Monday, November 13, 2017

A Twist on Ability Awareness at Calavera Hills Middle School

Calavera Hills Middle School (Carlsbad) has a Design and Modeling class, lead by Mr. Aaron Sottile.  The class emphasizes the design process using principles of project-based learning. They recently completed their  first project. They had to design an Ankle Foot Orthotic (AFO) brace for a child with cerebral palsy.  They were not allowed to see what a real AFO brace looked like.  The students stepped up to the challenge and they got creative.  They made one out of pool noodles, popsicle sticks, rubber bands, elastic bands,  glue guns Etc. 

Melissa Haider, MPT with Haider Pediatric Physical Therapy, spoke to the class about what Cerebral Palsy is and  why people with it may need a brace. Part of the emphasis of this class is to design and create with empathy in mind.  To help students with this, Melissa Haider collaborated with their teacher Mr. Sottile and held an Ability Awareness which included participation from OT, PT, AT, and APE. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The School Year is Off to a Great Start!

There have been several updates in the world of accessibility since the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year!  Below is a summary of a few of them.  For more information in these areas, check out the respective pages by clicking on the tabs above.


The Read&Write for Google toolbar looks a little different...
You may have noticed that there is a new icon at the end of the toolbar now instead of the "settings" gear.  Don't worry, it does the same thing and so much more!  Now there are options to change preferences for the word prediction tool.  Also, don't forget you can turn features the toolbar on and off too. This is a great one to keep in mind for those students who are easily distracted.

Bookshare works with iBooks on iOS devices...
Now that Bookshare offers books in EPUB format, Apple users can read EPUB books on their computers and mobile devices using iBooks.  It has a few accessibility options for readability (including the ones built into your device under settings) and it's free to use!.  Click here for more info.


Many of the AAC apps were recently updated
Check the AAC  tips tab for more details

Monday, May 15, 2017

Check out how Cardiff School District held a successful Ability Awareness Fair!

Cardiff School District held an Ability Awareness Fair on March, 24 2017. The fair was held simultaneously on both campuses. Classrooms came in at designated times, but students were allowed to come back a second time during their recess and lunch if they didn't get to see everything. Ashley Smithey, Director of Special Education in Cardiff, along with the Cardiff team, did a wonderful job planning and organizing this event. Check out the video below to see how they did it!

Friday, April 21, 2017


The ultimate goal of the 2016/2017 Classroom Collaboration project was to help create model classrooms, utilizing a UDL model for academic and language enriched classroom environments, that could potentially be replicated in the local district and/or SELPA wide. This year we were able to work with 3 phenomenal teachers, related service providers and paraeducators. We learned a great deal from them!

JoAnna Rodriguez, San Elijo Elementary School, SMUSD

Nicole Aschenbrenner, Rancho Santa Fe Elementary

Ann Lulay, Maie Ellis Elementary School, FUESD

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Using technology, creativity, and passion to construct Universal Design for Learning for moderate-severe students

The amazing crew of Robin Hooper's Mod-Severe 3rd-5th grade class at Hannalei Elementary really know how to use technology and Tier 1 tools to increase accessibility for academic instruction and provide a truly language enriched environment to their students with various disabilities and complex communication needs. 

Welcome Mrs. Hooper's class!
(from left photo to right) Robert Campbell, Lindsay Raasch, Robin Hooper (Education Specialist/Teacher), Annalee Gil, Donald Carl, Maria Aguilar, Stacie Kass (SLP).

See the video below to understand what makes this classroom staff a model example of how to truly integrate technology and tools for teaching to achieve success for their students:

Robin's class utilizes a mobile video HDtv with Elmo projector, video, and DVD player to interactively conduct whole class lessons to increase student engagement and understanding. Her classroom word walls use core vocabulary words from the current month's Unique Learning System's themes. The school SLP, Stacie, has even provided the staff visual supports for prompting reminders! On a non-tech note, Robin ensures that at the end of each day, all her students and staff provide at least one compliment to a peer or colleague before they head out the door. ICING ON THE CAKE!  This positive spirit is evident upon walking through the door, as all staff collaborate and are constantly supporting each other to be the very best they can be for their students. 

Click the slides below for more great ideas from Robin's classroom to support students within a mod-severe classroom:

NCCSE AT Team Supports Ability Awareness month at Mission Estancia Elementary

As part of Mission Estancia's celebration of Ability Awareness month, the NCCSE AT crew gave a presentation and hands-on learning experiences to students kinder-5th grade. To help achieve the goal of bringing true awareness of what it feels like to have a disability, the AT group showed videos of students who have learning challenges in the areas of reading, writing, and organization, conducted an activity demonstrating the difficulty in knowing what you want to say and not being able to express it,  as well as demonstrated what it's like to not be able to use your voice. The powerful videos and activities brought about thoughtful discussion of ways in which students can help students who might have difficulties at school. The AT group also shared technology tools and strategies that can help kids overcome these various challenges.  Take a closer look at the slides below:


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Creating Access for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities

JoAnna Rodriguez is Special Education teacher at San Elijo Elementary School in the San Marcos Unified School District.  Her classroom consists of Kindergarten to 2nd grade students who have moderate to severe disabilities.  She has been a moderate/severe teacher for 12 years.  One thing that you will notice right away when you enter her classroom, is that it looks just like any other elementary school classroom and she sets high expectations for her students.  It is a literacy rich environment, with lots of visual supports and has various accessibility options to meet the needs of her students.

Check out the slideshow below to see how JoAnna creates access using Tier 1 and 2 accessibility solutions for all!

Check out the video below to see how JoAnna provides low tech to high tech solutions for a student that requires Tier 3 accessibility supports.

Thanks for all the awesome work you do to create access JoAnna!