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University of Connecticut Assistive Technology Oral History Project

Russ Holland


Date: March 17-21 2009

Russ Holland was our first video interview. He started out his career as a provisional teacher at a North Jersey Child Development Center that happened to be using the basement of the church he frequented.

He now lives in the Adirondacks in upstate New York and began work there in a board of cooperative educational services (BOCES).

In the first snippet he talks about his class of very interesting special education students. He relates how an Apple computer was instrumental in the students' writing skills, but more importantly their self-esteem. They began to have status in the school.

He had success with a child with cerebral palsy who was non-verbal, but incredibly intelligent. He began by getting the youngster a new Barry Romich Express 3 AAC (augmentative/alternative communication) device. But when Barry introduced Russ to Bruce Baker who had invented Minspeak, they purchased the Light Writer and then the Liberator with Minspeak for the young man. It was a great improvement and they referred to the Liberator as a Ph.D. device for augmentative communication.

Finally Russ mentions Apple Computer and his own significant involvement in what became the Alliance for Technology Access.

Snippet 1: "Russ Holland explains his entry to disability field."

Snippet 2: "The impact of the first Apple computer."