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Power Up 2023 Guide to Session Strands

AAC = Sessions focusing on AT for speech
AT = Sessions spotlighting the latest in AT solutions
= Sessions centered on AT to enhance community living
= Sessions with an emphasis on AT in K-12 schools
EMP = Sessions highlighting the use of AT in employment
= Sessions to enhance digital access
Maker = Sessions to encourage self-created AT solutions
PP = Sessions focused on AT related policies and practices
SENS = Sessions emphasizing AT for vision or hearing

Tuesday,  8:00 AM to 9:00 AM - Session Series 6



Monday, 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Session Series 1

Communication Boards Beyond the Classroom (AAC)

By Elizabeth Smith, Speech Language Pathologist with Elevated Speech LLC

In this session we will dig deeper into the low tech world of communication boards. As more places in our community (e.g. playgrounds, zoos, and theaters) become inclusive by using communication boards, how can we expand our knowledge from only using communication boards in the classroom. Join us as we discuss locations for low tech AT use, how to determine vocabulary, and ways of implementation with staff and community members.


Making Missouri’s Archives Accessible (AT)

By Amy Nickless, Archivist for Missouri State Archives

Missourians should have equitable access to all resources in the state. This includes the wealth of historical and genealogical resources at the Missouri State Archives. Some examples of records found can include pre-1973 death certificates, military service records, legislative records, and records of boards and commissions, such as the Governor’s Council on Disability. This session will look at how records have been made accessible online through Missouri Digital Heritage via optical character recognition and transcription. Next the focus will turn to how the indexes to these records are being reformatted in Word and Adobe DC to be accessible to those using assistive technology. Lastly, focus will turn to outreach efforts the Archives are making with other institutions to make archival materials accessible. Q & A and accessibility feedback is welcomed.


Empowering Independent Living Through AT & Remote Supports (CL)

By Leslie Rounkles & Alex Eggert

This presentation will focus on solutions that can support independence with safety. Remote Supports can help meet an individual’s goals of medication management, transitional living, prompts for ADL’s, kitchen safety, visitor safety, and more. The focus of our presentation is to communicate how remote supports and assistive technology can help unlock new possibilities for individuals while driving self-determination and creating opportunities for learning. This is accomplished through supported independence, dignity of risk, and the opportunity to control one’s environment.


Accessibility Features Across Platforms (EDU)

By Chris Helmick, Manager of Assistive Technology, Innovation, and Research at the Saint Louis Arc


This session will examine the various accessibility features built-in to the Google, Apple and Microsoft systems. Emphasis will be placed on learning their similarities and differences, how features are categorized, and differences in how they are named or used depending on the platform.



How to Implement JAWS Scripting Features (ICT)

By Greg Mark, President of Job Accommodations, Inc.

Some computer software cannot be used efficiently with a screen reader. JAWS scripting is a computer language that triggers JAWS features that tell the assistive technology how to navigate and what to speak under different conditions. It can be used to automate day to day tasks to improve the operation of computer applications including the access to software elements that are otherwise inaccessible. In some cases, it is the difference between being able to use an application in a job environment and not. The purpose of this presentation will be to shed some light on what JAWS scripting is and how it is implemented.


AT for Mental Health (AT)

By David Baker, Director of Missouri Assistive Technology

Mental health has grown to be an outsized problem in the United States. 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health illness in a given year and more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Assistive technology as a tool that can support individuals with mental health issues and assist them in living healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives will be the focus of this session.




Monday, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Session Series 2

Adult AAC: Evaluation, Access and More (AAC)

By Celia Montes, Regional Consultant/Speech Language Pathologist with Control Bionics & Gina Baldwin, Speech Language Pathologist/Founder of APP2Speak


This session will provide a variety of tips and resources for professionals who work with adults who could benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). These tips will be applicable for both the evaluation and ongoing treatment.


