Sharks in the SPED Waters

As part of my job with the Conover Company, I like to keep in the loop with the current happenings in special education to ensure that I have a good understanding of the ever changing needs that we as a nation tend to face. I came across an article called, Private Firms Eying Profits From US Public Schools, which talks about how software companies are looking to cash in on special education funds in school districts throughout the country.

After reading this, it made me realize how difficult it must be for educators, who are actually in need of some type of assistive technology or data tracking tool, to swim through this flooded market of fly-by-night companies looking to make a quick buck in the education system. As a member of the Conover team, I work closely with educators to ensure we are providing them with a tool that will assist them where they need it, focus specifically on the needs of the students, and also work within their limited budget. That’s why it’s so upsetting to learn that there are companies out there with limited background knowledge, solely motivated by the bottom line, who are pedaling their programs to desperate administrators.

According to this article, “About one in 88 children in the United States have autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date…” The rise in autism awareness is a great thing for the autism community as millions of dollars have been raised to help families receive treatments, resources, and research for the cause. However, this seems to have opened up the flood gates in the mobile technology market, with the next great 99 cent app for children with autism.

Every individual learns differently, so what works for one person may not work for the next. That’s why there’s no way to say with honesty that any one software program or mobile app is the best thing on the market. However, I am confident in saying that our services provide a solution to a need, a very real need that is different from anything you will find on iTunes, on the Internet, or from the door-to-door salesmen.

The Conover Company has over 30 years of experience and research under our belt; we are not a “fly-by-night” company. We are a company that understands the needs of educators as well as the needs of the children. We are constantly growing and evolving our tools to better fit the needs of the customers we work with.

A perfect example of our goal to improve the lives of children and young adults with disabilities is our Mobile Technology Grant. Individuals can submit an application, which is reviewed by our staff for consideration of either an iPod Touch or iPad preloaded with the Conover Company Functional Skills System videos, free of charge. New winners are posted on our website when announced.

Last month’s blog post titled, Video Modeling in Her Own Words was about a teenage girl named Jordyn who was nice enough to share with us her experience with our products and the impact they’ve had on her life.

The main point I want to be taken from this blog post is that there are a lot of products out there for students of all disabilities, some of them are wonderful, others not so much. It pains me to speak with an educator who has spent thousands of dollars from an already limited budget, on a program that isn’t meeting their students’ needs. Schools can’t afford to be stripped of their funds by products that sit on the shelves and collect dust. At Conover we strive to provide educators with the tools to make their students successful, by allowing the staff to focus on the results, rather than waste time trying to get the results. Let your staff do what they do best, teach the students, not spend every year figuring out some new app or software that will be outdated in a few months.

By | 2017-04-30T16:18:28-04:00 September 4th, 2012|Education|2 Comments

About the Author:

Terry Schmitz is the founder and owner of The Conover Company. Terry has been involved in the development of assessments for both education and corporations for over 30 years. He has developed hundreds of job-specific assessment systems that link to skill building systems.

2 Comments

  1. Laura September 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this insightful post. I hope that other educators will see this and share with their administrators as we know that most teachers aren’t allowed to make many decisions regarding budget items without admin approval.
    Have a great day!

    • Mark Sonnenburg September 12, 2012 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Laura,

      Thank you for your comment on my blog post, I really appreciate it. I completely agree with you about the restrictions that most teachers have when it comes to purchasing programs. I love working directly with the teachers with our programs because they seem to really understand the importance of new technology and the significance it can play in the classroom. One of the reasons we designed Conover Online the way we did, was to give teachers the freedom to seek out low cost materials, which can sometimes make for a smoother process in approving the cost with administrators. Always nice to hear from someone that shares the same passion!

      Thanks again for your post!

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