Entry into the AT field:
How I got into the
Working as a teacher with
children who had a physical disability and who also were
Important event(s) that influenced
my early decision to get into the assistive technology field
My major involvement has been in the field of
augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). I was strongly influenced by
RESNA members - Greg Vanderheiden, Barry Romich, Rich Foulds.
Why I chose the AT
My motivation was to bring
broad communication capabilities to those who are unable to speak and also
unable to read.
My inspiration and
David Yoder was an inspiration
and supporter of the work I was doing with Blissymbolics. He seemed to always
precede me in giving lectures and paved the way for me to share my work in
Why the field is important to me
and the central focus of my work
Technology is a critical component in AAC
systems. The central focus of my work has been to apply Blissymbolics with
persons with severe physical limitations. This cannot be done without
My memorable successes and
greatest contributions to the field
Some of my most memorable successes involved the
early prototypes of Bliss communication displays in the seventies and eighties.
I felt a major breakthrough had been achieved - to enable individuals who could
only control a single switch, to express their ideas prior to achieving
I feel the ongoing development
of Blissymbolics for over 3 decades and serving as founding president of ISAAC
have been my greatest contributions.
My most memorable
Failure to market
Blissymbolics in a way that would enable this language to help more persons. I
responded to this failure by working with other dedicated volunteers to bring
assistance to as many nonspeaking persons as we could.
Significant changes and advances
in the field since I first entered it
The widespread use of technology with
ever-improving synthetic speech. The development of voice output devices that
can be controlled by those who have not achieved print literacy. This has made
it possible for many individuals to gain the communication and language
experiences that can serve as the foundation for literacy acquisition.
On the future of rehabilitation
engineering and assistive technology
I would hope forever improving capabilities for
the individual prior to learning to read, to control and produce his own
My role within RESNA and what it
gave back to me
RESNA has been a
"fellow" supportive organization during my years of association with
On the future of RESNA
Hopefully always responding to the needs of those
RESNA serves in a practical way and making technology available to all who can
My suggestions for those just
entering the field
Always keep the
consumer at the centre of all you do.