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Assistive Technology in the Classroom : Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities,9780131390409
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Assistive Technology in the Classroom : Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities

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  • Assistive Technology in the Classroom : Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities
    Assistive Technology in the Classroom : Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities


A current look at the most effective uses of assistive technology for students with disabilities that emphasizes the link between technology and learning.   This updated text focuses on the use of assistive technology to increase the independence and participation of students with disabilities in schools by providing them with access to the curriculum.  With an emphasis on both the relationship between assistive technology and learning and on how assistive technology can be integrated into the curriculum, this text assesses the school-related tasks that students with special needs must perform in order to be successful. Additionally, this text provides descriptions of technology-based solutions, presenting these obstacles in clear, engaging prose. Instead of approaching this topic through disability categories, this book recognizes that each child is unique and that there are multiple factors to examine before choosing technology tools for each student. Throughout the book, assistive technology tools are not discussed in isolation - the context for technology use is always the classroom, the teaching-learning process, and its impact on students with disabilities. 

Table of Contents

PART I:  Benefits of Computer Use in Special Education

Chapter 1:  Introduction to Assistive Technology

            Focus Questions


What Is Assistive Technology?

The Legal Basis for Assistive Technology

            Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

            Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

            Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Brief History of Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Decision-Making Process

Universal Design

Universal Design for Learning

A Note on Language


Chapter 2:  Assistive Technology to Support Writing

            Focus Questions

The Context–Process Writing

Problems Students with Disabilities Have with Writing

Technology Tools That Support the Writing Process

            Pre-Writing:  Graphic Organizers




            Sharing or Publishing

Technology Tools that Support Notetaking

            Portable Word Processors

            Portable Braille Notetakers

            Notetaking Services for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students

            Capturing Devices

Technology Alone Will Not Improve Students’ Writing

            Instruction on Technology Tools for Writing

            Putting It All Together

Chapter 3:  Assistive Technology to Support Reading

Focus Questions


What We Know About Teaching Children to Read:  Evidenced-Based Strategies

            Findings of the National Reading Panel:  Topic Areas

Reading Problems in Students with Disabilities

How Technology Can Address These Problems

            Learning to Read:  Computer as a Remediation Tool

            Reading to Learn:  Computer as a Compensation Tool

            Technology Tools to Access Alternate Formats

Decision-Making:  Instructional Tool or Compensatory Tool?


Chapter 4: Technology to Support Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

and Differentiated Instruction

Focus Questions


UDL Principle 1: Multiple Means of Representation

            Provide Multiple Means of Representation

            What Multiple Means of Representation Looks Like in a Classroom

UDL Principle 2: Multiple Means of Action and Expression

            Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

            What Multiple Means of Action and Expression Look Like in the Classroom

UDL Principle 3: Multiple Means of Engagement

            Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

            What Multiple Means of Engagement Looks Like in a Classroom

Web Accessibility

Chapter 5: Computers and the Internet for Teaching Math

Focus Questions


Addressing the Needs of Students with Disabilities

Features of Technology-Based Learning Activities

Selecting Activities: Focus on Math

            Automaticity and Fluency

            Visual-Spatial or Motor Control Difficulties

            Math Concepts, Skills, and Problem Solving

            Software for Math Skills, Concepts and Problem Solving

            Authoring Software

Chapter 6: Assistive Technology to Enhance Communication

Focus Questions


The Importance of Communication–Part 1

            Problems Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Have with Communication

            Problems Resulting from Communication Problems

Technology Tools That Address Communication Problems for Students Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

            Hearing Lectures with Assistive Listening Devices

            Types of Assistive Listening Devices

            Interacting with Teachers and Peers Outside Class

The Importance of Communication–Part 2     

            Problems Students with Physical Disabilities or Autism Have with Communication

            Problems Resulting from Communication Problems

Technology Tools That Address Communication Problems for Students Who Cannot Speak: Augmentative Communication


PART II:  Access to Computers

Chapter 7:  Providing Access to Computers:  Using What You Have

Focus Questions


Universal Design

            Flexibility in Use

Accessibility Features for Users with Disabilities

            Keyboard Modifications and Mouse Control

            Modifications for Students with Sensory Impairments

Chapter 8: Assistive Technology for Computer Access

Focus Questions


Low-Tech Adaptations for Computer Use

            Keyboard Labels

            Selecting/Pointing Devices


            Moisture Guards

Alternate Input Devices

            Mouse Alternative

            Keyboard Shortcuts



            Touch Screens

            Head Pointing Systems

            Eye Gaze Systems

Alternate Input: Alternative Keyboards

            Expanded Keyboards


            One-Handed Keyboards

            On-Screen Keyboards

            Customizable Keyboards

            Single Switches for Scanning and Morse Code

            Speech Recognition.

