I have written blog posts (Goose Bumps and The iPad Question) before about our A/T program. For those who don’t know… A/T stands for assistive technology or adaptive technology. LDAWE is fortunate that we have contracts with both of our local English school boards to provide A/T training to students with disabilities who receive technology for use in the classroom to help them access the curriculum. The name of the Ministry of Education funding used to purchase this equipment is call SEA (Special Equipment Amount).
The good news is that both of our school boards are fairly progressive when is comes to issuing SEA Claim Equipment. For example:
- They issue equipment (and lots of it… more about that later). I have heard that some school boards around the province still hardly issue any A/T equipment to students who would benefit from it.
- They are innovative. Instead of just issuing laptops like they have in the past, both school boards are now experimenting with new types of equipment, such as iPads and Chromebooks.
- They invest in training. The equipment is only beneficial to the student, if they know how to use it.
- They are willing to change. When given feedback that current policies around issuing SEA Claim Equipment are not working, they make adjustments to the policies and procedures to make it work.
All of that being said… I’m feeling a little bit like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz this year. The first full year that we provided A/T training was the 2009/2010 school year. That year we had 5 A/T Trainers on staff and we provided training to 129 students. This year, due to some changes in one of the Board’s policies, we have already received referrals for 486 students to receive training (and it’s only November). We started off the school year with 9 A/T Trainers, 1 A/T Training Scheduler, and myself as the coordinator of the program. Since the change in policy, we’ve hired 7 more A/T Trainers. I have also been busy creating new lesson plans for the new types of devices that are being issued. Also, both school boards are looking into adding classroom training as well.
Please be patient as LDAWE and the school boards work through these changes. All of these changes are great news for students with learning disabilities and ADHD in Windsor and Essex County. I look forward to a day when all students can access the curriculum regardless of ability and without fear of judgement.
Laptops and iPads and Chromebooks, oh my!
Laptops and iPads and Chromebooks, OH MY!!
Laptops and iPads and Chromebooks, OH MY!!!