Students with Special Needs
◦ Students with delayed skills or other disabilities might be
eligible for special services that provide individualized
education programs (IEP) in public schools, free of charge to
Who needs an IEP?
◦ A child who has difficulty learning and functioning and has been
identified as a special needs student is the perfect candidate for an
◦ Kids struggling in school may qualify for support services, allowing
them to be taught in a special way, for reasons such as:
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
speech or language impairment
What Can We Do?
◦ Young children with disabilities need an enriched environment to
promote their social and cognitive participation and growth.
◦ Technologies, from low to high-tech, can play a role in promoting
their participation, but are often underutilized.
◦ Assistive technology (AT) tools and strategies make it easier for
young children with disabilities not only to participate in day-to-day
activities, but also to do so independently.
◦ This can include assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for
anyone with disabilities.
◦ It also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using
◦ 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
Steps to Identifying AT Support
◦ Step 1: Collect child and family information. Begin the discussion about the child’s strengths,
abilities, preferences and needs. What strategies have been found to work best?
◦ Step 2: Identify activities for participation. Discuss the various activities within the environments that
a child encounters throughout the day. What is preventing him/her from participating more?
◦ Step 3: What can be observed that indicates the intervention is successful? What is his/her current
level of participation and what observable behaviors will reflect an increase in independent
interactions? What changes (e.g., number of initiations, expression attempts, responses, reactions,
etc.) will you look for?
Steps to Identifying AT Support
◦ Step 4: Brainstorm AT solutions. With the activity and desired outcomes established, you are now
ready to discuss possible solutions with educators, family members, physical therapist, and other
people with whom the child interacts on a weekly basis. Do the child’s needs include supports
for movement, communication and/or use of materials? Start with what is available in the
environment (what other children use) and consider adaptations to those materials. A range of
options that address specific support areas should be considered
◦ Step 5: Try it out. Determine when the AT intervention will begin and create an observation plan
to record how the child participates with the AT supports.
◦ Step 6: Identify what worked. Selecting AT interventions is a continuous learning opportunity.
Reflect on your plan and discuss what worked. What didn’t work? What should be done
differently? Make modifications as needed and try again. Only by trying the AT can certain
factors such as technology placement, amount of force, mounting, number of choices, etc. be
determined and adjusted.
◦ Turn and talk to
the person sitting
to your right and
currently use in
Assistive Technologies for ADHD
◦ The following are some assistive technologies that can be used with students who have
ADHD. The choice of assistive technology for ADHD should be focused on the core
symptoms or behaviors that are being seen that interfere with studies, learning and
◦ Noise cancelling ear phones or ear plugs can be used for those who are easily distracted by
external noises when they try to study.
◦ There are all sorts of either auditory or vibrating alarms that can be used for reminder
deadlines or to schedule a 30 minute study time for example.
◦ These alarms and a PDA or electronic calendar with reminders are some of the most
commonly used items from the assistive technology for ADHD choices.
Assistive Technologies for Auditory
◦ FM Systems
◦ The personal FM system consists of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver used
by the listener. The receiver transmits the sound to the ears or, directly to a hearing aid.
◦ Infrared Systems
◦ With an infrared system, sound from the TV is transmitted using infrared light waves. This sound is
transmitted to a receiver, which can be adjusted to a desired volume. The TV can be set to a volume
comfortable for any other viewers with normal hearing.
◦ Induction Loop Systems
◦ Induction loop systems work with hearing aids. An induction loop wire is permanently installed
(typically under a carpet or in the ceiling) and connects to a microphone used by a speaker. The
person talking into the microphone generates a current in the wire, which creates an electromagnetic
field in the room that is picked up by the hearing aid.
◦ One-to-One Communicators
◦ You can give a person a microphone to speak into. The sound is amplified and delivered directly into
the hearing aid (or headset if they don’t have a hearing aid), and the person can adjust the volume to
their comfort level.
Assistive Technologies for learning
◦ Graphic organizers allow students to manipulate and reconfigure brainstormed ideas and color code and
group those ideas in ways that visually represent their thoughts.
◦ Note Taking
◦ A simple no-tech approach to note taking is for the teacher to provide copies of structured outlines in
which students fill in information
◦ Microsoft Office Processes
◦ Word processing may be the most important application of assistive technology for students with mild
disabilities. Grammar and spell-checkers, dictionaries, and thesaurus programs assist in the mechanics of
◦ Academic Assistance
◦ Tools such as calculators or E-books will help improve the success of students by offering them support
◦ Multimedia tools
◦ Multimedia use of text, speech, graphics, pictures, audio, and video in reference- based software is
especially effective in meeting the heterogeneous learning needs of students with mild disabilities.
◦ All slide show material was pulled from the following websites: