WebQuest- Assistive Technology Mrs. Peterson’s Third Grade Class
Scenario You are a 3rd grade teacher who has a few students that require you to differentiate your instruction. Kelvin, Dominick, and Shiranta have been diagnosed with ADHD. Sarah has an auditory disability, and requires a special device in order to hear. In addition, you have a number of students that have mild learning disabilities that impact all areas, especially reading and writing.
As you prepare for the school year, you ask yourself, "What resources do I have in order to help me meet my students' needs?" The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all children with disabilities must be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that is appropriate for them. Examples of general education class interventions may include but are not limited to: Adapted and modified classwork and assignments; Assistive technology, such as a text reader; Extended time to complete a task, assignment, or test; Seating in the classroom; and Differentiated Instruction Source: http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/publicschoolprograms/a/leastrestrictiv.htm
Working with Students with Special Needs Understanding Attention Deficict & HyperactivityDisorder: Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what's expected of them but have trouble following through because they can't sit still, pay attention, or attend to details. Source: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/learning/adhd.html
Working with Students with Special Needs UnderstandingAuditory Disabilities: Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. The "disorder" part of auditory processing disorder means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information. Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds themselves are loud and clear. Source: http://www.ldonline.org/article/8056/
Working with Students with Special Needs UnderstandingMild Learning Disabilities: Children with mild general learning disabilities (MLD) typically have verbal and performance IQ scores in the 50-70 range, i.e., two to three standard deviations below the population mean. They often have significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills. Specific cognitive deficits often exist in such areas as memory, attention or language. Source: http://www.scoilnet.ie/info_mildlearning.shtm
Working with Students with Special Needs Addressing Reading and Writing with Learning Disabilities: Individuals who have LD in reading have difficulties decoding or recognizing words (e.g., letter/sound omissions, insertions, substitutions, reversals) or comprehending them (e.g., recalling or discerning basic facts, main ideas, sequences, or themes). They also may lose their places while reading or reading in a choppy manner. For students with LD, problems in written language can occur in handwriting, spelling, sentence structure, vocabulary usage, volume of information produced, and organization of written ideas. Many students with LD in reading also have difficulty writing, since both areas are language-based. Source: http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Learning_Disabilities&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=37&ContentID=5629
Assistive Technologies & Approaches What is Assistive Technology? 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 disabilities. AT service is directly assisting an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Assistive technology enables children with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life (home, school, and community) and helps them access their right to a ―free appropriate, public education in the ―least restrictive environment. Sources: http://www.kidstogether.org/at.htm & http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/meetings/special-factors/considering-at
Assistive Technologies & Approaches ADHD: An educator can set the invisible clock for each class, and then give the child breaks that can aid with both the attention and behavioral symptoms. Have the child focus on an assignment at a separate workstation, allowing for inclusion, but with assistive support. Headphones or earplugs to shut out distractions Source: http://www.rehabtool.com/forum/discussions/93.html
Assistive Technologies & Approaches For AuditoryDisabilities: Individual FM amplification devices are designed to isolate and amplify a single sound source, such as the voice of an instructor, thus reducing the effects of distractive noise. The system includes a teacher-worn transmitter and a student-worn receiver; it enhances auditory discrimination and auditory attention by improving listening conditions and attention levels. Books on disc, loaded onto a computer with voice output which is produced through voice synthesizer, provide multisensory input (auditory strengthened with visual input) for the user with auditory processing problems. Variable speech control tape-recorder (VSC) can help the individual who has difficulty processing speech; it enables the user to play back audiotaped material at a slower or faster rate than it was initially recorded without the loss of intelligibility/voice quality. Laptop computer can be used for note taking or Pressure-sensitive paper is carbonless paper that allows the user to tear off copies of classroom lecture notes to share with a fellow student. Source: http://www.rehabtool.com/forum/discussions/93.html
Assistive Technologies & Approaches For MildLearning Disabilities: highlighters index cards color-coding beepers/buzzers digital clocks, digital watches, talking watches headphones or earplugs to shut out distractions tape-recorders, mini pocket recorders that allow the user to verbally store and retrieve individual notes software programs, such as personal data managers and free-form data bases. Source: http://www.rehabtool.com/forum/discussions/93.html
Assistive Technologies & Approaches For Reading: software program options that enable the user to change background and text colors or to change font size adjustable task lighting large print written materials large print transparencies for prolonged viewing of computer screens that can result in eye strain and ultimate decrease in productivity; magnification hardware (special monitor screen) or software (program applications) that enlarge and enhance the text and graphics displayed; as well as enlarging text, the user can alter colors, font, or print size; enlarged cursor control panels that allow the user to choose among a number of big cursors, as well as the option of a `lefty' cursor Source: http://www.rehabtool.com/forum/discussions/93.html
Assistive Technologies & Approaches For Writing: Spell checkers, dictionaries, and thesauruses are available as features of word-processing programs, enabling the user to verify or correct spellings and access word definitions and synonyms. Grammar check and proofreading software programs scan documents and alert the user to probable errors in grammar, word usage, structure, spelling, style, punctuation and capitalization. Template-producing software provides forms, applications, etc., making yet another writing task that much easier. Besides computer-related tools, there are hand-held talking electronic devices: spell checkers, dictionaries, and thesauruses are available with speech synthesizers that provide voice output. Source: http://www.rehabtool.com/forum/discussions/93.html
Assistive Technologies & Approaches In conclusion, many of the assistive technologies and non-technology based approaches provided in the presentation can help assist special needs students. Teaching in room full of unique students is certainly a challenge. Implementing some of the listed approaches will provide a comfortable learning place for all students.