This is a case involving Emily, a five-year old female student with eye disabilities. Emily has successfully completed her pre-school studies and is about to start her kindergarten soon, where she would be expected to participate in general education with typical peers.
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Children like Emily who have visual impairments are characterized with various academic and behavioral problems. In most cases, these problems can be too bothersome, to the extent of interfering with the normal lives of the victims.
However, there are assistive technologies that can be used to address inappropriate behaviors linked to low vision, and this plays a key role in making life easier for the victims. Some of the common academic and behavioral issues that Emily and other visually-impaired children are likely to show include short attention span, poor academic performance, lack of self-confidence, and difficulty understanding.
Young children with vision issues are at risk of serious problems, unless the appropriate intervention measures aligned with their conditions are administered (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011).
In this regard, parents and teachers should always play a key role in identifying the behavior problems that may be associated with visually-impaired children, and try to facilitate the most necessary interventions in enhancing the social success of these children.
In most cases, these interventions are in the form of assistive technologies that do play important role in improving the functional capabilities of such children. For the purpose of this particular case, there are various assistive technologies that can be applied to help Emily participate in normal school activities.
Some of these assistive technologies would include things like magnification technology, auditory-based assistive technology, and speech-based technology, among others.
Magnification hardware and software are convenient tools that can be used to help visually-impaired learners cope with the normal classroom atmosphere (Abner & Lahm, 2002).
These tools operate like magnifying glasses, and they move automatically over pages to enable learners read books and charts without straining their eyes. A computer would be necessary for the application of this program, whereby students apply the knowledge of Braille input to access and use the computer keyboard for input purposes.
In this context, users apply specialized software and hardware to zoom the size of learning items and materials to a size which is visible to them. A good example of magnification software programs is the Zoom Text.
Auditory-based assistive technology would also be of great help to Emily as she starts her lessons in the kindergarten. As the name implies, these technologies are forms of sound systems. The implementation of these systems is quite easy, even for learners as young as Emily.
Examples of auditory-based technologies that can be applied in this case would include the use of tape recorders to record class sessions for future review by the students. There are also software programs and computer systems that can convert text to speech or other forms of communication medium which may be appropriate for the user.
Speech-based technology is another useful intervention which may assist Emily cope with her disability challenges, especially in class. This program will involve things such as portable note takers.
In this context, text is entered into the system using Braille keyboards or QWERTY keyboards that are specifically designed for persons who prefer touch-typing.
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Once the text has been loaded, the note takers provide speech output which can enable users understand previous learning experiences better. Type Lite and PacMATE Series are good examples of common portable note takers used to assist persons with low vision in class.
There is no doubt that, through effective application of the above assistive technologies, Emily’s capabilities at school will improve greatly and match those of typical peers in class. These technologies will help her understand lessons taught to her better, and this will increase her motivation in class activities.
These programs will also help at improving Emily’s self-reliance abilities, since she could now understand her lessons without many complications. Improved performance, which is the goal for every student, will also be realized in Emily’s life through these interventions.
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