About Attainment Company
Success is measured not by the height one attains but by the obstacles one overcomes in its Attainment.
Founded in 1979, Attainment Company is an independent, family-owned business based in Verona, Wisconsin. We are dedicated to helping people with disabilities succeed at school, work, and life. Don Bastian, founder and CEO, created Attainment’s first product when he was a program coordinator at the Rock County Rehabilitation Services (now Kandu Industries) in Beloit, Wisconsin. The Work Skill Development Program, which used a task analysis approach to teach work skills and behaviors to young adults with disabilities, is the foundation for our present Pre-Voc Tasks.
Soon after Attainment’s inception, we began publishing functional life skill curricula. A picture-based cooking program called Look 'n Cook was soon followed by illustrated Shopping Cards, Looking Good, Keeping House, Stepping Out, and Plan Your Day. These unique programs were the first to combine picture cueing, story-based instructional video, and structured lesson plans. All updated, they are still popular today.
Times change and so does Attainment. We created our first assistive technology device and instructional software in 1993. The Pocket Talker was known for its easy use, durability, and value. These qualities are still inherent in our contemporary GoTalk line. The newest version of our first software program, Dollars & Cents, anchors the Attainment WorkStation, an all-in-one touch screen computer preloaded with Attainment software to teach math, literacy, and life/work skills.
In 2001, Attainment launched the IEP Resources publishing brand. Its premier publication, Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives, by Barbara Bateman, has sold over 60,000 copies. IEP Resources is now a leading publisher focusing on critical issues in special education.
Attainment's growing Aging Resources features products such as Person-Centered Care in Practice, Brainstorming Solutions for Dementia Care, and Mind Your Mind. Also popular are Mental Fitness Cards, Thinking Cards, and Expand Your Mind Card Sets.
Attainment Company collaborates with universities around the country to publish research-based curricula, especially for students with intellectual disability or autism. Our initial publication, created through a partnership with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, was the groundbreaking Early Literacy Skill Builder (ELSB). The result of a five year federally funded research project, it was the first scientifically based reading program for this population to incorporate the National Reading Panel’s five key components of reading instruction. We have since published research-based curricula in math, science, self-determination, and language arts—including the Early Reading Skills Builder, a stepping stone for ELSB graduates. Other curricula, like PASS to Reading, EPACC, and Developing Reading Fluency, serve at-risk students or those with high incidence disabilities.
With recent changes in technology that have dramatically affected special education instruction, Attainment has retooled to remain a leader in assistive technology solutions. Our curricula now blend traditional formats—like print and hands-on materials—with software and iPad apps. In addition to a dozen curriculum apps, Attainment has created powerful utility apps for professionals and parents. GoTalk NOW, a mainstay in the AAC field, let’s you turn an iPad into a dynamic GoTalk. SymbolSupport, the first app to symbolize text automatically, makes it easy to create illustrated documents to share with your students. GoBook, a tool to author interactive lessons, uses Magic Buttons to enliven them with images, audio, video, and instant access to other apps. In addition, GoBook lets you create personalized assessments and lessons in multiple levels to serve a diverse classroom. Hardware solutions include the GoNow Case and the updated Attainment WorkStation. The patent-pending design of the GoNow Case increases the volume of an iPad 300% acoustically. The WorkStation, our all-in-one touch screen computer, now has 45 preloaded software programs from Attainment and Laureate Learning Systems.
Attainment joined forces with Laureate Learning Systems in 2015. Attainment distributes and provides service and training for all Laureate software programs. This corporate partnership is also developing new products, beginning with Language Links to Literacy—a blended curriculum to teach pre-reading language skills to young learners step by step. In addition, Attainment is partnering with Madalaine Pugliese, author of the Stages Framework instruction and assessment system. Our first product release is Stages Math Software. Look for more to come.
In no particular order, here are some of Attainment's dedicated employees.
Senior Trainer and Bilingual Account Manager
Autumn's career at Attainment Company started in 2006 when she was hired to specialize in training on Attainment’s new research-based product line. Autumn conducts trainings, workshops, and demonstrations on a wide range of Attainment products. She was certified by Dr. Diane Browder at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to train clients on Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB), Attainment’s research-based literacy curriculum for students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, including autism.
Over the last five years, Autumn has been conducting trainings on the ELSB, Teaching to Standards: Math, and Teaching to Standards: Science. She focuses on the programs’ research underpinnings, instructional strategies, implementation approaches, and the interplay between assessment and student learning.
Autumn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Spanish, International Business, and Latin American Studies. She gained her Spanish fluency while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile in 2001, and has used this skill to establish relationships with Attainment’s Spanish-speaking customers. Coming from a family of teachers, she developed a passion for special education that started when her mother cared for a student with cerebral palsy.
Director of Software Development
Scott joined Attainment Company in 1991 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with majors in Computer Science and Art. His first project was updating Attainment's first and only software title, Computer Data Entry. As Attainment's software library has grown over the years, Scott has been the core developer of the base code shared by most Attainment software. He has improved the consistency and user interface experience across Attainment's entire software line.
Scott has been the sole programmer in Attainment titles including Read to Learn, Looking for Words, Making Change, and Spending Money. The pinnacle of his career was the programming and successful implementation of the Early Literacy Skill Builders (ELSB) Software. Popular ELSB features include avatars and the ability to have 5 students logged in at once.
When he's not competing in running and triathlon events, Scott likes spending the rest of his free time with his wife and three sons.
Sherry began her career at Attainment in the Art Department in 1990. She produces print materials such as catalogs, brochures, books, and marketing materials; sets up products for photography; and designs art for software in development. Her most recent work was developing a new look for Community Success Software. Sherry is pleased and proud to be working for a company that helps others.
