Basically, assistive technology is utilization of a device that help people with disabilities perform a given task by either (a) assisting them in learning, (b) making the environment more accessible, (c) enabling them to compete in the workplace, (d) enhancing their independence, or (e) otherwise improving their quality of life.
It is important to realize that assistive technology applications can be viewed as a continuum that ranges from "high-tech" to "no-tech“ b/c AT is more than just computers.High TechHigh-tech devices incorporate sophisticated electronics or computers.Medium TechMedium-tech devices are relatively complicated mechanical devices, such as wheelchairs. Low TechLow-tech items are less sophisticated and can include devices such as adapted spoon handles, non-tipping drinking cups, and Velcro fasteners. No TechNo-tech solutions are those that make use of procedures, services, and existing conditions in the environment that do not involve the use of devices or equipment. These might include services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or the services of other specialists.
Assistive technology products are designed to provide additional accessibility to individuals who have physical or cognitive difficulties, impairments, and disabilities. When selecting assistive technology products, it is crucial to find products that are compatible with the computer operating system and programs on the particular computer being used.Access and Environmental Controls: Devices that allow increased control of the environment or that open up access to things in the environment. This includes electronic controls like switches, special keyboards or mice, and remote controls as well as things that help people get around the community, like ramps, automatic door openers, and Braille signs. Aids to Daily Living: Special tools for daily activities, like brushing teeth, dressing or eating. This includes adapted utensils, plates and cups, non-skid surfaces, and specially designed toilet seats and shower stalls. Assistive Listening: Supports that help a student who is either deaf or has a hearing loss. This includes hearing aids, amplifiers, captions on TV, and typing telephones.
Augmentative/Alternative Communication: Supports that allow a child who cannot speak, or whose speech is not understood by others, to communicate. This includes picture boards, voice output communication devices, communication software and computers. Computer-Based Instruction: Software to help students with learning difficulties in reading, writing, math and other subject areas. Mobility: Equipment that allows a student with a physical or visual disability to move independently and safely through the community. This includes wheelchairs, walkers, and adapted bicycles.
Positioning: Any support that helps a student with a physical disability remain in a good position for learning without becoming tired. This includes adjustable chairs, tables, standers, wedges and straps. Visual Aids: Supports that give a student with visual difficulties access to information. This includes large-print books, books on tape, magnifiers, talking computer software, and Braillers.
TextHELP Read & Write 8 Gold is a toolbar providing literacy support in any Windows application. · WYNN 5.0 is a literacy software tool for people with reading challenges. It simultaneously highlights the text as it is spoken. · Kurzweil 3000 presents print material in a visual form, preserving the original page layout, and highlights following the audio playback. · Write:OutLoud Solo is a talking Word Processor and Spell Checker, which allows the user to listen letter-by-letter, word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence. It speaks while students write, highlighting word-by-word to provide a direct correlation between spoken and written words.· TextAloud 2.0 is a Windows application that reads text aloud from email, web pages, reports etc. A review of this program is available through the ANU Assistive Technology Project.· Co:Writer SOLO is Word Prediction software featuring topic dictionaries for curriculum specific vocabulary. It recognizes and predicts words based on phonetic spellings, grammar support to assist in constructing better sentences and options for the program to maximize the support or offer help only when needed
Alternative keyboards—featuring larger- or smaller-than-standard keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations, and keyboards for use with one hand. Electronic pointing devices—used to control the cursor on the screen without use of hands. Devices used include ultrasound, infrared beams, eye movements, nerve signals, or brain waves. Sip-and-puff systems—activated by inhaling or exhaling. Wands and sticks—worn on the head, held in the mouth or strapped to the chin and used to press keys on the keyboard Joysticks—manipulated by hand, feet, chin, etc. and used to control the cursor on screen. Trackballs—movable balls on top of a base that can be used to move the cursor on screen. Touch screens—allow direct selection or activation of the computer by touching the screen, making it easier to select an option directly rather than through a mouse movement or keyboard. Touch screens are either built into the computer monitor or can be added onto a computer monitor.
Braille embossers transfer computer generated text into embossed Braille output. Braille translation programs convert text scanned-in or generated via standard word processing programs into Braille, which can be printed on the embosser.Keyboard filters are typing aids such as word prediction utilities and add-on spelling checkers that reduce the required number of keystrokes. Keyboard filters enable users to quickly access the letters they need and to avoid inadvertently selecting keys they don't want.Light signaler alerts monitor computer sounds and alert the computer user with light signals. This is useful when a computer user can not hear computer sounds or is not directly in front of the computer screen. As an example, a light can flash alerting the user when a new e-mail message has arrived or a computer command has completed.On-screen keyboards provide an image of a standard or modified keyboard on the computer screen that allows the user to select keys with a mouse, touch screen, trackball, joystick, switch, or electronic pointing device. On-screen keyboards often have a scanning option that highlights individual keys that can be selected by the user. On-screen keyboards are helpful for individuals who are not able to use a standard keyboard due to dexterity or mobility difficulties.
Reading tools and learning disabilities programs include software and hardware designed to make text-based materials more accessible for people who have difficulty with reading. Options can include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking text out loud. These programs are helpful for those who have difficulty seeing or manipulating conventional print materials; people who are developing new literacy skills or who are learning English as a foreign language; and people who comprehend better when they hear and see text highlighted simultaneously.Screen enlargers, or screen magnifiers, work like a magnifying glass for the computer by enlarging a portion of the screen which can increase legibility and make it easier to see items on the computer. Some screen enlargers allow a person to zoom in and out on a particular area of the screen.Screen readers are used to verbalize, or "speak," everything on the screen including text, graphics, control buttons, and menus into a computerized voice that is spoken aloud. In essence, a screen reader transforms a graphic user interface (GUI) into an audio interface. Screen readers are essential for computer users who are blind.Speech recognition or voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer, which can be used to create text documents such as letters or e-mail messages, browse the Internet, and navigate among applications and menus by voice.
