Assistive TechnologiesEnhancing your Students’ Educational ExperienceJennifer WhitlowITEC 7530
“Education is the most powerful weaponwhich you can use to change the world.”– Nelson Mandela
Individual Education Plan (IEP)Individual Education Plans are written development plansdesigned for each student who qualifies for specialeducation through collaborations between parents, teachers,guidance counselors, and other school officials (Cennamo,Ross & Ertmer, 2010, p.151).IEPs may included the use of assistive technologies.
Individual Education Plan (IEP) According to the KidsHealth website (2010), students may require an IEP for the following reasons: Learning disabilities ADHD Emotional disorders Cognitive challenges Autism Hearing impairment Visual impairment Speech or language impairment Developmental delay Resource: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/iep.html#
What is assistive technology?As stated in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), anassistive technology device is “any item, piece of equipmentor product system, whether acquired commercially off theshelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase,maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individualswith disabilities” (IDEA 300.5).Assistive technology can help teachers meet one of the goalsof IDEA – that of ensuring that each child is educated inthe least restrictive environment possible.
Identifying the Right Assistive Technology The National Center for Technology Innovation and Center for Implementing Technology in Education suggests a six- step process for identifying the best assistive technology to enhance a student’s educational experience, and suggests that the identification process be done as a team (“Help for Young Learners: How To Choose AT”).
Identifying the Right Assistive Technology Step 1: Collect child and family information. Begin the discussion about the child’s strengths, abilities, preferences and needs. What strategies have been found to work best? Step 2: Identify activities for participation. Discuss the various activities within the environments that a child encounters throughout the day. What is preventing him/her from participating more? Step 3: What can be observed that indicates the intervention is successful? What is his/her current level of participation and what observable behaviors will reflect an increase in independent interactions? What changes (e.g., number of initiations, expression attempts, responses, reactions, etc.) will you look for?
Identifying the Right Assistive Technology Step 4: Brainstorm AT solutions. With the activity and desired outcomes established, you are now ready to discuss possible solutions with educators, family members, physical therapist, and other people with whom the child interacts on a weekly basis. Do the child’s needs include supports for movement, communication and/or use of materials? Start with what is available in the environment (what other children use) and consider adaptations to those materials. A range of options that address specific support areas should be considered. Step 5: Try it out. Determine when the AT intervention will begin and create an observation plan to record how the child participates with the AT supports.
Identifying the Right Assistive Technology Step 6: Identify what worked. Selecting AT interventions is a continuous learning opportunity. Reflect on your plan and discuss what worked. What didn’t work? What should be done differently? Make modifications as needed and try again. Only by trying the AT can certain factors such as technology placement, amount of force, mounting, number of choices, etc. be determined and adjusted. Resource: http://www.ldonline.org/article/8088/
Types of Assistive TechnologyNo-Tech: Low-Tech: High-Tech: Detailed outlines Video taping class E-readers for note taking lectures Touch screens Colored paper/note Talking calculators Speech recognition cards Captions software Magnifying glasses Assisted listening Word processors Braille devices Computerized Picture Video description testing boards/books Switch controlled Progress monitoring Large text books devices software Graphic organizers
Types of Assistive TechnologyAssistive technology for working with students with ADHD: Talking calculators (ex. Independent Living Aids) Electronic math worksheets (ex. MathPad) Audio books and E-readers (ex. Audible.com and Kindle) Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software (ex. Quicktionary 2 Scanning Translator and Readingpen Basic Edition) Speech synthesizers and screen readers (ex. ClassMate Reader) Portable word processors (ex. Fusion and QuickPad) Speech recognition programs (ex. Simply Speaking and ViaVoice) Word-prediction software (ex. Aurora Suite and EZ Keys) Resource: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/6585.html
Types of Assistive TechnologyAssistive technology for working with students with auditorydisabilities: Personal frequency modulation systems Infrared systems Induction loop systems One-to-one communicators Text telephones Computerized speech recognition Closed-caption TV Note taking Resource: http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/treatment/assist_tech.htm
Types of Assistive TechnologyAssistive technology for working with students with mild learningdisabilities: Note-taking Video taping lectures Word processing software Online learning environments Multimedia tools E-Readers Electronic Schedulers Resource: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Assistive_Technology/
Downside to Using Assistive Technology in the Classroom According to the Assistive Technology Training Online Project (2005), there are several issues with using assistive technology in the classroom: Lack of information about the availability and use of devices Lack of training and technical assistance in the operation and integration of the technology into the curriculum Lack of computer access due to incompatibility of old and new technologies Assistive technologies often require maintenance, repair, and upgrades Costs (training, purchasing technologies, maintenance, repairs, and upgrades) Resource: http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Foundation/intro/introtrends.php
Support for Teachers and Administrators The Georgia Project for Assistive Technologies (GPAT) provides professional learning through meetings and conferences that address the needs of special education teachers and administrators in addressing the assistive technology needs of students with disabilities. These include the Statewide AT Consortium and the GPAT Summer Institute. (http://www.gpat.org/Georgia-Project- for-Assistive-Technology/Pages/AT-Meetings-and- Conferences.aspx) Other online resources such as, the Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) site provides webcast interviews, articles, and other resources for educators to learn more about using assistive technology - http://people.rit.edu/easi/.