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Assistive Technology in the ClassroomBy: Carlie Borden Hall
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is any type of device, piece of equipment or system that helps students with a disability work around their challenges so they can learn, communicate, or function better.
What Can Assistive Technology Do?Assist students in learningCreate self-confidence Help students work more quicklyHelp students work more accuratelyDevelop easier classroom navigation routinesAllows students to set and reach high goals
Disabilities Aided by Assistive Technology:Hearing ImpairedSeeing ImpairedLearning DisabledPhysically Disabled
Assistive Technology for the Hearing ImpairedFrequency Modulation (FM) systems aid students with hearing impairments. FM systems allow teachers to wear microphones that broadcasts to speakers in the room or to a students personal receiver. FM systems can assist students by:Reducing background noise in the classroomAmplifying teacher instructionAssisting with auditory processing systemsHelping with attention problems
FM Systems in the Classroom:
Assistive Technology for the Seeing ImpairedScreen Readers are specialized types of software that transforms electronic text to speech. It uses headphones, speakers, or braille devices that are refreshable according to user preferences. Some free screen readers include:Thunder- www.screenreader.netNVDA- www.nvda-project.orgOrca- http://live.gnome.org/OrcaFirevox- www.firevox.clcworld.net
Assistive Technology for the Learning DisabledStudents with learning disabilities may struggle in areas of reading, writing, mathematics, organization and memory, and listening. Assistive Technology can aide each learning disabilities in these areas by:Reading- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) assist students by scanning printed material into a printer or handheld unit. The scanned material is read aloud using a screen reading system.Writing- Portable Word Processors are easy to transport and allow students to use a keyboard to edit and correct written work.
Assistive Technology for Learning Disabled ContinuedMathematics- Electronic Math Worksheets are software programs that students can use to organize, align, and work through math problems pn a computer.Listening- Audio Books allow students to listen text and come in a variety of formats including CDs, MP3 players, and audiocassettes. Organization & Memory- Graphic Organizers help by allowing students to categorize information into specific order and categories.
Assistive Technology for the Physically DisabledSome types of assistive technology for different forms of physical impairments include:Mouth Sticks- Allows students to control input through a stick they use with their mouths.Oversized Trackball Mouse- Unlike a normal mouse, this mouse has the trackball on top and makes controlling it easier.Eye Tracking- assists students with little or no control with hand movements. This device follows movement of the eyes and creates navigation online with only eye movements.
Laws for Assistive TechnologyThere are several laws that require no acts of discrimination to those with disabilities and the need to use assistive technology. Some of these laws include but arent limited to:Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)Section 508 of the Rehabilitation ActAssistive Technology Act of 1998To see more laws regarding assistive technology visit: http://www.fctd.info/resources/techlaws.php
References:Action for Blind People. 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from https://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/resources/practical-advice/assistive-technology-resources/types-of-assistive-technology/assistive-technology-visual-impairments/screen-readers/Assistive Technology Laws. 2015. The Family Center on Technology and Disability. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from http://www.fctd.info/resources/techlaws.phpReading Rockets. 2015. WETA Public Broadcasting. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/assistive-technology-kids-learning-disabilities-overview
Understood for Learning & Attention Issues. 2014-2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.understood.org/en/school-learning/assistive-technology/assistive-technologies-basics/8-examples- of-assistive-technology-and-adaptive-tools#slide-8Working with Doctors Working with Patients. 2015. General Medical Council. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from http://www.gmc-uk.org/accessibility/assistive_technologies/physical_impairments.asp