~ FEBRUARY 22, 2011 ~

LIZ PERSAUD: Again, this is Liz Persaud with the

Pass It On Center. And it's so great to see everyone on

this webinar today. It looks like we've got people coming

in pretty quickly. So again, just thank you so much for

joining us today.

It's about that time to get started. It's

2 o'clock here in Atlanta. We're actually experiencing

some lovely weather today, and we hope that you guys are

all as well too. Again, thanks for joining us today on

this webinar.

We've got a really good and interesting topic here

from the Pass It On Center. This webinar is titled "Going

Green in Schools: An Effective AT Reuse Experience."

And we've got two very wonderful speakers today:

Sharon Alderman from Vermont and Karen Langley from


So before we get into the bulk of the webinar topic

today, I just wanted to go through some housekeeping tips

and some other things for you guys to keep in mind as we

jump into the webinar today.

So again, thanks for being on here today and

joining us. I just wanted to let you guys know some

different aspects of the webinar system so you can

communicate with us throughout the webinar more comfortably

and effectively.

So over on the right-hand side, you guys will see

that we've got the public-chat area. For those of you who

have been sitting in here for just a few minutes as we get

started, you can see that we did a sound check a few

minutes ago. We've had people saying "hello" in the

public-chat area.

If you have any questions throughout the webinar or

would like to add any comments as well, feel free to type

it into the blank white box right under the public-chat

area. Once you do that, it will roll up to the public-chat


Myself, Karen, and Sharon will be keeping our eye

on that throughout the webinar so we can answer your

questions and also address your comments as well too.

If you look below, you'll see that we've got --

again, growing numbers as people are logging in -- our list

of participants today and also the list of moderators.

I wanted to let everyone know that Caroline

Van Howe with ATIA is joining us today. She's kind of

lurking in the background. She's also here to help us with

any technical issues if any one of you run into any sound

or issues with seeing our PowerPoint presentations.

Again, thank you, Caroline, for your collaboration

with Pass It On Center and for your continued support with

using the webinar platform. We really appreciate

everything that you've done for us and continue to do for


If you guys are interested in actually asking a

question or mentioning any comments and you have a

microphone and headset, what you need to do is hold down

the "Control" key on your keyboard, and you can speak as

you're holding the "Control" key.

But as soon as you're finished, please remember to

let go of the "Control" key so any one of the speakers can

answer back and answer your questions and speak as well


So again, if you are wanting to speak through a

microphone and through a headset, you just hold "Control,"

speak. And then as soon as you're finished, let go, and we

can respond to you.

If you would like to send a private message to

anyone else that is participating on this webinar today,

you can right-click their name, and it says "Send a private

message." And feel free to do that, and that way you can

chat with them privately.

We'd also like to recognize that Kimberly Griffin,

our transcriptionist who joins us on every single webinar

that we have for Pass It On Center, is joining us today.

She is recording this webinar. So know that this webinar

is being recorded. And then she transcribes everything.

Give us about three to four weeks, and we have this

up on the webinar page under the "Archive" section on the

Pass It On Center website.

If you need any accessibility features and need to

just configure any accessibility features, on the left-hand

side on your menu, your "File" menu options, click on

"Options," and you'll see "Accessibility." Click on that,

and you'll be able to configure some screen configurations

and things like that as well too.

Moving along on the webinar, just wanted to let you

guys know some learning objectives for this webinar. We

are constantly supporting effective AT reuse in the school


Really and truly we've worked with some systems

here in Georgia, and we found that we end up hitting some

roadblocks. So what we're doing is watching New England;

we're watching Karen Langley; we're watching Sharon

Alderman just to see what they're doing.

So that's why I've asked them to be a part of this

webinar just to share their expertise and to let us know

lessons learned, things that they're doing, things that

worked, that don't work that we can all follow through.

So we encourage you guys to, again, ask questions,

use them, take advantage of the time that we've got here

together. Feel free to also e-mail us behind the scenes if

you guys have any questions and any experiences you want to

share as well.

We want to let you know that we are offering

credits for this webinar. We offer CEUs through the AAC

Institute. So if you visit the aacinstitute.org if you're

in need of any CEUs, just click on their CEU submenu, and

you should be able to find all the information that you're

looking for.

As always, you can contact me behind the scenes and

let me know if you run into any issues or have any more

questions about that.

We are offering 1.5 CRCs for this webinar. If

you're interested in receiving CRCs for this webinar,

please send me an e-mail with your name, organization, and

your basic contact information, your city and state and

corresponding e-mail address. That way I have all of that

when I fill out my CRC form, and I can send you your

verification form.

If you -- all of you in here, if you actually don't

mind, it would be very helpful for us here at Pass It On

Center if you could just go ahead and type in your name and

your organization that you're affiliated with in the

public-chat area.

That actually helps us so we can turn in that

information as we continue offering credits for all of you.

So if any of you wouldn't mind doing that, that would be a

great help to us here at Pass It On Center.

So again, any information that you guys have as far

as what you're doing in schools as far as reuse, feel free

to send us an e-mail address.

So we want to know: What schools are you working

with? Are you currently at a school with an AT Act

program? Are you with an AT reuse program? Are you just

doing reuse K through 12 or higher education? Are you

currently doing reuse in schools? How? What kind? Who's

involved? What are the barriers you're encountering?

So again, feel free to send us some information

behind the scenes. And you can send that to

info@passitoncenter.org. That comes straight to me, Liz.

And I'll be sure to pass it on to Sharon and to Karen, and

we can work with you guys directly as we're trying to

figure out how we can really bring reuse into the school


We just wanted to share some information as we are

trying to figure out some of these barriers with reusing AT

in schools. One of the big things that we are trying to do

is just get more information up on our website.

So many of you are familiar with the Pass It On

Center website, passitoncenter.org, our knowledge base

which has a ton of information on AT reuse from other

programs across the country and people that are just

donating their information from their programs on policies;

procedures; business plans, if you will, so everyone has

access to them so they can work with their programs on

effective reuse.

We're also launching NEED AT. This is something

that we've actually been working with for quite some time.