Text-to-Speech (TTS) or speech synthesizers receive information going to the screen in the form of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks, and then "speak" it out loud in a computerized voice. Using speech synthesizers allows computer users who are blind or who have learning difficulties to hear what they are typing and also provide a spoken voice for individuals who can not communicate orally, but can communicate their thoughts through typing.Talking and large-print word processors are software programs that use speech synthesizers to provide auditory feedback of what is typed. Large-print word processors allow the user to view everything in large text without added screen enlargement.TTY/TDD conversion modems are connected between computers and telephones to allow an individual to type a message on a computer and send it to a TTY/TDD telephone or other equipped device.
This investigation examined the use of computer assisted instruction via WordMaker software on 1st grade students having different reading levels of reading ability. In less than 10 weeks the software had significant impact on the students decoding and spelling skills. 83% of the students experienced gains b/t pre and posttest scores thereby illustrating how this software can be an effective compliment to the 1st grade curriculum.The article reports on the use of assistive technology to foster speech and language skills at home and in preschool in the U.S. It conveyed that young children with delayed talking skills benefit when their parents and their preschool teachers collaborate to include assistive technology (sign language, picture communication boards) in home and preschool routines.This study investigated the use of assistive technology by students in the United States who are visually impaired through a secondary analysis of a nationally representative database. During the first data collection period, students were any age between 6 and 12 and in any grade between the first and seventh. Students aged four years between the first and last data collection periods. The study found that less than half the students with visual impairments in the United States who were most inclined to benefit from assistive technology had the opportunity to use assistive technology during each of the three measured periods. Between 59% and 71% of the students with visual impairments who were most inclined to benefit from assistive technology did not have the opportunity to use assistive technology. The study also found, that students with visual impairments who attended residential schools were significantly more likely to use assistive technology.
Assistive Technology Sauve & Mc Cadney
Assistive technology<br />By: Jack Sauve & Olajiwon McCadney<br />
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:<br />“Assistive technology means any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”<br />Source: National Assistive Technology Research Institute<br />What is Assistive technology?<br />
The Assistive Technology Continuum<br />High-Tech<br />Medium Tech<br />Low Tech<br />No Tech<br />Source: National Assistive Technology Research Institute<br />
Types of Assistive Technology (A-Z)<br />Access and Environmental Controls<br />Aids to Daily Living<br />Assistive Listening<br />Source: www.pbs.org<br />
Programs specifically designed for use by people with a LD have a combination of features to assist people with LD to access print material. Examples include:<br />TextHELP Read & Write 8 Gold<br />WYNN 5.0<br />Kurzweil 3000<br />Write: OutLoud Solo<br />TextAloud 2.0<br />Co:Writer SOLO<br /> Source: Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training <br />Types of Assistive Technology- A Deeper Scope: Learning Disability Software<br />
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device. Examples include:<br />Alternative keyboards<br />Electronic pointing devices<br />Sip-and-puff systems<br />Wands and sticks<br />Joysticks<br />Trackballs<br />Touch screens<br />Source: www.microsoft.com<br />Types of Assistive Technology Products<br />
Assistive Technology in action: Sip-and-puff systems<br />
Reading tools and learning disabilities programs <br />Screen enlargers, or screen magnifiers<br />Screen readers <br />Speech recognition or voice recognition programs<br /> Source: www.microsoft.com<br />Types of Assistive Technology Products (Continued)<br />
Text-to-Speech (TTS) or speech synthesizers<br />Talking and large-print word processors<br />TTY/TDD conversion modems<br />Source: www.microsoft.com<br />Types of Assistive Technology Products (Continued)<br />
An Action Research Study of Computer -Assisted Instruction Within the First Grade Classroom<br />Source: Assistive Technology Industry Association<br />Using Assistive Technology to Foster Speech and Language Skills at Home and in Preschool.<br />Source: Council for Exceptional Children<br />Use of Assistive Technology by Students with Visual Impairments: Findings from a National Survey.<br />Source: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness<br />Research: Assistive Technology In Education<br />
“An Action Research Study of Computer -Assisted Instruction Within the First Grade ”: http://www.atia.org/files/public/atobv3n1articleSIX.pdf<br />“Assistive Technology: What software is available to assist students with Learning Disabilities?”: http://www.adcet.edu.au/Oao/view.aspx?id=4223<br />“Types of Assistive Technology Products”: http://www.microsoft.com/enable/at/types.aspx<br />“Types of Assistive Technology”: http://www.pbs.org/parents/inclusivecommunities/assistive_tech2.html<br />“Use of Assistive Technology by Students with Visual Impairments: Findings from a National Survey”: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=2&sid=fef1d74b-9b38- 478a-b217-0d9283a77425%40sessionmgr11<br />“Using Assistive Technology to Foster Speech and Language Skills at Home and in Preschool”: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=2&sid=3cf0c030- fb06- 4f29-8275-610dd3f9370b%40sessionmgr12<br />“What is Assistive Technology?”: http://natri.uky.edu/resources/fundamentals/defined.html<br />Sources<br />