Medication Adherence: AT for Independence & Health (CL)

By Shannon Shores, Sales Executive for Custom Health

People with intellectual disabilities (ID) have twice the number of health problems as the general population and their health needs are often unrecognized or unmet. The impact may be measured in lives lost, emergency room visits and hospitalizations, not to mention disruption to people’s lives. Missing medications, taking the wrong medication at the wrong time, or subtherapeutic doses are all categorized as non-optimized medication therapy. When we look beyond adherence, untreated conditions and low dosages are repeatedly in the top drug therapy problems in patients.  Assistive technologies to support medication adherence can help avoid drug therapy problems in individuals with intellectual disabilities and can also reduce caregiver burden and associated costs.


Smart Steps Mobile: A Tool for Life (EDU)

By Cindy Fisher, President and CEO for Smart Steps Mobile app

Participants will hear about the lives of high school grads with autism and how to support them in school to improve outcomes. Then learn about the Smart Steps Mobile app which supports social skills, self-advocacy, pragmatic language, self-management, and making everyday decisions with increased levels of independence. It's perfect for role-playing in a social skills or life skills class.


The Blind Life - Tools for Employment (EMP)


By Sam Seavey


In this session, Sam will discuss several aspects of obtaining employment with vision loss. He will touch on topics such as when to divulge your vision impairment during the hiring process, what types of accommodations should you request, and share inspiring stories from VIPs working in a wide variety of jobs.


Cooking with The Color-Coded Chef (MAKER)

By Terri Jordan, Owner, The Color-Coded Chef

Welcome to The Color-Coded Chef's cooking class. In this session, you will use our step-by-step method to create simple side dishes that can contribute to any family meal. You also get to eat the dish you prepared and taste test other dishes created by other participants.


Accessible Voting Equipment in Missouri (PP)

By Leigh Anne Haun, Project Coordinator for Missouri Developmental Disability Council & Brianna Lennon, County Clerk from the Boone County Clerk's Office

Voters with disabilities have the right to vote independently, privately and on accessible devices. The current state of accessible voting equipment is the focus on this session. Attendees will learn about equipment available and their rights in using the equipment, as well as be provided information on demonstration vides and much more.




Monday, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Session Series 3

Feature-Matching in AAC Assessment (AAC)

By Laura Hoffman, Representative of  ForbesAAC

This session will provide a systematic approach to feature-matching in AAC assessment for adult AAC users. Specifically, it will discuss how to use feature-matching in AAC assessment to identify an individual’s specific skills and needs to then determine which AAC features and AAC system will best fit the user’s needs. The session will walk through many different features to consider including symbol features, linguistic features, voice features, access features, display features, modification features, portability and positioning features, and finally operational features. Forbes AAC offers both the WinSlate and ProSlate speech generating devices designed to accommodate and adapt to an AAC user’s changing communication, access, and environmental control needs.


Maintaining Independence with Smart Home Technology (AT)


By Aaron Shepherd, Co-owner of ATvanced Care


In this presentation, we will be informing and demonstrating how families and caregivers can use smart home technology to improve independence and overall quality of life for individuals with disabilities and seniors.

Implementing AEM: A District Perspective (EDU)

By Cathy Fortney, Francis Howell School District, Dawn McNeeley, Smithton R-VI School District & Heather Dill, Belton School District


IDEA requires state and local education agencies to provide Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) in alternative formats and in a timely manner to those students who cannot access traditional print text. Understanding the essential elements of a high quality system for acquiring accessible educational materials and related technologies can be a challenge. This session will highlight the efforts and insights of three Missouri school districts who have undertaken this challenge as part of the AEM Cohort, a 4-year technical assistance effort sponsored by the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials.


Employment Accommodations and AT (EMP)

By Amber Cheek, Director of Accessibility and ADA Coordinator with University of Missouri & Mohamed Shahin with the University of Missouri

This session will include a full walk through of the accommodations process in employment, including disclosing a disability, requesting accommodations, and working with HR to arrange for accommodations. We'll focus primarily on examples involving AT in the workplace, showcasing creative solutions for various types of disabilities.


