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Illinois Service Resource Center S e r v i n g C h i l d r e n W h o a r e Deaf or Hard of Hearing and Exhibit Emotional or Behavioral Disorders 847-559-8195 Voice 847-559-9493 TTY 800-550-ISRC (4772) 24 Hour Helpline Email: Internet site:

Spring 2005 Edition


Note from the Director:

Technology is abundant in our lives and in the classroom. Educators who stay on the cutting edge enhance their own professionalism and increase opportunities for students. This can be accomplished by maintaining an awareness of assistive technology devices and by taking advantage of software and online opportunities to create interactive and highly visual lessons. It seems a daunting task to keep current with technological advances. Expressive communication systems range from pointing to a graphic on a picture board to a computer that tracks eye movements and converts messages to speech (think Stephen Hawking), while receptively there is computer software that converts a teacher’s spoken language to text to sign language. This issue of the ISRC Review offers information and resources to assist in obtaining and utilizing technology resources throughout the state. We are fortunate in Illinois to have an abundance of services and support for incorporating technology into the classroom.

Cheri Sinnott, LCSW ISRC Director

In This Issue Page 2. Video Phones Provide Access To Services Page 3. IATP Offers Resources, Training, Devices Page 3. ISHI Awards Technology In Classroom

Technology In The Classroom Assists Teachers And Students Classrooms have come a long way from the chalk and blackboard era. Students and teachers benefit from multiple technologies available to enhance the educational system. There are two main components of technology in the classroom. The first group includes devices that assist with independent living and communication. This includes FM units, caption decoders, vibrating or flashing signaling devices, audio induction loops, TTYs, digital white boards and many others. In addition to assistive technology devices, the second area of technology beneficial to the classroom includes computer programs and devices that increase effectiveness and motivation. Online/internet activities and projects are highly interactive and are enthusiastically received by students. Power Point presentations offer exciting, visual opportunities for presenting curriculum material. Teachers who successfully integrate technology into their classroom routine will reap the benefits of students with higher levels of independence and communication skills, who are engaged, motivated and have access to information.

Assistive Technology Act Reauthorized In 2004 In October, 2004, President Bush signed legislation reauthorizing the Assistive Technology Act. The new legislation changes the focus to establish a new priority on direct aid to individuals with disabilities. Continued on page 4

Sorenson Video Phones Provide Access To Direct Services Communication barriers abound when attempting to locate services for students with a hearing loss. For example, students in need of a mental health therapist or psychiatrist often need to travel for hours to be seen by a professional who knows sign language. The Illinois Service Resource Center is in the process of establishing a network of Sorenson video phones throughout the state to link students with the professional services they need. Instead of traveling to Chicago to be seen by a psychiatrist, a (Some sites still waiting for installation) student can travel to one of the regional sites and communicate in sign language directly with a psychiatrist.

Illinois Service Resource Center Regional Sites With Sorenson Video Phones

ISRC technical assistance will also be available via video phone. Team members are available, at no cost, for consultation regarding behavioral concerns of students with a hearing loss. Once all of the video phones are installed, training options will be explored. The ISRC is a provider of CEUs and offers free training on a variety of subjects. Socialization opportunities are another feature of the video phones. Teachers in various parts of the state can set up meetings between students. This will be especially helpful for students who feel isolated and do not have access to activities where there are other students with a hearing loss.

Augmentative Communication System Requires Comprehensive Assessment Before dedicating scarce funds to a costly augmentative communication system, complete a comprehensive assessment that takes into account a variety of settings and includes both formal and informal testing. A primary consideration is the function of the communication, that is, what is expected to be accomplished by meeting this communication need. A review of the child’s strengths and abilities, as well as barriers to full communication participation, assists the team in determining which devices or systems will best help the student meet communication goals. Keep in mind that the goal of an augmentative communication system is to offer the student an opportunity for the most effective means of interactive communication possible. Education, learning and quality of life are dependent on an individual’s ability to communicate both expressively and receptively. For a list of augmentative communication evaluators in Illinois visit - ISRC Review Page 2 -

Illinois Assistive Technology Project Provides Info, Training, Loans The Illinois Assistive Technology Project (IATP) provides a variety of assistive technology services to individuals in Illinois. Services include an information and assistance program, training workshops, a devices loan program, a demonstration center, low interest loans, publications and legislative monitoring. Illinois was one of the first nine states to receive federal funds to establish a statewide assistive technology program. The information and assistance program assists with finding specific devices based on individual need, finding lower cost alternatives and finding funding options and strategies. Access to a variety of databases assists with the search for tools designed specifically for individuals with disabilities. IATP staff present workshops on a variety of topics including: Getting to Know Technology for People with Disabilities; Making Your Own Technology for People with Disabilities; You, Your Child and Special Education; Educational Technology and the IEP or 504 Plan; and How to Fund Technologies for People with Disabilities. IATP will also provide customized workshops based on individual need. The device loan program offers schools and individuals an opportunity to “try before you buy.� Devices are available in several categories, such as activities for daily living, augmentative communication, keyboards, toys and others. Some of the specific devices, which can be borrowed for four to six weeks, include AlphaTalker, MessageMate, ChatBox, Communication Boards, DynaVox, AlphaSmart, computer screen magnifiers, electronic toys, AlertMaster, doorbell signalers and many more. For more information contact 800-852-5110 v/tty ( Illinois only) or visit the website at

