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Re: Assistive devices, or other strategies

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From: Vivian Komando (komandv_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Feb 11 2001 - 10:30:08 PST


Dorothy,

Since I have been researching art and technology, I have
come across several articles about the use of technology
to assist students with various disabilities. The great
part about this is that there are usually funds available
to acquire the necessary computer equipment and software
programs. Our goal is to empower the expression of all
our students through a media that facilitates their
expression. Technology is empowering and involving many
who previously thought they could not do art because they
could not draw.

What I have found is that technology assists all types of
learners, and for students, such as yours (and ours), the
technology enables a damaged body to produce what is in
an intact mind. Our school also has funds to provide for
our students in the ESE program. I would utilize the
funds to provide a rich experience in the arts
for my student.

If you are not sure what you will need, speak with your
technology person at school or in your district office as
to what is available. In January I attended the
FETC(Florida Educational Technology Conference) and I
believe that the web page has links or articles to
support assistive technologies:

http://www.fetc.org/fetc2001/

http://www.fetc.org/fetc2001/sessions/virtual_handouts.html
 
This article is from the Getty site and I know I had
other information (I believe from art teachers on the
digest, which I have in my files), but this was quicker
for me to find:

http://www.artsednet.getty.edu/ArtsEdNet/Read/Newsletters/o11assis.html

Assistive Technologies and the Arts
New Keys to Creativity
John Duganne is a young Santa Monica (California) artist
who takes classes at Santa Monica College and hopes to
enroll at the California Institute of the Arts next fall.
Like others beginning careers in the arts, John will face
many challenges, yet few will be as prepared to overcome
them as he. Since birth, John has had cerebral palsy, a
disorder of the central nervous system that has limited
his ability to speak and severely paralyzed him.
Nevertheless, with the aid of assistive technologies -
devices that help people with disabilities function more
effectively and with greater ease - John has produced an
impressive body of artwork that he has begun to exhibit.
He is also currently a mentor to SIGKids.

John's primary tools are a Macintosh computer, a variety
of paint and drawing programs, and a mouse-emulation
device called a Headmaster, which also works with IBM and
IBM-compatible computers and the Apple II GS. Its headset
measure the movement of the user's head, translating it
into cursor movement.

This and other assistive technologies are enabling many
people with disabilities to discover and demonstrate
their creative abilities for the first time. "The
personal computer has been a major breakthrough for
people who are nonvocal, hearing impaired, or visually
and physically challenged," says Charles Peterson,
professor of Art and Education at Saint Norbert College
in De Pere, Wisconsin. Yet he has observed that most art
and music educators remain unprepared to work with the
roughly 13 percent of the school-age population with
disabilities. Moreover, curriculum planning in the arts
often fails to take these students into account.

The Arts are for Everyone
To make the arts more accessible to kids with
disabilities, Professor Peterson founded the Young Artist
Workshops (YAW) at Saint Norbert College. Since 1985,
more than 700 students with a range of disabilities have
participated in three-week intensive summer arts
workshops.

YAW's ongoing research project, the Arts Access through
Assistive Computer Technology Project, supported by
grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and IBM,
tests the use of assistive computer technologies in arts
education and disseminates the results nationally.
Launched by Professor Peterson and Chuck Frame, a speech
and language pathologist and assistive technology
specialist with the Green Bay Public Schools, the project
has developed new software and interfaces and has adapted
popular art and music composition programs for use with
augmentative communication devices and computers
typically found in schools.

Some examples of assistive technologies field-tested
during the project include Touch Talker, an augmentative
device, which has adapted to enable non-vocal students to
compose music and sing electronically, an the Unicorn
Expanded Keyboard. This big programmable keyboard can be
activated with a mouth wand, chin or forehead pointer,
and modified for individuals with limited or no vision.
"We modify these systems for whatever part of the body a
user can control so that he or she can make art -
including the voice," says Peterson.

A number of resource materials have grown out of the
project and are available from YAW, including an
informative half-hour video, If you Can Move Your Head,
You Can Move Your World, which introduces an array of
assistive technologies that can be adapted for arts
education, and a resource package called Keys to the
Arts, which included a set of overlays (templates
imprinted with easy-to-see letters, numbers, or computer
symbols) for the Unicorn Expanded Keyboard; a user
manual; a set-up disk for twelve popular paint, drawing,
creative writing, and music composition programs; and
five overlays and interfaces for the Touch Talker and
Light Talker augmentative communication devices.

"The Arts Access project has clearly demonstrated that
all students can be integrated successfully into school
arts programs," says Frame. Art education is no longer a
frill for students with disabilities - and recent federal
legislation mandating schools to provide assistive
technologies necessary to mainstream students with
disabilities ensures that all student will have access to
the arts.

This article originally appeared in the Getty Education
Institute for the Arts Newsletter, Issue #11, Spring
1993.

See you at RIT!
Vivian

"Subject: Assistive devices, or other strategies
From: "Dorothy Kane"
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 11:17:18 -0500
X-Message-Number: 13

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I have a HS student with severe tremors and a passion for
artmaking. He =
is often successful in compensating by using more
pressure, working to a =
different scale, or bracing his hands and wrists. If
there are any art =
therapists or others with direct knowledge in other
techniques or =
resources, please pass ideas along. He is bright and
determined, and =
actually thinks he wants to be an art teacher. Our
Special Ed. =
department is in a position to assist him; they would
also benefit from =
any of your collective wisdom pertaining to art and this
type of =
disability. Thank you.

Dorothy Kane
Michigan"

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Increase the Peace ~^~ {^}Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. Robert F. Kennedy

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