Use of Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs Deirdre Roberson
Overview Students with special needs require differentiated instruction and assistive technology to enhance their educational experiences. The decision on how and when to use technology is more important than if you will use technology in your classroom.
Types of Disabilities learning disabilities attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) emotional disorders mental retardation autism hearing impairment visual impairment speech or language impairment developmental delay
IDEA The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was established by the government to ensure that children with disabilities have instruction that meets their unique needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is the federal law that requires public schools to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education to children with disabilities. The IDEA specifies minimum requirements that an IEP must contain.
Individualized Education Plans (IEP) The IEP is a road map that establishes where your child is, where you want her to go, and how she will get there. The IDEA specifies minimum requirements that an IEP must contain. IEP’s must have: Statements of Present Levels of Educational Performance Statements of Measurable Annual Goals Explanation of Progress Measurement Description of Special Education Services Statement of Participation in the Regular Education Program Statement Describing Testing Adaptations and Modifications Statement of Length and Duration of Services Statement of Transition - Preparations for Adult Life and Independence
Least Restrictive Environment School districts are required to educate students with disabilities in regular classrooms with their nondisabled peers, in the school they would attend if not disabled, as much as is possible. This is the educational setting that maximizes a child's ability to receive maximum educational benefits while participating in a regular educational environment as much as possible. The inclusion classroom is perhaps the most LRE for many exceptional students. However, although the term inclusion is used as the most LRE, inclusion is a relatively newer term as is not listed in IDEA. LRE is a requirement under the IDEA.
Inclusion Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students). Full Inclusion Full inclusion means that all students, regardless of handicapping condition or severity, will be in a regular classroom/program full time. All services must be taken to the child in that setting.
Assistive Technology Resources Assistive Technology (including devices, software, recordings, and much more) can increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Resources include: ATA Center/Play Information:The ATA is a national network of technology resource centers, organizations, individuals and companies offering: information and referral on technology resources, outreach, training for individuals with disabilities and professionals, and networking opportunities. Family Center on Technology and Disability: The Family Center supports organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities through a range of information and services on assistive technologies. KITE Project, Pacer Center: KITE Project is a training curriculum for parents and teachers of young children with disabilities used to promote inclusion through the use of technology. Let’s Play Projects, Center for Assistive Technology : These projects provide ideas and strategies to promote play through better access to play materials, and use assistive technology to give children this access. Tots ‘n Tech: Tots ‘n Tech disseminations information from its national research center about the use of assistive technology to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
Assistive Technology for Disabilities Audio books and publications Optical character recognition Paper based computer pen Speech synthesizers/Screen readers Variable Speed Tape Recorders
Low Technology Assistive Devices handheld magnifiers large print text using paper and pen to communicate canes or walkers reachers/grabbers specialized pen or pencil grips and much more
Mid Technology Assistive Devices talking spell checkers manual wheelchairs electronic organizers, Closed Caption Televisions (CCTV’s) amplifiers books on CD environmental control units (ECU) alternate mouse or keyboard for the computer and much more
High Technology Assistive Devices power wheelchairs or scooters digital hearing aids computers with specialized software such as voice recognition or magnification software electronic aids to daily living digital hands-free headsets voice activated telephones communication devices with voices bluetooth integration digi-drive technology (operating a vehicle with a joystick)