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Inclusive Education. The Role of Assistive Technology. Ghana Education Services Special Education Division, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, Accra, Ghana December, 2007. Mary Hooker Education Specialist Global eSchools and Communities Initiative Dublin, Ireland.

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Inclusive Education

The Role of Assistive Technology

Ghana Education Services Special Education Division,

Ministry of Education, Science and Sports,

Accra, Ghana

December, 2007

Mary Hooker

Education Specialist

Global eSchools and Communities Initiative

Dublin, Ireland.

[email protected]

00353 863378219

what is assistive technology
What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology (AT) includes a range of technologies, which enable people to build on their abilities and participate as fully as possible at home, school, work and in their community.

what does assistive technology mean
What does Assistive Technology mean?

AT is used to describe both the products and the services for people with special needs.

at products
AT Products

The term ‘assistive technology device’ means any item, piece of equipment, or product system (whether acquired off the shelf, modified, or customized) that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capability of an individual with disability.

at services
AT Services

The term ‘assistive technology service’ means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Individual with Disabilities Act of 1990 (IDEA) P.L. 101 - 1476

at range
AT Range
  • The AT definitions are flexible and open many possibilities for what the products and services of assistive technology can be.
  • They do not imply that assistive technology must include computers, or that it must be expensive, or that it can only be prescribed.
  • Assistive technology is essentially a very broad field and may range from the very simple to the very complex
what are the types of at devices
What are the types of AT devices?
  • AT may be organized into a system of low-tech, medium-tech and high-tech tools and strategies that match a person’s needs, abilities and tasks.
  • Learners/ teachers/parents pick and choose from the system the appropriate tools for the situation
low tech
Low-tech
  • refers to unsophisticated devices and largely non-electronic devices, many of whichcan be produced from local materials, such as:
    • pencil grips
    • book holders
    • texture boards
    • reading stands
    • educational toys and games
low tech9
Low-tech
  • cut-out pictures
  • jigsaw puzzles
  • sign language
  • natural gesture
  • facial expression
  • body language

bowl

medium tech
Medium-tech
  • devices are more complicated, many of whichcan be manufactured locally, such as:
    • hearing aids
    • speech trainers
    • Braille paper and styluses
    • tape recorders
    • magnifying reading glasses
high tech
High-tech
  • devices involve the use of sophisticated communication and environmental control systems that are electronically based.
  • increasing variety of methods of adapting the computer through the use of special needs peripherals and/or software
accessibility
All OS have built-in options to support students with special needs

Options allow user to adjust keyboard response, mouse movement and screen appearance

Features have been designed to support the needs of those with hearing, visual, physical/motor and learning difficulties

Before looking at specialised solutions, check accessibility built-in options for effective utilization

Accessibility
at not a fix for impairment
AT not a fix for impairment
  • Pupil's impairment should be accepted as normal to that person
  • Technology attempts to provide an alternative or compensatory approach that works around the impairment
  • AT sometimes called work-around technology
at and inclusive education
AT and Inclusive Education
  • AT will be more likely accepted if it is seen to contribute to the achievement of relevant and identified educational goals
  • Goals should be set in accordance with individual’s needs, differences and abilities
  • Learner may need support to achieve goals at a slower pace
  • AT interventions should not create unrealistic expectations of what learner can achieve

Information on AT sourced principally from the Irish National Centre for Technology in Education NCTE website – www.ncte.ie and Bassi, 2007

at utilization and production lynch 2007
AT Utilization and ProductionLynch, 2007
  • How are they used?
  • Can we generalise them across disability?
  • Use symbols for hearing impaired and learning disabilities or speech conditions?
  • How easy is it to make them?
  • Who should make them?
at and curriculum access lynch 2007
AT and Curriculum AccessLynch, 2007
  • How can AT help children with disabilities access the curriculum?
  • E.g. Braille books, large print, symbols, increasing font size on the page, using low vision aids to read books.
at assessment and ieps lynch 2007
AT, Assessment and IEPsLynch, 2007
  • Planning where AT can be used to help a child learn.
  • What are the implications of assessing a child and recommending AT if none are available?
low tech v high tech
Low-tech V high-tech
  • Low-tech solutions often more effective and easily integrated
  • High-tech solutions have enormous potential, yet require
    • careful assessment/ judgement for ‘fit’ with individual
    • require considerable specialist training and support to be effective
    • can be prohibitively expensive
ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 2003
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

Capacity Building

  • Build capacity for the Material Resource Centre Accra to become a key institution for the supply of AT into both mainstream schools and special schools
  • Develop capacity for AT production in Ghana by firms in the country in the form of:
    • low to medium-cost materials development beyond Braille books
    • equipment to assist children with physical disabilities
ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 200329
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

Resources Centres and Special Schools

  • Establish fully equipped and staffed assessment centres outside of Accra, and Kumasi.
  • Provide all of the 110 teacher resource centres in every district in Ghana with AT and technical advice in order to assist teachers.
  • Special schools and institutions should be restricted to children diagnosed as having a Profound/Multiple Learning Disabilities.
ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 200330
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

Itinerant teachers

  • Build capacity of graduates in special education as itinerant teachers to school clusters in the districts where mainstreaming is intensively being focussed
    • to support individual students
    • to work with whole classes, classroom and teachers.
ict based solutions for sen in ghana lynch 2007
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Lynch, 2007

Another example of a recent initiative between Sightsavers and Dolphin to produce a screen-reader on a USB that third-level students can use on any PC. I think a few students at the University of Ghana are using these USP pens.

ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 200332
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

On-line Support

  • Develop ODL training for University and teacher training college levels on the fundamentals and implementation of assistive technologies
  • Link with free online courses such as the NCTE, Ireland which has 7 online courses of 20 hours each for ICT & Special Needs:
    • The Basics
    • Learning Support
    • Mild Learning Disabilities
    • Moderate/Severe/ Profound Learning Disabilities
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Introduction to ICT and Visual Impairments
    • Autistic Spectrum Disorders
ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 200333
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

Special Courses

  • Train teachers in Assistive Technology usage through regular training programmes organised by the SpED with the support of outside agencies
  • Call on private sector ICT training companies to provide initial In-Service training in how to use computer software to teach or supplement curriculum areas in SEN
ict based solutions for sen in ghana casely hayford and lynch 200334
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003

Community Based Rehabilitation

  • The Integrated Education Project (IEP) was set up by Sight Savers, Ghana in collaboration with the SpED and the Ghana Society for the Blind (GSB)
  • Programme success generated through the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) model:
    • funds for an itinerant teacher to visit the school
    • provision of free classroom materials (e.g. books in Braille) and regular eye treatment
    • capacity building to enhance teacher skills in monitoring and evaluating progress
issues around at
Issues around AT
  • Cost
  • Technical knowledge on how to use it
  • Level of support, loss and breakage.
at provision where there are few resources 3 approaches
AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches
  • As special schools become decongested, develop a new role for the schools as outreach centres of advice and ideas for teachers in ordinary schools –
  • Centres with dedicated staff who have theoretical knowledge and practical expertise in the areas of curriculum, assessment and teaching methods in special education and the development, utilization and monitoring of AT technologies (Special School Approach).

Twinomugisha, 2007

at provision where there are few resources 3 approaches37
AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches
  • Develop a decentralized dedicated network of resource centres or special units linked to regular schools or school cluster zones (Resource Centre Network Approach)

Twinomugisha, 2007

at provision where there are few resources 3 approaches38
AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches
  • Developing a full IE setting where the AT is deployed in the regular classroom (School Based Approach).

Twinomugisha, 2007

references
References
  • Bassi, R. 2007. How can ICT help people with disabilities? Dublin: GeSCI (Internal document)
  • Casely-Hayward, L. and Lynch, P. 2003. A Review of Good Practice in ICT and Special Educational Needs for Africa. London: Imfundo/DFID
  • Enabling Technology. (Homepage). [Online]. Available from: http://www.enabletech.ie/index.html [Accessed 21 October 2007]
  • Individuals with Disabilities Act 1997 [Online]. Available from: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/idea.pdf [Accessed 14 November 2007]
  • Morrison, K. 2007. Implementation of assistive computer technology: A model for school systems. International Journal of Special Education. 22 (1), pp83-95
  • National Centre for Technology in Education 2007. [Online]. Available from: fromhttp://www.ncte.ie/SpecialNeedsICT/ResourcesAdvice/AssistiveTechnology/[Accessed 14 November 2007]
  • Twinomugisha, A. 26 November 2007. Re: Financing IE where there are few resources. Educationist Group [Online Discussion List]. Available from: Gesci http://www.gesci.org/index.php?option=com_joomlaboard&Itemid=61&func=view&id=17&catid=8 [Accessed 28 November 2007]
  • UNESCO 2006. Press Conference on Inclusive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities [Online]. Available from UNESCO [Accessed 20 October 2007]
resources
Resources
  • Group discussion 1
  • The topic of resources is a very emotive one when inclusion is being discussed. Many people argue that they ‘cannot do inclusive education because we do not have enough resources’.
  • What are the resource barriers to inclusion?
  • What resources do we have within ourselves and our communities? CBR, Special Schools, National, District and School Cluster Resource Centres
  • What is needed?
  • What are the options?
  • How can they source funding through the Education Sector Plan?
resources42
Resources

Group Discussion 2

Case Study

  • Kwame is 7 has low vision, goes to local school, unable to see blackboard, finds it difficult to read normal size print, enjoys maths, etc.
  • Work out a plan on the use of Assistive Technology that helps Kwame integrate into the class.
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