3D Printing Process for Success (MAKER)

By Dustin Meyer, Assistive Technology Specialist at On My Own, Inc.

Getting started with 3D printing can be daunting. This session will share the things one needs to know before buying a 3D printer that will help get them set up in a manner that translates to achieving success in making useful prints and devices.


Yakety Yak! Android Does Talk Back! (SENS)

By Svetlana Ehlers

Are you wondering if Android accessibility for those who depend upon screen readers is really a thing, maybe because a friend tried to use it once, and said it didn't work? I very much look forward to clearing up any confusion for you by showing you how the Talkback Screen reader, which is a part of the Google Accessibility Suite, can be used to set up some of the best flagship, and lower budget Android phones right out of the box. Native Android applications which work very well with Talkback will be covered, as well as some really cool accessibility features that greatly enhance the experience of users who are blind, such as Google Lens, and Google Lookout. The ability to use Braille displays and Braille screen input with Talkback will also be a part of the demonstration. So, Open your minds, and join me for an hour on the dark side of mobile phone accessibility.




Monday, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Session Series 4


Supporting Inclusion Through AAC (AAC)

By Kristen Ponce, Speech-Language Pathologist at Park Hill School District

We all communicate in different ways. Tools that were once thought of as only necessary for individuals with complex communication needs are now more readily accessible and can be used as a universal design for learning to promote inclusive practices within schools. This presentation will review materials that are available to be used as tools for UDL in all classrooms. It will cover ways that AAC can be implemented in the regular education classroom, the special education resource setting, and the special education self-contained classroom setting.


Braille Math Editor- Part 1 (EDU)

By Laura Gierer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired at Francis Howell School District

Braille Math Editor in JAWS now enables Braille users in Windows 10 to input their own equations, and in Windows Office 365 to edit existing equations in Word documents. We will explore tips and tricks to help Braille users utilize this feature in an efficient way that is accessible to math teachers. The Braille Math Editor feature eliminates the wait time for a TVI or transcriber to interline math. Homework and tests/quizzes can be sent to teachers immediately using JAWS and a refreshable Braille display.


When Employment First Meets Technology First (EMP)

By Jessica Keenoy, Rhian Belden, Anna Burgen, Holly Reiff


This session will feature a panel discussion with members of the Technology in Employment Learning Community and their experiences piloting the use of iPads and apps to support individuals in employment services. Join us in discussing promising emerging practices, the diverse range of technology options and implementations, lessons learned, and what happens when Employment First meets Technology First.


Missouri Web Accessibility Guide (ICT)

By Claudia Browner, Executive Director on the Governor's Council on Disability & Lainie Strange, Web Accessibity Expert, Office of Administration –ITSD

We will discuss the new "Accessibility Guide – A toolkit for accessible communications in the workplace" developed by the Governor's council on disability, published in December 2022.


3D Printing for Assistive Technology (MAKER)

By Kial-Ann Rasmussen, Research Assistant/PhD Student & William Janes, Occupational Therapist and Assistant Professor with the University of Missouri

Creating assistive devices for people with disabilities through 3D printing is an emerging intervention in rehabilitation science. It allows assistive devices to be created quickly with low-cost materials. The most beneficial aspect of 3D printing assistive devices is the high degree of customizability the process affords, allowing devices to be created that meet users’ individual needs and preferences.

This session will introduce the audience to 3D printing and its applications for creating assistive devices. We will discuss the current evidence on using 3D printing to create assistive devices and its implications for clinical practice. Audience members will learn about resources for creating or obtaining 3D-printed assistive devices.


