Assistive Technology

Trisha Hasty

My experience with Assistive Technology

*I have used basic Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) Communication Mats with students. I had some students with low receptive and expressive communication and the Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and I worked together to create a plan for these students. We used some pre-made mats and created some of our own. The students used the mats to communicate 1-3 word phrases. The teachers used the mats to help increase the students' receptive and eventually verbal expressive language by pointing to pictures and verbally saying the words to state 3-5 word sentences. The students were able to communicate with other peers and with teachers more successfully because of these resources. The picture above is one of my kiddos using the PODD communication mat to plan at which area he wanted to work during work time. Prior to using the PODD communication mat, this student would sometimes point, he would cry, and he would sometimes become physical. This tool allowed him to complete the planning process which is something all of the other students would do. This student eventually began saying the area name while using the PODD communication mat.

Screen Readers

What is it?

*A tool that can show and read aloud text that has been typed, scanned, or is from the Internet. Some screen readers can even translate the text to braille for students with visual impairments. A screen reader can also identify common graphics.

Who does it help?

*This can help students who have difficulty with reading and writing and students with visual impairments.

How does it benefit students in the classroom?

*This tools gives students access to a multitude of resources that they may have otherwise never had access. There are a limited number of resources that have been translated into Braille but with this assistive technology, students with visual impairments have access to all the same resources as those students without visual impairments. This can also help students who have difficulty reading with the research process. With this tool, students can increase the speed at which they research.

What kind of assistive technology is it?

*Communication

Sources:

*Stanberry, Kristin, and Raskind, Marshall H. (2009). Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities: An Overview. http://www.ldonline.org/article/33074/

*Watson, Leonie. (2005). What is a Screen Reader? http://www.nomensa.com/blog/2005/what-is-a-screen-reader/

TiddlyWiki in a JAWS Screen Reader

https://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/4476722372/

Speech Generating Device

What is it?

*An electronic device that allows the user to choose the message that will be spoken aloud through a computer-generated voice. They are also called voice-output communication aids (VOCA). Depending on the individual person's needs and challenges, additional devices may be used in conjunction with the speech generating device (SGD) such as switches, controls, and headbands.

Who does it help?

*Students who are unable to use natural verbal language to communicate or students with low verbal expressive communication.

How does it benefit students in the classroom?

*This tool allows students who may be unable to use natural verbal language to verbally communicate. This allows them to communicate with a broader range of individuals including peers who may not have been able to communicate with them otherwise. Students are able to voice their opinions and desires the same as other students.

What kind of assistive technology is it?

*Communication
Sources

*Curtis, Diane. (2005). Disabled Bodies, Able Minds: Giving Voice, Movement, and Independence to the Physically Challenged. http://www.edutopia.org/assistive-technology-class-school-participation.

*The Bridge School. Speech Generating Devices. http://www.bridgeschool.org/transition/multimodal/sgd.php