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Dr. Chris’ Autism Journal
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TeachTown Basics voted as one of the brightest ideas of 2008!


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The 2008 NCTI:  National Conference for Technology Innovators was sold out this year.  The National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) brings technology innovators, researchers, instructional and assistive technology vendors, philanthropists, policymakers, OSEP projects, and the media together to bring creativity, research, and efficacy to a fast paced, exciting two days.
Five outstanding teams of researchers and vendors were selected to examine the impact of innovative assistive technologies for students with special needs.
NCTI was delighted to announce that TeachTown Basics, a computer assisted intervention program for students with ASD, was voted by peers as one of the brightest ideas of 2008 at the NCTI Tech-Expo!  Dr. Christina Whalen and her team were excited to be a part of such an exciting event in Washington DC this year.
Bright Ideas WinnerAwarded to: Christina Whalen, TeachTown (vendor); Jennifer Symon, California State University, Los Angeles (researcher); and Connie Kasari, University of California, Los Angeles (researcher)
Efficacy of a Computer-Assisted Teaching Program for Children with Autism in a School Setting
Project Description: This team will test the effectiveness of the TeachTown software curriculum with the aim of positive gains in early language, cognition, and social behaviors among preschool and kindergarten students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

National Center of Technology Innovation - Technology Innovators Conference


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The National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) is hosting the Technology Innovators Conference in Washington, DC on November 20 and 21, 2008 at the Madison Hotel.  This conference will include technology developers, researchers, technology vendors, policymakers, OSEP projects, and the media.  Online registration is now closed. On-site registrations will be accepted.

The conference offers 2 days of informative presentations and an expo which will offer the following opportunities: 

TeachTown has received funding and support from NCTI and we are looking forward to a long-term relationship with the organization as our company grows.  Click here to see more about our history with NCTI.

Assistive Technology


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icon_child1.gifMany children with autism spectrum disorders require the use of assistive technology to help them learn at home, in the community, and in school.  The term “technology” does not simply relate to things like computers, TV, video, or cameras.  In fact, these materials are considered to be “high technology” compared to items which are “mid technology” such as overhead projectors, calculators, and CD players.  There are also “low technology” items which are probably used the most for this population.  This would include things like picture schedules, picture communication, highlighters, dry erase boards, and many of the other visual supports that are needed to help the child learn.2002-2-March.jpg

If you are interested in learning more about assistive technology, I found an excellent summary by Susan Stokes which was written under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

itechcenter1.jpgThere are many organizations which deal with assistive technology (AT) and aim to help families better understand their options and to choose the appropriate AT for their child.  One such organization is Parents Helping Parents who offers an iTECH Center with hands-on experience with different types of AT and provides training sessions to help families use the AT.  I will be doing a parent information night on October 25th to teach families in the San Francisco bay area more about the TeachTown: Basics program.  If you are interested in attending, spaces are still available.

There are also several conferences each year which host thousands of at050_360_Jupiter_Classroom.jpgtendees including parents, teachers, speech pathologists, behavioral consultants, and schools staff to provide more information about assistive technology.  One such conference is the Closing the Gap Conference at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 19-2, 2006 with pre-conference workshops October 17-18.  In addition to the many other valuable exhibits and presentations, TeachTown will host an exhibit booth there with demonstrations and information about our products and research.

In January, 2007, another big assistive technology conference will take place in Orlando, Florida.  This conference is sponsored by the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and will occur at the Caribe Royale Resort on January 24-27.  TeachTown will be hosting an exhibit booth and will provide a hands-on training workshop for TeachTown: Basics.

phase1j.jpgIf you are interested in picture communication specifically, Pyramid Educational Consultants provides some of the best training.  This program uses the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and workshops are available all over the country. 

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