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FREEDOM MACHINES:Cast of Characters: LaToya Nesmith

LaToya Nesmith using Assisitve Technology for lo-vision
“I would like to do something with language, like translating songs into all different languages. I want to come up with a Polish opera. They have Italian opera, and French opera. I want to see if I could pull off a Dutch or Polish or something other than romance languages because the Slovak languages are nice too.”
—Latoya Nesmith, Student

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Seventeen-year-old Latoya Nesmith is determined to get the best possible mainstream education, but it hasn’t been easy. Her high school experience began in Albany, NY where she reports, “a lot of times technology would be an issue.” Latoya is striving to use the advanced computer applications she now needs in her new public school. She wants her education to support her aspirations.

Latoya’s mother, Felicia Smalls, voices the frustrations of many parents who are often alone in trying to get the local school systems to provide necessary technology to their kids. “What happens is that every time it comes to ordering high tech equipment they ask for another evaluation…I called the board of education, the state board and they have to connect with the school and then we have to go to an appeal and go to a hearing but this has been going on for the last four years…doesn’t matter what district…”

TEACHERS: check POV's Freedom Machines segment: For Educators. Find lesson plans, resources, related learning standards and more.

RESOURCES FOR ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) ATA is a network of community-based Resource Centers, Developers, Vendors and Associates dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies. ATA Members can be found all across the country. http://www.ataccess.org (1) find your local ATA:http://www.ataccess.org/community (2)

Family Center on Technology and Disability The Family Center on Technology and Disability produces and distributes a range of informational resources on the subject of assistive technology. Its goal is to strengthen the ability of organizations throughout the country to provide current, accurate and useful materials to the families of children with disabilities. http://www.fctd.info (3)

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER Center) Pacer Center’s mission is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. There are 28 projects to accomplish this mission, including the Simon Technology Center. http://www.pacer.org (4)

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) IDEA guarantees all children with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education. more info:http://www.dssc.org/frc/idea.htm (5)