Alternate Output Options

            Screen Magnification

            Screen Readers

            Refreshable Braille

            Braille Embossers

Chapter 9:  Issues in Selection of Access Method(s)

Focus Questions


Consideration of Assistive Technology During IEP Development

Hallmarks of Exemplary Assistive Technology Decision-Making and Assessment

            Use of a Team Approach in Assistive Technology Assessment

            Focus on Student Needs and Abilities

            Examination of Tasks to Be Completed

            Consideration of Relevant Environmental Issues.

            Trial Use of Assistive Technology

            Providing Necessary Supports

            Viewing Assessment as an Ongoing Process

Resources to Guide Assistive Technology Consideration and Assessment

            Quality Indicators for Assessment of Assistive Technology Needs

            Education Tech Points for Assistive Technology Planning

            SETT Framework


Suggested Activities


PART III:  Augmentative Communication

Chapter 10:  Selecting and Designing a Student’s Augmentative Communication System

Focus Questions


Considerations in System Selection and Design

            Myths and Realities

            Who Should Assess?  Collaborative Team Assessment Approach

            How Should the Team Assess?  Features of the Collaborative Assessment Process

            Features of the Process of Selecting AAC Systems

            What Components Must Be Identified?  Symbols, Vocabulary and Access Method

Evaluating the Efficiency and Effectiveness of a Student’s Augmentative Communication System


Chapter 11:  AT Approaches to Teaching Early Communication and Literacy

Focus Questions


What Is Communication?

How Do Communication and Language Develop?

            What Factors Promote Communication and Language Development?

Problems Students with Disabilities Have with Early Communication Development

Technology Tools That Support Early Communication Development

            Types of Switches to Promote Early Communication

            Determining the Use of Switches for Early Communication

            Examples of Switch Technology for Early Communication in the Classroom

Emergent-Conventional Literacy

Chapter 12: Integrating Augmentative Communication in the Classroom, Home, and Community

Focus Questions


Supportive Environments for Augmentative Communication Users: The Teacher’s Role

            Curriculum Issues

            Ongoing Skill Development in Communication

            Importance of Selecting Appropriate Vocabulary

            Use of Peers as Communication Facilitators

            Other Strategies

            Need for Teacher Training

            Not Everything Is High-Tech

Infusing Communication Development Within the IEP

Transition from School to School and Teacher to Teacher

Home and Community Use

            Using Augmentative Communication in the Community


PART IV:  Making It Happen

Chapter 13: Implementation of Assistive Technology in Schools

Focus Questions


Legal Basis for Assistive Technology

Integrating Assistive Technology into the IEP

            Specially Designed Instruction

            Supplementary Aids and Services, and Related Services

Critical Issues in Assistive Technology Implementation

            The Digital Divide


            Assistive Technology Consideration Misunderstood

            Educational Professionals’ Lack of Knowledge and Skills

            Information Technology Policies


            Implementing Assistive Technology Recommendations


Chapter 14: Implementation of Assistive Technology in Transition Planning

Focus Questions

Preparation for Transition from High School to College

            Problems Students with Disabilities Face in College

            Typical Accommodations at College That Meet These Needs

            There Are No IEPs in College

            Reasonable Accommodations

            Procedures for Obtaining Assistive Technology in College

            Legal and Procedural Differences Between ADA and IDEA

Importance of Transition Planning in High School

            Assistive Technology Skills

            Self-Advocacy skills

Assistive Technology for Transition from High School to Home, Workplace, and Community

Technology to Teach Functional Skills

            Instructional Software to Teach Functional Skills

            Authoring Computer-Based Activities to Teach Functional Skills

            Technology to Provide Visual Supports

            Computer-Generated and Video-Based Social Stories

            Simple Technology for Self-Care and Leisure Activities

Planning for Transition to Home, Workplace, and Community


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