October 22, 2012
access to the
Assistive technology (AT) is a generic term
that includes any piece of equipment that is
used to increase efficiency, maintain function,
or improve the capability of individuals with
disabilities. (ATACP Training 2004)
Simply put …
It is a support to ‘getting the job done’ more
effectively and independently.
The focus is on what the device or technology
does for the person, not on the device or
Assistive technology can support both remedial
and compensatory approaches for a student.
A compensatory approach (benefits students with
more immediate solutions).
Example: A student listens to an audio version of a book for
English class to answer questions about it, with the goal of
bypassing a reading problem, not learning to read.
A remedial approach.
Example: A student listens to an MP3 file of a book or has a
computer reading a scanned version of the book while
following along with the text and trying to learn unfamiliar
words, designed to improve areas of deficiency.
Persons with disabilities that interfere with
communication, learning, social relationships,
mobility, and active participation.
Persons with disabilities are the most common
users of assistive technology. This group
comprises the largest minority group ever defined.
While persons with disabilities are the primary
demographic for the assistive technology market,
this technology is also making it into the
AT and LS together may be the answer to many
Use LS with students’ strengths (i.e. Memory
strength: create mnemonic device to remember
parts of an essay).
Use AT to overcome students’ weaknesses (i.e.
Essay organization: mind mapping software).
Assistive technology can aid the student in using
Students should be encouraged to reflect on their
learning and the strategies they apply in the
Students need to develop the language to talk
about their learning. These strategies should be
CD – Classic
scanned pages with
text files (.txt format).
web pages while in the
browser window (html
For individuals with:
- learning disabilities
- reading difficulties
Improves reading speed and comprehension
Highlights text as it is spoken aloud
Multisensory approach provides support:
- at school
- in the home
- at work and in the community
Beneficial to have students read along with a paper
copy (paired reading)
definition, syllables, synonyms, word prediction
sticky notes, text notes, voice notes
audio study notes.
- Multi-sensory study using variety of modalities to enhance
memory (see, say, hear, write, color code).
Capitalize on auditory strengths – reviewing aloud.
Capitalize on visual strengths – free up mental
energy to focus more on meaning.
Enhance attention – highlighting feature.
Compensate for slower reading speed.
Enhance visual tracking – highlighting.
You can type and it reads:
- Back to you after you type;
- Back to you while you type.
Auditory word prediction:
- Good for students who don’t know how to spell words.
- Dyslexic (b p q d)
- First letter errors
Word wizard – looks up topics for you.
Useful for students who:
Have difficulty with the mechanics of writing
Are poor spellers
Need to listen to edit their written work
Need to listen to help with comprehension
Speech to text software
Good writing tool to get the ideas down
Worry about grammar and sentence structure
Dictate directly into the computer
Works with MS Word, WordPerfect, or almost
any Windows program
use of the
Have to memorize
Reads back what
Beware the voice!
Benefits people with:
- physical disabilities
- fine motor problems
- who can verbalize but not write
- who have poor spelling
- who read well enough to edit their work
- not beneficial for those who cannot read what is
on the page (i.e. low vision).
Minimize writing – support output efficiency.
Maximize writing speed.
Make writing more efficient and legible
Provides visual groupings or linear formats
Templates for ease of use
Students with visual processing problems
may not like this but can be flipped to linear
- many pre-designed
- 1,250+ symbols
- create hyperlinks
directly to the web
- Flame Reader. www.flamereader.com, offered as
a free trial download and as an upgrade for less
- Text Aloud2. www.nextup.com, allows conversion
to MP3 files, under $50.00.
- Natural Reader. www.naturalreader.com, comes
either as free, personal (under $50.00) and
professional (under $100.00).
Narrator, a free program bundled with Windows,
and works with Notepad, Wordpad, control panel
program, Internet Explorer, Windows desktop.
PowerTalk, a free reader designed to add speech to
PowerPoint presentations at
ReadPlease, a free download, www.readplease.com,
allows readers to paste copied text into its
program window where the reader can listen to the
Wordtalk, a free text to speech plug in for
Microsoft Word at www.wordtalk.org.uk/Home.
Quizlet, a free flashcard website for study skills at
SmartDraw, a free mind mapping software at
Assignment Calculator at
Motivation and training
Opportunity is often missed because of hard work
Past experiences have been negative
Takes time before payoffs are realized
Unrealistic perception of how others do work (e.g.
writing an essay)
- thinks that everyone else can just write with no problem –
they don’t realize how others do their work
Resentful that they can’t do things like others
Fear of exposing difficulties
Afraid of trying new things
Learned helplessness – others do for them, don’t
learn for themselves (coping mechanism)
If this doesn’t work, what else is there?
Jendron, J., Assistive Technology and
LD Resource Guide 2008.
Reisberg, L., Freeware and Shareware, Closing
the Gap Solutions Newsletter.