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I just returned from a convention in DePere, Wisconsin (a few miles away
from Green Bay- home of the Green Bay Packers!). The state art convention
focused on the two aspects of assistive technology and adaptive art
education. I and two colleagues in my school district (Milwaukee Public
Schools) did a very worthwile presentation on this area. What we did was
to take an art lesson and go through it from no adaptations to low tech
(i.e. adaptive scissors, different glue form) to med. tech to high tech
such as an augmentative or alternative input device for the computer.
As we were returning from DePere, we were discussing how there are so few
arts teachers who are knowledgable or able to effectively portray their
knowledge and skills about adaptive art and assistive technology with
others. Even in these days, far too many people are graduating from
college not really knowing how to effectively work with students with
disabilities, especially those with multiple or severe challenges.
I am halfway done working on my Master's degree in Assistive Technology.
I believe I am the only art teacher in the program at St. Norbert
College. The rest are in OT, PT or speech.
As you mentioned, we as art teachers will have these students in our
class, whether it be in a self-contained or included classroom. We should
provide all our students with every opportunity to be as independent as
possible in our art class. In some cases, the computer (or other
assistive technology devices) are the only way that they can participate
with any degree of independence. What a shame that art teachers are not
informed or involved with the technology that can make this possible.
Yes, I will be attending the conference in Chicago and will try to attend