With our Find AT, with our exchange programs that are

listed on the Pass It On Center website, the whole premise

behind NEED AT is to get all of the exchange programs in

one spot so you don't have to go to each website or to go

to the Pass It On Center website and list all of the

exchange reuse programs individually.

What you can do is go to NEED AT, and we're trying

to eliminate those barriers between exchange programs. So

if somebody on the West Coast has equipment, and they need

to work out getting it over to the East Coast, we're trying

to work on that.

NEED AT is a live website. We're still trying to

populate it and to work with other programs that have been

able to do the premise of NEED AT on a small scale.

So it's just something that we're really working

on, and we're really hoping that schools will be able to

utilize this as well, too, on a smaller scale as they're

trying to figure out ways to cross county lines or district

lines or how to keep technology -- reuse technology with

the students as they move on from one school system to the

next school system.

And hopefully you guys can see the PowerPoint. If

you have any difficulty with that, please feel free to

refresh your screen on the upper left-hand corner or let me

know, and I can refresh as well too.

But this is a screen shot of what NEED AT looks

like. As you can see, we've just got the opening page up.

And again, we're working on populating that and hoping that

it will help with school systems as they're looking at AT


Just wanted to point out how to get to the Find AT

that lists the current exchange programs from different AT

Act programs across the country. And again, it's on the

Pass It On Center website.

On the far right side I drew a purple arrow that

points to "Find AT." And once you click on that, this next

page shows the AT exchange networks, and they're listed in

alphabetical order. There's about 33 of them in there

right now, and it takes you directly to those exchange


And this is also just to give everyone a refresher.

I know that we've got a couple of folks that are on our

webinar today that are actually from school systems. So we

just wanted to point out that this is a great way -- this

is our database on the Pass It On Center website, and this

is a great way to find the AT reuse programs that are in

your state.

So this pulls up a map of the U.S., looks just like

this. You click on your state, and it gives you the list

of the programs that are doing reuse in your state.

And if any of you are not listed on here, we

definitely encourage you to jump on this page, click

"Register For an Account." It's free to do it and to get

your information in there so people can find you. And

again, you can always get in touch with any one of us here

at Pass It On Center for any assistance in doing that.

And again, this is just a screen shot of -- can

everyone hear me okay now? Wonderful. Thank you guys.

This is just a screen shot of the knowledge base.

Again, we have got information here for anyone just looking

for different aspects of reuse programs just to get

materials donated.

I know that Karen and Sharon both are going to be

sharing some information that they've utilized. We'll be

working on getting some information that they're willing to

share into the knowledge base. So please keep your eye out

for that as we add all the information onto our knowledge


And I'll actually be posting this after the

webinar, but again, this helps us to provide credits to

everyone as we're building these webinars and offering more

to you.

But this is our link to fill out the evaluation at

the end of the webinar. And I'll be sure to make an

announcement at the end for a reminder.

So at this point I'm going to pull up the

presentation for Sharon Alderman, and I'm going to jump off

and let her take the floor.

So, Sharon, you are on as I pull up your


SHARON ALDERMAN: Thank you so much, Liz.

We'll wait for the presentation to load here. And

I am the assistive technology reuse coordinator for


Your first slide that you will eventually see is

stating that I work for Vermont Family Network in the

Vermont Assistive Technology Program that's housed in the

VocRehab -- here at the bottom of the slide, the VocRehab

Vermont offices.

And we can go to the next slide, Liz. Thank you.

Our objectives here are to look at the process that

we've used to implement the exchange of assistive

technology, durable medical equipment, and adaptive

vehicles between schools in Vermont.

And schools can loan, sell, or donate via the AT

School Swap site, our toll-free service, our toll-free

number, and other services that we have available in

Vermont, the getATstuff.com, the New England website that

we'll be looking at, and referrals to other resources.

Okay. Next slide, please.

We're going to describe a little bit about the

history and the funding used to implement the AT school

exchange. And hopefully -- if you have any other

questions, we can be more detailed, but we did put a fair

amount of detail so that you can look back at the archived

presentation and kind of get some ideas about what it might

cost. Although Vermont is a fairly small state, so it's

different in different locations.

We're going to identify some administrator concerns

and the current status of our site and service in Vermont

and future plans that Karen Langley will be talking with

you about that they are implementing in Massachusetts that

will give us all the benefit of some changes on our basic

website platform. Look at some pros, some positive

outcomes, and some concerns that we have that have not

worked so well in Vermont.

The next one, please.

The AT Act programs of course have reutilization as

a priority for all the states and U.S. territories. And in

2007 the New England programs collaborated, got together to

create the regional community website and service.

And you'll see in the Get AT Stuff logo there that

that includes Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts,

Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

So we get -- through this website exchange that

we've created where people can post items that they don't

need any longer and get them to people who do need them, we

retrieve the federal reporting data that's necessary to

continue our programs.

In fiscal year 2008 and '9 we received a large

donation from one of our medical stores that went out of

rehab business. So over $638,000 was saved by consumers

that year -- that fiscal year.

And in the following year we saved over $478,000 in

the website alone. That doesn't include other methods of

reutilization, recycling and refurbishment organizations

that help us to get equipment to people who need it.

Okay. Next slide, please.

So in Vermont we focus on the access to the website

for the community and for all the states. If you'll see in

the first line there, "including all states." So we help

to support each other in New England and outlying areas as


In the Pass It On Center website I did mention that

the "Find AT" that Liz had spoken about before, we always

refer folks to that.

If they're looking for something in particular

that's smaller that they can get from Arizona or from

California or from Idaho, they can use that website to

access that information.

We're looking forward to the NEED AT website, too,

where we can collocate all of our resources into one

resource across the country.

We encourage people to go to the getATstuff.com


But there are many people who don't have computers.

And about 40 to 50 percent of our folks in Vermont don't

use the Internet, or they don't navigate a site well. So

we encourage them to call the nationwide toll-free number,

which comes right to my desk. So it's a

direct-to-the-coordinator number.

And we encourage people to post items that are

needed. And then I facilitate, with the help of student

interns from various colleges, exchanges between people who

have indicated needs.

And it's really funny because frequently somebody

comes up with a needed item within a week of somebody

posting one. It's very, very unusual.

Say it again, that we really do encourage people to

call that toll-free number.

Okay. Next slide.

