Learner Needs Reading and writing are considered basic simple tasks to many people. There are a population of students who this is not so simple for and as educators it is important to help students who struggle due to disabilities with these concepts. This presentation is set up to give some ideas on how to help these students who fall in different categories make it through lessons presented in a mainstream classroom setting. These tips can be used for students elementary through high school they may be struggling with reading and writing.
Important Factors to Consider Inclusion: Some students who have had an Individual Education Plan (EIP) will not be contained in a special education classroom but will be mainstream. These students should be not be treated completely different from students who do not have a disability. It should be noted in the EIP what strategies should be used in order to provide these students with best possible education. The EIP will also assess if assistive technology is a useful tool or a required tool for learning.
Important Factors to Consider Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): Are environments set up specifically to meet the needs of individual students with disabilities in the classroom. These environments are meant to provide free appropriate public education, which is a right of students and their families. Students who are able to be included in the mainstream classroom are to be given the tools needed to be successful in the classroom and in extracurricular activities within reasonable cost of their public school. When a student is not able to be successful in a mainstream classroom or if not cost efficient in some cases they may be placed in a contained more restrictive environment.
Definition of Assistive Technology Assistive technology is defined as any device or service that can be used to help any person with a disability in a learning environment. The assistive equipment can be modified to help a learner with their specified disability. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act schools are asked to consider the purchase and practice of any technology that will assist students who may benefit or be required to use it.
Students Who May Need Assistive Technology Students with a diagnosed ADHD or ADD Students with auditory disabilities Students with disabilities that specifically affect reading and writing
ADD and ADHD Students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD find it difficult to stay still, listen attentively, and have trouble paying attention there are many ways for these students to be assisted to make sure that they are receiving the most inclusive education in a mainstream classroom. These students will be more responsive to specified goals and positive feedback.
Tips for Instruction Create goals with parents prior to the school year starting if possible or as early as possible. Create a structured behavior plan and collaborate with parents. Make organization interesting, almost like putting a puzzle together. This will allow them to have to challenge themselves and not perform the same activity repetitively.
Technological Resources An invisible clock has been used in some classrooms to allow students to stay on task to meet time goals, for students who may struggle with time management. The clock is “invisible” because the student can attach it anywhere out of sight from others and will alert them with a vibration. The clock can be set for specified amounts of time and then will beep when time is up. It can almost become like a competition to keep students aware of their assignment.
Technological Resources Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) can help these students focus by helping to eliminate surrounding noise that may be distracting to their learning. The student will wear the device with the earpiece (receiver) and the teacher will have a microphone attached to project his or her voice to the student.
Non-Technological Assistance In times when technology may not be available students can be challenged in other ways: Make sure the expectations are set at the beginning of each lesson Make sure that behavior expectations are set Make sure that the student knows exactly what tools will be needed to complete the task Make student aware if it may be possible that more is needed to complete an assignment It may be necessary to simplify instructions, and don’t bog the student down with too many details that may distract them from the goal of the lesson
Categories of Auditory Disabilities Students who have auditory disabilities may be in the following categories: Deaf-Where a student may be impaired processing spoken information due to not being able to hear, or may not be able to amplify the voice that is being spoken. Hard of Hearing-May be a permanent or fluctuation of how spoken information is processed, student may not necessarily be classified as deaf.
Assistive Technology Students who may have auditory disabilities may benefit from the following: Personal hearing aids Amplification systems if a student is hard of hearing. This type of device will help during times of fluctuation of spoken words to maintain a consistent volume. Closed captioning on SMART Boards are useful during a lesson where the instructor may not be facing the class for the entirety of the lesson.
Assistive Technology Apple has applications that can be purchased by school districts that will allow for students to be able to use the phones to communicate to the instructor and to read (text) information provided. Many students who have auditory problems may not be comfortable speaking as they may have delayed or hard to understand verbal language.
