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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 goal of the NCCSE Assistive Technology department is to build the internal capacity of schools to meet the accessibility needs of all students by applying the principles of universal design for learning. The NCCSE AT department achieves this by providing professional development, consultation, and collaboration.  In addition, we provide support to IEP teams that require assistance as they consider assistive technology for individual students.

Who is on the team?

Laurie Bohannon, M.S., CCC-SLP, Senior Program Specialist- Assistive Technology

Laurie Bohannon is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.   She has a Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders and an Assistive Technology Specialty Certification from California State University, Dominguez Hills.  She has been a speech-language pathologist for over 25 years and her area of specialty is with Assistive Technology (AT), including Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), for students with moderate to severe disabilities and those with complex communication needs. She supports IEP teams in assessment, consultation/training, and implementation of AT and AAC in order to help students access their educational environment and communicate effectively.

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 Master’s 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 Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from San Diego State University and her Assistive Technology Certificate through Cal State Northridge. 

Assistive Technology Links and Resources

Distance Learning and Technology Resources

NCCSE website dedicated to resources for technology and distance learning.
NCCSE AT Professional Development Website:  A collection of past presentations and current resources.
NCCSE AT Brochure:  Additional information on how we support our SELPA