Ideas That Work

<<Back to Thread List

Working with culturally diverse families

This message was posted by Sue Fager on Jul 20, 2009.

Good morning, everyone! I am curious to learn how this information is shared with culturally diverse families. Also, are electronic materials made available in languages other than English? Looking forward to our time together...

<<Back to Thread List
  • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by Joy Zabala on Jul 20, 2009

    In Today's world, the norm of cultural diversity is both a reality and a critical element of successful inclusive education. The short answer to your question about the availability of instructional materials in languages other than English is that, yes, there are many materials that are being published in other languages. HOWEVER, whether those materials are the same of the English-language materials that have been selected for use in the classroom by all students is sometimes a different matter. If there is to be equal access to the material, having content that is the same, but in different languages would be an important thing to consider when purchasing the materials. As for is my understanding that if a material - regardless of its language - is published primarily for use in elementary and secondary education AND is required for use by a state or local education agency, a purchaser of that material can include the requirement that the publisher make a NIMAS compliant source file available that can be transformed into specialized student-ready materials.

    • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by RebeccaC on Jul 20, 2009

      I work with Deaf children.... does NIMAS provide any accessibility for materials to be presented in American Sign Language? ASL is our students' first language.

      • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by Joy Zabala on Jul 21, 2009

        At this time the NIMAS applies to print-based instructional materials - textbooks and core instructional materials - being rendered in the four specialized formats included in the Act to Provide Books to the Adult Blind, As Amended. Those formats include Braille, Large Print, Audio, and Digital. BUT, as teachers, of course we know that it is not just PRINT materials that need to be accessible AND that there are other important formats that need to be provided, such as, as you mention, American Sign Language.

  • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by Betsy Burgess on Jul 21, 2009

    Hi Sue, At Bookshare, we are making greater efforts to conduct outreach and training to culturally diverse families. One way we do this is by partnering with Parent Training and Information centers across the country to get the word out about digital books and assistive technology. In terms of digital books in other languages, Bookshare is building out its spanish collection of books and currently has over 1,000 titles.

  • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by GMatias-PRATP on Jul 21, 2009

    Hi Sue! I am the Educative Promoter from Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program (PRATP) and we have many brochures available in our web page The following brochures, manuals of computer programs or communication devices with instructions in spanish and others are available in PDF, Text and Audio-MP3. For example: What is AT and the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Program? The Assistive Technology Integrated Services Center Assistive Technology and Cognitive Challenges The Rehabilitation Law, Section 504, and the law of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Assistive Technology and Learning Disabilities Assistive Technology for Preschoolers Assistive Technology for People with Hearing Impairments PRATP Information Center Summary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Augmentative and Alternative aids of Communication Assistive Technology for Blind and Low Vision Persons Assistive Technology Devices covers by MEDICARE Professional Certificate in Assistive Technology If you want or need copies just let us know. Also we have a documental in spanish with close caption and sign language interpreter.

  • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by TrudySanchez on Jul 21, 2009

    Hello Everyone, one option which our County (MDCPS) is exploring is software that has a built in Translator. Currently we are using ReadWrite&Gold, Kuzweil and Premier Literacy Suites. At this time we are using this type of software for individual solutions as a result of AT assessment; we also continue to explore options for a district-wide solution available to all (Universal Design). We have diverse groups speaking many languages. I have tried the English>Spanish and English>French translation, which work very well on Premier (, but not as well on Read&Write Gold ( I'm not sure about Kurzweil (

    • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by Clairerepp on Jul 23, 2009

      Hello, we have been using Kurzweil in our Parish for several years. It is not a translator program. It will read English words in Spanish...but does not translate English into gramatically correct Spanish.... We have used the dictionaries to assist in providing the English to Spanish definitions as a support feature. It does read Spanish text with a great spanish voice!! Wish we could find something that sophisticated that could translate large chunks of text. We have a significant Vietnamese population. We have attempted to bridge some language gaps using Bablefish and Boradmaker symbol with dual languagelines to identify basic vocabulary. It has helped but it is definitely not a complete solution!

    • Re:Working with culturally diverse families posted by Bridget on Jul 24, 2009

      Wow! I didn't know Premier and RW Gold had those capabilities. I will have to check them out. On a similar note we've used ConvenienceWare's Ghost Reader ( to take Spanish text and convert to an audio file using the high quality Spanish voice and then send to itunes. We do a little formating to get the right pauses and phrasing in but it sounds wonderful. It's been a way to make our Spanish literature accessible. There are a variety of other language voices you can purchase to use with Ghost Reader. Just to clarify it does not convert English text to another language but if you have text in another example, in this case Spanish, it converts your text to an audio file that you can play on a portable player or on the computer in a program like iTunes.

Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20009-5721
phone: (202) 884-8068 fax: (202) 884-8441 email:
Copyright 2015
Level Triple-A conformance icon, 
  W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
FCTD has been honored to serve you since 1999. Now our work has been taken up and expanded by the Center on Technology and Disability Please visit us there where you can find all FCTD materials in the CTD Library, view a wide array of new resources on assistive and educational technology, and participate in expert-led forums and professional development events.