Non-Technological Assistance Technology may not always be available and if it should fail there are other ways that instructors can assist students with auditory disabilities: Be aware of facial expressions and pronunciation of verbal language. Make sure to face the student wherever they may be located in the classroom. Visual aids such as flashcards and poster presentations are helpful when possible. Strategically place student to cut down on distracting background noise. Should an interpreter be present be sure to face them and also set expectations of the classroom and lesson plans.
Students With Learning Disabilities That Specifically Effect Reading and Writing
Reading Specific Learning Disabilities Students with learning disabilities that target reading will struggle with comprehension and being able to relate the meaning of what they are reading. These students may also find it difficult to break down words due to struggling with basic reading. In some cases while students may be able to read out loud, they won’t understand what they have just spoken in order to give a synopsis and may not even remember what they have just read.
Writing Specific Learning Disabilities Students whose disability targets their writing skills will not be able to organize their thoughts to paper. Expressive language and reasoning allude them and they will often become frustrated. These students may not have an issue with reading but just struggle of basic concept of sentence structure and word use.
Assistive Technology Reading: Audio books-Books recorded on CD, MP3 or other downloadable resources can serve as a tool for playback of information. Students will be able to rewind or playback for information if they do not understand information. Instructors of course are involved if additional information is needed.
Assistive Technology Reading: Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Type of technology that user can scan information and then have information read back to them out loud. OCR can be used as a unit, software, and portable device. Paper to Computer Pen: Students while writing will be read aloud what is going on to paper, to help comprehend what they are transcribing. The student can go back over previous scripts to review information.
Assistive Technology Writing: Multi-media Software: Is more than word processing, this software will allow students to see the breakdown of literature in order to process what they will need to write. It will allow students to pull words to find the specific definition and context clues. Graphic Organizers: Can be used to help students organize outlines and language concepts. Text: Either through a SMART Board, phone, or computer application will allow students to see what they are to write and help guide them in sentence structure activities.
Non-Technological Assistance Reading: Assist students to show how books are organized. Use the graduated method going from easy to more advanced readings. Label objects if possible. Help students see the purpose of letters in sentences by breaking down words. Use visual activities such as flashcards to help with word recognition. Focus on spelling and phonetics to help students sound out words and letters.
Non-Technological Assistance Writing: Break words down to allow students to see the various parts of a story or writing lesson. Use diagrams, graphics, and pictures so students can get a clearer picture of what they are writing. Use models of your own writing to show students a piece you have written similar to the one they are to write. Verbalize through the writing lesson to get a break down of what information the writing should entail.
Internet Resources ADD/ADHD and School http://helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_teaching_strategies.htm Assistive Listening Devices http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/treatment/assist_tech.htm Assistive Listening Devices Can Help ADHD Students in the Classroom http://www.4-adhd.com/blog/2009/07/assistive-listening-devices-can-help.html Assistive Technology Tools: Reading http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/assistive-technology/948-reading-tools.gs
Internet Resources Basic Writing Disabilities and Learning Disabilities http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/learningdisabilitybasics/p/ldbasicwriting.htm Examples of Products http://www.synapseadaptive.com/edmark/prod/tw/default.htm Haverford Office of Disability Resources http://www.haverford.edu/ods/hearing/teaching_tips.php Individualized Education Plans http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/iep.html
Internet Resources Learning Disabilities in Basic Reading Skills http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/learningdisabilitybasics/p/ldbscreading.htm Learning Disabilities in Written Expression http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/learningdisabilitybasics/p/ldbaiscwriting.htm Overview of Assistive Technology http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~wilbur/access/assistive.html Reading Instruction: Tips for Teacher http://www.ldanatl.org/aboutld/teachers/teaching_reading/reading_instruction.asp
Internet Resources Strategies for Teaching Students with Hearing Impairments http://www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/hearing.html Teaching Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Instruction Strategies and Practices http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/adhd/adhd-teaching_pg3.html Teaching Strategies for Students with Hearing Impairments http://www.unco.edu/dss/sitemap/teachhear.asp Using Assistive Technology to Support Writing http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=108
Internet Resources All photos were searched and obtained through Google searches.