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Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology

Under current federal law (Individuals with Disabilities Education-IDEA), “Assistive Technology services and the services necessary to help a child select, acquire, or use an assistive technology device are made available if required as part of the child’s special education or related services. Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” The term Augmentative Alternative Communication, or AAC, includes all forms of communication, other than oral speech, that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.  Assistive Technology falls along a continuum from no-tech, light/low-tech, to high tech devices that support students’ educational needs, communication, and access to their educational environment.

What is the role of the NCCSE Assistive Technology Department?

The Assistive Technology Department supports IEP teams in their efforts to make collaborative decisions when considering or implementing assistive technology.  We provide support to members of our SELPA to meet the diverse needs of students in a variety of ways, including consultation, evaluation, and professional development.

Who is on the team?

Jeff Adams, MEd., Senior Program Specialist- Assistive Technology

Jeff Adams is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education. Jeff has a Masters degree in Educational Technology and received an Assistive Technology Certificate through Cal State Northridge. Prior to being an A.T. Specialist, Jeff was an Adapted Physical Education Specialist for 13 years with the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. He also has a cabinet making/finish carpentry background which he utilizes in his current position to fabricate wheelchair trays, modified desks, and other items for student use.  His area of specialty is physical access.

Denise Hernandez, MEd., Senior Program Specialist- Assistive Technology

Denise Hernandez is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.  She has a Masters Degree in Education and received an Assistive Technology Certificate through Cal State Northridge.  Denise has been an educator for over 15 years and has experience in both general and special education (grades K-12). During that time, she has supported students, teachers, parents, and administrators as a classroom teacher and later as a Program Specialist. Her area of specialty is academic access.

Dawn Shirvanian, M.A., CCC-SLP, Senior Program Specialist- Assistive Technology

Dawn Shirvanian is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.   As a speech-language pathologist for over 10 years, her specific area of specialty is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She supports IEP teams in assessment, consultation/training, and implementation of AAC for students to better access their educational environment and communicate more effectively. She has a Masters Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from San Diego State University and her Assistive Technology Certificate through Cal State Northridge.


Assistive Technology Links and Resources

NCCSE AT Professional Development Website:  A collection of past presentations and current resources.
NCCSE AT Blog:  Get assistive technology tips and updates for our SELPA.
NCCSE AT Brochure:  Additional information on how we support our SELPA