Chapter 14 – Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is a term used to describe technologies that assist people with disabilities in performing life tasks and learning. In 1975 Congress passed Public Law 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). The purpose of the law was to “assure that all children with disabilities have available to them…a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs, to assure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents or guardians are protected, to assist states and localities to provide for the education of all children with disabilities, and to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate children with disabilities” (IDEA, 20 U.S.C).

Since technology can be used to enable people to learn and communicate in powerful ways, it has direct application to the IDEA regulations. Assistive technology, which can consist of both hardware and software, can be utilized by schools to positively impact it’s students with disabilities in the learning process.

DynaVox

DynaVox is a provider of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) products and services. They offer complete solutions for individuals with speech and learning challenges. The speech generating devices, often funded by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance, help those with conditions such as autism, ALS, cerebral palsy, stroke, brain injury and others; make meaningful connections with the world around them.

The following links direct you to videos from the DynaVox website that provide you with an example of ways the DynaVox devices and software can be used:

 

DynaVox webpage screenshot
DynaVox webpage

 

The DynaVox website provides additional products, demonstration videos, and success stories of the company’s assistive technologies.

Ablenet

Ablenet provides technology to help struggling students learn to their fullest potential: serving students in PreK-8 who use assistive technology, have IEPs, have limited English proficiency, or need additional instructional support fo any reason. Ablenet offers a variety of solutions for areas relating to switches, speech generation, accessibility, apps and software, computer access, and others.

TheraSimplicity

Therasimplicity is an online collection of useful tools, illustrations, worksheets, exercise sheets, explanations and reference materials for therapists in a wide range of professions. TheraSimplicity brings resources and tools together in one easy-to-use system. Therapists can utilize already created worksheets or customize their own materials to prepare for sessions without the bother of having to cut, paste and copy to provide the materials for their clients.

Therasimplicity Videos

Assignment

Using your webcamm, record, upload to a hosting site (e.g.,YouTube), and embed your video reflection in the LMS. As part of your reflection, discuss the following:

  1. Describe the role of assistive technologies in the classroom. What past experiences have you had with assistive technologies? Out of the assistive technologies looked at this week, which did you find the most interesting or most applicable for your teaching area?
  2. Find one additional assistive technology that was not listed in the module and provide an overview of what it is, how it works, and where you found it.

 

Media Attributions

  • DynaVox

License

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