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The phrase ‘One size fits all’, in this context means that one type of technology can be used by all categories of students. It means that there should be no modification on the types of technology used by normal student s to make them appropriate for students with disabilities (Beard, 2011).
Assistive technology, should not be approached with a “one size fits all” due to different requirements by different students. Assistive technologies need customization and modification depending on the specific needs of students with disabilities.
The greatest challenge for teachers of students with disabilities is to help make reasonable accommodation and modification in the education environment.
Students with disabilities have unique needs from those of other students; in order to meet their needs it is important to supplement individualised techniques with more special services. The risk involved is choosing the appropriate technology for people with disabilities (Wandeman, 2000).
When deciding on an assistive technology one must consider;
- The Student
The Student: The student is the key issue in this team. The student should actively participate in decision making only constant on the team. His / her opinions should be respected since he or she is the one to use this technology. Student’s goals should be put into consideration, her or his current abilities and disabilities, and special requirement for the student.
Environment: This is also a very important aspect; institutional setting, institutional physical arrangement, available materials and equipments greatly affect a student’s performance under any circumstance and should be considered.
The Tasks: a task that enhances progress towards the IEP goals should be should be put into consideration, identify tasks keeps the student actively involved in the environment (Tracey & Heidi, 2011). Everyone’s activity in the whole process should be well defined. The most critical or risky element in the process should be well assessed.
Another factor to consider is future technology modification and exit strategy.
This is identifying a system of technology whether low or high to be used by the student in a given environment. Consider how the tool used is capable of improving student’s performance.
The team composes of the following
The Family: The parents or guardian to the student are more knowledgeable about the student and they should be involved they understand the students’ strengths and weaknesses, preferences primary and their attitude towards their disability (Tracey & Heidi, 2011).This would enhance decisions and choices made. Better understanding arise from such considerate operations by all the involved stakeholders within the system.
Classroom teachers: The classroom teacher spends most of the day with the student and they are able to observe them very closely and determine their abilities areas of is responsible for the student’s entire educational programming.
They have an understanding of the student’s abilities. Through implementing any assistive technology and assess to what extent social goals and objectives are met. All teachers who are involved with the student should be in this team (Murphy, 1995).
The first step is to identify the need for assistive technology
In this step one should know the educational activities that are becoming difficult for that particular student. The environment that that troubles the student should also is identified. The assistive technology to be implemented should enable the student to achieve his or her goals. The main areas to be considered may include:
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Ability of the student to write well, proper spelling of terms, Levels of Independence in reading and mobility, and recreation and reasoning in mathematics (Wandeman, 2000).
The second step is to Explore Assistive Technology Solutions
This involves exploring on what has been done in the past and the types of accommodations to be considered. The planners should also put in mind on what lo or what high technologies are to be considered (Murphy, 1995).
The third step is to perform Assistive Technology Tests
At this point the planers should be able to know what technologies should be tried. The management should make a well organised plan for data collection; determine the trial period and the expected outcomes. An exit criterion is also determined at this point and the member to take part in the trial. Assistive technology trial form is then filled.
|Assistive technology||Means of data collection||Trial duration and exit strategy|
|Team discussions |
|A Complete technology checklist, a review of students profile and natural environment and making confirmation with students guardians |
The evidence may be in the form of:
|(performance level) |
The fourth step is to implement the technology trials
The trials suggested in step three are implemented and the outcomes are documented. Document outcome, if the trial was successful the technology should be recommended to the team, if the trials were not successful, then causes of failure should be determined.
Documentation should be done within IEP to form evidence of current level academic achievements. The records should act as student’s profile for continued evaluation, success and improvements in future aid requirement (Penny, 2004).
Beard, L. (2011). Assisstive technology: Access for all students. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.
Murphy, M. (1995). Funding Assistive Technology. Presentation at 2nd Annual Milwaukee TechnologyAccess Conference. New York: Routeledge.
Penny, R. (2004). Needs for Assistive Technology: A Resource Manual for School District Teams. London: Oxford University Press.
Tracey, G., & Heidi, S. (2011). ) Breakthrough Teaching and Learning: How Educational and Assistive Technologies are Driving Innovation. New York: Springer Press.
Wandeman, R. (2000). ). Assistive technology for students with learning disabilities. Presented at the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative’s Summer Institute on Assistive Technology. London: Oxford University Press.