So in Vermont we had the community exchange, and we

decided how about a school exchange because we'd been

hearing -- we'll see on the next slide that we'd been

hearing about the need for a school exchange.

Connecticut went ahead and -- you'll see in the

center there that Connecticut created the AT School Swap

website based on the Get AT Stuff site. They just went

ahead and got that going for us.

We'd all been talking about it. We meet on a

regular basis to collaborate and brainstorm ideas that will

promote the use of assistive technology and access to it in

New England.

And so it was created by Arlene Lugo in

Connecticut. And we in Vermont went right down and saw a

presentation that she had been making available to her

state special education coordinators and school teams.

And then MassMATCH put their website -- recreated

that website with the MassMATCH influence and put it up on

their website to encourage people to participate in a

school exchange.

And Maine had been talking about this for some time

and now is going to be doing pilot programs with their

early education intervention groups. They're going to get

that started, two pilot programs for nine different sites,

in order for them to share equipment with each other in


Okay. Next slide.

We identified the need because we'd heard from

administrators and educators for some time that there was a

need for finding a place for the equipment that was in

closets and desk drawers that could be used. They saw it

as a need to be getting it to somebody who could be using


And so each of our states surveyed potential users,

the school districts, school systems. In Vermont

86 percent of the respondents explained that they were

interested in pursuing this.

Next slide.

So we started to develop Vermont's AT School Swap.

I had visited with Arlene in Connecticut in October of

2007 -- no, November 2007, and we modelled our school swap

after the Connecticut site.

And we introduced to special education

coordinators, in April 2008 by e-mail introduction, the

possibility of starting a school exchange. Did a survey in

May of 2008.

Next slide.

Started teleconferences from July of 2008 through

February of 2009 introducing the Connecticut demonstration

sites that had been created. And you'll have access to

that on our slides to come. You're welcome to use those

sites to see what it would be like or what it could be like

to use a site in your state and the very successful

getATstuff.com site.

So from July 2008 to February 2009, we did these

telephone teleconference introductions using the web and

accessing those sites.

We spoke to the executive committee of the

special ed directors in 2008, August of 2008, and launched

in September of 2008.

And by June of 2009 there were 16 supervisory

unions participating. And currently today there are 31 of

our 60 supervisory unions participating. And this is at

varying rates. You know, there are some more consistent

users and some less consistent users.

But we've also included the University of Vermont

I-Team, interdisciplinary team, that is working with school

districts to locate assistive technology in various and

sundry professional disciplines. And they are also housing

one of our assistive technology try-out centers in Vermont

currently. So that's been a nice addition.

Next slide, please.

So we'll talk a little bit about the process that

we used to access the AT School Swap that someone might use

to become a member. And it is just for Vermont. The

Vermont School Exchange is just for Vermont currently.

Anyone in a school may make a request for an

account: an OT or a PT, special educator, school nurse.

And then the special services administrator. In

Vermont we've chosen to have that person authorize the use

of posting an item that's available to others or posting a

needed device. So the authorization has to come from the

special education administrator.

And the authorization and access can be for one

person for supervisory union. It may be that that person,

that administrator decides they're going to be the contact

person for everyone in the supervisory union, or it can be

up to one person per school.

Next slide, please.

So here's the request for account slide.

And next slide.

I'm going to go through these fairly quickly

because they're just informational for you so that if you

need to go back and look at what you might choose to use.

Then we send a special services invitation letter

to someone who's considering participating. And we include

the demonstration sites that Connecticut has so that they

can look at the possibility of what it might look like for

their state.

We also encourage people to add the e-mail

addresses to saved mail, because one of the difficulties,

one of the concerns, is that spam filters that school

districts have limit and can be a block for us in that way.

Next slide, please.

We ask the special ed coordinator to look at the

Vermont terms and conditions, which of course limits the

liability of the -- our liability in exchanging equipment.

And we don't exchange equipment. We provide the platform

for them to exchange equipment with each other.

Next slide.

And then there's the signature form.

Next slide.

And then we send out a poster or they will also

send it on e-file so that they can also post who the

contact person is in their district so that folks who have

equipment that they want to pass on to someone can contact

that person who's been authorized to make a judgment about

whether it's able to be passed on or not.

Folks will have information, and some schools are

better about this than others. I've been to a number of

conferences recently where people have said, "Oh, yes. We

have those in our school. I've seen those." So that's


Next slide, please.

I send out monthly updates to all special services

coordinators, all special ed coordinators and authorized

users and anybody at a conference who displays an interest

in this.

I send all the School Swap items available and

items needed and all the current listings for

getATstuff.com. And I've been sending that on an Excel

spreadsheet so people can easily search that for any items

they may be needing.

I offer to locate items needed and facilitate

exchanges to other local and interstate resources. In

Vermont we have the ReStore and a lot of mom-and-pop

locations. Wayward Wheels is one. Of course the DME

vendors in Vermont have used equipment at times.

And we go to the -- that REM stands for the

Refurbished Equipment Marketplace in New Hampshire.

They've been very helpful in helping us locate items that

our school districts need. And New England Assistive

Technology in Connecticut. And of course the Stavros

Center in Massachusetts.

And by e-mailing all the special ed coordinators,

even if they're not participating, it encourages

participation. And we encourage them to participate even

in a limited way.

And sharing in that someone -- one school district

will put up three items for free. It encourages someone

else to share. And people are starting to loan items. And

donating has been the primary way in which people have

exchanged items, which has really been wonderful.

Next slide, please.

So there's the website. And one needs to contact

an authorized user to post items available or request items


Next slide, please.

The Excel spreadsheet and encouraging people to

call the toll-free number.

Next slide, please.

And so we post a needed item. We encourage people

again to post a needed item on the AT School Swap because

we will assist with finding that item that's needed.

Through the website alone, and adaptive trike, a

swing, a Rifton stander, two Rifton chairs, gait trainers

have been posted and exchanged.

But there are lots of other ways in which people

get what they need. So locally and nationwide, we've

assisted in getting two PDAs for students in Barre, Vermont

from the Kansas Assistive Technology program. And so we

are looking forward to the Pass It On Center NEED AT


We got a PT platform or a physical therapy mat from

Refurbished Equipment Marketplace in New Hampshire for one

school district for $50, by the way, and the mattress pad

that comes -- not the mattress pad -- the mat pad that

comes on top of that.

