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Assistive Technologies

Assistive Technologies Differentiated Learning for Students with Special Needs

Introduction to Assistive Technology What is Assistive Technology? Assistive technology (AT), also called the Tech Act, is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1988, which was reauthored in 2004. AT refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities (Cennamo, Ross, & Ertmer, 2014). AT devices can be classified as no tech, requiring no technology, low tech, or high tech which typically requires a computer and special software (Behrmann & Jerome, 2002).

Examples of Assistive Technology George Mason University, recommends the following list of AT tools that teachers can consider incorporating into lesson planning and instruction:No Tech: Requires no use of technology; low cost Large print booksRaised line, colored, or grid paper

Low Tech: Simple devices; typically battery operated Tape or digital recorders Adapted keyboards Talking watches

High Tech: More expensive; requires special training to use Word prediction software Note taking devices Talking word processors


How to Help Children who Need AT Teachers working with children who need AT need to identify the needs of the student and find the appropriate AT tool to enhance the student learning experience. Below are examples of the types of learners you may encounter in the classroom who may require AR tools.

Children diagnosed with ADHD

Children with difficulty reading and writing

Children diagnosed with a hearing impairment

How to Help Your Special Learners Guide to Identifying Needs

The Family Center on Technology and Disability

Technology Solutions:

How to Incorporate AT in the Classroom

Additional Resources for Teachers Children diagnosed with ADHD:Bright Hub Education

Children with difficulty reading and writing: National Center for Learning Disabilities

Children diagnosed with a hearing impairment:Hearing Like Me

References Cennamo, K., Ross, J.D., Ertmer, P.A. (2014). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

Behrmann, M. & Jerome, M. (2002). Assistive technology for students with mild disabilities. ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education: Arlington, VA. Retrieved from

George Mason University. (n.d). Assistive technology initiative. Retrieved from