Assistive technology in the classroom - C. Beyer


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​You are a teacher who has a few students that require you to differentiate your instruction. Three have been diagnosed with ADHD, while one 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?"

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Assistive technology in the classroom - C. Beyer

  1. 1. Assistive Technology in the Classroom Colleen Beyer Fall 2012
  2. 2. What is Assistive Technology (AT)? The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilites Act) defines AT 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 individuals with disabilities" (, 2000). 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 (Wikipedia, 2012) AT may be no technology, low technology, or high technology (Behrmann & Jerome, 2002)
  3. 3. Assistive Technology for Mild Disabilities 6 areas of instruction where AT can assist students: Organization – flow- charting, task analysis, webbing, and  Access to reference and outlining general education Notes taking – structured materials – internet outlines in which students fill in communications, multimedia, and information universal design Writing – word  Cognitive assistance – processors, grammar and spell- tutorials, drill and practice, problem checkers solving, and simulations Academic productivity – spreadsheets, databases, graphics software (Behrmann & Jerome, 2002)
  4. 4. Visual Disabilities Assistive technology programs that run on off-the-shelf computers can speak the text on the screen or magnify the text in a word processor, web browser, e-mail program or other application Stand-alone products designed specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired, including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and electronic book players provide portable access to books, phone numbers, appointment calendars, and more. Optical character recognition systems scan printed material and speak the text. Braille embossers turn text files into hard-copy braille. American Foundation for the Blind, 2012
  5. 5. Hearing Assistive Technology 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. Situations that can increase difficulty in hearing: distance between instructor and student, competing noise in the environment, poor room acoustics Solutions: Personal Frequency Modification Systems, Infrared Systems, One-to-one Communicators, Computerized Speech Recognition, Closed-captioned TV American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2012
  6. 6. Attention Deficit Hyperactive DisorderElectronic math worksheet software and talking calculators can assist with computing, aligning, and copying math problems on paperAudio books, reading software, speech synthesizers, and optical character recognition may improve reading comprehension and fluencyPortable word processors are helpful with ADHD students who have trouble with handwriting (Raskind & Stanberry, 2009)
  7. 7. AT in Higher Education Assistive technology is addressed on an individual-need basis with the majority of schools requiring documentation in order for it to be used. Funding is the main barrier for implementation in colleges and universities. Student is responsible for contacting the appropriate program at the school to identify themselves as a student with a disability and to request necessary accommodations. The student must also provide paperwork that documents his or her disability. If the student does not identify him or herself as a student with a disability in need of accommodations, the college is not obligated to provide accommodations to the student. (Simon Technology Center, 2011)
  8. 8. Steps to Finding a Technology Solution  Collect child and family information  Identify activities for participation  What can be observed to indicate success?  Brainstorm different AT solutions  Try it out  Identify what worked(National Center for Technology Innovation and Center for Implementing Technology in Education, 2006)
  9. 9. Other Considerations It is important to emphasize the problem is not the impairment. Can the work be modified? Is it possible to modify the environment? Can hardware, software, or equipment currently being used be applied to the situation? Is there something commercially available that will solve the problem? Can something be created or modified to solve the problem? (UNUM, 1999)
  10. 10. Developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) 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. Referral and Evaluation: a conference with parents, a conference with the student, observation of the student, analysis of the students performance (attention, behavior, work completion, tests, class work, homework, etc.) The professionals on the evaluation team can include: a psychologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a special educator, a vision or hearing specialist, others, depending on the childs specific needs IEP The next step is an IEP meeting at which the team and parents decide what will go into the plan. In addition to the evaluation team, a regular teacher should be present to offer suggestions about how the plan can help the childs progress in the standard education curriculum. (Bachrach, 2011)
  11. 11. Georgia Project for Assistive Technology (GPAT) 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. (Georgia Department of Education)
  12. 12. ReferencesAmerican Foundation for the Blind. (2012). Assistive Technology. Retrieved from Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2012) Hearing Assistive Technology. Retrieved from, Steven. (2011). Individualized Education Programs. Kids Health. Retrieved from, Michael, Jerome, Marci Kinas. (2002). Assistive technology for students with mild disabilities: update 2002. ERIC Digest.Georgia Department of Education. Georgia Project for Assistive Technology. Retrieved from Assistive-Technology/Pages/default.aspxNational Center for Technology Innovation and Center for Implementing Technology in Education. (2006). Help for young learners: how to choose AT? Retrieved from Up to Access. (2000). Assistive Technology. Retrieved from, Marshall, Stanberry, Kristin. (2009). The Best Software and Gadgets for ADHD Students. Retrieved from Technology Center. (2011). Assistive Technology Accommodations in Higher Education. Retrieved from (2012). Assistive Technology. Retrieved from (1999). Assistive Technology Decision Tree. Retrieved from aba7-7f11e2d66fed/atdecisiontree.pdf