Hi! My name is Colette. I’m a certified, Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade teacherin the great state of Louisiana. Currently, I’m earning additional certification to teach blind and visually impaired students through the University of New Orleans. As part of my coursework requirements, I must create an online portfolioabout assistive technology. Hopefully, you will find my portfolio not only informative and useful, but also less boring than most portfolios.
Table of ContentsSection 1: Introduction to ATSection 2: How Can AT Improve the Classroom?Section 3: How Can AT Improve the Home Environment?Section 4: How Can AT Improve the Community?Section 5: How Does AT Improve Life, Overall?Section 6: Resources
Assistive Technology is defined as any item that isused to increase, maintain, or improve the functionalcapabilities of an individual with a disability.
Assistive technology devices include,but are not limited to laptops, voice-output devices, microphones, audioaides, speech amplifiers, talkingcalculators, magnifiers, closed-circuittelevisions, adapted writinginstruments, and more.
AT Devices can be categorizedinto three types: Low-Tech Devices Mid-Tech Devices High-Tech Devices
MID-TECH DEVICESRelatively Inexpensive, Portable, Little or No Additional Training Required http://ablenetinc.com http://www.enablemart.com/ http://amdi.net/index.php?route=product/product&path=141_115_151&product_id=165
HIGH-TECH DEVICES Costly, Typically Require Training, Alternative Solution When Other AT is Ineffective http://americanthermoform.com/http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Pride_Jazzy_Select_power_chair_001.JPG
Now that you have a betterunderstanding of AT, do you know the difference between an accommodation and a modification, as these apply to instruction for students with exceptionalities?
An accommodation is a change thathelps a student overcome or workaround the disability. Allowing astudent who has trouble writing togive his answers orally is an exampleof an accommodation. http://www.hishelpinschool.com/adaptation/accmoddetails.htm
A modification typically means achange in what is being taught toor expected from the student.Making an assignment easier sothe student is not doing the samelevel of work as other students isan example of a modification. http://www.hishelpinschool.com/adaptation/accmoddetails.htm
But, why is it so important toknow the difference betweenaccommodations andmodifications, anyway?
That’s a GREAT QUESTION! But, first, let’s discuss the specific requirements forLouisiana, regarding special education.
In Louisiana, special education students,students with exceptionalities, and studentswho have been identified with other disabilitiesall have the right to a free appropriate publiceducation, in the least restrictive environment. These students are to receive specialeducation and/or other related services thatmeet their unique needs. This includes beingprovided with effective accommodations andmodifications, including access to assistivetechnology. http://www.louisianaschools.net/divisions/specialp/parents_rights.html
Some of the laws, policies, and mandates that protect these students include:Federal Laws• Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, as amended by P.L. 105-17• 34 Code of Federal Regulations-Parts 300 and 301• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973• Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)State Law• R.S. 17:1941, et seq. (R.S. 17:1944.B (8, 11, & 20)BESE Regulations and Bulletins• Bulletin 1706: Regulations for the Implementation of the Children with Exceptionalities Act; The Pupil Appraisal Handbook; Bulletin 1573: Complaint Management Procedures; and The Individualized Education Program (IEP) Handbook. www.louisianaschools.net
Now, back the to an important question…..Why do we need to knowthe difference betweenaccommodations andmodifications, anyway?
The answer is simple……….To help ensure that special needsstudents receive the best educationpossible, teachers, instructionalsupport staff, and parents/guardiansmust be knowledgeable aboutaccommodations and modifications.
SECTION 2How Can AT Improve the Classroom Environment?
Assistive Technology improves the classroombecause it enhances learning, helps differentiateinstruction, and provides students with othermany advantages.It adds value to instruction and allows students toincrease their academic performance, experiencesuccess, become more actively engaged in theirlearning, and be more independent.
In short, assistivetechnology helps studentsmeet their education goals.
Although AT assists students in allacademic areas, the writing process is a huge focus of today’s curriculum. So, let’s briefly look at this area.
Admittedly, many students seem to havechallenges with the writing process; however,students with disabilities may face additionalchallenges.So, it is important for educators to be aware ofthese issues and to be prepared to providesolutions.
Handwriting, spelling, and grammar are all partof the writing process. These skills fit together,much like a puzzle.If a student in unable to perform in one ofthese areas, it can be detrimental to the entireprocess. Consequently, educators should beaware of the AT devices and resources that areavailable to help students in these specificareas.
