Podcasting: It Can Provide Opportunities for People with Autism

Leveraging special interests is a great way to engage people with autism in the world around them. Getting someone on the spectrum to talk about their area of special interest is not difficult. Rather, the challenge lies in getting them to shift to other topics or to show interest in those around them.

One way to celebrate and showcase an individual’s passion while subtly working on developing aspects of communication is through podcasting.

Continue reading

OSTC 2019: Igniting Partnerships for Student Success

This past March, Eugene welcomed transition specialists and educators from across the state of Oregon for two days of professional development and networking at the 2019 Oregon Statewide Transition Conference. The theme of this year’s conference was Igniting Partnerships for Student Success, a natural fit for our session on Supporting Seamless Transition Through Technology for Self-Determination and Data Sharing. Continue reading

Healthy Cooking Becomes Routine for Residents of Independent Living Program

Surprising Gifts of a Better Meal

Living in affordable housing units at Willakenzie Crossing, residents of SAIL Housing in Eugene, Oregon call over a dozen one-bedroom and studio apartments home-sweet-home. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SAIL stands for “Supported Access to Independent Living” and operates with a mission of supporting sustainable housing in a life-enriching environment that fosters dignity and independence for adults with developmental disabilities.

As part of the program, residents gather weekly in the community room to socialize and learn new skills. When talking about cooking and eating habits in a group discussion last year, residents collectively admitted they struggled with finding healthy meal options and knowing how to follow a recipe. Continue reading

Transitions Cost More Than $2.3B in IDD Support Services

Cyclic Regression Causes Expensive Turnover, Painful Restarts, and Critical Struggles.

 Decrease staff training costs.
Create smoother transitions for clients.
Preserve your investments in human resources.
Have a sustained impact on client quality of life.

You have a clear and special mission to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), promote their independence, and to bring meaningful improvements to their lives. You measure success by how well you can increase their abilities and help them solve daily challenges. That’s why your organization exists, and that’s what builds a smile on your face and warms your heart. You take all the steps needed to design a high-quality program with the service payments available to drive the supports you provide. Continue reading

Meet the Artist

Over the last few weeks, we’ve begun to roll out a new look-and-feel for the demo user accounts on our website. Each account persona has a backstory and a network of established relationships that mimic the real-world use case in which they would receive support toward self-determination, transition, and independent living. Continue reading

Giving Students Meaningful Data to Measure their Progress

Measuring student progress is essential to understanding areas of student need. For individuals with intellectual barriers or unique learning styles, activities like standardized testing or even quiz scores and letter grades over time can be demeaning and seem pointless. Perhaps more valuable for students’ overall educational experience is being able to understand for themselves how they are doing on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis through meaningful data visualization. Continue reading

Empowering Students to Participate in their Own IEP Meetings

Individual education planning (IEP) meetings can often be stressful for everyone involved and not feel particularly good for parents and teachers alike. But IEP meetings can be even more painful for students when they are not included and not prepared for what the meeting will involve.

Like many educators, I am a firm believer in having the student involved and engaged in their own IEP meeting and I often get asked about how to best involve students in the meeting planning process. Continue reading

Innovative Self-Management Apps for Aging in Place

More and more, technology enables our lives in ways that facilitate independence and connectivity and it seems like there’s an app for just about everything. For individuals aging in place, apps can help them stay organized, accomplish daily goals, or remotely link them to their adult children, a team of caregivers, or the support services they need in order to continue to live in their homes and thrive within their communities. Continue reading

How Cognitive Support Technology Is Empowering One Man with Autism

Raising three boys in rural Oregon in the late 1980s and 1990s, Trina began to first notice unique developmental behavior in her three-year-old son Clinton as he was just learning to read. “Clinton had learned all of the sounds, but phonetically he couldn’t put them together. Even today, Clinton is more typical in that he can read the dictionary and learn the definitions of words or small things, but he cannot read a novel.” Continue reading

Using Goal Guide to Manage Routines at Home and in Middle School

Our work on cognitively accessible self-management applications has always relied on a participatory research approach that grounds development in the real-world life experience of individuals with disabilities and those who support them. We are fortunate to have a rich network of students and adults with disabilities, parents, and teachers who drive our iterative development approach by providing design input, using our beta version apps, and telling us how to improve them. Continue reading

How MyLife Can be Used as a Student-Directed Assessment Tool

In a student’s mind, assessment is synonymous with “testing,” and nothing causes anxiety like the prospect of having to take a test. Most educators realize, however, that effective formative assessment of progress, learning, and educational experiences go way beyond test taking. Measuring student progress over time should include formal and informal assessment procedures and it requires tools that capture the full range of students’ experiences, preferences, and goals. Continue reading

Using the My Life App in a College Environment

Last fall I decided I was going to college and I was very excited about my decision. I took the placement tests for reading, writing, and math and I got into credits classes at Lane Community College. I started in the winter term and I was ready to quit in the second week. Why? Because there was a lot of homework and speed. Continue reading

Using My Life to Build a Digital Portfolio

I met Dorothy Miller for the first time a few months ago. She’s young and beautiful and has the kind of optimism and enthusiasm one might expect from a person about to enter the workforce. Dorothy wants to make the world a better place, starting with children.

Due to her dysarthria, Dorothy uses the TouchChat program on her iPad to communicate with staff and students in her first year at the local community college. Dorothy’s ultimate goal is to receive her early elementary teaching certification. Continue reading

Using Goal Guide at a School Store

My name is Josh. I’m a special education transition teacher in the Eugene, Oregon 4J school district and work in a program called Connections. Connections is designed to support students as they move from high school to adulthood; we serve students who are 18 to 21 years old who have graduated high school with modified diplomas. Continue reading