Hey Apple: I Can't Hear Or See Well, Help! (SENS)

By Brett Wilhelm, AT Trainer at Wilhelm's AT Services & Anne Murphy, CSP ICanConnect

Apple devices have come a long way since accessibility features were first introduced in 2009. In this session, AT users and trainers, Brett and Anne, will take you on a journey through Apple’s accessibility settings for blind users, hearing impaired users, and those who have combined hearing and vision loss. Some of the topics in this session will include: using MFI hearing devices, getting an Audiogram with your iPhone, setting up and using Sound Recognition, Apple Watch haptic feedback and vibrating alarms, and more. 



Monday, 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Session Series 5

AAC Implementation in the Classroom and at Home (AAC)

By: Jessa Murrell, MS, SLP-CCC & Suzie Wiley, OTR, Ability KC – ACCT Program

I have a communication device, now what? This presentation aims to provide implementation strategies and activities for incorporating Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices across multiple settings with special emphasis on those with complex access methods. We will look at what barriers may be inhibiting implementation of communication devices as well as provide functional activities to practice device use in meaningful ways.


Advancing Independence with MapHabit for People with I/DD (CL)

By Jill Reffett, parent of self-advocate, Director of reimbursement and business development for MapHabit

This outcome focused presentation highlights a 24 month case study of a self-advocate with Down Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and medical challenges and how through the utilization of the MapHabit system and supports, the self-advocate saw substantial growth in their self-care, morning and evening routine, meal preparation, pre-employment skills development, and community engagement.


Braille Math Editor - Part 2 (EDU)

By Laura Gierer, Teacher of the Visually Impaired at Francis Howell School District

Continuation of Part 1. Braille Math Editor in JAWS now enables Braille users in Windows 10 to input their own equations, and in Windows Office 365 to edit existing equations in Word documents. We will explore tips and tricks to help Braille users utilize this feature in an efficient way that is accessible to math teachers. The Braille Math Editor feature eliminates the wait time for a TVI or transcriber to interline math. Homework and tests/quizzes can be sent to teachers immediately using JAWS and a refreshable Braille display.


To Make AT or Not to Make AT (MAKER)

By Scout Merry, Program Coordinator with Missouri Assistive Technology

This session will cover the factors that go into a decision to create AT, 3D print AT or purchase AT including time, materials, tools and skill sets needed. We will have examples of AT that is made, 3D printed and purchased to support each decision. Discussion will be encouraged.



Wireless Phones/Tablets Simplified for Success (SENS)

By Brenda Whitlock, and Stacy Brady, Program Coordinators with Missouri Assistive Technology

Brenda and Stacy will demonstrate and chat about smartphones and tablets that one may use for advanced distance communications. What accessories may improve a person's success in using these types of technology?  Where are training resources? Which devices are on MoAT programs? How can we partner to help users in our communities fund this type of  technology? *This is not a deep dive into apps or accessibility.


From Hurdles to Opportunities: Unleashing the Potential of AI through the lens of Universal Design (EDU2)

By Heather Dill


This session will explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots can increase student accessibility to content through Universal Design principles. Attendees will learn how AI can personalize the learning experience, making it easier for students to access and engage with educational materials, as well as how they can be a tool to provide students with around-the-clock support, helping them to navigate and find needed information. In addition, attendees will learn the relationship between Universal Design, AI and chatbots in education to help ensure that the technology is accessible for all students. Real-world examples and case studies of AI and chatbot implementation will be shared.



Tuesday, 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

Session Series 6

AAC and Visual Impairments (AAC)

By Gretchen Bright, AAC Consultant for PRC-Saltillo

Finding an AAC solution for someone with visual impairments can be tricky. Tactile symbols can be cumbersome. Utilizing a high-tech device with a flat, smooth screen can seem impossible. Picture books may not be feasible. In addition, there are many professionals involved, all considering the best possible solution based on their area of expertise. The vision specialist often wants large high contrast symbols, while the speech therapist wants a robust communication system. Neither is an expert in each other’s field, so how do they respect one another’s opinion without sacrificing the needs of the client? If all tools are considered, a compromise instead of a sacrifice may be possible. Awareness of various therapy approaches and tools allows the team to consider both vision needs and language needs, coming to a compromise that’s beneficial to the client. During this presentation we will look at the solutions available from PRC-Saltillo that support clients with visual impairments. The discussion will also include technological alterations that can be made to further aid those with visual impairments, as well as low-tech options that could be utilized alongside the device as additional supports.


