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Assistive Technologies in Education By Lissette Martinez
Menu Technically Speaking: Impressive Assistive Technology By David Dorman American Libraries published by American Library Association, Vol 32 No 8 (sept 2001) pp 84-85 http://www.jstor.org/stable/25646044 Assistive Technology and Adults with Learning Disabilities: A Blueprint for Exploration and Advancement By Marshall Raskind Learning Disability Quarterly published by Council for Learning Disabilities, Vol 16, No 3 pp 185-196 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511326 Assistive Technology: Empowering Students with Learning Disabilities By Karen E. Forgrave The Clearing House published by Taylor & Francis, LTD, Vol 75, No 3 (Jan-Feb, 2002) pp 122-126 http://www.jstor.org/stable/30189719
Technically Speaking: Impressive Assistive Technology This article describes the writer’s experience in attending the ALA Conference. There, he finds multiple new technologies that assist those with learning disabilities. He describes some of the products by giving their names, price, and what it can do to help those who need them.
Some examples…. In Technically Speaking, one of the products he wrote Alva 544! about was called the Alva 544 Satellite produced by Keyboard Alternatives and Vision Solutions. The product is listed at $10,000 which is pricey, but it is seen as worth it because it enables blind people to hear what a computer has to display. Through this, they are able to work on computers (2001). . Another helpful technology was a product called the Home Page Reader created by IBM Accessibility Center. It helps blind and people of low vision to navigate the World Wide Web orally. This product CLICK TO SEE VIDEO OF HOW WRIST WIZARD WORKS!! is not only great, but is only $142 (2001). You can find out more about this product and here http://www-03.ibm.com/able/dwnlds/index.html. One of the last great products that I thought were really cool was called the Wrist Wizard. This product is designed to help those people with no mobility, strength, or control in their arms to type just by supporting their wrists over the key board (2001).
Reflection This article was an eye opener to me. I never really knew that there were large conventions for assistive technologies. I also did not know that they had such great products for the blind and disabled. I believe that we should find ways to be able to afford such great products because there are so many children who can benefit and be able to compete with their normal peers. This article has really opened my mind to other things such as what products are there for other types of disabilities and if maybe there is a spot for which those who are able to succeed with the help of these products to help create and take a role in the field.
Assistive Technology and Adults with Learning Disabilities: A Blueprint for Exploration and Advancement “As defined by the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, 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 functional capabilities of individuals with the disabilities” (1993). This article by Marshall Raskind is about the technologies to help people with disabilities recompense for their struggles. Also, it goes over what technologies are currently available to help those with learning disabilities and propose how these people can take leadership positions in where this particular field is headed (1993). This article challenges the fact that assistive technology for LDs has been ignored when other technologies for other disabilities have been highly praised. Also, the amount of attention that computers do to help children with LDs and not for adults. “The lack of attention toward learning disabilities and assistive technology is particularly disturbing in light of the knowledge that learning disabilities persist in adulthood,” (1993).
