[ABCs of SPED] T is for Technology

abcs of sped Jul 19, 2018

Can you believe we're already at T in our ABCs of SPED series? And today, T is for Technology! Specifically, assistive technology.

Assistive Technology, or AT, is any technology that provides a student with access to participate in school and that can be used to help support a student’s academic achievement.

If you've ever read through an IEP, you might have noticed a small question in the "other considerations" section that asks whether a student needs any "assistive technology." Perhaps you've seen it, but you didn't know what it meant, or what could be included. If that sounds like you, this post is here to help!

High Tech Assistive Technology

Much of what will be included in an IEP will represent "high tech" assistive technology. This is technology as we currently think of it-- things like computers, tablets, and software. 

Example include:

  • iPad or communication device for 
  • Speech-to-text or text-to-speech software
  • Any technology that increases the size of the font for a child with a visual impairment
  • Curriculum software that is specifically targeted to meet the developmental level of a child with a disability
  • Word-prediction software
  • A Livescribe pen or a small cassette recorder so that a student is able to record instruction to play back at a later time

Another common technology tool that we see for students that are Deaf or hard-of-hearing is a transcription cart. This is a service that takes an instructor’s language in real-time and transcribes it to a device placed in front of the student so that they can follow along visually with what the rest of the class is hearing. These are just a few examples! Any type of tech tool that you can demonstrate will help your student can be considered.

Low Tech Assistive Technology

It doesn't always take a fancy tablet to help a student in the classroom. There are many examples of "low tech" interventions that teachers have been using with success for decades. 

Some examples include:

  • A timer
  • A pencil grip
  • Specially colored or lined paper
  • A dictionary or thesaurus
  • Graphic organizers
  • Math manipulatives

While less "exciting" than the high-tech stuff, these tools can be just as important in supporting a student with special needs.

Remember, assistive technology (like any accommodation!) is not meant to provide a "leg up" or an advantage to a student with a disability. Instead, it is simply meant to even the playing field and provide an opportunity for students to access the same content. 

AT is any technology that a child uses to allow them greater access to participate fully in the classroom.

Does your child use any assistive technology? We'd love to hear how it's worked for them! Share in our Facebook group!

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