ALMC – Accessible Learning Materials Center
What is the Assistive Learning Materials Center(ALMC)?
The Assistive Learning MAterials Center (ALMC) at USDB falls into low to mid tech assistive technology range. As it applies to students with disabilities at USDB this type of assistive technology (AT) usually refers to items that don’t require electricity, software, or programming of hardware. Examples of these items include: slant boards; high contrast graphics; pencil grips; hand-held magnifiers; raised lines on floors or desktops; color acetate overlays (for reading); tactile magnetic alphabet letters; and enlarged foam dice. “Mid” tech items include switch operated toys or software programs; light fixtures that are positionable; electronic talking calculators, clocks or timers; and voice recorders.
The benefits of using items that fall within these categories are cost effectiveness; usability regardless of access to electricity; replaceability; and transfer across school districts. In addition, ALMC items are beneficial because they are durable and are easily disinfected. Students with multiple disabilities including sensory impairments benefit from Low to Mid Tech AT because items are customizable to meet their specific needs and abilities and are not dependent on the child’s level of academic literacy. Lastly, approaches made from this end of the AT spectrum are usually not dependent on funding limitations as items can be created out of upcycled materials that are relatively abundant in the school and home setting. These include cardboard, spray paint, duct tape, and velcro. Pretty cool, huh?!!
What does the Accessible Learning Materials Center Do For You?
The Accessible Learning Materials Center (ALMC) located at the Ogden USB campus is a state resource specifically designated to provide Assistive Technology based in the Low to Mid tech ranges. Why is this needed you might ask? Because there is a significant number of sensory impaired students within our state who can not only benefit from materials we make, but also can increase their achievement levels accessing the nine different areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. The educational items created in our unit of the AT team are aimed to be durable, weatherproof, professional in appearance, and educationally beneficial for the most complex learners. These items can be customized for individual learners and once given, remain with the student. We believe in creating a sense of ownership for our students which will ideally lead to them to fully embrace their educational experience. Lastly, we believe in using materials that make the least impact financially in our school system; basically this means that we look for opportunities to repurpose items and refashion them into usable objects when possible, leaving funds available for our high tech devices and those users.
What kind of students are best served by the ALMC?
All profiles of learners can benefit from devices that fall in the low to mid tech range. However, these types of assistive technology are usually well suited for students who are often labeled as “severe” or “functional learners” because these children are apt to need materials that are made to be weatherproof, durable, and reusable on a daily basis, and not require a plug power source. The items that can benefit these children in their learning experiences are usually ones that don’t get ruined if their hands are wet, or if the items are dropped or hit especially hard. That said, offline assistive technology is all around us; everywhere and anyone can benefit in a significant way!
Do you do consultations?
Yes, absolutely! We will start with a video call first and then, if needed, we can travel to your location and meet the student. Outcomes will be based on assessment and trial and error.
Can you help with doing functional vision assessments (FVA)? Or learning media assessments (LMA)?
Sure! However, writing the final reports will be left to the teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) who is on the IEP. We can problem solve assessment strategies, make assessment materials more accessible if they are only in print, and also provide some low tech/low cost materials that will make the job itself easier.
Will the related service providers be involved?
Absolutely, on the individual customizations we will involve the O.T., P.T., and any other related service provider that serves on a child’s IEP. Also UATT will be involved, if appropriate.
Who is on the Team?
Keri Ostergaard-Welch: I have 17 years experience working in public education. More specifically I have worked for the Utah Schools for the Blind for almost 7 years. We specialize in creating learning materials that, in large part, do not require software but do meet the needs of learners who require tactile input. We will be building materials that are durable, weatherproof, replicable, and also effective for repeated learning sessions. Velcro, duct tape, cardboard, Thermoform, Swell Touch, and 3-D prints are just a few tools of our trade. As “Head Maker” for USB I am looking forward to all the wonderful creations we can make for our students to use in the school setting, as well as take home to keep.
- Teaching Materials that are not made out of paper
- Consultation for materials to use for complex, multiply disabled learners that are in developmentally emergent stages.
- Ideas for making educational items more accessible for limited motor ability
- General Inventions that need to be created.
- Tactile Maps or Diagrams
Order/Consultation From: HERE
Teanna Timmins: I am an integral part of the ALMC shop on campus.My title is “Learning Materials Technician”. I am here to assist teachers, as well as content teams, in creating durable materials that align with both lesson plans and IEP goals.
- Classroom Materials
- Lesson Materials