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11/07/2022, Shaping Learning Opportunities with Students: A Synergistic Approach.

Date: 11/07/2022 Time: 9:00-4:00 Location: NWESD in Anacortes or internet Type: Hybrid, Face to face or Webinar


Across all learning environments, our students have individualized ways they communicate and access their curriculum. We know that working on communication in a silo doesn’t translate well to any classroom setting, and addressing motor skills in isolation doesn’t magically translate to accessing the curriculum. We also know that these areas are not linear. We aren’t asking students to master communication or motor skills before they are expected to demonstrate learning in the classroom. Let’s help students learn to communicate and learn to access the curriculum in “real-time,” within their classroom setting, with their peers, and in their complex bodies. This is when and where genuine, authentic, meaningful learning takes place. This type of learning is synergetic and requires the expertise of each professional simultaneously. What if we told you we could help you map this out? We can help you streamline your AT and AAC toolbox to include all kids in all learning opportunities.  Join us to learn how to get creative with the curriculum so that it is student-driven and therefore highly motivating, all while meeting your goals.

Learning Objectives, participants will:

  1. Understand the importance of expanding the curriculum to include student-directed activities to increase motivation and parent buy-in
  2. Incorporate strategies to increase social interaction, community, connection, and belonging between students
  3. Examine opportunities to integrate communication, literacy, and motor skills to shape learning across all environments.

11:00-12:00 Guest Speaker:  Dr Therese Willkomm

Title:  Becoming an Assistive Technology Rapid Problem Solver

Description:  This session will discuss and demonstrate over 50 different solutions that can be made in minutes using everyday tools and materials.  Discover:  Uses for 10 different specialty tapes including multi-use removable, reusable and washable tapes; the magic of coroplast; rapid solutions creations using Loc-Lift RG, Dual Lock, Loc-Tile, and Loc-Line; and 10 different solutions that can be made by seeing the world upside down, inside out and backwards.  Join this session to learn ways to creatively support your students in participating in learning and everyday life!

Conference Schedule:

  • 9:00-10:45       Session 1:  Shaping Learning Opportunities with Students: A Synergistic Approach
  • 10:45-11:00     Break
  • 11:00-12:00     Session 2: Guest Presentation:  Becoming an Assistive Technology Rapid Problem Solver 
  • 12:00-1:00       Lunch
  • 1:00-2:30         Session 3:  Shaping Learning Opportunities with Students: A Synergistic Approach
  • 2:30-2:45         Break
  • 2:45-4:00         Session 4:  Shaping Learning Opportunities with Students: A Synergistic Approach


Melanie Thompson, MS, OTR/L

Melanie Thompson has been an OT in Arizona for over 20 years as a private practitioner. She has also become an assistive technology practitioner (ATP). She works for multiple agencies and provides both home based and clinic-based therapies. Melanie has a unique skill set in training very young children to operate powered wheelchairs as she helps all her clients work towards independent mobility. Melanie has presented at Closing the Gap, ATIA, and a variety of topics at AZTAP over the years. She is the Co-Founder of Believe Beyond Ability, which is a non-profit that assists with technology to increase independence in play and many ADLs. She also founded Gye Di, which is another non-profit striving to create a piece of this world that allows kids of all abilities to learn how to play together so we can change this world through our next generation. Melanie was recently honored by the NBCOT with the Impact Award in 2022 to recognize the contribution she makes to the field and impact on the clients that she serves.

Dr. Therese Willkomm

Dr. Willkomm is currently the Director of the New Hampshire Statewide Assistive Technology Program (ATinNH) with the Institute on Disability and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. In addition, Dr. Willkomm is the coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology Program and the coordinator of the Disability Studies Minor. She has been engaged in providing/managing assistive technology services for over 28 years in the areas of home, school, and worksite modifications for persons with disabilities. She is known nationally and internationally as “The MacGyver of Assistive Technology” and for her work in rural rehabilitation technology. Dr. Willkomm has presented in 38 states, five foreign counties, and three U.S. territories and authored 22 publications including her most recent book titled “Make A Difference Today – Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes.”


If you are having trouble registering or creating an account, contact or call 509-963-3350.

This conference has a registration fee due the week of the training. $95 for online, $115 face to face including lunch.

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