The Dementia Community and Assistive Technology (AT)

By Amelia Cottle, Educator/Advocate with Alzheimer's Association

There are over 6.5 million Americans living with a dementia disease. Alzheimer's is the most common of these severe cognitive impairment diseases. Caregiving is emotionally and physically overwhelming. Providing caregivers with a "tool belt" to help ease the burden of caregiving and bring the best quality of life to persons living with dementia is challenge because no one person experiences dementia in the same way. Using assistive technology helped this presenter as she cared for her husband in his dementia journey. In the years since his death, the presenter has devoted herself to educating the dementia community and improving and expanding the "tool belt" to ease the journey for all.


Technology 4 Independence (CL)

By Rachel Morgan, CEO Adam Morgan Foundation & Susan Newton, CFO Adam Morgan Foundation

The Technology 4 Independence program is designed to improve quality in all areas of life and health for self-advocates living with a disability through access to, education on, and implementation of technology. Technology 4 Independence teaches real-life technology skills in the areas of social media, organization tools, and on-line communication, among others.


AT for Note Taking (EDU)

By David Baker, Director of Missouri Assistive Technology

Note taking is a vital skill in school, work and in life. Yet, the whole process of taking notes is stacked from the very beginning against the note taker. The act of note taking requires the individual to gather the most important information while being challenged to listen. It also requires the ability to understand and recall information later when notes are reviewed. More often than not, the process of note taking results in confusion and frustration. This is especially true for individuals with disabilities who are presented with additional challenges during the note taking process. Good note taking combines developing a strategy and combining it with the appropriate tool. With a host of note taking tools available, this session is sure to have a solution for everyone.


Simplifying Digital Accessibility (ICT)

By Lyssa Prince, Digital Accessibility Program Manager for Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Digital accessibility can be daunting and overwhelming. With talk of WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), compliance, and even threats of being sued, it’s enough to make a person want to walk away or throw up their hands in defeat. In this session, we’ll take the digital accessibility stress level down a few notches by starting more simply. We’ll learn some core accessibility skills that are approachable and can quickly make your content much more accessible, whether that content is Microsoft Office documents, PDF, or web page. Then, we’ll learn how to apply these core skills in common programs, such as Microsoft Word and WordPress. We will also cover accessibility checkers available to assist you in ensuring your content is accessible, noting the checkers’ abilities and limitations. You’ll leave with knowledge that will give you a starting point, as well as a soft place to land.


Voice-operated Smartphone - RealSAM Pocket (SENS)

Anat Nulman, Director of Business Development at RealThing Ai

Learn about the communications gaps people who are visually impaired or those living with memory challenges experience due to inaccessibility of the commercially available phone. Discover a new to the US solution - a revolutionary voice-operated smartphone specifically designed to address the needs of people who are blind, have low vision or experience memory or cognitive challenges.


Tuesday, 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Session Series 7

New AAC Resources through PRC-Saltillo (AAC)

By Betsy Clifford, AAC Consultant at PRC-Saltillo

PRC-Saltillo offers a large variety of free online resources to support parents, teachers, clinicians, and people using PRC-Saltillo solutions. In this session, we will review the available AAC resources available, including the recently launched AAC Learning Journey, our new online learning platform. The extensive list of AAC courses offered on AAC Learning will be reviewed. Additionally, we will discuss the new Via Mini Device, recent funding enhancements, and other awesome free online AAC resources!


