What is Assistive Technology in Education?

Assistive technology in education is any type of technology that can be used to enhance the educational experience of students with disabilities.

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What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology is any type of technology that can be used to assist individuals with disabilities in their daily lives. This can include everything from simple tools like magnifiers and can openers to more complex devices like computer software and adaptive sporting equipment.

Defining Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is any type of device or software that can be used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of people with disabilities. It includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, defines assistive technology devices 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 functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

Assistive Technology Devices

Assistive technology devices are tools that can help students with disabilities in the classroom. There are many different types of devices available, and the best device for a student will depend on the individual student’s needs. Some common types of assistive technology devices include:

-Computers and adapted keyboards
-Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices
-Environmental control systems
-Mobility devices

Computers and adapted keyboards can provide a way for students to communicate and interact with their classmates and teachers. AAC devices can help students who have difficulty speaking to communicate more easily. Environmental control systems can help students with physical disabilities to control their environment, and mobility devices can help students who have difficulty moving around to get around more easily.

Assistive Technology Services

Assistive technology services are defined as any service that helps a student with a disability to use or access educational technology. This includes:

-Selecting, acquiring, and using appropriate assistive technology devices and services
-Coordinating the use of assistive technology devices and services with an individualized education program (IEP)
-Providing training and technical assistance to students, families, educators, and other professionals on the use of appropriate assistive technology devices and services

How does Assistive Technology Benefit Students in Education?

Assistive Technology in Education is any type of technology that can be used by students to help them learn. This might include things like text-to-speech software, which can help students who struggle with reading. It can also include things like word prediction software, which can help students who struggle with writing. There are many different types of assistive technology, and it can be used in many different ways. Let’s talk about how it can benefit students in education.

Communication

Assistive technology in education can greatly benefit students who have difficulty communicating. There are many tools available that can help students with various communication disorders, such as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and apps. AAC devices can provide a way for students to communicate their needs and wants, while apps can help with things like learning how to pronounce words correctly or providing visual supports for language learners.

Literacy

Assistive technology in education can benefit students in a number of ways. One way is by helping with literacy skills. For example, text-to-speech software can help a student who struggles with reading comprehension by reading text aloud. This can enable the student to follow along and better understand the material. Similarly, software that highlights words as they are spoken can also be helpful for students with reading comprehension difficulties.

Other assistive technology tools can be used to support students with writing difficulties. Word prediction software can help students with spelling and grammar, while voice-to-text software can help with the actual act of writing. There are also a variety of tools available to support students who struggle with organization and staying on task. For example, task management software can help students break down assignments into smaller steps and track their progress.

In general, assistive technology tools can benefit any student who struggles with a specific educational task. However, they are especially beneficial for students with learning disabilities or other special needs. If you think your child could benefit from using assistive technology in school, talk to their teacher or school administrator about youroptions.

Motor Skills

AT can improve a student’s independence and motivation by providing a way to perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. For example, AT can allow a student with limited use of his arms and hands to operate a computer or write without the need for someone else to assist him. AT can also help students who struggle with fine motor skills to complete tasks such as buttoning a shirt or turning a doorknob.

Social Interaction

Most people think of assistive technology as devices that help people with physical disabilities, but there is a whole range of assistive technology that can help people with different types of disabilities, including cognitive and social impairments.

There are many ways in which assistive technology can benefit students in education. One of the most important is by helping them to interact with their peers. Many social impairments, such as autism or social anxiety disorder, can make it difficult for children to interact with others. Assistive technology can help by providing them with alternative ways to communicate and interact. For example, there are now many apps that allow children to communicate using pictures or symbols, which can be a godsend for children who find it difficult to express themselves verbally. There are also assistive technologies that can help children to moderate their emotions and behavior, which can make it easier for them to interact with others without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

What are Some Examples of Assistive Technology in Education?

Assistive technology in education refers to a wide range of devices and software that can be used to improve the learning experience for students with disabilities. Some common examples of assistive technology in education include: text-to-speech software, screen readers, mind mapping tools, and speech-to-text software.

Communication Devices

One of the most important aspects of assistive technology in education is communication devices. These devices can be used to facilitate communication between students and teachers, and they can also be used to help students who have difficulty communicating with their peers. There are a variety of different types of communication devices available, and the best type of device for a particular student will depend on that student’s individual needs. Some of the most common types of communication devices used in education settings include:

-AAC devices: AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) devices are designed to help students who are unable to communicate using traditional methods, such as speech or writing. AAC devices can take many different forms, including handheld visual aids, computer software programs, and dedicated AAC devices.

-Speech-generating devices: Speech-generating devices (SGDs) are AAC devices that are designed to produce synthesized speech. SGDs can be used to help students who are unable to speak due to a physical disability or a condition that affects their speech muscles, such as cerebral palsy.

-Educational apps: There are a growing number of educational apps available that can be used to support students with special needs. These apps can be used for a variety of purposes, including assisting with communication, organization, and academic tasks.

## Speech recognition software: Speech recognition software is designed to convert spoken words into text. This type of software can be used by students who have difficulty typing or writing due to a physical disability or a learning disability such as dyslexia.

Literacy Devices

There are many types of assistive technology (AT) that can support students with Literacy. Some common devices that are used to help with reading and writing include:

-Screen readers: A screen reader is a piece of software that reads text aloud from electronic documents. This can be a great tool for students who have difficulty reading printed text, or who need extra support in understanding what they are reading.
-Speech-to-text software: Speech-to-text (STT) tools allow users to dictate their words into a computer, which then types them out. This can be helpful for students who struggle with writing, or who need to produce a lot of text quickly.
-Word prediction software: Word prediction tools offer suggestions for words as the user is typing them out. This can help with spelling and with coming up with the right word for what the user wants to say.
-Graphic organizers: Graphic organizers are visual tools that can help students organize information and ideas. There are many different types of graphic organizers, such as mind maps, flow charts, and Venn diagrams. These tools can be used to help plan essays, organize thoughts for a presentation, or make sense of complex information.

Motor Skills Devices

There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) devices that can help students with motor skills impairments. Some devices are low-tech and others are high-tech.

Low-tech AT devices are usually less expensive, easier to use, and do not require batteries or electricity. Examples of low-tech AT devices for students with motor skills impairments include:

-Specialized eating utensils such as forks, spoons, and cups with built-up handles
-Pencil grips
-Weighted pens and pencils
-Adapted scissors
-Buttonhooks and zippers pulls
-Computers with single switch input

High-tech AT devices are usually more expensive, require batteries or electricity, and may be more difficult to use. Examples of high-tech AT devices for students with motor skills impairments include:

-‘One switch’ access technology that allows a student to activate a device (such as a computer) by pressing only one button
-“Pointing” devices that can be used instead of a standard mouse for computer access
-“Head mice” or “head pointers” that are mounted on headbands or glasses and allow the user to activate the device by moving his/her head
-“Alternate keyboards” designed to make it easier for users to type

Social Interaction Devices

Devices that facilitate social interaction between people with disabilities and their peers are often used in the educational setting. These devices can be used to promote communication, social skills, and positive behavior. Some examples of social interaction devices include:

-Social stories: Social stories are brief descriptions of social situations that typically contain pictures and/or text. They are often used to teach children with autism about appropriate social behaviors in specific situations (e.g., at school, at the grocery store, during a doctor’s appointment).
-Interactive whiteboards: Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are large touch-screen displays that can be connected to a computer or projector. IWBs can be used to deliver instruction, create multimedia presentations, and engage students in interactive activities.
-Video modeling: Video modeling is a method of instruction that involves showing students a video of someone else demonstrating a desired behavior or skill. Video modeling can be used to teach a variety of academic and functional skills, including early literacy skills, math concepts, and social skills.

How Do I Get Started with Assistive Technology in Education?

Assistive technology in education can be defined as any type of technology that can be used to help a student with a disability succeed in school. There are many different types of assistive technology tools available, and the best way to determine which ones will work best for your child is to consult with their teachers and therapists. Here are a few tips on how to get started with assistive technology in education.

Evaluating Students

Evaluating students is the first step in determining whether assistive technology (AT) could be beneficial. The process begins with a needs assessment, which can be conducted by educators, parents, or other professionals. Once the student’s needs are identified, the team will select and implement appropriate AT solutions.

There are a variety of ways to evaluate students for AT needs. One common method is the Dynamic Assessment Progression Model (DAP), which includes three phases:

Phase 1: Baseline Assessment

The first phase of DAP assesses a student’s current skills and abilities without the use of AT. This provides a baseline from which to measure future progress.

Phase 2: Instructional Assessment

In phase two, the student is given AT tools and strategies to help them complete tasks. This helps the team to identify which AT solutions are most effective.

Phase 3: Follow-Up Assessment

The final phase of DAP assesses the student’s progress after using AT. This information is used to adjust the AT solution as needed or to determine if another solution would be more appropriate.

Individual Education Plans

In order for a student to receive any type of services through an Individual Education Plan (IEP), the child must be found eligible by a team of professionals. A child is only eligible for services if they meet the criteria for one or more of the following disability categories:

Autism
Deaf-blindness
Deafness
Emotional disturbance
Hearing impairment
Intellectual disability
Multiple disabilities
Orthopedic impairment
Other health impairment
Specific learning disability
Speech or language impairment
Traumatic brain injury
Visual impairment (including blindness)

If it is determined that the child does not meet the criteria for any of the disability categories, they are not eligible to receive services through an IEP. However, they may still be eligible to receive accommodations and modifications through their 504 Plan.

Assistive Technology Teams

An assistive technology (AT) team is a group of people who have knowledge and expertise in using AT to support students with disabilities in the educational setting. Team members may include, but are not limited to, the following:
-Special education teachers
-General education teachers
-Related service providers (e.g., occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists)
-AT specialists
-School administrators
-Parents/guardians

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