And then standers. One school district received a

stander from -- one of our physical therapists drove down

to Connecticut and picked up a stander that was being

offered for free from the Get AT Stuff website. And all

those other things are things that have come from the Get

AT Stuff website or another location.

In Maine and Connecticut schools, in looking at our

Get AT Stuff website, we've seen the benefit that they've

achieved from using that community website as well.

Next slide, please.

So the positives and lessons learned. Schools are

giving things and getting things that they need.

And professionals -- the really nice things is that

90 percent of the time, 95 percent of the time

professionals are guiding the items -- the exchange of

items and matching the equipment with the students' needs

so that you can rest a little bit more assured that people

are getting things that they need, and the people who are

receiving them are people who can make sure that the

seating and positioning is correct and make sure that the

item is sanitized appropriately.

The Direct AT School Swap website device exchanges

are not as high -- they're minimized because both schools

must be participants. So there is some difficulty in using

the website alone. If you've got one school that's a

participant and one school that's not, then the website

alone doesn't work.

And most folks who participate in the school

exchange by the website do need some assistance and

follow-up. And the participant posts items available on

Get AT Stuff and the AT School Swap sites. There's some

confusion there.

And this would be difficult to explain. This is

something that, if you have any questions about this,

please do call me later. I'd be happy to help you with

this piece.

But it gets a little complicated when the school is

using both sites, Get AT Stuff -- they post something on

Get AT Stuff and the school swap site. But we've been able

to sort it out pretty effectively. And the primary thing

is that the end user is getting what they need.

So items that we have -- that participants have

received from the Get AT Stuff have been like a $6,500

stander. Two electric beds have gone to different school

districts from the Get AT Stuff site. But what a savings

to those nurses that now have an electric bed to use with

the children in the infirmary, in the clinic.

Manual wheelchairs, Optelec. A wonderful Optelec

was donated to a school district. Often things are listed

at a price on the website, but often they end up being

donated. And as I mentioned, the platform mattress in

New Hampshire.

Okay. Next slide.

I'm going to go through this really quickly because

I want to make sure that Karen has plenty of time.

The lessons learned are the website alone doesn't

meet the needs, and you need a coordinator. Luckily in

Vermont we have the reuse coordinator. All states don't

have somebody that's focused solely on reutilization.

The teaching of the website and the system grows

independent. So there's much less to do as you encourage

people to do it themselves and show them how to do it.

We need to clarify the federal and state directives

on the disposition of federal equipment, which we've done

to some extent, but it just needs to be put into layman's

terms. So in general, schools don't exchange federal

equipment at this point in Vermont.

Clarification of the AT Act reporting between

states is -- we need to work on that as well.

Thank you. Next slide.

Liability concerns of administrators in Vermont.

The funding source requirements. If it comes from Children

With Special Health Needs, that's CSHN, or Medicaid, it

needs to be offered for return.

I do actually -- in Vermont we've been lucky to be

able to retrieve. I've worked with Vermont Medicaid to

retrieve seven categories of high-end Medicaid equipment so

we can then funnel those to nonprofit organizations.

And that's been an advantage; nevertheless, it has

to go back to Medicaid first, and then it comes to us to be

redistributed, depending on what it is.

Federally funded equipment. We've talked with the

Office of Management and Budget in Washington. We're

working on that.

And funds for someone to manage the inventory in a

school district and transport items has been difficult.

Nevertheless, you know, over half of our school districts

with 83 authorized users are participating. So I really

consider this still in its infancy, even though we've been

working at it for a couple of years. But it's been very


Next slide, please.

And just real briefly, 20 to 25 percent of my time

for two months to get this started with marketing,

distribution lists, teleconferences. And currently about

10 to 25 percent of my time a week is being used for the

school swap.

It cost us about a thousand dollars to convert the

website from Connecticut, $285 a year for the web hosting

with Agora-Net. And although we're going to look forward

to all the changes that are going to be made and will

hopefully help with those, $400 a year for marketing.

That's excluding table costs for exhibits. $124 a year for

phone calls made for AT School Swap and Get AT Stuff.

Next slide, please.

And of course what we're looking forward to is

hearing from Karen Langley about the AT School Swap site in

Massachusetts and the new strategies that they're going to

use and the revisions of the websites that they're going to

be making that will help us to make this even better.

And you'll have to go to the massmatch.org. She'll

explain that to you too. They have wonderful resources


Next slide, please.

So I'm going to let folks look at this eventually.

Hopefully you'll be able to go back and look at it. But

it's basically that Nicholas was a child who needed a power

chair, had come to need a power chair. And his aunt, who's

an ATP in Vermont, found one on the website in

Massachusetts. And they were going to be moving from

Vermont to Massachusetts.

Next slide, please.

He had been having to have help all along. And

finally they found this wonderful Quickie power chair for

free. And after charging it up, his aunt said Nick had

been able to go where he wanted when he wanted under his

own power.

And for the rest of her visit she didn't see him

rely on anyone else for mobility. He used that chair to go

everywhere. He's back at school working independently,

navigating the halls for longer distances, tricked out his

chair with cool teenage trinkets, and he's accepted by his

middle school community.

When he outgrows his chair, his family plans to

forward the gift of independence, leaving it to someone


So just the idea of knowing that kids in schools,

the more they get, the more independence they have -- it's

been wonderful. We've really enjoyed this.

Next slide, please.

So thank you all. And let me let you get to Karen

Langley, who is the director of the Assistive Technology

Community Supports at the Executive Offices of Health and

Human Services in Massachusetts. And she was the former

director of the AT Tech Act program in Massachusetts called


Karen, I'll turn it over to you.

Thank you very much. Please feel free to call.

KAREN LANGLEY: Hi, folks. This is Karen Langley.

And we're just going to take a few seconds for the -- oh,

the slide has come up already.

As Sharon said, I worked in the MassMATCH program

for a number of years. And although I'm not any longer

with MassMATCH, I do provide some in-kind support to them

as well and particularly around the AT program.

So next slide.

