The role of the AT coordinator in school districts – has the role changed since No Child Left Behind?

listing to text, text to speechWe love our acronyms in the world of special education…so most everyone will recognize these letters – NCLB (now the ESEA…Elementary and Secondary Education Act)…and AT.   NCLB to me speaks of the desire for the educational system to meet the needs of all students, enabling success in school and beyond.  It clearly states “Failure is not an option…” and yet we know our students with disabilities often fail many times before they experience success.  Technology, all technology, is a powerful means to enable their success.  And to me, the AT Coordinator plays a pivotal role.

The text of the document indicates that local educational agencies should be using funds towards-

preparing teachers in the effective use of educational technology and assistive technology as instructional tools for increasing student understanding of the core academic subjects;” (http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA/sec2210.html)

Are we doing this as AT Coordinators?

When No Child Left Behind was first authorized by President Bush in 2002 – I doubt that Assistive Technology was at the top of the implementers to – do list.  Yes we want accountability, yes, we want highly qualified professionals working with our students, and yes, we want what we do to be research based – all tenets of NCLB.  Yet for those of us who work in the world of assistive technology, it is a natural and common sense part of the solution.  More and more I am finding that my job is changing, it’s more about using technology that we have, and only using very specialized technology when needed.

So, for those of us who live and breathe AT and disabilities – I think the question is — How are we using NCLB/ESEA to encourage use of all technology, including AT enabling student success?  How has your job changed since the legislation?

Elisa Wern, AT Specialist, Gainesville, Florida

5 comments

  • I am interested in following this conversation. I work for a AT nonprofit that serves schools, teachers, and families.

  • For my son, technology is the difference between access and sitting there staring off into space! He FINALLY got a laptop this year (has a floppy drive, though). Anyway, he also uses Kurzweil every day. We scan in the classwork coming up so he can follow along in Kurzweil. He is not a handwriter and is visually impaired. The AT people have a large task of keeping up with so much new technology and matching it with student needs. The teachers then need to be taught the technology. As a parent, I would love to see some of the teacher training coming from parents! My husband and I know Kurzweil very well and we would be totally willing to go in and meet with teachers and go over the technologies’ capabilites. We can be a great resource!

    Coleen, mom to Jax

  • We love to hear about how our products open accessibility for users! Parent participation is a terrific boost to the learning process. Kurzweil 3000 Web License version enables home use, so I would encourage you and other parents to talk directly with the schools about home access and how you would go about acquiring a copy for the home.

    • Hi Kim,

      Actually we bought it first for home for use on two computers and shared it with the school! They were not enthusiastic about it. This year the school provided version 12 on a flashdrive so we have it at home, too. We just love it so much!
      Thanks,
      Coleen

  • I’m happy hear that.It will help the school district work to improve the programs and policies that can impact the health of its students and faculty.thanks for sharing.

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