This week started out in the office, getting prepared for the TLC trainings in Phoenix. We had a staff potluck for Cinco de Mayo, although it was the day before because that was the day when most of the people would be in the office. It was nice to be a part of that and I brought tamales I purchased from a nearby carniceria (I have no abilities to make those myself, nor the time right now).
It’s funny, but I’ve learned a great deal from this internship about how to work in an office and around people on a daily basis. I’ve been working from home or going out to appointments across the state for the last 10 years, so working in one location again with consistent people has been very different. Overall I like it and I’m really looking forward to the new experiences I’ll have next semester and in the future. Any new experience would be different than what my norm has been, so I suppose that makes sense. Most people look forward to having a position like mine, traveling all over and meeting new people. But being part of a classroom and a school/district sounds like an amazing change, and while there will be advantages and disadvantages, it’ll be something different and that’s rather exciting.
I got to meet Dr. Penny Reed on Wednesday in Phoenix for a presentation on AT Assessment. I had heard about WATI and their assessment forms years ago when I was part of a school district in Michigan who was looking to create a AT program. They included people from across the state and did a lot for expanding knowledge and options. Back then I didn’t really understand what they were doing because I was completely immersed in AAC and that was all I could think of. I understand a bit better now why they were showing so many other options and looking at the process in ways so different than what I knew for the AAC process. And while all that is accurate, I think the biggest problem they ran into was they got stuck on students with more involved disabilities and the perceived opinions that these students were incapable of doing anything independently or communicating on their own. So they went more with PODD and very low tech and limiting options, with the expectation that that was all the students would need for their lifetimes. http://lburkhart.com/podd.htm. I do not agree with these ideas, but it makes a bit more sense now.
Anyway, as silly as it sounded, I asked Penny Reed if I could take my picture with her. I’m not looking forward to next week being the last week of my internship, but I’m going to make the most of it. I have plans to buy a soldering gun so I can make my own switches, and record a book with the anybook reader. Go big or go home.