Assistive Technology ensures that all students have access
In today’s schools, technology is used daily by teachers and students to explore, collect data, research, organize, read, write, and communicate–all in an effort to enhance learning. Although many technologies support the learning for all students, an individual with a disability, due to the nature of the disability, may need specific technology to level the playing field so that he or she can access the curriculum or be more independent. If this is the case, the technology then becomes assistive technology (AT) because it is needed by a student with a disability. By definition, assistive technology includes both devices and services.
There is a range of assistive technology devices that can help students with disabilities in their learning. Central Rivers AEA staff members work closely with educators to pick the right tool(s) for the job. For example, a student with complex communication needs may need a light-tech printed communication display and/or a high-tech dynamic display voice-output communication system to communicate effectively across environments. One who struggles with reading due to a print disability may need items such as a reading guide strip, a different colored or type of font, or digital text “read aloud” by a text reader in order for information to be gained from print. A student who struggles with the writing process may need items such as raised-lined paper, graphic organizers, electronic highlighters, word prediction software, or speech-to-text input depending on the area of writing that is most difficult. All of these are examples of assistive technologies that are probably being used by students in your local schools.
More and more, educators are learning about assistive technology options in order to best support their students who require it. Like any technology, trying to keep up with the ever-changing assistive technology options can be a daunting task. As part of the creation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for a student with a disability, Central Rivers AEA staff help guide conversations about the menu of technology options. One by one, we are working to ensure that all students have the access and tools they need to be successful.