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McCartney, Joanne

Joanne McCartney2008 Round 1: National Award
Conference: Assistive Technology, Montreal, Quebec

At the time I received the DHRN Student Travel Subsidy I was a student in the department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia, finishing a Master of Arts in Special Education. I have been working in the field of special education for ten years, supporting young children with disabilities in their home and school programs. Throughout my graduate education, my research interests centered on the use of assistive technology. In particular, I studied the use of word prediction and symbol-supported software programs to support writing for students with Down syndrome. The results of this research indicated that the use of word prediction software enhances spelling and grammar in the written output of beginning writers with Down syndrome and that symbol-supported writing software appears to have positive effects on the written output of students with Down syndrome in the early/emergent stage of literacy acquisition. With the help of the DHRN travel subsidy, I was able to attend the ISAAC 2008 Biannual Conference in Montreal where I presented my research, along with my program supervisor and co-investigator, Dr. Pat Mirenda. This 25-minute presentation summarized the results of two years of data collection and allowed me to gain valuable experience presenting research to an audience of approximately 100 academics, professionals, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users. At the conference, I also had an opportunity to attend a number of interesting presentations by leading experts in the field of AAC. I learned a great deal about the latest research regarding literacy and AAC, and came home with some new ideas for practical application. The presentation, as well as the rest of the conference was a success and I am very grateful to DHRN for having provided me with the means to participate in this important educational experience.

 International Award Winners: Chen, S., Faradaji, F., Gaudet, A., Hewapathirane, S., Inskip, J., Mikhail, D., Mills, P., Ramer, L., Simonette, G., Yiu, J.., Zwicker, J.
National Award Winners: Beirnes, K., Bundon, A., Hume, A., Lige, S., Schiarti, V.