Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) define assistive technology as any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” Studies have shown that assistive technology can significantly improve the educational, vocational, and social performance of individuals with disabilities. Federal law mandates that schools annually consider assistive technology accommodations in the Individual Education Program (IEP) of all eligible students.
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 will you look for? 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?
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.
Learning disabled students are those who demonstrate a significant discrepancy, which is not the result of some other handicap, between academic achievement and intellectual abilities in one or more areas: oral expression listening comprehension written expression basic reading skills reading comprehension mathematical calculation mathematics reasoning spelling.
Has poor auditory memory—both short term and long term. Has a low tolerance level and a high frustration level. Has a weak or poor self-esteem. Is easily distractible. Finds it difficult, if not impossible, to stay on task for extended periods of time. Is spontaneous in expression; often cannot control emotions. Is easily confused. Is verbally demanding. Has difficulty in following complicated directions or remembering directions for extended periods of time. Has coordination problems with both large and small muscle groups. Has inflexibility of thought; is difficult to persuade otherwise. Has poor handwriting skills. Has a poor concept of time
Provide oral instruction for students with reading disabilities. Present tests and reading materials in an oral format so the assessment is not unduly influenced by lack of reading ability. Provide learning disabled students with frequent progress checks. Let them know how well they are progressing toward an individual or class goal. Give immediate feedback to learning disabled students. They need to see quickly the relationship between what was taught and what was learned. Make activities concise and short, whenever possible. Long, drawn-out projects are particularly frustrating for a learning disabled child.
Learning disabled youngsters have difficulty learning abstract terms and concepts. Whenever possible, provide them with concrete objects and events—items they can touch, hear, smell, etc. Learning disabled students need and should get lots of specific praise. Instead of just saying, “You did well,” or “I like your work,” be sure you provide specific praising comments that link the activity directly with the recognition; for example, “I was particularly pleased by the way in which you organized the rock collection for Karin and Miranda.” When necessary, plan to repeat instructions or offer information in both written and verbal formats. Again, it is vitally necessary that learning disabled children utilize as many of their sensory modalities as possible. Encourage cooperative learning activities when possible. Invite students of varying abilities to work together on a specific project or toward a common goal. Create an atmosphere in which a true “community of learners” is facilitated and enhanced.
ADHD students comprise approximately 3 to 5 percent of the school-age population. This may be as many as 35 million children under the age of 18. Significantly more boys than girls are affected, although reasons for this difference are not yet clear. Students with ADHD generally have difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, impulse control, emotional stability, or a combination of those factors.
Make your instructions brief and clear, and teach one step at a time. Be sure to make behavioral expectations clear. Carefully monitor work, especially when students move from one activity to another. Make frequent eye contact. Interestingly, students in the second row are more focused then those in the first. Adjust work time so it matches attention spans. Provide frequent breaks as necessary. Provide a quiet work area where students can move for better concentration.
Establish and use a secret signal to let students know when they are off task or misbehaving. Use physical contact (a hand on the shoulder) to focus attention. Combine both visual and auditory information when giving directions. Ease transitions by providing cues and warnings. Teach relaxation techniques for longer work periods or tests. Each day be sure students have one task they can complete successfully. Limit the amount of homework. Whenever possible, break an assignment into manageable segments.
Assistive technologies can be used to help teach reading, writing and math. They can also be used to help students learn ways to change to their behavior. Students with ADHD can use these tools to help them succeed at school and home. Computers Electronic Calendars and Planners Ear fitted timers and alarms Ear Plugs
Hearing impairment may range from mildly impaired to total deafness. Although it is unlikely that you will have any deaf students in your classroom, it is quite possible that you will have one or more who will need to wear one or two hearing aids or other devices.
Provide written or pictorial directions. Physically act out the steps for an activity. You or one of the other students in the class can do this. Seat a hearing impaired child in the front of the classroom and in a place where he or she has a good field of vision of both you and the chalkboard. Many hearing impaired youngsters have been taught to read lips. When addressing the class, be sure to enunciate your words and look directly at the hearing impaired student or in his or her general direction. Provide a variety of multisensory experiences for students. Allow students to capitalize on their other learning modalities. It may be necessary to wait longer than usual for a response from a hearing impaired student. Be patient .Whenever possible, use lots of concrete objects such as models, diagrams, realia, samples, and the like. Try to demonstrate what you are saying by using touchable items.
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. FM Systems Infrared Systems Introduction Loop Systems One-to One Communicators