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Assistive Technology in Special Education recent trend in the fields of special education, rehabilitation, and technology is the development and implementation of assistive technology (AT) devices to assist individuals in compensating for disabilities and/or utilizing functional capabilities to meet environmental demands. AT devices have major implications for individuals with learning disabilities (LD) For students with minor disabilities, the AT device may simply permit them to pick up objects, or understand verbal instruction. For severely disabled students, AT can be the lifeline between getting lost in an educational environment or becoming an active and enthusiastic student who pursues a lifetime of learning.
Studies have shown that the learning patterns a student develops during his or her early elementary career are likely to shape the student's attitudes toward scholastic achievement for a lifetime. AT can create a positive learning experience, and therefore positively affect the student for the rest of their lives.
Regardless of the legislative victories won in favor of disabled people, the world can still be biased against them, and once a student graduates and enters the job market, the existence of an LD is a confounding variable in the quest for job satisfaction. In studies by Vogel and Adelman (2000), 80%-90% of the respondents indicated that their LD impacts their work. However, in the study, large percentages (from 41% to 95%) of respondents did not self-disclose their LD to employers or coworkers. Common reasons for nondisclosure included concerns about job security and fear of negatively impacting relationships with coworkers and supervisors (Vogel & Adelman, 2000).
Therefore, the use of assistive technology to promote curricular and environmental access for students with learning disabilities early in their learning career holds great promise. Research is emerging that demonstrates the effectiveness of various AT devices in helping individuals to compensate for specific learning disabilities and thus promote more curricular and instructional access for these youngsters (Higgins & Raskind, 1995).
The impetus for the assistive technology training trend stems from the passage of federal legislation such as the 1992 Amendments of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1994 (known as the Tech Act), which mandate accessibility and accommodations for individuals with disabilities to promote integration and full participation in society. Assistive technology offers a wide range of alternatives. It includes both "low" technologies and "high"-tech devices and it incorporates technologies designed specifically for people with disabilities as well as generic technologies developed for use by the general public.
It is a mistake to think too narrowly about assistive technology; the entire technology spectrum holds promise for individuals with learning disabilities (LD). Although computers are the technology most often associated with this population, there are many other potentially valuable tools available. For example, before the arrival of computers in classrooms, teachers used rulers to help students with learning disabilities keep their place while reading. These low tech aids are included in the federal definition of AT devices.
Off-the-shelf technologies designed for general audiences also merit consideration. For example, an audiotape recorder becomes an assistive technology when it is used by a person with learning disabilities to compensate for memory problems. Assistive technology has a long history -- perhaps even as long as that of humankind. (Resta, 1998)
The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act amendments of 1994 (known as the Tech Act) defines assistive technology device as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities," "Devices" encompass low technology (e.g., reachers, pencil grips, zipper pulls) and high technology (e.g., alternate computer keyboards, speech synthesizers, scanners). (Lewis, 1998)
For individuals with learning disabilities (LD), who exhibit a variety and range (i.e., mild to severe) of learning and behavioral characteristics across the lifespan, of assistive technologies look promising. Assistive technology devices and services have major implications regarding lifespan issues and environmental and curricular accessibility. AT devices could be used to facilitate acquisition of academic, vocational, and daily living skills, and instruction in computer technology and written communication, to…[continue]
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Assistive Technology The "least restrictive environment" clause of the IDEA requires the student be placed in a standard learning environment whenever it is practical (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011). Technology allows students who have visual impairments to be able to admission to the general curriculum, to increase their options towards literacy, and to improve communication. There are a variety of assistive technology tools that are designed for students with visual impairments, but
Assistive Technology | Importance of assistive technology Assistive technology makes it possible for individuals with disabilities or cognitive impairments to redefine their lives and work towards an independent lifestyle. Assistive technology is also vital for encouraging learning and achievement in the classroom. On August 16, 2006, the federal government approved PL 100-407, otherwise known as the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act. The definition included in that regulation was slightly modified
Assistive Technology Many students who enter a special education program are in need of some type of assistance from technology so that they can interact and learn at a higher level. Generally this technology is most associated with students who have vision, hearing and mobility issues, "but is also true for individuals with limitations in cognition and perception" (Behrman, 1998). The state of Wisconsin is very concerned with ensuring that all
Here, we can observe several of the greatest benefits of assistive technology in special education. Such is to say that many linguistic, mathematic or otherwise basic educational programs may be designed to help facilitate the special needs learner through audio assistance, special contextualization and personal customization. Additionally, the learning disabled individual, by virtue of his interaction with the educational properties offered by an effective software program, will achieve a level
Many of the answers used to hold workers with disabilities can also crack work-related problems of older workers. But older workers would not point out that they are disabled, even though they may come across functional limitations that are comparable to those met by persons with disabilities. Elder workers with vision, hearing, dexterity, memory, attention, standing, and/or sitting disabilities may come across difficulties on the job. There are a
(Brodwin; Cardoso; Star, 2004) Since it is a fact that those people with special needs do face many more challenges in their lives than other people, the possibility of technological assistance for them must be given extreme importance, and when this is done, the device can be acquired. Sometimes, when the assistive device has been provided for the person, like for example a child who attends school, by the school
With this access, students can independently use the computer to read, write, send and receive e-mail and do research. Another type of low-tech devices for blind children is the note taker. Note takers are moveable Braille tools that include refreshable Braille display. They can be attached to the computer to display information on the screen in Braille. Examples include Braille lite, the Braille note and the Braille window. Refreshable Braille