Making Education Accessible

An introduction to Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology is any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

In educational environments, assistive technology levels the playing field for students with disabilities; It allows them to engage in and learn just as their non-disabled peers. Assistive technology gives students supports that enhance independence and accessibility to tasks that would normally be inaccessible due to their disabilities. This can be done using low tech, mid-tech, or high tech assistive technology.

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Different forms of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can be low tech, mid tech, or high tech. These three categories describe the amount of actual technology required to assist a student. A student using high tech assistive technology is benefiting from advanced assistive technology that is usually advanced and very expensive. On the other hand, a student using low tech assistive technology may not be using technology at all, but rather a device or basic item that helps them access the general education curriculum.
Free to Low-Cost Assistive Technology Solutions

Who Benefits from Assistive technology?

While Assistive technology does level the playing field for students with disabilities, it can be effective for students without disabilities. Students without disabilities also have various learning styles that can be addressed using low-tech, mid tech and high tech assistive technologies. Assistive technology can be used for all students. It can meet the needs of a students who is a visual learner and needs pictures, a student who has trouble organizing ideas (graphic organizers) and many other students without disabilities.