We're going to talk a little bit about why recycle

and reuse AT in schools. And you've already heard a little

bit of the reasons why from Sharon.

When we were thinking about this from a collective

New England point of view, we thought of a few things. One

is the school budgets.

Here in Massachusetts, we're seeing massive cuts in

availability of all kinds of funding at the state level and

at the federal level as well. And so we wanted to try to

figure out a way how we could support that.

We also know that many of the people who sit on our

advisory committee have reported that they've had family

members who were in school systems that, once the child

outgrows the device or moves on and goes on to college,

those devices stay back at the school system, and they're

not always reused. And so we wanted to look at the idea of

how to recycle those either abandoned or no longer used


And we also wanted to make sure that we had an

opportunity to recycle good equipment. And many times

we've seen people who've called us and said, "Well, I have

this particular piece of equipment at school, but my child

could benefit from that piece of equipment at home," and

want to know how to be able to go about and find equipment.

So whether it's to use the AT School Swap or, as

Sharon said, to use the Get AT Stuff as a way to get a

duplicate device. And we really want to provide an

opportunity to save some money along the way on the cost of


Next slide.

Oh, and the last one is short-term loan for AT in

assessment. One of the things that we have heard about

particularly is that, when a student may be coming into a

new district, it does take time to get an assessment. And

while that assessment is getting done, a student might not

have the benefit of assistive technology.

And by coming to this program or, as we mentioned,

the device loan program or the Get AT Stuff, they may be

able to use these devices on a short term either to help

for the assessment purposes or while the assessment is

being done or the purchase is being done.

So next slide.

So as Sharon mentioned, we all kind of thought

about how we were going to do this. Connecticut, Arlene

Lugo said, "Okay. Let me take the lead on this." And she

basically contacted for Agora-Net to do some work from our

Get AT Stuff to develop a school swap program.

And so we all adopted her little logo and used the

same features. So when you look at some of the things that

you're going to hear from me, you're going to say, "Oh,

those are very much like Sharon's." And until we make some

changes, yes, they all are.

But one of the things that we did was, in terms of

our marketing approach for the program initially, was to

post out five or six things that we wanted people who are

interested in to know that we were going to do with this.

One was to track the schools' AT inventory. A lot

of the schools don't even know what they have for

inventory, particularly small schools. It might have been

something that was in a particular classroom. They don't

really know where it's gone. Is it still with the student?

Did it come back?

So we wanted to be able to track the school's AT

inventory and also have an opportunity to post the AT

inventory so that people within the school system can know,

yes, we have that device; this is where it is.

We also wanted to have the option to search

inventories of other schools so that, if two school systems

are both participating on the AT School Swap, they can say,

"Well, I'd like to see what other schools are using this

particular device," particularly if it's a high-end device.

If you're looking at the purchase of some devices

for augmentative communication, those are high-end and

high-cost devices. You might want to find out who else has

those and is it being used and looking at other schools.

So we want to be able to search the inventories of

other schools and to borrow it if it's available and to

say, "Well, gee, we'd like to borrow it for X period of


It may be while you're doing an evaluation. It may

be while your school is doing the purchase. Or it may be

through the school year because the person is only going to

be there through the end of the school year.

We wanted also to let them know that this was an

opportunity for them to sell or donate AT that is no longer

in use and, as I mentioned, in contacting other schools

that have experience with the AT you want to know about.

So that was another piece of what our advisory

committee really said for us to focus a lot of attention

on, is this sharing of information.

Because it can be a situation where there's a

professional who doesn't have a lot of experience with a

particular device. It may be something that's come up from

an evaluation as a recommendation.

They'd like to be able to talk to another

professional in a school system about how that is working

in the classroom; how has the teacher been able to utilize

it; how has the student been able to utilize it; and to

have some professional colleague dialogue around how that

experience is in the school system.

So those are the major things that we were using to

sell the idea of the AT School Swap.

Next slide.

Okay. So one of the first things we did is, after

Connecticut put up the site, we adopted it. We made some

changes, and we put it up on our MassMATCH website. And

between the period of November 2008 through December 2009,

we had over 35 school personnel express an interest in AT

school swaps.

So what happened is they went on the MassMATCH

website, they had clicked on our icon around AT in schools,

and they saw our brief description of what this was all

about, and it was a sign-me-up.

That sign-me-up request came through our e-mail

account. And it was at that point we would contact the


So those people that contacted us had a whole range

of backgrounds. It could have been somebody who was an OT,

PT, speech language. We've got parents. We had people on

advisory boards. We had middle school principals.

And I think, when they clicked on the button, they

thought all the sudden they're going to be totally linked


Well, that's not really how we had envisioned the

sign-up process to be. And really what we wanted to do was

an opportunity to talk to that individual who had expressed

the interest and really garner their interest in going to

the next-level person.

And the next-level person we thought was the person

who was going to be the person who would be probably the

special ed administrator to authorize their school to be

involved in this kind of activity.

We found that there was a big breakdown in

communication in that particular piece. And so we're going

to talk a little bit about that in a few minutes.

But after talking with those 35 schools, three

schools signed up and really expressed a lot of interest in

pursuing it, but none of them ever posted any items.

So then going back to them and speaking with them

and doing some research with those schools and other

schools, what we found is they really needed much more

direct on-site support.

And much like what some of the things that Sharon's

doing, what they really needed was somebody who was going

to come in to their school and really help them to, one,

find the devices; and two, identify what the devices are

and what they do; and to put that information in some kind

of order.

Most of the schools, as I said, have been facing

some very serious financial cutbacks over the last couple

of years, and they didn't want to pay their OT or PT,

whatever the going rate, hourly rate was to spend their

time doing that.

And so we really were kind of in a quandary about

what we were going to do to get these schools who had

expressed interest to get the items posted. And then our

feeling was is, if we could get some schools up and running

and doing this, the other schools would see the value in

it. And, you know, you build a ball field, and they will

come. So that was our hope and our dream to do that.

Next slide.

