In this week’s Enginursday, Alex meets with a local Speech-Language Pathologist to talk about how makers can help make devices for people who use assistive technology. Alex designs a proximity switch to be used as an alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) device. By using off the shelf components and making a device yourself, you can save some major dough.
Assistive technology, also known as assistive tech or AT, has proven benefits for those with various learning disabilities including dyslexia. As a child, Brian Meersma had a ravenous appetite for knowledge, but his dyslexia forced him to rely on on family members to read to him. After discovering assistive technology, he gained independence and is now thriving as a student at Cornell University. Brian was one of Learning Ally’s National Achievement Award winners in 2015, and has become an expert champion for technologies that help students with learning differences succeed.
Learning Ally: http://learningally.org
A look at how many educators integrate technology into their instruction.
Brett Shelton shares the creative ways that his department at Boise State helps teachers use technology more efficiently in the classroom.
If you’d like to receive our bonuses on assistive technology, please visit http://tensigma.org/episode48bonus.
When speaking in general terms, assistive technology means using devices for people with disabilities and it also includes the process of selecting, locating, and using these devices. According to IDEA 2004, “Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services or both are made available to a child with a disability if required as part of the child’s: Special education related services or supplementary aids and service AND on a case-by-case basis, the use of school purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP team determines that the child needs access to the devices in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).”
IDEA 2004 also defines an assistive technology device as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially of the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. Exception: Medical devices that are surgically implanted or the replacement of such devices. IDEA 2004 also defines assistive technology service as any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of assistive technology device.
Assistive technology services include:
• An evaluation of the child’s needs
• Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices for the child
• Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices
• Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices
• Training or technical assistance for the child and family when appropriate
• Training or technical assistance for professionals
There are many ways that teachers can include assistive technology in the classroom using low and high tech items. Examples of low tech assistive technology include pencil grips, slant boards, weighted vests, timers, colored overlays, chalkboards, and Velcro picture calendars. Some examples of high tech assistive technology devices include touch screens, software, apps, screen enlargers, the Big Red Switch, wands/sticks, audio books, text to speech, and audio note taker.
Because technology is constantly being improved, it can be difficult for teachers to keep up-to-date on technology which is why it is important to work with specialized staff such as occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, audiologists, and tech person in a school. These professionals can assist in providing suggestions and/or training on new technology resources.
As a bonus for each episode of Transition Tuesday, we provide resources and tools to help implement the topics we cover. This week, we are sharing a pdf which contains two important assistive technology resources.
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We hope you use this information and the bonuses on assistive technology to help students with disabilities.