Low-tech assistive technology _AT_ and adaptations are cheap and

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Low-tech assistive technology _AT_ and adaptations are cheap and Powered By Docstoc

  Thomas Jefferson                                                                                         Arizona State
     University                                                                                             University

    August 2010                                                                                             E-Newsletter

   MAKING               L O W - T E C H AT                  A N D       ADAP TATION S
                                                                                                   In This Issue
    Low-tech assistive technology (AT) and adaptations are cheap and easy
                                                                                                   Making Low-Tech    1
    strategies that families and professionals can use to increase their
                                                                                                   AT and
    children’s participation in daily activities and routines. If you have the
    right supplies, most of these ideas only take a few minutes to make.
    Creating a make-it take-it kit to keep at home, in the office, or take with                                       2
                                                                                                   Make-It Take-It
    you on the go is a great idea for making sure that you’ll have the needed
                                                                                                   Materials Lists
    supplies when you want to create low-tech AT or an adaptation. In this
    newsletter we have put together lists of items commonly used in low
    tech AT and adaptations. Below is a list of general materials that may be
                                                                                                   Web Resources      3
    useful for all of your AT and adaptation projects. In addition to these
                                                                                                   for Making Low-
    items, we have also included lists of materials for making devices and
                                                                                                   Tech AT &
    adaptations based on functional need. Combine the list below with the                          Adaptations
    lists on page 2 to make your own make-it take-it kit!
                                                                                                   Print Resources    4

                                                                                                   for Making Low-
                                                                                                   Tech AT &

                                                                                                   Idea to Share:     6

                                                                                                   Baking Pan

                  G   E N E R A L   M   A K E   -   I T     T   A K E   -   I T   L   I S T

                         Velcro                          Markers, pencils, pens, crayons
      Various kinds of tape - Duct tape,                          Styrofoam trays
            masking tape, cloth tape,                                 Fabric scraps
                    electrical tape                                      Sandpaper
                      PVC pipe                                     Spray adhesive
                     Sewing kit                                      Pool noodles
                Empty containers                                 Non-slip material
                 Cardboard boxes                                            Felt
           Scissors and X-acto knife                                  Phonebooks
             Glue and hot glue gun                                       Tool set
            Various kinds of paper -                     Battery interrupter and switch
          construction, cardstock, 3x5
                      cards, etc.

Arizona State University                 Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010                 Thomas Jefferson University

                    MAKE-IT TAKE-IT                  M ATERIALS             LISTS
      Quilt Batting            Shower curtain rings                    Shower curtain rings
      Cushions, pillows,       Popsicle sticks                         Popsicle sticks
        towels                   Pictures, magazine                      Contact lenses
      Phonebooks                  clippings, drawings, etc.                containers
      Plastic buckets          Poster board                            Film canisters,
      Foam - soft & firm       Magnets                                   prescription canister
        kinds                    Stress balls                            Hairbrushes
      Hula hoops                                                         Magnets
      Wood pieces                                                        Pop-poms
      Screws                                                             Stress balls
      Rope                                                                 Tennis balls
      Wheels/Casters                                                     Wiffle balls/golf balls
      Washers                                                                      Clay
                             For ideas on what to make with these
      Tri-wall                                                                  Large beads
                                  items visit the Ideas to Share section
                                                                                  Foam hair curlers
                                        of TnT’s website at http://                    Cookbook
                                                   stand or PVC for
                                                                              homemade stand
                                                                            Wooden knobs
         Shower curtain rings
                                                                          PVC
         Popsicle sticks
                                                                          Paper clips
         Pictures, magazine
                                                                          Poker chips
           clippings, drawings,
                                                                          Margarine lids
                                                                          Buttons
         Contact lenses
                                                                          Cookie sheets
                                                                                 Felt
         Phonebooks
                                                                                 Wood pieces
         Pop-poms
                                                                                 Corrugated
         Plastic bags, clear
           plastic covers
                                                                                 Empty roll-on
         Clear keychains
                                                                                deodorant bottle
         Styrofoam trays
                                                                                 Plaster of paris
         Paper clips
                                                                                 Elastic
         Magnets
         Pipe cleaners,
           feathers, other
           textured objects
         Highlighter tape
         Talking picture
           frame, talking
           greeting cards,
         Pouch laminators
         Binders and binder

Arizona State University           Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010         Thomas Jefferson University

         WEB        RESOURCES           F O R     MAKING           L O W - T E C H AT &
                                        ADAP TATION S

    Tots-n-Tech ( Provides information and resources about adaptations,
    including assistive technology, to use with infants and toddlers for states, EI providers of all
    disciplines, and families. The Ideas to Share section of the Tots-n-Tech website contains a
    growing database of low-tech AT ideas that have been contributed by people working with
    young children. The database can be accessed by clicking on the “Ideas to Share” link at
    the top of the page or by clicking on the keywords on the right side of the page. The
    database is organized by functional skill, activity/routine, and keyword.

    Project Participate (
    gizmos.asp): Project Participate provides families,
    educators, administrators and therapists with simple
    strategies to increase the active participation of students
    with disabilities in school programs. Their gadgets and
    gizmos section contains ideas that promote participation in
    the home, school, and community.

    Linda Burkhart ( Linda Burkhart’s website
    contains instructions and handouts on how to make communication devices for young
    children. Her website also includes products you can purchase.

                   SWEET       AT    Toolkit    (
                   atToolkit.html): This toolkit “was developed to meet the need for access to
                   low-tech, inexpensive tools designed to assist young children with disabilities
                   to learn, play, grow and participate with peers and family members. The AT
                   Toolkit is based on the need to have AT tools readily available for children,
                   families, and providers to apply in daily routines and activities. The SWEET AT
    Toolkit is actually a guide for the development and use of AT Toolkits in early intervention
    and early childhood settings. The toolkit consists of nineteen activity-based ideas for
    creating low-technology ideas for assessment and intervention purposes.”