So one of the things that we said was, in thinking

about, oh, dear, we don't have the staff within the Tech

Act program to go out to these schools and go in their

closets and try to figure it out, so how are we going to do


So one of the things that we did was we have a

grant-making group in Massachusetts called the Shapiro

Family Foundation. And we had an opportunity to put in a

proposal to them, and we were fortunate enough to receive a

one-year grant from them to basically have a pilot


The pilot initiative, as I mentioned, is for one

year. We were a little surprised we got it July 2010. We

weren't expecting to get it that quickly. We had put it in

in April. We thought we would have a little bit more

planning time. But we did get it in July of 2010.

What the proposal said was that we would target six

to eight schools in the greater Boston area. And the

reason why we chose greater Boston, even though we had

expressed interest statewide, is because the Shapiro Family

Foundation focuses on the greater Boston area.

The idea would be to find some students. And we

chose physical therapy students, and we chose Northeastern

University because we had a very interested professor --

physical therapy professor who worked on a lot of

assistive-technology-related things, projects she was

working with. Mass Rehab Commission, which is the state VR

agency, she was on their advisory group.

And she had expressed an interest in helping us in

this particular project. And so we formed a partnership

with her and three of her physical therapy students to go

into the schools and to do the work to identify, catalog,

videotape, and post the devices on the AT School Swap.

We also said that, in doing this, we wanted to make

sure that part of the students' jobs would also be, once

they did that, would be training the school staff in the

ongoing use of the site.

So we would get the site all set up; help them with

their passwords; set up and catalog all the devices, get

those all put on the website; and then teach those folks

who are going to be managing it how to use this on a

regular basis.

The other thing in terms of the pilot in working

with these schools, we wanted them to also provide us with

feedback during this one-year pilot to make the site more

user friendly.

Many of the things that we wanted to make changes

from the original AT School Swap site that we adopted from

get AT, we talked in New England about some of the things

that we thought needed to be changed.

So we initiated those changes with our web

developer up front and wanted the schools, these six to

eight schools, to try it out with those changes and then

come back to us in the spring and say, "Okay. I like this

feature. I don't like that feature. Could you add these


So it was really a two-part process which we had

envisioned to make the changes in how to use this AT School

Swap website.

The other thing that we changed a little bit was

making it more of an inventory-style listing of the devices

and to enable the schools to be able to run their own

reports of their devices and locations.

So if they needed data, they don't have to come to

us. They don't have to rely on us to give them anything.

They have the ability to edit, change, run reports, and do

what they need within the school system.

We also wanted to give them a list of resources

that they can have handy online on assistive technology

geared to educators. And there's lots of websites around

the country that have that. And helping them to put those

kinds of information right on the website, something handy

for them to get to right away.

And the other piece would be to have a

sustainability plan for those schools that we sign on and

for any schools that we sign on after July of 2011 and for

statewide implementation. So those were the major features

of what our grant proposal was set out to do.

Next slide.

So one of the first things that we did last

summer -- and I didn't put one of them on here, but I'll

mention it -- is we hired a part-time outreach coordinator

for AT School Swap, an individual who works two to

three days a week.

His job was to go back through the listing of --

and we had kept a listing of all the people who had

expressed interest in AT School Swap -- and go back to them

and contact them to see if they were interested in having a

presentation done with their school system and trying to

get them to sign up for school swap if they hadn't done it.

The other pieces, as we mentioned, we formed a

collaborative with Northeastern University and with the

physical therapy department, and they engaged three

students who came on board in September.

And we did training with them in the use of the AT

School Swap site so that they could, in turn, do contacts

with schools, and they could go on-site with schools and

teach them around the use of the AT School Swap site with

the outreach coordinator.

Up until I'd say from the period of September

through the end of January, we've done outreach to 50

private and public school districts and collaboratives.

During that time we've had an opportunity to sign

up a few schools, but that outreach was triple what we were

able to do in the previous years as a result of not only

having a dedicated outreach coordinator but also having the

physical therapy students working with us as well.

I wanted to mention some of the features that we

have been talking about in terms of the redesign of the


One of the things that we had originally set up is

that you could only see what was on the site, the devices

on the site, if you were a member. And so one of the

things that we wanted was the ability for people who were

nonmembers to have a view-only feature so they can look at

the inventory.

And part of the reason to do that is to get people

to sign up, is saying, "Ah-Ha, there is something there,

something that I think I could use or my district would

want to use or my collaborative would want to use. And so

now I'm going to make sure that my special ed administrator

or whoever actually signs up when I can show him that these

devices are out there, and they're available for us to

use." So we have a view-only feature for nonmembers.

We also wanted to put a more detailed type of

inventory-style data collection tool. And we do have that

tool, and we will provide it to the Pass It On Center so

you can see it. But it's basically an Excel spreadsheet

that collects a lot of information around the device name,

a code, a serial number, a basic description of what the

device is, what AT category it falls under for the purposes

of our reporting, a listing type, how it might be limited.

That's an issue that comes up time and time again

is, "Well, I don't want just anybody to have that." You

can, within the listing type, limit who can have the

ability to borrow it or loan it to. You can say it's only

within my district. Or you can say it's only within my

collaborative. And you have full control over that.

It also includes the price; whether it's available

for professional consultation; the replacement cost; the

manufacturer or brand name; the date we've added it into

the inventory; the location, where is it located within the

school district; and notes.

One of the things is to be able to put some notes

on there about any kind of new features or things that

might need to go with it, whether it's switches or

whatever. So it has those kinds of things.

We also -- the way our Get AT Stuff works is it's

kind of a one-person log-in. And so we envisioned when,

you're talking about a school, you might want to have more

than one person. So we allowed for multiple personnel

log-ins with different levels of administrative approvals.

There might be people who can add things in, but

there's different people who can let things go out. So we

have designed it to have multiple approval levels.

I already mentioned we have developed the ability

for customized reports so the school can run them as

needed. So if somebody says, "Hey, I need to know what

we've got in our inventory, how many things are out between

September and December, and what stuff is coming in and

when," and they can run those reports, and they can manage

it as well if they want.

We also included a live-chat, instant-message

feature for school personnel to communicate about the

devices directly among themselves. So they don't have to

go through us. They can talk to each other through this

live chat feature.

So those are some of the features that we designed

up front as a result of talking among ourselves, talking to

our colleagues in the other New England states, and in

talking with some of the initial first schools.

Next slide.

