Assistive Technology andApproaches:Assisting Students with Special Needs
Not all students are exactly the same. For thisreason, teachers must differentiate lessons to ensurethe success of all students. Differentiation can be aided through AssistiveTechnologies and Non-technological Approaches.
Many special needs students may have IEP’s(Individualized Education Programs). IEP’s may be given to students for severalreasons, including: Learning disabilities ADHD Emotional and Cognitive challenges Autism Hearing, visual, or speech impairments Developmental Delay
In order to help students with special needs, teacherscan use Assistive Technology in the classroom. Assistive Technology is a broad term used to describetechnology which can be used to assist students inorder to maximize their learning capacities. Assistive Technology enhances independence amongstudents with special needs. These students are ableto do things which at some point seemed impossible.
An Assistive Technology Device is:"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 ofindividuals with disabilities" (IDEA 300.5).
Assistive Technology can help students gainindependence in several ways, including: Physical Mobility Communication Software accessibility Visual enhancements Auditory enhancements
Discovering Assistive Technology which can be helpfulto individuals with special needs can be done if theright steps are taken: Define strengths and weaknesses of the individual Define what prevents the individual from beingfully-functional Define what strategies/technologies are helpful and whichfail to produce positive results Continue to modify strategies/technologies that work inorder to grant maximum effectiveness Implement the strategy/technology into the individual’severyday life Continue to reflect and modify accordingly
Not all assistance for students with special needs hasto be based upon technology. “No-Technology” refers to assistance for studentswhich does not involve technology. There are simple ways in which teachers can make ahuge difference without the use of technology. Anexample of this is providing students withstructured, guided notes.
Some students may need assistance with hearing. Hearing assistive technology systems (HATS) aredevices which help students to hear better in order toimprove their social and academic performance. These devices work best when students are placedcloser to the teacher than everyone else. This isbecause the closer a student is to a source ofsound, the better he/she will be able to hear it.
Some students with special needs may benefit byusing Touchscreen computers. Touchscreen computers allow users to directly touchthe icons in order to activate them. This preventsaggravations associated with students who maystruggle with fine motor skills. There are 3 types of Touchscreen technologicaldevices: Resistive, Surface Wave, and Capacitive.
The Georgia Project for Assistive Technology (GPAT) isa program which supports the implementation oftechnology into classrooms which have students withspecial needs. The mission of this program focuses on helpingstudents with special needs to gain independence andto become productive citizens.
Extra sources from the Web: Teachers should be aware that although AssistiveTechnology can greatly enhance students’ learningcapabilities, they should not be the only form ofinstruction. Students with special needs should be expected to learncognitive processing and reasoning just as other students.Therefore, technology without effective instruction isuseless. However, if effective instruction is combined with a varietyof Assistive Technology approaches, then student successwill be highly probable to occur. http://www.sc.edu/scatp/cdrom/integratingat.htm
Extra sources from the Web: Assistive Technology (AT) can relieve a multitude ofproblems for students with special needs. AT can address hearing problems, visionproblems, organization problems, memoryproblems, and writing problems. Although AT has traditionally had the meaning ofhardware devices, modern AT also includescomputer software as well as internet sources. http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/assistive-technology/702-assistive-technology-for-kids-with-learning-disabilities-an-overview.gs
Extra sources from the Web: Technology can be a very important ally for students withspecial needs in a Science classroom. Georgia science standards focus on the idea of inquiry.Computer simulations and other programs are available forScience teachers. These computer programs allow students with special needsto perform to maximum capacity in simulations, labs, andday-to-day instruction. http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-08/ss0303_50.pdf