Innovative Technology & Home Modifications to Live in Place (AT)

By Brandy Archie, Founding Director with AccessAble Living

Interested in learning about no tech, low tech and high tech devices to make everyday tasks easier? Join this session to stay up to date on what is available to adapt a home and easily make it meet one's needs.



It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's Super DSP! (CL)

By Kathy Abelson, Senior Account Executive at Gray Matter Alliance

We will examine, through the use of Assistive/Smart Home technology, how DSPs can go from being "just a Caregiver" to becoming a Care Professional.


A Blind Person’s Perspective on How to Conduct Accessibility Testing With a Screen Reader (ICT)

By Kyle Borah, Associate Application Developer, State of Missouri ITSD – DHEWD

Learn about the free NVDA screen reader and how it can be used to test websites for accessibility even if you are sighted.



Less Restrictive Alternatives – AT and Alternatives to Guardianship (PP)

By Emily Hartley, Deputy Director with Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council & Jane St. John, Charting the LifeCourse Manager with UMKC-IHD

Missouri statute states that the courts shall consider whether needs may be met without the appointment of a guardian through the proper use of assistive technology. Alternatives to guardianship are a broad category, including supported decision-making and beyond. The use of technology as a strategy for implementing and supporting alternatives is encouraged in Missouri law, however, it can often be an overlooked tool. Technology can be introduced under a variety of different scenarios, including maintaining one’s own rights outside of court appointed guardianship, setting up supported-decision making teams and plans outside and within guardianship, and engaging in the dignity of risk to best demonstrate learned skills and rights restoration. This presentation will review various practical strategies to consider when aiming to increase autonomy and self-determination through the use of technology.


The Blind Life - Trending Tech, Now And In The Future (SENS)


By Sam Seavey

In this session, Sam will report on the latest trending technology currently on the market. He'll talk about what's hot, what's not, and even discuss the assistive technology of the future! Three words, "robot guide dogs!"


Tuesday, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Session Series 8


Game Time (AT)

By Haleigh Fancher, Occupational Therapist at Ability KC

Learn how video games fits into rehab by exploring game research, therapist roles, adaptions, and partnerships.


Transitioning to More Independence With Technology (CL)

By Jim Carr, Hearo Technologies, LLC

Join us for a discussion on how technology can enhance independence and increase happiness for individuals with disabilities. This talk will explore various technologies and tools, including remote supports and assistive devices, that can assist with daily tasks, improve accessibility, and empower individuals with disabilities to lead more independent lives. We will also cover ways to stay safe and secure while using technology, ensuring a sense of peace-of-mind for all. This session is designed to educate and inspire individuals with disabilities to harness the power of technology to live their best lives.



How to Make Your Website More Accessible (ICT)

By Erica Martin, Director of Everything/CEO, Pixel Jam Digital

While businesses with a physical location are accustomed to adhering to ADA Accessibility Guidelines, the same is not necessarily true for their online presence. Many websites - especially those operated by small businesses - are missing key elements to make them accessible. The goal of this session is to educate business owners, and those who manage websites, on the basics of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), how they can make changes on their own website, and how these changes impact adaptive technologies to make their website more inclusive.



Self-advocacy Through Self-determination (PP)

By Lorie Perdieu, Advocate, LP Advocacy, llc

With self-determination you too can create the life you would like to see for yourself. Having the right supports in place will open doors you never thought were possible. Visualize what you would like your life to look like and get out there and make it happen.


From Telephones to Telepathy (SENS)

By Jeff Williamson, Director of Sales & Marketing & Shannon Smith, Director of Accessibility at Teltex Inc.

From the Jetsons to Star Trek, so much of technology seemed futuristic and improbable … until you FaceTime with friends and families across time zones, or a performer shows up on hologram at a concert from a different continent, or a robot is vacuuming your home. Join Teltex as we look at where we were, where we are, and where we think we will be in accessibility, communications and technology and the impact of the metaverse.

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