So pilot data. So as I mentioned, we contacted 51

schools. We have nine schools signed up. And we're in the

process of signing up another school. So hopefully we will

meet -- some of those schools are beyond a pilot. So

hopefully we will have enough in our pilot.

You'll see the number of schools with inventory

loaded is zero. We had one collaborative, which is a

collaborative of five or six school districts. The

students have been working with that collaborative now for

a couple of weeks.

And as you'll see, it says "Number of items in

progress: 71." They will be loading up those 71 items

probably this week. We'll be loading up the information I

mentioned before.

They will go back in later on, and they will post

videos or any other kind of information that was not

included in the initial load-up. But we do envision for

that collaborative that the 71 items will be posted later

this week.

Next slide.

So some of the charges and concerns. I think

number one was the engaging the right person at the school

system. And when I say "the right person," it's not always

the same person in every place.

And so we spent time within the advisory council

trying to figure out who that would be. And we thought it

was going to be the special ed administrator. So we spent

time developing an outreach letter to them that really we

thought clearly defined why they would want to use this.

And we sent it to the special ed administrators in the 251

cities and towns in Massachusetts. We didn't get any


So we decided maybe they weren't the right person

to go to. So that's one of the things that is really a

challenge for people is to find out who is the right person

at the school system to engage.

The second challenge was getting the sign-up forms

returned. As I mentioned, on our website we had "Sign Me

Up." And we would have somebody -- OT, PT, speech language

person -- would click that button, and that e-mail would

come to us, and then we would call them or contact them by

e-mail and say, "Can we talk to you on the phone?"

And during that time, we would talk about the need

for an administrator within their system to sign on the

terms and conditions and then complete a log-in sheet of

who was going to be authorized to do that.

And that's where there was a breakdown in

communication of whether we got those forms back quickly or

not. And as you know from the previous information, we

only had three do that. So we considered that was a

problem there in terms of the sign-up.

We also mentioned the school staff availability to

contact the inventory. They're saying that they had very

few people who had the time or the knowledge or the

interest to go in to their school in various classrooms and

closets and identify what was inventory, what was working,

what wasn't.

Another challenge is the school calendar. We found

that, when we would contact folks in early September,

they'd be saying, "Well, gee, we're just getting started.

We need a few weeks."

And so we'd wait into October, and we'd get to a

call with them or a meeting, and before you knew it, we

would have November vacation.

And we'd call them after November, and then we'd

have a December -- you know, February, April, and then we'd

have summer. So the school calendar is a very challenging

thing that you need to figure out strategies to work


In terms of the support student interns, as I

mentioned, we were using college interns, and so we also

have to work around their availability. When does their

course start? What will they be able to do? What weeks

will they not be able to work because they have finals or

they have semester break or they won't be back for a while?

So looking at not only the school calendar from the

school district you want to go in, but if you're going to

be using student interns from a university level, looking

at their availability as well and trying to put together

your calendar of -- of what you're going to do.

The other challenge or issue is supervision of

those support student interns, is having that built in


Who's going to supervise them? Is it going to be

your program person within your AT School Swap program, or

are you going to have built-in supervision at the college

level? And making sure that there's a communication link

with those two groups to make sure the information is

flowing so that you don't go down a wrong track with a

school system.

One of the issues that came up from schools when we

did go out and do a couple of presentations and one in

particular to a collaborative was, "Well, what if I lend

out my equipment; am I going to get my equipment back?"

The fear that, if they loan something out, the week

after they loan it, they're going to get a student who

needs it. So why should I send it out because I might have

somebody who needs it right away.

So those were some of the challenges that we've

identified over the last year or so for the program.

So we're going to go to the next slide, and we're

going to talk a little bit about some of the solutions to

consider. And we're still working on some of these things,

so I'm not saying they all work, but here's some things to


We mentioned about who was the right person. And

as I mentioned, it might be different people in different

places. And so it's worth looking into.

Who can be your AT champion in the district? Is

there somebody you can learn of who has a strong interest?

It can be a parent group. It could be an educator or

somebody with a family member with a disability. Trying to

find the champion for you in that district.

We found the two school systems, one of them being

a collaborative, and another school system that we're just

starting to hopefully get some inventory done in a week or

so, the collaborative was an advisory council member.

We had two advisory council members who are AT

professionals who have family members who use AT, and they

took it upon themselves to be our champion. And they

helped us to set up the meetings with the school district.

They did the work behind the scenes.

We would e-mail them and say, "Gee, we haven't

heard back from your school administrator." They would do

behind-scene work to try to get them to -- they were


So our advisory council members were really helpful

in terms of getting us in the door with two of the school


And so any other person who you can advocate for

the program. It may be that you've got a really good link

with your elementary- and secondary-education folks,

Department-of-Education folks. And if you have that, to be

able to use that. But whatever works, like I said, we need

to have an AT champion.

I also mentioned was getting the forms signed up.

And we found that many of the people, when they see

something, they want it now. They don't want to wait for a

call back from Karen Langley or somebody else a week from

now and then wait for the forms to get there and all that

other stuff. They're interested because they have a need

right now.

So one of the things that we did in the redesign of

the AT school site was to put all the forms that they would

be required to sign are going to be on the website so that

they can download those on the website. They can fill them

out, express an interest. They can copy them if they want

to. There's one that has a signature. So they can sign

that and get that back to us as quickly as possible.

So we've put all that information right there on

the website for them to be able to download as quickly as

they can.

As we mentioned, we chose -- because of the lack of

school staff availability to conduct the inventory, we

chose to use student interns. There's lots of ways to look

at that if you don't have student interns. It could be

within the school system. Is there opportunity for

students within the school system for some type of work


I know from many years with my own children, I'd go

to the office, and there might be a student working at the

office. Is it an opportunity for students within a

district to do this kind of work and to support the

teachers and the OTs and PTs in doing this kind of work.

Or is it an activity that a parent advisor group or

other group might take on as something that they're

interested in doing.

So use of other than school personnel or teaming up

with school personnel to do the major cataloging and

developing of the descriptions and taking the photos of the


As I mentioned, you do have to have a plan around

the breaks and vacations, whether it be for the actual

school that you're going in to do the inventory and

training on, or for if you're going to be using students.

So thinking about your work plan is to break out

your activities and chunks around those available times

that they will be actually in the classroom.