Some of the AT devices that can assiststudents with the writing processinclude: Adaptive Writing Instruments Pencil Grips Text-to-Speech Devices Word Processors Interactive Software Spell Checkers
As previously mentioned, AT can assiststudents across all areas of thecurriculum. So, as a teacher, it is yourresponsibility to research this area andfind the tools that best meet the needs ofall of your students.
By using assistive technology togive all students access to every area of the curriculum, educators support the concept of the Universal Design of Learning.
The Universal Design for Learning is based on three main principles: Provide multiple means of representation Provide multiple means of action and expression Provide multiple means of engagement
Learning more about the Universal Design forLearning (UDL) is beneficial for all teachers andwill help them meet the expectations of theCommon Core State Standards.The National Center on Universal Design forLearning is an advocate for this approach.Please take some time to review their website:http://www.udlcenter.org/advocacy
As an educator, it is your duty andresponsibility to ensure that everystudent in your classroom reaches his/herfullest academic potential. So, embracingassistive technology and learning toeffectively utilize it throughput your dailyinstruction will help you achieve this goal.
SECTION 3How Can AT Improve the Home Environment?
Assistive Technology has many benefits for individuals that have disabilities or special needs in the home environment, too. It can improve their quality of life, especially in the areas of mobility,communication, and self-help skills.So, let’s explore each of these areas.
For individuals that have challenges withmobility, there are many types of assistivetechnology that can assist them. Some of theAT that falls into this category includes: Canes Electric Wheel Chairs Walkers
Communication is essential for living a qualitylife. So, for those that have a disability orexceptionality that makes communicationdifficult, assistive technology that provides helpin this area is invaluable. A few of the ATdevices available in this area are: Voice-Output Devices Electronic Speech Aids Text-to-Speech Software
Everyday tasks like getting dressed, taking abath, or answering the phone are often difficultfor those that have disabilities. Consequently,AT devices that offer assistance with self-helpskills are equally important. Talking Watches Voice Activated Phones Various Switches
The ability to move, communicate, andaddress our personal needs comes easilyfor most of us. But, how would you feel ifyou could not perform these basic tasks ?It would be quite frustrating, to say theleast.
Well, thankfully, Assistive Technology can easethe frustration of those who are unable toperform such tasks. It allows them to be moreindependent and confident, at home. Itimproves their quality of life.
We already know that, when usedeffectively, assistive technology hasthe ability to improve educationalsystems. In addition, we’ve discussedhow AT allows individuals to be moreindependent and productive.
So, it’s only reasonable to concludethat assistive technology canpositively impact communities, aswell. This can been seen in: Improved Education Levels Better-Trained Workforces Productive Citizens Better, Overall Environment
This is the easiestquestion to answer of all………
AT improves life, overall,because it helps link everything together!
Every individual has the right to live a qualitylife. Hopefully, you now realize the countlessadvantages that Assistive Technology canprovide. But, please, don’t just take my wordfor it. Research, explore, investigate, anddevelop your own knowledge of assistivetechnology and improve your AT skills. Have Fun!
The information and photographs used in this power point came, in part, from the following resources:Assistive Technology in the Classroom, Amy G. Dell, Deborah A. Newton, and Jerry G. Petroff, Pearson, 2012Websites:• Product Resources:• http://www.mayer-johnson.com/category/assistive-technology/aac-low-tech• http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Populations/Blind/devices.php• http://ablenetinc.com• http://www.enablemart.com/• http://rapidassisttech.com/• http://americanthermoform.com/• http://www.nextup.com/?gclid=CODz5oSo_bMCFemiPAod0EAAXw• http://www.iltsource.com/• https://sites.google.com/site/cuyahogaat/computer-access/websites/vendors• http://amdi.net/index.php?route=product/product&path=141_115_151&product_id=165• http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Pride_Jazzy_Select_power_chair_001.JPG• Informational Resources:• http://www.louisianaschools.net/divisions/specialp• http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html• http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/adkinsj/575/final/Assistivetechnology.html• http://www.cpt.fsu.edu/eseold/in/acom/tech.html• http://cat.buffalo.edu/• http://www.ist.hawaii.edu/training/tech/07_types2.php• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology• http://www.pluk.org/Pubs/ATguide4LD_419k.pdf• http://www.hishelpinschool.com/adaptation/accmoddetails.htm• http://www.tryengineering.org/lessons/adaptivedevices.pdf• Articles:• http://www.edutopia.org/assistive-technology-young-children-special-education• http://www.thestate.com/2012/05/04/2261857/high-tech-low-tech-methods-meet.html• Organizations:• http://www.udlcenter.org/