ISHI Offers Technology Recognition Awards Illinois Supervisors of programs for Hard of Hearing/Deaf Individuals (ISHI) created a Technology Recognition (TecRec) Award to promote the use of technology in the classroom as a teaching strategy. Three $500 awards were presented to teachers. Judges looked at creativity and how projects related to curriculum. Additional considerations were to choose a variety of age levels/abilities and different types of technology to show the many ways teachers can incorporate technology into their lessons. ISHI members voted to continue the TecRec Award for the 04-05 school year. For information on the next award contact Peg Singleton at 708-424-9900. Winners for the 03-04 School Year were: 1) Dana Winsor Dudzik of Nathan Hale Middle School in Crestwood for a PowerPoint presentation on Arthropods and Echinoderms, 2) Raven Emeritz of Center Glen Therapeutic School in Northbrook for her School Newspaper and 3) Aimee Veith of the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville for The Ultimate Experience Story. Additional submitted projects that can be viewed online include: Digital Cameras Create Exciting, Fun, Handson Materials by Erin Barham, Child's Voice School, Wood Dale; Exploring the Americas by Lisa Bendinelli, Eisenhower Cooperative, Oak Lawn; Biomes of the World by Beth Marta, Eisenhower Cooperative, Oak Lawn; and Self Advocacy for Graduating High School Students by Karen Parmelee, Cooperative Association for Special Education (CASE), Lombard. These resources can be viewed on line at: The website offers many additional resources, including a database of teaching modules that can be used by teachers. To find a module, go to and click on documents, then document search and type in your subject.

- ISRC Review Page 3 -

Assistive Technology Act Reauthorized

ISRC Staff

Continued from page 1 The Assistive Technology state grant program was initially designed to establish systems to administer assistive technology resources and increase access to assistive technology devices. Now that most states have effective infrastructures in place, states will be required to use a majority of funds on direct aid such as reutilization programs, demonstration programs, alternative financing and device loans. In Illinois, these federal funds flow to the Illinois Assistive Technology Project (see page 3), which provides, coordinates, and promotes services that improve access to assistive technology and increase public awareness of this technology.

Cheri Sinnott Jacki Marcus Dr. Steve Vaupel

Jeri Reed Mike Teplitsky Ann Sego

Director School Psychologist / Deaf Educator Behavioral / Psychological Consultant Deaf / Special Needs Educator Information Specialist Administrative Assistant

obtain a physician report form. These are available each county courthouse. After the physician completes this Lending Libraries Offer Free,fromLow Cost Technology Alternatives form to verify that the student is disabled, a petition is filed with the Probate Court Clerk. This is the official request to

Several agencies in Illinois operate lending libraries of assistive technology devices. Individual consumers may borrow the court forifappointment of a guardian. noticesmaking are senta out, and atohearing date set. This can be helpful to items to see they are appropriate to their Next, need before decision purchase theisitem. schools in determining whether an item assists a student in achieving a goal, prior to making a substantial investment. Parents may choose to hire a private attorney, or obtain assistance through low cost or free legal resources. These are Opportunities to purchase used/refurbished equipment are also available. Organizations that offer this service include primarily for limited income families. The State of Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission has offices located the Illinois Assistive Technology Project, Infinitec and Lekotek (see pinup for website information). regionally throughout the state. The web site is It includes an online intake form.

Learn more about services and resources available from the ISRC

Assistive Technology Resources Agencies Illinois Assistive Technology Project Infinitec Lekotek Assistive Technology Industry Association

Equipment Harris Communications Mayer-Johnson, Inc. Sorenson Video Phones IL Telecommunications Access Corp (TTYs) C-Print Speech to Text System

ISRC Library Video - Freedom Machines ( Book – Learning With Technology, Dede

Curriculum Ideas

Other Captioned Media Program

Activities That Incorporate Technology In The Classroom Create a link from the district/coop web site to allow parents to access assignments, activities, or information. Video clips can be supplied to help parents learn correct signs for vocabulary being used in the classroom. Have students visit the Dummy Hoy website ( and read the quotes that reporters used to describe Hoy. Then, have students pick out a quote that they think would hurt Hoy’s feelings and single out the words that need to be changed in order to make it a positive statement. As a class, change the negative words into positive ones. For an independent activity at the primary level, put vocabulary words on a Power Point program. Have the student attempt to read (sign) the word. To allow students to independently check their work, have students click on the mouse to see a picture of the word. The student can go through the program as many times as needed until he or she can read the entire list of vocabulary words. Deaf History Webquest:

Create classroom newsletters using digital cameras and a computer program. Students can be writers, editors, or photographers. Modify social studies or science textbooks for intermediate or middle school students. Textbooks can be modified by scanning pictures from the text, or obtaining the pictures from the company’s web, and then adding modified text. Have students email a request for a copy of HIP Magazine ( Once the students have obtained a copy of the magazine and have read through the articles, have them discuss what articles they liked the most and why. Students can also design and write their own articles to be gathered together in a classroom magazine and post them on the web. Create a “newscast” about a current or historical event. Videotape the newscast and post the video-clip on the school’s website. Request a Sorenson Video Phone from Coordinate with a teacher in a different district to establish regular times for students to visit with their “video pals.” Provide suggested discussion topics. Some of these activity ideas came from the following website: curriculum project

ISRC Spring 2005 Newsletter and Pinup  

Spring 2005 Edition of ISRC's biannual newsletter. Contents: Technology In The Classroom Assists Teachers And Students, Video Phones Provide...

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