Assistive Technology Consultations/Trainings
Assistive technology can be a device or service that helps children with disabilities participate more independently within their environment at home or school.
PACER is dedicated to making the benefits of technology more accessible to children and adults with disabilities. Through a collaborated effort involving parents, professionals, and consumers, PACER can provide numerous services for your family, as well as resources and informative answers to your questions.
- Assistive Technology Consultations
- KITE - Training and Coaching Program
- Individual Training Sessions
- Organization In-services
Assistive Technology Consultations
The PACER Simon Technology Center (STC) offers free, informal assistive technology consultations for children and adults with disabilities in Minnesota. Please note this service is separate from our fee-based Individualized Training service.
An assistive technology consultation with the STC is a way to explore assistive technology in a low-pressure, collaborative environment. This is not a formal assessment or evaluation but rather a guided exploration of technology that may help individuals with disabilities become more independent at home, school/employment, and in the community.
Technology Consultation Process
Consultation appointments are scheduled during business hours Monday - Friday. Each consultation lasts approximately one to one-and-a half hours. Please note that all consultations are scheduled directly with your assigned PACER assistive technology specialist only after an application has been received, processed, and assigned.
Typically, you will be contacted by your assigned assistive technology specialist within 5-6 business days after submitting the application. This may vary if submitted around a holiday.
For fastest turnaround, please submit an online application.
For those who prefer to fill out the application by hand, please download, print, and mail the Printable PDF Form to the PACER Center. Please note that mailed applications may require additional processing time.
Please email [email protected] if you need assistance with the application.
The wait for a consultation is approximately 1 - 2 months from the date your consultation application is received. Please note that as consultation demand varies, so does the availability of individual specialists. Applications are accepted on a first come first served basis. Please plan to submit the consultation application far ahead of time if you are hoping to learn about assistive technology prior to an important meeting (IEP/504/etc.), as we are unable to accommodate last minute appointment requests.
Before the Consultation
The assistive technology specialist assigned to your consultation will be in contact to schedule the consultation. Because the consultation is highly customized, the assistive technology specialist will arrange an initial phone call to refine goals and ask further questions to help determine appropriate assistive technology options to demonstrate.
During the Consultation
- We encourage a team approach and welcome family members, teachers, and/or professionals to attend the consultation with the child, teen, or adult with a disability.
- The assistive technology specialist will provide guidance, share resources, and provide an individualized experience based on the information provided on the application form and through goals set for the appointment in pre-consultation communications.
- A variety of assistive technology can be demonstrated and may include software, apps, Chrome extensions, alternative access tools, academic supports, augmentative communication devices, adapted toys, executive function tools, daily living items, sensory supports, and early childhood items.
- At the end of the consultation, the technology specialist may explain STC Lending Library membership options if participants decide they would like to borrow items for trial.
After the Consultation
- Typically, the assistive technology specialist will send a follow up email with information about items shared during the consultation. This may be used as a resource to share with family, professionals, or others but is NOT a formal recommendation suitable for insurance purposes.
- The PACER Simon Technology Center does not sell assistive technology, endorse specific brands, and is not involved in any specific purchase decisions. However, we can provide information about where and/or how to purchase assistive technology.
Project KITE -
Kids Included through Technology are Enriched
A free assistive technology training and coaching program for Minnesota parents and educators designed to increase the independence and inclusion of young learners with disabilities.
Three separate teams with three members per team are needed to make a complete KITE training group. All three teams must be from a similar geographic area in Minnesota.
Each single team is built around a focus child (aged 3-8) and consists of:
- a parent of a child with special needs
- a classroom teacher
- a related service provider working with the child (for example: Special Education Teacher, Speech Therapist, Paraprofessional, Occupational Therapist, etc.)
- Each team member must apply individually.
Applications for Spring 2024 teams are due by Friday, February 23
Why Participate in Project KITE?
Participants are provided fantastic resources including:
- Use of an iPad loaded with learning and communication apps. (Loan of an iPad for the duration of the program).