Below, I will preview the technologies that help LD adults…. Things that help with mathematics: For users that need help with math, a talking calculator can be very helpful. A talking calculator is a calculator with a speech synthesizer that vocalizes any number, symbol, or other keys when pressed. This helps the user receive auditory feedback and helps accurately perform any tasks the user may need. Another feature helps the user double check any answers transferred from calculator to paper. This system is very beneficial to many LD users. Things that help with character recognition/speech synthesis (reading): Optical character recognition (OCR) system is thought of a reading machine for those who need help reading. It takes pages in a book or a letter for example and inputs it into the computer through a scanner. Then it is read back to the user by a speech synthesizer. It also helps with those who have trouble reading print and can hear the words instead of read them. This OCR system is very effective way to help make up for any reading difficulties that a LD user may have (1993). A video of how this system works can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpf70sWd6sk Things that help with Organization and memory: There are software programs work with personal and laptop computers that are kind of like Post-Its. They do abbreviation expanders, and have memory settings that can be activated with a “hot key.” Also, the notes can be any length and can be used for anything just like a post-it note. Lastly, these free form databases let the user to store the notes electronically on the computer’s memory rather than a paper note that can be lost. Things that help with Listening, Memory, Reading: Variable speech control (VSC) tape recorders are portable units that let the use to play back taped material such as lectures, meetings, and books on tape. The user can also play the tape back either faster or slower depending on their preference. “The ability to adjust speech rates means that the user can reduce the speed of playback to more comprehensible levels without losing voice quality” (1993). The VSC tape records also can reduce speech rate by 25% and increase playback speed up to 100% without losing intelligibility. These devices are very advantageous to those with LD process auditory stimuli that are much slower than nondisabled peers. To find out more information on this product and where you can find software for it, look here http://www.nsnet.org/atc/tools/readingtoolbox.html
Reflection… Reading this article was very interesting because it made me think about the other types of disabilities. When I hear about assistive technologies and disabled people, I always think of technologies that help with those who have bad hearing, poor sight, or are immobile. I never thought about those who had learning disabilities or adults with learning disabilities. Knowing that there are products and software for these LD adults makes me happy because I know that they are getting the help that they desperately need to succeed in life. Next, I will discuss assistive technologies helping students with learning disabilities.
Assistive Technology: Empowering Students with Learning Disabilities This article talks about the field of assistive technology and how there are so many products for students in middle and high school to help with learning disabilities. The writer writes of how it is unfortunate that many administrators and educators do not know how many technologies can be beneficial to students. The writer focused her paper on LD students with reading and writing difficulties. She writes that many students with LD have average to above average intelligence but show slow and effortful word decoding skills which leads to poor comprehension. They also have problems with grammar, spelling, and planning, organizing, and revision of work. I will highlight the products that are out there to help these students with LD on the next slide.
“…three areas that have promise for students in the middle and upper grades…” Speech Synthesis Students with LD have problems with reading and decoding letters and words. Reading can be problematic for students and comprehension is affected. Programs such as speech synthesis help by translating text that are on the computer screen into speech. The speech is produced by preprogramming pronounced words. The text can be obtained by either typing, by another compatible word processing program, or by a scanner. There is some doubt because many people believe that those students who use the program will rely too much on the speech synthesis and not be any better at reading comprehension, but studies show that this software helps (2002). This technology helps by presenting students wit ha more successful reading experience. Organizational Software Many times students with LD have problems with writing and the uses of grammar rules. Those things often cause problems for LD students because it interferes with their ability to revise and organize work needed in middle and high school. Inspiration is a software that can help those students with such problems by helping students organize information and ideas through concept maps on the computer screen. “Brainstorm ideas can be entered as visual organizers , which the program then translates into outlines for the students to follow while writing” (2002). The software can also help students summarize information and organize by visual formats that show relationships in their work. There are many studies that show that using this software helps students become better in their work. Voice Recognition Software This software helps students get around their problems with poor writing skills by saying aloud their written work. The students use voice recognition software using a headset and using the computer with voice commands. Using the voice recognition program can help improve student’s writing (2002).
Reflection… This last article was about the areas that most affect students with learning disabilities. The areas were reading and writing. Reading and writing affect LD students most because not only do they struggle with these areas but it leads to struggles in comprehension, organizational, and revision of works. These areas need to be strengthened because such areas are important in middle and high school. These particular areas are being improved every day by research and improvements in technology. Although technology does not help all LD students, but the ways that it helps improve them is infinite.
Works Cited Dorman, David. (2001). Technically Speaking: Impressive Assistive Technology. American Libraries.Vol 32 (No 8). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25646044 Forgrave, Karen E. (2002). Assistive Technology: Empowering Students with Learning Disabilities. The Cleaning House. Vol 75 (No 3). Retrieved from ttp://www.jstor.org/stable/30189719 Raskind, Marshall. Assistive Technology with Adults and Learning Disabilities: A Blueprint for Exploration and Advancement. Learning Disability Quarterly.Vol 16 (No 3). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511326