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Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Creating Their Voice: Building an Inclusive Culture for Nonverbal Learners Through Technology

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Melinda McDaniel  
Marie Henderson  

Giving a voice to students who are nonverbal is vital to their school success and social engagement. It takes systematic planning and modeling by a team of professionals to empower nonverbal learners to use communication systems meaningfully. Join us to learn creative ways to give students voice across all settings.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Assistive & adaptive technologies
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Special education
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Select, evaluate and facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support student learning.
For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Share lessons learned, best practices, challenges and the impact of learning with technology with other education leaders who want to learn from this work.
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Ensure all students have access to the technology and connectivity necessary to participate in authentic and engaging learning opportunities.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educators working with nonverbal students are faced with a challenge that is not always part of undergraduate or graduate-level coursework nor is there always an in-district expert to assist in meeting the communication needs of nonverbal or minimalyl verbal students. Educators need resources and creative ways to meet these needs so students can be successful academically and socially. To that end, in our session, participants will:
• Discover technology tools that empower the voice of nonverbal and minimally verbal students
• Examine parts of a systemic plan for modeling the use of communication systems
• Consider who can contribute to your plan and how each person fits into the model you create
• Effectively develop a team of professionals who work together to meet the students’ needs
• Explore how behaviors can be mitigated with the meaningful use of technology tools with nonverbal and minimally verbal students

Supporting research

Providing students with a dedicated augmentative and alternative communication device is important for providing them a voice. It is a team effort, staff must be educated about the device, and know that is not a tool it is the child’s voice. (Claudia Doan, MS, CCC-SLP)

Using technology to give students who are nonverbal or minimally verbal a voice is vital to their academic and social success at school. We must use dedicated devices and technology in a systematic, and proactive way that promotes there use in all settings to build inclusive education for all students. (Dr. Leila Walker & Ann Logan)

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Melinda McDaniel, Hays West Central Special Education Cooperative

Lindy McDaniel is a consultant and coach for special education teachers who serve students with significant challenges. Her creativity and innovation has helped teacher across the country create more effective classroom spaces that support students in becoming independent and successful. The passion she shares with her field empowers teams of teachers, parents, paraprofessionals and service providers to work collaboratively using a student first approach. Her student first approach has transformed her local special education cooperative in such a way that has been recognized at the state and national level. She shares her work on her blog and Facebook page, Considerate Classroom.

Marie Henderson, Hays USD 489

Marie Henderson is the Instructional Technology Specialist for Hays Unified School District in Hays, KS where she serves local teachers as a technology trainer and instructional coach. She designed and continues to facilitate a flexible professional learning model for district staff. She’s passionate about adult learning theory and empowering adults to implement student-centered, research-based instructional practices. In her free time, she’s a wine enthusiast, sings in two local ensembles, and enjoys activities at her church. Marie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education in 2003 and her Master’s degree in Instructional Technology in 2018.

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