What is Assistive Technology? Any item, piece of equipment, or product system used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. 1
Who Needs Assistive Technology? The law, commonly referred to as IDEA, (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990) requires that states “ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent 1 living.” (151)
Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Individual Education Plans are required for all students who qualify for special education. 1 Each IEP is developed through careful collaboration of parental, classroom teacher, and school officials to ensure the best type of instruction, often including assistive technology.
Types of Assistive Technology Mobility and Positioning Aids (ex. Wheelchair, walker, stander) Sensory Tools (ex. Hearing aids, auditory trainers, reading devices) Daily Living Tools (ex. Adapted eating utensils, reading magnifiers) Environmental Tools (ex. Electronic systems which control access to lights, television, appliances)
Assistive Technology In Use 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?"
Assistive Technology In Use (cont.) “What resources do I have in order to meet my students’ needs?” ◦ For ADHD students, instructional tools such as overhead transparencies and projectors could be used for teaching to keep them engaged as opposed to lecturing. ◦ WordQ is a great software for ADHD students in aiding in typing and proofreading by providing such features as word predictions and highlighting. 2
Assistive Technology In Use (cont.) “What resources do I have in order to meet my students’ needs?” ◦ Devices such as FM system or closed captioning could be used in helping a student with auditory disabilities succeed. ◦ Simple modifications such as seating the student towards the front of the class or assigning the student a “buddy” to assist in note taking can help students with auditory disabilities. 3
Non-technology Assistance Teachers can meet the needs of students with mild disabilities by using no-tech techniques. ◦ Giving students an outline of the lecture in order for them to take better notes. 4 ◦ Sending class notes to students via email. 4 ◦ Translating print-based notes to voice by using optical character recognition (OCR) 4 software with a voice synthesizer.
References Cennamo, Ross, Ertmer (2010). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach. CA: Cengage Learning.e Duffy, Francesca (2012) The Write Tools for ADHD Students. Retrieved on June 15, 2012 from URL http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9365.htmlt ATSTAR: Retrieved on June 15, 2012 from URL http://www.atstar.org/atinfo/info_disabilities_auditory.htmr Berhmann, Michael & Jerome, Marci Kinas(2002) Assistive Technology for Students with Mild Disabilities: Update 2002. ERIC Digest. Retrieved on June 15, 2012 from URL http://www.cec.sped.org/Content/NavigationMenu/AboutCEC/International/StepbyStep/As sistive%20Technology%20for%20Students%20with%20Mild%20Disabilities.pdf