She has an Associates Degree in Commercial Art from Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. She began her art career at Royle Publishing in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She worked there nine years in the newspaper and art departments, setting type and doing prepress in the age before desktop publishing. She moved on to work in the art department at Tracor Northern and also returned to school to study computer illustration and design.
Recently, she was co-owner of a custom frame shop in the Madison area. She spends her free time working in flower gardens, walking, and enjoying good coffee and conversation with friends.
Theresa started working at Attainment Company in 1989. One of the first employees at Attainment, she has watched the company grow over the years. She began her job answering phones, taking orders, filing, and helping in the warehouse. Today her responsibilities also include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Customer Service. In addition, she handles order processing for Attainment's domestic and international distributors. Recently, Theresa has added content editing of the company's website to her repertoire of skills.
Outside the office, Theresa enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, watching sports, and being outdoors. Both Theresa and her husband grew up on Wisconsin farms and have passed that connection on to their eldest son who graduated college and now works on the farm that has been in the family for 120 years. Fall is Theresa's favorite time of year as she gets to cheer her younger son at his football games.
Larry has seen his dream come true at Attainment Company. A huge fan of popular media, Larry has long had a working knowledge of film and television but never had the opportunity to work in those fields. Until recently.
Larry started working for Attainment in late 1986, making him one of its longest running hires. Larry is a supported employee who was placed by the company WORC (Work Opportunities in Rural Communities), in Madison, Wisconsin. Larry still works through WORC and sits on its board of directors with Don Bastian, president of Attainment Company.
For many years, a warehouse worker, in recent years Larry has fallen under the tutelage of Jeff Schultz, Attainment’s outstanding video director. Working with Jeff, Larry has learned fundamental editing techniques and spends a considerable part of his week now helping the video department with new projects, though he still splits his time in the warehouse at a nearby location.
His understanding of and love for media—trick question: if you suddenly out of the blue asked Larry what films Cary Grant made in 1939, for which studios, with which leading ladies and supporting men, who the director was, and how the film did, he’d pause a second then rattle off answers to every question—has allowed him to delve into his new role with passion and commitment.
Larry still lives at home with his sister in Oregon, Wisconsin where he graduated from high school and enjoys a loving, supportive, extended family. One of his many pleasures, besides walking the main streets of his home town to visit local shopkeepers on a daily basis, is raising his beloved cat, Rocky, whom Larry and his sister rescued from a blizzard many years ago. To this day, Rocky continues to curl up in a box at the foot of Larry’s bed while they sleep.
Tom Kinney is a writer and editor for Attainment Company, where he has worked since the first day of his 40th year, Dec. 1, 1986. Although having been a small town newspaper editor and a successful freelance writer for many years, he started out in Attainment’s warehouse his first several years. Tom was the recipient of over 50 journalism awards from those earlier days. From there, he got involved in producing videos for the at risk youth market, winning numerous awards along with Attainment’s brilliant videographer and director, Jeff Schultz. One video, Straight Talk, won three top national and international film festival awards and was an entrant in the 1993 Academy Awards in the documentary category. Next, Tom got involved editing Attainment’s new publishing brand, IEP Resources Publications, another successful endeavor for the ever-evolving Attainment Company. More recently, Tom’s books have won major independent publishing awards. Tom feels he works with an exceptional graphics art department at Attainment and credits them with much of its publishing success, particularly department head, Joey Reynolds.
Tom has been living with his wife Judi Kinney for 44 years, starting from the day they met. He has two successful and beautiful daughters, Kelly and Lindsay, the latter of whom works in shipping and handling for Attainment Company along with Judi—curriculum writer and specialist. Lindsay’s husband, Seth, is Attainment’s most recent hire and is a software programmer. Attainment is truly a family business.
Tom and Judi have two grandsons and a recent granddaughter, the loves of their lives. They raise rescue dogs and cats on their 13 acre farm where they are avid organic gardeners. Tom has been hand planting a native Wisconsin prairie for the past 20 years and figures to finish it the day before he dies in approximately 20 more years. After having many jobs on several continents, Tom feels strongly that Attainment is the best place he’s ever worked, no comparison.
Director of Operations/Dealer Sales
Sue started working for Attainment Company in 1986, at a time when all invoices were typed on a typewriter and checks were written by hand. There was one shared computer in the office and one telephone that received calls from the 800 number. Sue has helped with everything from office duties, shipping, in-house mailings, fixing technical difficulties with computers and product development. She developed two of Attainment's board games, Budget Town and Budget City.
As the Director of Operations and Dealer Sales, Sue oversees all daily activities of the office and warehouse. She also takes care of all of our domestic dealers and the in-house mailing list.
Outside of Attainment Company, Sue has had multiple entrepreneur endeavors, including owning a neighborhood grocery store, a photo-gift shop and an on-line cheese store. She enjoys golfing and spending time on the area lakes with her two sons, Logan and Mason, who are attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Karen started at Attainment in 1999 when Sue Lockard hired her to help her with the new IEP Resources catalog. Knowing that Sue needed help, but not wanting to leave her other job shorthanded, Karen worked at Attainment in the morning for a few hours then would go work to the other location. Karen started out picking and packing orders, but soon added shipping and receiving to her plate. Karen is currently the Shipping/Receiving Manager and also is in charge of the International shipments. She has also been known to help out with customer service when we are a little shorthanded.
Karen has been married for 28 years to her husband John. She has two sons, Justin and Josh. Josh also happens to work at Attainment in Marketing. Karen is often found on a golf course as soon as they will let people out on them and doesn’t put her clubs away until the snow flies. She also loves to travel. She has traveled to locations like Hawaii, Mexico, Spain and is on her way to Ireland for her birthday, but is just as happy to have a weekend with friends at Wisconsin Dells.