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Report of Regents P-12 Education/Adult Career and Continuing Education (ACCES)/Cultural Education Joint Meeting Committee to The Board of Regents

Your P-12 Education Committee, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services Committee (ACCES) and Cultural Education Committee held a joint meeting on February 9, 2015. All members were present, except for Regents Brown and Cottrell, who were excused.

Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities [P-12/ACCES/CE (D) 1] – The Committees received information on assistive technology devices and services that provide necessary supports for individuals with disabilities to facilitate success and independence in academic, social, communication and occupational activities. The Committees were joined by the following panel members who provided insight on the needs/concerns and the importance of state-of-the-art assistive technology.

Tamara Mariotti - Past-President of the New York State Disability Services Council (NYSDSC) and co-chair, with Regent Cea, of the New York State Advisory Council on Postsecondary Access, Support and Success for Students with Disabilities. Tamara is the ADA/504 Coordinator as well as the Coordinator for Disability Services at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC). She privately consults with local school districts and agencies providing assistive technology evaluations. She also provides consultant services to residents with visual, hearing and physical disabilities at the Masonic Care Community to improve access through assistive technology and computers.

Matthew Donato – a freshman at Mohawk Valley Community College majoring in Liberal Arts & Sciences: General Studies. Matt was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, which is a learning disability characterized by reading and writing difficulties. Matt described how difficult it was getting through high school with a learning disability and how certain assistive technology has made his transition to college easier and more fulfilling.

Two additional panel members were unable to attend due to bad weather conditions.

Staff identified next steps including the identification of issues impacting the availability of assistive technology; increasing awareness of existing services; conducting a statewide survey; enhancing existing technical assistance and support resources; updating policy guidance for schools; and supporting the purchase of assistive technology with Smart Schools Bond Act Funds.