Next slide.

And as I said, you need to -- we did -- identify a

supervisor for the support students. And in our case, we

used the college professor who was overseeing the assistive

technology piece of their physical therapy program. And

she's been really wonderful in giving them orientation and

also making this a much more learning experience for them.

And they're doing a write-up of what they do within

the school system, keeping a journal. They're doing a

paper to RESNA and doing a presentation of what they're

doing and why they're doing it and how they're doing it and

how they feel that this is going to impact the community

and the school system overall.

So identifying how that might meet a student's

needs is an important piece and having a college professor

or other supervisor to work with them.

It's really important to make sure that you're

meeting regularly with the students and the supervisor

before they go out and visit a school district so that they

get the benefit of your knowledge of that district.

While they're meeting with that district, if

there's any issues that are coming up, ideas that they

have. And then after they've put the devices online and

have done some training, for some follow-up.

And it's really important to have that

communication linkage with them so that there's no

miscommunication. So when they go into the next school,

we're being consistent across all the schools.

They've also been wonderful about giving us their

impressions and suggestions for enhancement. They're in

now talking with school personnel. They're hearing from

them when they see our presentation. Oh, I would like

this. Oh, I'd like that.

We want them to get that information back to us

because, as I said, this is a two-part process. This is a

pilot, and we're doing enhancements up front, but we're

going to do some enhancements at the end as well.

And then also to ensure schools know they can set

the parameters on borrowing.

The question about am I going to get my device

back? You can choose -- and you can put it in the

limitation section. You can choose to loan only to those

schools that you have a relationship with.

I mean, if you're part of a collaborative and you

work really well with three other schools, you can put in

there "This device is only available to school districts

Belmont, Lexington and Arlington." If that's what you

want, you can do that.

We also provided them with a sample ATSS loan

agreement form that describes the device but also specifies

a period of time that it's available for.

So you can say that "This device is available for

you for this period of time ending the school year." So if

you don't want them to have it next school year, you can

say, "You have to have it back by June 30th or June 15th."

So we do encourage that the schools set the

parameters on who can borrow and also use the sample loan

agreement form.

Next slide.

The next slide is our contact person. And I

believe Kobena is on the call here somewhere along the

lines. Kobena Bonney is the MassMATCH program coordinator.

And on here is his contact information. Or go to the

MassMATCH website or call our toll-free number.

And that's our presentation.

LIZ PERSAUD: That is wonderful. Thank you so

much, Karen. A ton of wonderful information. Just helpful

resources. Again, thank you so much for sharing the things

that worked for you and things that didn't work for you.

And same for you, Sharon.

And Sharon has also posted a phone number to

contact them. It says "Please feel free to contact us with

questions for access to any New England state coordinator.

Nationwide toll-free number (888) 827-2714." And that goes

to Sharon in Vermont.

And Sharon says "Thank you so much, Karen."

So and at this time I want to release the mic and

just give a moment. Does anybody have any questions or

comments? Anything that you want to share or would like to

ask Sharon or Karen? So I'll release the mic for just a

few seconds.

Okay. Well, it looks like we don't have any

questions right now. And again, please know that you can

contact any one of us directly if you have any comments or

any questions or anything that you'd like to know from

Sharon or Karen personally as they're working with these


And Trish with Pass It On Center is online. And

she says "Wonderful experiences on which to base a start-up

school swap. Thanks to both of you."

Thank you, Trish, for that comment. And I

definitely agree.

Again, Sharon and Karen, we appreciate the time

that you've given us in collaborating with us and sharing

this information as we move forward with this.

It looks like Kevin Riggs with FODAC in Atlanta

asked a question. "How do you handle equipment that needs

to be fixed or cleaned?"

And I'm going to release the mic and let Sharon or

Karen answer that question. So here we go.

SHARON ALDERMAN: Kevin, this is Sharon in Vermont.

This is a device exchange between people who have

equipment and people who need equipment. So we don't do

any of that ourselves, but we would refer folks to

locations where they might be able to get those types of

things accomplished.

In New Hampshire, the Refurbished Equipment

Marketplace provides that kind of service and would like to

have it noted that they are available to do such.

And of course New England Assistive Technology,

Bruce Stovall and the folks in Hartford, Connecticut, Don

Hoerman, do as well. And you, of course, in Atlanta,

FODAC, I would assume.

And of course our durable medical equipment

vendors, which we support and encourage folks to connect

with professionals regarding any specific things that they


Luckily with the school exchange, as I mentioned,

it's really nice that there are professionals most often

who are overseeing those exchanges. So they know that they

need to make sure that those things are done.

Thanks, Kevin, for your question.

LIZ PERSAUD: Thank you for the question, Kevin.

And thank you, Sharon, for answering that.

Does anyone else have any questions or any comments

for Sharon or Karen? I'll release the mic one more time

before we say goodbye.

Okay. Wonderful. Well, again, please know that

you can get in touch with any one of us, anyone at the Pass

It On Center, and also with Karen Langley and also Sharon

Alderman. And again, Karen put up the contact information

for MassMATCH program coordinator Kobena Bonney.

Again, thank you guys so much for joining us for

this really important topic. Please keep up with the Pass

It On Center. Look for updates in our reuse news brief

that we send out every other month and also on the website

as we are building the information and getting resources

together as we're looking at New England and what they're

doing for AT reuse in the school systems.

Here's the link. I just posted it. So we need

your feedback. This is the link to our evaluation for this

webinar. Again, it just takes a few seconds for you to

fill in the information.

We really appreciate you guys helping us out with

that information on the evaluation. That really helps us

to offer credits for everyone. So again, really appreciate

you being on here.

And, yes, Sharon, great thought. We would like to

brainstorm with other states; so please do contact us.

Contact Sharon and the folks up in New England as they're

working on the AT School Swap.

So again, if there are no questions or comments, we

appreciate everyone being on here. Please know that you

can get in touch with us at any time.

This information on this webinar will be archived

and posted on the Pass It On Center webinar page in about

three to four weeks. So you can utilize that to refer back

for any resources and contact information.

So thank you again. And we look forward to meeting

up again with you next month. Thanks so much. Take care

and bye-bye.