WAIT! Read This Before Purchasing Your Instructional Materials

Context:  Instructional materials adoption, purchase and use is an important and ongoing process. However, far too frequently those who are charged with purchasing instructional materials and content delivery systems for schools mistakenly assume that a digital purchase is an accessible purchase- yielding products that are designed to be useable by all students.

Problem!:  Not all digital materials are accessible!  A widely understood example of this is the inability of iPads to use Flash formatted content.  If you’re a district with a 1:1 iPad initiative, then purchasing an online curriclum that uses Flash files is problematic.  If you’re a student that has a reading disability with an IEP (legal document) that requires “accessible instructional materials in a digital format” and in a district that has a BYOD policy, then curriculum should be formatted to work on any device…

Solution?: Before making purchasing decisions be sure to include special education and assistive technology coordinators.  They can help forward the conversation and ensure procurement language around accessbility.  Publishers/vendors are required, should, and indeed can deliver accessible materials from the start.

Benefits of purchasing digital materials that are accessible from the start

  • Supports inclusion: Purchasing accessible materials helps provide students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum using the same instructional materials, provided at the same time, to all students.
  • Benefits all students’ learning: Many of the supportive features and scaffolds available in accessible materials can be of benefit to a wide range of students.
  • Benefits teachers: It is easier to plan instruction when all students use the same accessible and flexible materials rather than when individual students use different materials.
  • Reduces complexity: When accessible materials are purchased, complex questions around copyright, timely delivery, and student eligibility are reduced.
  • Reduces costly accommodations: Schools don’t have to provide different sets of materials or provide accommodations for inaccessible materials, which can consume valuable fiscal, human, and infrastructure resources.

Local resources for further information include:

Knowbility and myself, Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net

Statewide Autism Needs Survey

TSLAT logo

Through the network of 20 regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) around the state and in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training (www.txautism.net) provides training, technical assistance, support, and resources for educators who serve students with autism. We are a part of TEA’s Texas Statewide Leadership Functions and Projects and are housed at Education Service Center Region 13 in Austin, TX.

The Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training (TSLAT) has created a survey for educators to report the needs of Texas educators regarding training and support for students with autism spectrum disorder. Results from this survey will guide the Education Service Centers across the state in their planning to efficiently and effectively serve professional educators. Please consider completing the survey at your earliest convenience; a high rate of survey returns ensures that the TSLAT has reliable data on which to base decisions.

To fill out the survey, please follow the link to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/autism2015

Please send this information to educators in Texas who support individuals with autism spectrum disorder. We are interested in information from educators who serve in a variety of roles including, but not limited to, paraeducators, special education teachers, general education teachers, speech language pathologists, assessment professionals, administrators, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.

For further information about the survey, please contact Cyndi O’Toole at 512-919-5180 or cyndi.otoole@esc13.txed.net.

Thank you for your input and your time.
Cyndi O’Toole, MA, BCBA
Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training
Education Specialist

Spring Workshops from Region 13 Special Education Department

Wondering what Region 13 Special Education Department has on the workshop calendar for Spring 2015?

How about Math for All, Steps for Funding Success, Using the WISC-V, Power of Inclusion, See the Sound, IEP Best Practices, PODD Communication Books, SLP Webinars, Reading and Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome, and much more.

Take a look at our Spring Workshops flyers!

Register for workshops on Ecampus.

Math for All workshop!

Need ideas for differentiation, accommodations, and modifications for your math classroom?

Math for All: Access to General Curriculum in Mathematics workshop has a few more seats open. Register today!

Participants will learn how to accommodate and modify instruction in the Math classroom as well as for assessments including STAAR.  Hands-on experiences will be provided to show how to meet the needs of a diverse population.

Workshop: February 27, 2015

9:00 am to 4:00 pm


Register through Ecampus

Inclusion Works! Conference Special Offer

The Arc of Texas Inclusion Works! 2015 Conference would like to invite anyone in Region 13 or 20 who has not registered yet (Jan. 15th), to register  for the Inclusion Works! 2015 Conference at the regular rate of $250.  You will technically be registering late so your invoice will still say $275 (we can’t change that), so please just indicate on your payment method or PO, ESC 13/20 special, and only pay $250 for teachers, principals or other education professionals. The parent/student rate remains $100. We have extended the registration deadline to Jan. 30th.

Register today for Inclusion Works! 2015

This year at Inclusion Works!

Wed. Feb. 4th
Larry Bell –  The Power to Reach Every Student
Julie Causton, Ph.D. – Creating and Maintaining Inclusive Schools for ALL
Cheryl M. Jorgensen, Ph.D. –  Is it REALLY Inclusion? Indicators of Valued Membership, Participation, and Relationships, A Team Process for Planning Students’ Full Participation in General Education Instruction, and Giving Every Student a Voice: The Top 10 Apps and Software for Reading, Writing, and Speaking
Julie Causton, Ph.D  – Principal’s Academy –  Leading Inclusive Schools and Communities


Thurs. Feb. 5th
Eric Jensen –  Leading with the Brain in Mind
Julie Causton, Ph.D. – Humanistic Supports for Students with Challenging Behavior:  Re-thinking Everything! and To Teach them ALL Together! Co-Teaching for Inclusive Schooling
Mary Falvey, Ph.D  – Effective Teaching Strategies for Students with Significant Disabilities in General Education Classes
Debra Hart, M.S. – National Snapshot of Higher Education for Students with Intellectual Disability

More information and Master Session Program Description

STAAR A Info all in one spot

We have created a Thinglink called STAAR A: Things You Need to Know. To access this resource, click this link: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/609494907593162752

While viewing the Thinglink, hover over the picture to see the hotspot dots. Then hover over a dot to see where the link will take you. Click on the dots to access various resources for STAAR A. We hope you find it helpful. Please share it!

For more information, contact:

JC Sanders

Education Specialist for Inclusion