In 2011 I was inspired to I purchased my first iPad. I was watching a child with language difficulties communicate to someone for the very first time and was in awe. At that point I realized how technology can play an important part in the success of today's children with and without special needs. Like most first time users, I loaded game apps and remedial skills type apps. But then I noticed something. My students who had learning disabilities become engaged with the iPad and were motivated to learn, so I began diligently searching for apps that would allow my students to have access to their curriculum in new ways. What I discovered was these students became engaged in their own learning and their test scores began to rise. The best part was seeing happiness in their faces that only a teacher could recognize. What joy it brings me each day to watch my student succeed. My quest will not end here.
Our journey can be inspired through trials and triumphs. My story is just that. It began when a teacher shared the story of Ann Franks and Helen Keller. Because of this teacher, who was willing to share her inspiration, I too hope that inspiration and tools can be found through this website. Be curagious in your journey. Have faith that all things are possibly through Christ who strengthens you.
Tracey Antista has been teaching since 1994 and has taught students from ages 3 to 13. In 2002, she had her first experience in teaching students with special needs. Tracey was asked if she would be willing to have a student with moderate autism into her classroom. This opened the door for special needs children to attend Shoreline Christian school. In 2003 her family moved to Tucson so her husband could continue his education at UA. This is where she began teaching in a fully inclusive program at Lambs Gate Christian school. In 2011, she completed her own education and ventured into the public school system. She now works at J. Robert Hendricks Elementary in the Flowing Wells Unified School District as a K-6th reading and writing resource teacher. This is where she began integrating technology on a large scale. She has been featured in Tech and Learning magazine and in Az Daily Star as The Teacher Who Helps Students Help Themselves. She has served on the board with Arizona Council for Exceptional Children, and has been a presenter on multiple occasions. She is part of the AzTAP assistive technology summer institute panel of presenters , and has presented for AzDE panel of presenters for their annual special education institute. Her mold valued venture was presenting on iPad technology using Universal Design in Learning for the national CUE conference in California in 2015. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, where she was awarded a grant to attend ISTE 2014 and has presented for them through state conferences and workshops. In February 2015 she received the Samuel Kirk Special Education Teacher of the Year award. Through these experiences, she is humbled and strives to find the best ways for students with learning disabilities to have access to the best education using todays technology tools. Many more wonderful events have happened since Feburary 2015 including being a $5,000 grant winner for 21st Century Link in May 2015 and being part of a panel of Speakers for ASHA Phoenix for an audience of 2000 in July 2015. In 2016 she has 5 events booked, but is always interested in taking her research and experience to others around the world. Who knows what 2016-17 will hold? Over-seas or maybe a book? You'll have to wait to find out.