A Guide to Assistive Technology in K-12 Schools

Individuals with disabilities may find it difficult or impossible to complete everyday tasks. Assistive technologies are devices or services that can be used to aid in functions too difficult to complete independently. Any product or equipment that can increase, stabilize and maintain function capabilities for disabled individuals are considered assistive technology. As technologies specifically geared toward children with disabilities foster more productive and positive learning environments, more k-12 schools and teachers should be prepared with assistive technologies.

Ranging from low tech to complex options, there are varied assistive technologies. Books featuring larger fonts, pencil holders, blocks, cartoon symbols and large buttons are all examples of simple technologies. Basic calculators that have been enlarged and handheld typing games are also used within classes. There are also computer accessories such as larger mouse options, touch screens and numeric keypads and keyboards. Assistive technologies at the higher technology range even include computers capable of communication on behalf of a child. From sounds with cartoons to full typing with larger keys, these computers can be invaluable to a child with special needs as they would be able to fully engage in classroom activities.

One of the most important things to consider with assistive technologies is basic lifestyle activities. These are generally taken for granted, but with a little help could make a child feel warm, welcomed and appreciated. The extra time and effort can really save energy for children with disabilities. This allows the student to fully focus in class on what they are capable of, rather than what they are not.