Otto Bock HealthCare and AbleNet to Host Continuing Education Courses for Teachers and School-Based Therapists in New York City Schools

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New York City Department of Education and Special Education District 75 approve full-day continuing education course focused on providing their school-based therapist with practical applications for improving mobility and access technology in order to maximize learning in the classroom.

Our goal with this continuing education opportunity is to demonstrate how combining mobility and switch access with other assistive technologies, encourages participation and improves educational outcomes by making virtually any environment or activity accessible.

Otto Bock and AbleNet are two very distinct companies with a single vision -- to keep children of all ages and abilities actively engaged in learning and everything else they love to do -- a shared sentiment that led to the development of a continuing education course for special education teachers and school-based therapists. The course, entitled "Access to Mobility and Assistive Technology in Classroom Settings: Practical Applications," has been approved by the New York City Department of Education and Special Education District 75, which provides appropriate standards-based educational programs with related service supports to students with moderate to severe challenges.

By way of background, Otto Bock is a global leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of wheelchairs, seating systems and rehabilitation products, while AbleNet designs, engineers and manufactures world-class wheelchair and desktop mountable assistive technologies, including switches, computer access tools and augmentative communication devices.

"AbleNet's wheelchair and desktop mountable assistive technologies dovetail with Otto Bock's pediatric wheelchairs and seating systems so perfectly that we felt compelled to share what we know about the power of blending access with mobility in special education classrooms," said AbleNet CEO Jen Thalhuber. "Our goal with this continuing education opportunity is to demonstrate how combining mobility and switch access with other assistive technologies, encourages participation and improves educational outcomes by making virtually any environment or activity accessible."

To receive continuing education credit, school-based therapists will need to attend the entire class, which is divided into a morning and afternoon session.

The morning session includes a 30-minute introduction and overview of positioning students for access, followed by a 90-minute session surrounding the effects of mobility on cognition, how mobility enhances learning and maximizing learning through principles of neuroplasticity. After a brief break, the remainder of the morning session is dedicated to 90-minutes on the topic of switch assessment for type and location, which will include a review of available switches and a switch location hierarchy, as well as information about how switch access varies depending on the type of device being controlled. Case studies will also be part of the training.

After a lunch break, the afternoon session begins with a 45-minute review of why it is appropriate to teach very young children with significant disabilities to drive power chairs, including case studies that illustrate various methods for introducing power mobility in schools. The final 55-minute session ties everything together with practical classroom applications that combine mobility and switch access with other assistive technologies for participation and learning.

The courses will be led by two industry professionals: Ginny Paleg, who earned her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland in Baltimore; and Michelle Lange, an occupational therapist with 20 years of experience in the area of assistive technology. Lange is the former Clinical Director of The Assistive Technology Clinics of The Children's Hospital of Denver and is now in private practice.

The course will be offered on April 15 or April 16 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. The course will be repeated on April 17 at PS177 Q in Fresh Meadows, New York and on April 18 at PS811M - The Mickey Mantle School located in New York City.

For registration information, locations and complete course descriptions visit http://www.ablenetinc.com/nyc_d75 or http://www.ablenetinc.com/nyc_regional.

About New York City Department of Education:
New York City's public schools serve some 1.8 million parents and families across the five boroughs. Nearly 135,000 people work full-time in New York City's public school system -- gifted teachers, principals, administrators, counselors, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, and many, many more. Our shared mission is to provide the 1.1 million students we serve with the kind of education that will give them the tools to thrive in college and careers, and to contribute to their communities. For more information, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/.

About New York City Department of Education Special Education District 75:
The mission of District 75 is to provide appropriate standards-based educational programs with related service supports to approximately 23,000 students with moderate to severe challenges, commensurate with their abilities. The district is committed to working with students and their families to afford students an opportunity to maximize their potential, become contributing members of society, and develop the tools to ensure maximum personal independence and self-esteem. District 75 includes 56 school organizations, home and hospital instruction, and vision and hearing services. For more information about NYCDOE Special Education District 75, visit
http://schools.nycenet.edu/d75/.

About Otto Bock HealthCare:
Otto Bock provides high quality wheelchairs and seating systems, as well as orthotic, prosthetic and rehabilitation solutions for a wide range of clinical conditions. Our expert consulting services are based on a wealth of cutting-edge information from the world of science and research. For over 85 years, Otto Bock has been manufacturing innovative products featuring outstanding technology. Established in 1958, Otto Bock HealthCare corporate headquarters is in Duderstadt, Germany. The company's North and South regional headquarters is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company also maintains a manufacturing and engineering facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information about Otto Bock, visit http://www.ottobock.com/ or http://www.ottobockus.com/.

About AbleNet:
AbleNet offers a complete line of assistive technology products, including communication aids for non-verbal students, and access aids, such as switches and wheelchair mounting devices for students who require physical supports. The company is also recognized for developing research-based special education curricula that meet state and federal mandates. Located in Roseville, Minnesota, AbleNet is an ESOP company that employs 35 people and sells its products through a network of distributors in 49 countries. AbleNet's products and programs have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms nationally for more than 20 years. For more information, visit http://www.ablenetinc.com.

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Mary Kay Walch
AbleNet
651-294-2218
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