- Free one-year memberships to the Simon Technology Center’s lending library with more than 1,500 assistive technology items.
- Project KITE travels to its participants’ town and occurs during convenient times set by its participants.
Project KITE creates a collaborative environment for parents and educators to learn about and use assistive technology by:
- Delivering three workshops focusing on different categories and uses of assistive technology for young learners.
- Training participants in assistive technology for literacy, communication, behavior, and other important skills vital to young learners’ education and daily life.
- Collaborating with PACER’s Assistive Technology Specialists to find, trial and use assistive technology for their student/child.
For more information please email the Simon Technology Center or call 952.838.9000
Individualized Training Sessions
Do you have a software program, app, tablet, augmentative and alternative communication device, or piece of computer hardware and need help exploring how to use it? PACER’s Simon Technology Center can help! From taking the technology out of the box to learning how to customize sophisticated software, PACER’s specialists can provide the one-on-one support you need to learn how to maximize your potential with assistive technology. Individualized trainings are intended for people who currently own a piece of technology and need support in learning how to use it. These trainings are customized to meet individual needs whether the user is a beginner or an advanced user of technology.
Comments from others on Individualized Training Sessions:
“You have no idea how much you helped me. Now that I have the basics, I am off and running. You showed me that the program is not complicated, and it definitely is easy. I wish I had come to you sooner instead of worrying about my lack of understanding of this program for so long. Thank you so much for all your help and patience.”
– Mother of an adult who uses an augmentative and alternative communication app for speech
“Thank you! The specialist who worked with us was well-prepared and talked in an organized and understandable way. The software program we came in for training on had been sitting for a year unused, but since our session with you our daughter and I have both been customizing the software and have much more confidence about how to use the program. Now we have a powerful tool to help my daughter access information and to be able to express herself. Thumbs up the whole way around!”
– Mother of a daughter with a learning disability
To learn more about how the Simon Technology Center can help you develop your technology skills through an Individualized Training, call 952-838-9000 or complete the Individualized Training Application. Individualized Trainings are $50 per hour, and the number of attendees is limited to three per session.
The Simon Technology Center’s specialists can create customized in-service training to meet the unique needs of professional groups, school districts, universities, parent groups, and more. Whether your organization needs focused, hands-on training on a particular piece of technology or just a refresher on the basics, we can develop a customized program to meet your needs. From learning about the world of apps to hands-on customization of sophisticated software, STC is the right source for high-quality instruction. We’ll help you select the right training from a variety of options to help your group build its assistive technology capacity and increase its tech aptitude.
Topics, length, and location of training are all flexible. Here are some options:
Training on Location
Can’t get your team to PACER Center for training? We’ll bring the technology to you with our traveling tech lab. Simon Technology Center’s specialists can create a customized learning experience that includes all of the latest technologies no matter where you are located. This approach is well-suited for a university setting, and for organizations in greater Minnesota.
Training at PACER Center
For stress-free technology training, PACER Center’s state-of-the-art facility is an excellent option. PACER can accommodate up to 300 participants in our conference center, or 27 people in the computer lab. Training will include a tour of the Simon Technology Center where your group can discover what is possible through the use of innovative assistive technology.
PACER’s specialists will work closely with you to develop training based on your specific needs and preferences. In-service trainings are $150 per hour plus travel expenses, including mileage, travel time, meals, and lodging if applicable. Each participant receives a certificate of attendance, a resource packet with the latest information on the training topic, as well as on-going support from STC's knowledgeable staff.
Call the Simon Technology Center at (952) 838-9000 or e-mail [email protected] for more information and to schedule your training.
Testimonials from In-service Participants:
“This was the most interactive and fun guest lecture and class this semester. I appreciated all the information and great AT items brought to our school. I learned lots! Thank you PACER Center.”
“I really enjoyed playing with assistive technology. Getting my hands on things really helped.”
“I found getting a better understanding of all the specific assistive technologies available was great. This training allowed me to become more well-rounded, which will benefit my future clients.”