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Supporting Preschool Children with Assistive Technology

To empower early childhood educators to use evidence-based assistive technology with even the youngest learners, the Miami-Dade County Community Action & Human Services Head Start Program in Florida is partnering with two organizations with external assistive technology specialists. Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology (FAAST) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Floridians with disabilities by increasing access to assistive technology through empowerment and collaboration. Step Up AT is a customizable professional development program that coaches teachers, teacher assistants, teacher support specialists, school districts, and other agencies to adopt evidence-based AT practices that improve early learning outcomes for young children (ages 3-5) with disabilities. 

The program aims to help educators plan for and use AT to support preschool students aged three to five with IEPs or students who otherwise need support. By helping educators match AT with tasks and student strengths, they can more actively engage students in their learning. The Step Up AT team has also created learning modules in English and Spanish describing how to plan for AT, developed teaching practices with guidance from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Early Childhood, and videos demonstrating how to use the AT. The learning modules help preschool administrators, such as those with Head Start, get AT where needed and become better advocates for students with disabilities.