Assistive Technology Feature Matching Overview for Students with Visual Impairments

Speakers: Kirk Behnke, M.Ed., ATP

*This speaker will be presenting in person at the Penn Stater.
**This session is available for in person and virtual attendance.

As a key component of an Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment, Feature Matching is often misunderstood or possibly even missed completely in the process of a consumer receiving an unbiased and full scoping AT evaluation. Blind and/or visually impaired consumers are often met with AT tool recommendations based upon the knowledge base of their local assessor, rather than the consumer's own full range of abilities and needs to be matched to the features that are available throughout a wide range of products which are available throughout the marketplace. AT and Rehabilitation Technology providers do not always need to know ALL of the products that are available, but they do need to know how to facilitate a proper Feature Match process and how to search for products beyond their immediate toolbox. During this first session, we will explore the feature match process and review example feature match charts to gain an understanding of the process within the full AT assessment.


Credits: Act 48, ASHA, ACVREP

Audience: Teachers who work with students who are blind or visually impaired; Other (BVI strand)

Speakers’ Bio: 

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Kirk Behnke
has presented nationally and internationally on Accommodations, Accessible Technologies, Assistive Technology (AT), and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for over 25 years. He has held an array of administrative positions such as the Director of Technical Assistance for the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center at CAST where he supported the delivery of universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance and learning opportunities regarding accessible educational materials and accessible technologies within the United States and abroad. He also led a national team of consultants as the Coordinator of Training, Grants, and Contracts and the development and implementation of the “Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP)” at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He held the position as the Lead for the Texas Assistive Technology Network at Region 4 Education Service Center for the state of Texas. He has contracted outside of the US for many assistive technology and UDL training and implementation contracts. He has written for two textbooks; A chapter for assistive technology evaluations in Assistive Technologies and Environmental Interventions in Healthcare: An Integrated Approach, Gitlow and Flecky, 2019 and another chapter on future technologies in Universal Access Through Inclusive Instructional Design: International Perspectives on UDL, Gronseth, and Dalton, 2020. Kirk holds a Master’s in Education/Special Education from Temple University, a credential as an Assistive Technology Professional from the Rehabilitation and Engineering Society of North America (RESNA), and a Certificate in Assistive Technology Applications from the University College of Dublin, Ireland.