―Technology has great potential in providing access for all learners. Through the use of a variety of assistive technologies, students with disabilities can have the ability to access the general curriculum. When assistive technology is appropriately integrated into the regular classroom, students are provided with multiple means to complete their work‖ www.fctd.info
Assistive Technology or adaptive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology
What is an IEP? Kids with delayed skills or other disabilities might be eligible for special services that provide individualized education programs in public schools, free of charge to families. Understanding how to access these services can help parents be effective advocates for their kids. The passage of the updated version of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) made parents of kids with special needs even more crucial members of their childs education team. Parents can now work with educators to develop a plan — the individualized education program (IEP) — to help kids succeed in school. The IEP describes the goals the team sets for a child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help achieve them. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/iep.html
Who needs a IEP? Child with a disability, this may include but are not limited to children with vision, hearing, learning, and functioning disabilities. A child who has difficulty learning and functioning and has been identified as a special needs student is the perfect candidate for an IEP. Kids struggling in school may qualify for support services, allowing them to be taught in a special way, for reason not only for mental disabilities but for physical disabilities this list is as follows: learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotional disorders, cognitive challenges, autism, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech or language impairment, and or a developmental delay. http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/iep.html
Hearing Assistive Technology http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/treatme nt/assist_tech.htm Hearing assistive technology systems (HATS) are devices that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication situations. HATS can be used with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants to make hearing easier—and thereby reduce stress and fatigue. Hearing aids + HATS = better listening and better communication!
Many students with mild disabilities have difficulty gathering and synthesizing information for their academic work. In this arena, Internet communications, multimedia, and universal design are providing new learning tools. Internet communications can transport students beyond their physical environments, allowing them to interact with people far away and engage in interactive learning experiences. This is particularly appropriate for individuals who are easily distracted when going to new and busy environments such as the library, who are poorly motivated, or who have difficulty with reading or writing. Students can establish "CompuPals" via e- mail or instant messaging with other students, which often motivates them to generate more text and thus gain more experience in writing. http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-1/assistive.htm
Word processing may be the most important application of assistive technology for students with mild disabilities. Writing barriers for students with mild disabilities include Mechanics: spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Process: generating ideas, organizing, drafting, editing, revising, and producing a neat, clear final copy. Motivation: interest in writing. Grammar and spell-checkers, dictionaries, and thesaurus programs assist in the mechanics of writing. Macros are available that will insert an entire phrase with the touch of a single key. Word prediction software helps students recall or spell words. http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-1/assistive.htm
15-20% of the general population is in need of some type of ―cognitive task assistance.‖ A large population of ―at risk‖ students need assistance, but because they don’t easily fit into a diagnostic profile, they do not receive assistance; if AT is available to everyone, these students can benefit. AT aids in all of the subject areas in school. www.fctd.info
Have certain computers in the classroom that are set up for the use of the students with disabilities – ones that have necessary software on them. Include AT in lessons Familiarize the other students with the AT that other students may be using in the classroom and make sure they understand why this AT is being used. www.fctd.info
http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te7assist.htm Assistive Technology for Communication: Aids students who have difficulty in communicating effectively (i.e., they are unintelligible, have no or very little verbal skills, or have limited language proficiency). Pictures, photographs, objects Communication boards Communication books Word cards or word manipulatives Communication software (allows for communication boards and visual displays) Augmentative communication devices (visual display, printed or speech output) Word prediction, abbreviation, or expansion options to reduce keystrokes Software that allows communication via pictures and symbols Head-pointing devices Touch screens Translating devices: voice language (e.g., English) to output different voice language (e.g., Spanish) Electronic and software dictionaries
General technology in the classroom can benefit students with and without disabilities. Computers, calculators, projectors, smart boards, tape recorders, software, and handheld devices are examples of general technology increasingly used in classrooms. Research shows that technology aids in enhancing content and skill acquisition by students with a wide range of learning styles. Even if you do not have a designated student with special needs in your classroom, use technology supports, as they may help students with ―invisible‖ learning disabilities who have not received formal diagnoses. www.fctd.info
http://abilitynet.wetpaint.com/page/Touchscreens+and+Tablet+PCs Resistive: A resistive touch screen panel is coated with a thin metallic electrically conductive and resistive layer that causes a change in the electrical current which is registered as a touch event and sent to the controller for processing. Surface wave: Surface wave technology uses ultrasonic waves that pass over the touch screen panel. When the panel is touched, a portion of the wave is absorbed. This change in the ultrasonic waves registers the position of the touch event and sends this information to the controller for processing. Capacitive: A capacitive touch screen panel is coated with a material that stores electrical charges. When the panel is touched, a small amount of charge is drawn to the point of contact. Circuits located at each corner of the panel measure the charge and send the information to the controller for processing..
The Georgia Project for Assistive Technology (GPAT), a unit of the Georgia Department of Education, supports local school systems in their efforts to provide assistive technology devices and services to students with disabilities. Funded since 1991, GPAT has focused on building local assistive technology resources by providing quality professional learning and technical support services. The mission of GPAT is to improve student achievement, productivity, independence and inclusion by enhancing educator knowledge of assistive technology and increasing student access to appropriate assistive technology devices and services.