Arizona State University           Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010      Thomas Jefferson University

                           WEB     RESOURCES               CONTINUED
                    SWEET Training Modules (
                    trainMods.html): This site contains downloadable AT training modules to use
                    with professionals and families.      Topics covered include assessment,
                    communication, emergent literacy for infants/toddlers, AT and play, and AT
                    and computers. Each module may be downloaded separately from the SWEET

    NYC Department of Education, Special Education District 75
    This website has adapted books that can be used with young children
    with disabilities. The books can be downloaded in several formats
    including Power Point, Boardmaker, and Writing with Symbols.

                                   PRINT         RESOURCES
                           The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children
                           with Special Needs (1996) by Sue Schwartz and Joan E. Heller Miller
                           This book “is a fresh, hands-on approach to using everyday toys – both
                           store-bought and homemade—to stimulate language development in
                           children with special needs from birth through age six. When parents
                           and teachers follow the book’s creative activities and toy dialogues,
                           playtime becomes a fun, exciting, and educational experience.”

    Designing Environments for Successful Kids (2003) edited by Penny Reed
    “The DESK Concept is based on the premise that children can only succeed when the
    supports they need are readily available in their environment. This manual will describe a
    variety of these supports for infants, toddlers, children and youth at different ages and
    different development levels who are engaging in a variety of learning tasks. It will focus
    on providing those supports in the quickest, most practical and least expensive way
    possible. Suggested materials and devices will include both commercially available and
    teacher or parent made items.” This manual can be downloaded from the following

Arizona State University           Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010    Thomas Jefferson University

                           PRINT     RESOURCES                CONTINUED
    Tech it Easy: Technology for Infants and Toddlers made Easy (1995) edited by Debbie
    “This guide presents suggestions and materials for providing in-service training about
    assistive technology for parents and professionals working with infants and toddlers with or
    at-risk for disabilities. An introduction provides an overview and includes a variety of forms
    and surveys, a sample in-service agenda, and a list of workshop materials. The in-service
    program is divided into five strands. For each strand the guide identifies learning
    objectives, explains principles, suggests some activities, provides related handouts, and
    suggests additional resources. The strands are about: (1) Baby Tech--basic concepts; (2)
    family centered programs--the challenges and benefits of parent-professional partnerships
    in early intervention; (3) communication and language--the nature of communication and
    building the young child's language skills; (4) play--matching the child's needs and
    capabilities with toys and play situations; and (5) literacy--developing from birth the young
    child's four ways of communicating. An additional large section provides instructions and
    illustrations for making 28 adapted toys. Also included are two sections listing a variety of
    additional resources.” This guide can be downloaded from the Education Resources
    Information Center website (
    servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED420932) or from the Tech it Easy website (http://

    The PVC Book of Simple Possibilities (2001) and The PVC Book II: More Simple Possibilities
    by Diane J. Brians
    These books “provide a wealth of resources, from where and what to purchase, to the
    secrets of removing difficult imprinting from PVC pipes. In the PVC Books you will learn:
    why PVC is one of the most versatile construction materials available today; which fittings,
    tools, and accessories will make your project easier and faster to complete; the details of a
    successful project, from purchasing to cleanup; creative projects from simple to more
    elaborate; numerous national resources.” These books can be ordered at Assistive
    Technology Partners’ website

    Assistive Technology and Play for Infants and Toddlers (1993) by Laura Fowler Lewis,
    Deborah Fitzgibbons, and Lori U. Kearney
    “This booklet provides information regarding how to incorporate assistive technology into
    developmentally appropriate play activities for infants and toddlers. A brief overview of
    normal development is given, from birth through 36 months. Specific ideas for adapting
    standard play activities for the enjoyment and education of children with physical
    disabilities are offered. A "How-To" section provides guidelines for making simple assistive
    devices at home, including Velcro bracelets, baby gyms, eye-gaze boards, loop tape
    messages, trays for feeder seats, mobiles for cribs, mercury switches, slant boards, ping
    pong ball switches, and battery adapters. A resource section offers lists of books,
    newsletters, catalogs, and programs.” This booklet can be downloaded from the Education
    Resources Information Center website (

Arizona State University           Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010     Thomas Jefferson University

                                   BAKING            PAN       MAGNIFIER

                                  1 aluminum foil baking pan of any size
                           4 spools of thread OR 4 small cups (e.g., Dixie cups)
                   1 sheet magnifier (make sure your pan is larger than your magnifier)
                                   Electrical tape and/or masking tape

          1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the baking pan that is slightly smaller than the size
             of the magnifier
          2. Apply electrical or masking tape to the edges of the hole so they are not sharp
             (shown as yellow tape in the pictures above).
          3. Apply glue or tape to the outer edges of one side of the magnifier. Place
             magnifier inside the baking pan (as shown in picture 1) so that it covers the hole
             and so the glue or tape secures it to the baking pan. Apply more glue or tape as
          4. Attach the spools of thread or small cups to each corner of the baking pan with
             glue or tape (as shown in picture 1).
          5. To use, turn the pan upside down so that it is resting on the spools or cups (see
             picture 2). Place objects underneath to magnify them.

     Do you have an idea that you’d like to share with others? Submit your idea with a picture and description,
    we’ll put it on our website as a part of our Ideas to Share. To submit your idea, or if you have any questions,
                                      send an email to

      Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any individuals or agencies that may benefit from
                                    information on assistive technology.
              Questions? Comments? Want to have the newsletter sent directly to your inbox?
                                   Email Jill at

Arizona State University               Tots-n-Tech E-Newsletter, August 2010              Thomas Jefferson University

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