Assistive Technology in the Classroom Laura Treffinger ED 505
Definition • Assistive technology is any “item or piece of equipment or product system either acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified, or customized and used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capability for individual with disabilities” (Alnahdi, 2014). • In simpler terms, assistive technology is any sort of equipment or software that is implemented to help a student with disabilities succeed in the classroom.
Laws related to Assistive Technology • FAPE – Free and Appropriate Public Education • LRE – Least Restrictive Environment • IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) (Davis, Barnard-Brak, & Arredondo, 2013)
Explanation of Laws • All of these laws and acronyms influence how students with disabilities are taught in the public school system. • The US Department of Education requires that all students are entitled to a free and appropriate public education. What that means is that no student, regardless of condition or disability is to denied access to an education. • That education must also take place in the least restrictive environment. This means that, whenever possible, students should be educated in the general education classroom. • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 required school districts to deliberate as to whether assistive technology is appropriate for any child with special needs in order for that student to be successful in the classroom. • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act in 2004 restated that the use of assistive technology should always be considered for any special needs student and also defined what assistive technology is and what an assistive technology service is (Davis, et al., 2013).
Hearing Impaired Digital materials that highlight text and provide captions have been shown to help students with hearing disabilities (Alnahdi, 2014). http://www.business-opportunities.biz/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/highlighter.jpg
Visually impaired Students who are visually impaired can use audio books to listen to the same book that the other students are reading (Assistive Technology Module, 2015). http://media.salon.com/2010/06/great_audiobooks_for_your_kids.jpg
Learning disabled Students who are learning disabled can use a planner to keep track of events and assignments. It also allows them to plan out how best to complete an assignment (Assistive Technology Module, 2015). http://www.meridianplanners.com/img/primary-carousel.png
Physically disabled Students who are physically disabled may not be able to operate a standard keyboard. If that is the case, an alternative keyboard can be used to assist the student in completing assignments (Assistive Technology Module, 2015). http://www.especialneeds.com/images/C/AlternativeKeyboards-01.jpg
References Alnahdi, G. (2014). Assistive Technology in Special Education and the Universal Design for Learning. Turkish Online Journal Of Educational Technology - TOJET, 13(2), 18-23. Assistive Technology Module. (2015). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/at/#content Davis, T. T., Barnard-Brak, L., & Arredondo, P. L. (2013). Assistive Technology: Decision-making Practices in Public Schools. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 32(4), 15-23.