Examples of Assistive Technology

Peggy Guenther-EDU638

Assistive Technology I frequently Use

The purpose of assistive technology is to allow students with disabilities to participate in and complete tasks in a more independent manner. The technology can be low-tech or high-tech and is divided into categories depending on the type and function of the device. The types are:
  • existence-necessary to sustain life
  • positioning-physical support and interaction
  • environmental-adaptive devices for traditional equipment
  • communication-devices that assist in expression, reception, and social interaction
I have used assistive technology with my students, but often feel I do not use it enough.
The low tech tools that I use consist mainly of pencil grips, weighted pencils, and ergonomic pens. I have also used colored paper and colored overlays to assist students with eye disorders read more comfortably. My interactive board also has concept mapping capabilities. Finally, the internet based curriculum enhancement programs I use include screen reader features.

Speech recognition and Word Prediction

Word prediction software and apps were designed to limit keystrokes and assist in getting the information from the writers mind to the paper. Therefore, word prediction serves multiple disabilities including people with dyslexia, orthopedic challenges, and people slow typing speeds. Word prediction apps such as TypoLite and ZenTap are beneficial for students in the classroom. They are available for the iPad and make note taking more efficient, involves fewer keystrokes, and eliminates spelling errors.

Speech recognition software types the text as the student gives dictation. This software was designed to serve individuals who have visual impairments or limited mobility. One of the most recognized is Dragon Naturally Speaking. The benefit for students is its ability to eliminate frustration levels when faced with a writing project. Writing requires the brain to engage in multiple activities at nearly the same time. This is challenging to students who have difficulty with the physical act of typing and writing, or have a slower processing speed. Speech recognition allows the student to "type" as fast as they can speak.

Additional Information and Resources

When considering the use of assistive technology for students, it should not be used as a simple solution. The team should consider the students current skills and difficulties and search for the device or system that allows the students to complete tasks that they otherwise would be unable to complete. Assistive technology should increase student independence.



A "Tech Works" brief from the National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI). August 2010.

http://www.ldonline.org/article/Speech_Recognition_for_Learning


Simpson, C. (Summer 2009). Assistive Technology; Supporting Learners in Inclusive Classrooms. Kappa Delta Pi Record. pgs. 172-175.


Williams, S., (Mar 2011). How Speech-Feedback and Word-Prediction Software Can Help Students Write. Teaching Exceptional Children. pgs. 72-78.