Kids struggling in school for reasons such as Learning disabilities Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Emotional disorders Cognitive challenges Autism Hearing impairment Visual impairment Speech or language impairment Development delay These students usually qualify for an individualized education plan (IEP) that includes a description of what assistive technologies are appropriate. Who Qualifies for Special Services?
The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education defines assistive technology as “technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.” According to the Georgia Department of Education, IDEA 2004 defines assistive technology as “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 of children with disabilities. “ Different assistive technologies are available depending upon the needs of the students. What is assistive technology?
Age-appropriate software Cause and effect software Switch accessible software Hand-eye coordination software Diagnostic assessment software Mind mapping software Study skills software Symbol-based software Text-to-speech Touch typing software Assistive Technologies Available for Students with Learning Disabilities
Audiometer Fire alarm paging system Loop system (portable and fixed) Radio aids Telecommunication device for the deaf Teletext Video cassette recorders that can read and record subtitles Vibrating fire alarm placed under pillow when asleep Door bell lighting system Assistive Technologies Available for Students who are Hearing Impaired or Deaf
Braille displays and embossers for computers Monitor additions Screen enlargement programs Screen readers Talking and large print word processors Large-type books Thermoform graphics High contrast materials Light boxes Assistive Technologies for Students with Visual Impairments
Teaching students to organize their thoughts or work using flow-charting, task-analysis, webbing, and outlining Additionally, technology in the form of software-based organizers and word processing software can be used for aiding students in organizing their thoughts. Other forms of technology, such as the Internet, local area networks, and LCD projection systems can also be used for this purpose. Assistive Technologies to aid Students in Organization
Videotaping class sessions Sending web-cam photography across the Internet Sending class notes or presentations to students via e-mail Translating print-based notes to voice by using optical character recognition (OCR) software with a voice synthesizer Using notebook computers, personal digital assistants (PDA’s), or portable word processing keyboards to help with the mechanics of note taking Assistive Technology to aid Students in Note Taking
Grammar and spell-checkers, dictionaries, and thesaurus programs Word prediction software (to help students recall or spell words) Networking allows the teacher and other students to critique work Macros enable students to insert entire phrases by simply clicking a button The variety of fonts and styles allow students to customize their writing and highlight important features. Assistive Technologies to aid Students with Writing
Collect information about the students, including the data relative to what strategies have worked best for the student. Determine what activities are occurring in the learning environment and the level of participation that the child is putting forth. After instituting an appropriate intervention, observe the child to determine how well the intervention is working. Consider all the assistive technology options and determine which, if any, would work best in making interventions successful. Try out different assistive technologies and determine what works best for each student. How to Choose the Best Assistive Technology for your Student