• “Any device or service that assists a student with
disability to meet his or her IEP goals and to
participate in the general education setting to
the greatest extent possible” (IRIS - Vanderbilt.edu)
• Improves the functional capabilities of the
• Can be categorized in two forms
The Assistive Technology Act
• Passed by Congress in 1998, reauthorized in 2004
• Intended to promote awareness and access to
Assistive Technology devices and services
• Seeks to level the playing field with other citizens
• Covers all citizens regardless of age, disability, or
Areas of Support
• Academic tasks
• Participation in social and extracurricular activities
• Movement and travel
• Proper posture and seating
• Material access
• Wide variety of mechanical and manual devices
including: text reader, desktop easel, braille
writer, audio books, joystick, reacher or grabber,
alternative communication devices, hearing
• Technologies will continue to emerge as
awareness becomes more mainstream and
funding becomes a priority
• Directly assisting a person with a disability in
selection, acquisition and use of a technology
• These services provide assistance to ensure the
proper equipment is purchased, employed and
effective for the user.
• These services are vital to ensure that the device
provides the proper assistance and support.
Hearing Impairment Devices
This assistive device provides for support for those
with hearing impairments. It involves the use of a
transmitter, a conductor (loop) and a receiver. The
user wears the receiver inside the “looped area”
and sound from the transmitter is amplified for the
user. This device can serve the needs of multiple
users at the same time in a large area such as a
classroom or gymnasium. The symbol below
signifies a loop is installed in the area.
Hearing Loop Design
The illustration on the left
displays the 3 components of
the hearing loop.
• The transmitter is the
• A conductive wire arranged
in a circular pattern around
the area forming the loop.
• The receiver is a user worn
This system allows the user to
hear the transmitter inside the
hearing aid while they are in
the designated “loop” area.
Hearing Loop Media
• A user explains the benefits and design of a hearing loop in the
• Reaction from a user hearing the loop system for the first time is
included in the next link below.
Seeing Impairments Devices
Reading for the sight impaired creates a variety of
challenges. The braille system was invented to
support those with disabilities and provides a
comprehensive alphabet in which to form
languages. With the introduction of word
processing technology, the braille printer provided
a medium to improve communication systems for
the sight impaired.
The braille printer, also known as braille
embosser, creates a series of embossments or
tactile braille cells representing the users
preferred alphabet, numbers or other characters.
This series of letters form words and sentence
structure. The printer creates documents from
computer files associated with the user’s word
processing software. Printing is usually done on
heavier paper and is generally slow that the
typical ink jet printers.
Braille Printer Media
• The link below displays a homemade braille printer made from a
“Lego” toy set
• Using a braille printer with computer software is included in the
Voice Recognition Software
Physical disability is define as significantly limited
movement of one or more limbs reducing the
capability of the owner to below their respected
age level. These impairments effect the person’s
ability to complete day to day tasks including
learning and development. Voice recognition
software allows the user to manipulate devices
with audible sounds without the need to control
the device manual.
Voice Recognition Software
Voice recognition software can be used for many
applications, but most commonly as a writing tool
for those with motor function disabilities. The
software translates voice or speech into
mechanical commands for a electronic device. The
user speaks into a microphone and the software
interprets the speech for the electronic device. The
device is essentially controlled by voice rather than
Voice Recognition Software Media
• Explanation of VRS and it’s benefits
• VRS and the capabilities
Text to Speech Software
People with reading disabilities such as dyslexia can
benefit greatly from software that essentially reads
them the text. This AT is used in conjunction with
other reading techniques to allow users to
compensate for the disability. Many personal
computer companies are currently including this
software on their products.
Text to Speech Software
Text to speech software or speech synthesis
software is defined as artificial production of
human speech. The software is designed to
convert binary code into audible voice sounds.
Each sound is assign a numerical sequence and
these sequences and combine to produce
utterances. Synthesizing these utterances to
spoken words and sentences is the value to each
user. The scientist Stephen Hawking is a user of
text to speech software.
Text to Speech Software Media
• The following link displays the TTS converting
text to speech
• Free online TTS software to sample
Assistive Devices for People with Hearing, Voice, Speech, or Language Disorders. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/assistive-devices.aspx
Assistive Technology Act - National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/laws/ata
Braille embosser - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
Assistive Technology - Physical and Motor [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://
Assistive Technology for Students With Disabilities. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://
Braille Printer with Lego RCX [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
Free text to speech software with Naturally Sounding Voices -- Free NaturalReader. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.naturalreaders.com/
Hearing - an aha moment with Chris from Green Bay [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Hearing Loop: A First Experience [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://
IRIS | Page 1: Assistive Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://
Let's Loop America. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hearingloop.org/SoundDemo.html
Natural Reader Text to Speech Overview [Video file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://
Speech and Command Recognition for Voice Controlled Devices [Video file]. (n.d.).
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfrMDwV2mqE
Speech synthesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2014, from
Tina Herzberg demonstrates using braille embosser with Duxbury braille translator [Video
file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_sgWQhWdgc
"You Talk, Your Computer Types": Speech Recognition Software [Video file]. (n.d.).
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSc8KIKMnzo