacy Center, Disability Rights New Jersey

Description: How often to do we hear making materials/devices accessible is just too much work and no one benefits from it except a person with a disability. Accessibility should never be an afterthought. Often times, if we create materials and devices with accessibility in mind we avoid having to remediate access barriers afterwards and we create a more inclusive environment. In this session, we will dispel the myths of accessibility and discuss how accessibility may assist all.

Chrome as Assistive Technology = Access & Inclusion

Mike Marotta, Assistive Technology Advocacy Center, Disability Rights New Jersey

Description: Assistive Technology is changing. Google Chrome and web based applications are taking over. Are you new to Chromebooks and not sure how these devices will meet an individual’s needs? Do you know how to set up the built in accessibility options for customized support? What about all those different Chrome apps and extensions? Do you need to know about alternative access solutions for Chromebooks? What about virtual reality and Google Cardboard?

This session will aim to answer those questions and more! Join the fun as we explore all things Chrome and how to use this powerful tool to support individuals as an AT solution.

Parent and Educator Collaboration in Assistive Technology Considerations

Nicole Pratt; Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

Description: Parents are valuable allies that provide important information to school staff about their child. This presentation will share evidence-based, adaptive approaches to more effectively engage parents and professionals in collaborative activities regarding Assistive Technology considerations.

Toolbox for Adult Life

Kristen Russell, Jeannette Van Houten; Advancing Opportunities

Description: Independence is key to becoming an “adult.” During the presentation, we will discuss how to build a strong foundation to create their own AT resource kit and understanding that solutions are fluid. Once students leave the supportive environment of the K-12 environment upon graduation, the supports are limited. We will discuss building the foundation, awareness, and what tools may support adult life.

SSA Work Supports ABLE Accounts and Assistive Technology

Laurie Schaller; National Disability Institute

Description: Assistive Technology is often expensive and in many cases, grants are limited. Learn how the Social Security System supports people who need to purchase AT. ABLE savings accounts and the New Jersey NDI AT loan program can also support those who need to purchase AT to best meet their needs.

Website Accessibility: Complying With ADA Requirements

Phillip Stern, Richard Flaum; DiFrancesco Bateman Kunzman Davis Lehrer & Flaum, PC


We must be aware of accessibility guidelines pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act pertaining to websites. These requirements include Company-wide websites, and individual websites. This practical, interactive seminar will provide a strong foundation for ADA website compliance

Thanks to all our speakers for sharing their expertise!