I need help responding to the questions in the attachment. Please see additional attachment.   EQUITY 7 – Assistive

 I need help responding to the questions in the attachment. Please see additional attachment.  

EQUITY 7 – Assistive Technology

Objectives:  Learners will demonstrate an understanding of assistive technology and identify technologies and tools to implement in their classroom and LPG. 


As educators, we are constantly selecting activities, preparing questions and discussion prompts to design lessons that are congruent to our objectives and actively engage ALL our learners.  We also know that some of our students with disabilities face barriers to participation.  To lower these barriers, teachers can access of a set of tools called assistive technology (AT) to help students fully engage in the lesson.


What is Assistive Technology (AT)? 

“IDEA federal regulators define Assistive Technology devices as ‘…any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.” 34 C.F.R.§ 300.5.


“Assistive Technology service is defined as ‘…any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” 34 C.F.R. § 300.6.


Federal Regulations require admission, review, and dismissal committees to consider the child’s need for AT in the development of the student’s individualized education program (IEP). (§300.324(a)(2)(v))


AT devices and services must be made available if required as part of the child’s specially designed instruction, related services, or supplementary aids and services. (§300.105) Schools must permit the use of school purchased AT devices at home or in other settings, if the IEP team determines that the child needs access to those devices’ settings outside of school settings (e.g., to complete homework assignments). AT devices that are necessary to ensure a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) must be provided at no cost to the parents. The school owns the AT device(s) and the parents cannot be charged for normal use, wear and tear.

Instruction and Accessibility Support for Students with Disabilities:  Assistive Technology (AT). (2020, April 23).  TEA.


Basically, AT is any device or service that supports an individual with a disability to live, work, learn, or play in their least restrictive environment.  The device could be helpful for someone without a disability but vital for someone with one.  For example, a jar opener makes it easier to open a jar but for some people this device may be the only way they can open a jar independently. 


There are low tech versions that don’t involve specialized hardware/software– for example the jar opener, a graphic organizer, or a pencil grip.  There are mid tech versions that enhance other technology’s performance such as a screen magnifier, adaptive switch, or talking calculator.  There are also high-tech versions with stand-alone technology such as special purpose computers, keyboards, or word prediction software.


Assistive Technology Industry Association
 (ATIA) is a global leader in assistive technology (AT) education and research and the premier organization for manufacturers, sellers and providers of 

assistive technology 

 (AT)—products, equipment and systems that enhance learning, working and daily living for persons with disabilities.  Their mission is to serve as the collective voice of the assistive technology industry to help ensure that the best products and services are delivered to persons with disabilities.  Browse and bookmark their site for future use and reference.  



How do you determine what types of devices are needed for students to be successful?

Assistive Technology devices can be described, or thought of in three different levels:

 – Low tech or Not tech devices – pencil grips, slant boards, or feeding utensils are examples of low tech or no tech devices

 – Mid-tech devices typically include electronic functioning and require a power source. Some examples of mid-tech devices include portable word processors, multiple-message communication aids, and some alternate computer access devices. 

 – High tech devices are the most complex. Examples in this category include computers, academic support software, advanced communication aids, and more complex computer input systems such as those controlled by eye gaze or speech. Tools in this category generally require more training and maintenance than less complex tools. The level of training and maintenance should be considered when determining what AT services are needed.


The Texas 4-Step Assistive Technology (AT) Consideration Model is a process for ARD committees to use in the development, review, and revision of every IEP.  The use of a model ensures consistency and that AT is equitably considered for all students with disabilities. The Texas 4-Step Model incorporates best practices in AT consideration as described by the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT).  

Step 1: Review current student data and additional information, like evaluation data, present levels of functioning and additional information from IEP committee members.

Step 2: Develop goals and identify tasks that might be difficult for the student when working toward mastery.  Determine which tasks might be difficult or impossible without assistive technology.

Step 3:  Determine whether AT devices and / or services are required 
at this time.  IEP team members should ask whether AT would enable the student to work more effectively, efficiently, or independently.   The team must determine one of three pathways:  AT is not required, AT is required, or more information is needed.  The team must also consider 
usage of the technology: through special education to master IEP goals, through related services, like occupational therapy, as a supplementary aid (for example, to assist with writing), and if needed at home and in other settings.

Step 4:  Document the AT consideration outcome including a rationale for the decision. IEP members must document AT decisions (above) and HOW each decision was reached.  

Download TEA’s manual:  Considering Assistive Technology in the IEP process and review terminology and legal elements around assistive technology considerations.  Save the manual for a reference once you enter the classroom.




What are the Benefits of Using Assistive Technology?

Many students with disabilities experience feelings of embarrassment of not being like other students and face the perceived negative stigma that disabilities can carry.  They may also experience frustration when they can’t complete a task.  Sometimes they are so consumed by the mechanics of the operation that they can’t get around to showing what they CAN perform.  They may react by withdrawing and not participating in activities and have trouble with social interactions, or just the opposite, acting out repeatedly and feeling like they are in trouble all the time.  AT provides students with a greater sense of independence, allowing them to perform tasks that previously were impossible to perform at all or that couldn’t be performed without assistance.   Increased independence leads to increased confidence and self-esteem.  AT allows students to elaborate, collaborate, and actively participate in the learning. 

What types of Learning Problems Does Assistive Technology Address and What Type of Technologies are Available?

Since the technology field is ever changing, no list of technologies would ever be complete.  This is a sample of some of the technologies that might be used to assist learners.


Visual:  Students may be visually impaired but not cognitively impaired.

AT:  eyeglasses, magnifiers, Braille displays, screen reading software, text to speech systems, large print materials


Listening/Hearing:  Students may have difficulty hearing or completely hearing impaired.

AT:  hearing aids, personal listening system (which transmits the speaker’s voice to the user’s ear with a wireless transmitter—helping with auditory processing issues and attention), closed captioning


Math:  Students may have trouble computing, organizing, aligning, or copying problems on paper.

AT:  calculators, talking calculators (read aloud numbers, symbols, operation keys and vocalizes the answer so students can check for accuracy), electronic math worksheets, pen top computers (smart pens – can provide strategy feedback and other organizational features such as, the reminder “don’t forget to carry” during multiplication questions).


Reading:  Students may have trouble decoding, comprehension, fluency, or tracking.

AT:  audio books and publications, CDs, MP3s, reading guides (the plastic strip highlights one line of text while blocking out surrounding words that might distract, optical character recognition (can scan printed material into a computer and text is read aloud), Smart phone, E reader, word processing


Writing:  Some students may struggle with the physical aspects of writing with pen and paper, while others may struggle with cognitive issues like spelling, grammar, and organization.

AT:  pen/pencil grips, word processors, word wall, alternate keyboard, proofreading programs, speech recognition software, word prediction software


Organization and Memory:  Some students need help to plan, organize, and retrieve information.

AT:  graphic organizers, text to speech, audio books, apps for reminders or notetaking


Speech Communication:  Some students may struggle with the spoken word.

AT:  voice amplification system, communication board


Mobility:  Some students need assistance with seating, positioning, or movement.

AT:  wheelchair, walkers, cane, crutches, scooters, inflatable seat cushion (may help with sensory processing and attention issues)


Stanberry, Kristin and Raskind, Marshall H. (2009). Assistive Technology for Kids with Learning Disabilities:  An Overview.  Reading Rockets. 




How Do You Choose the Right Assistive Technology?

Using assistive technology with a student doesn’t cure or eliminate the disability.  However, it does allow students to capitalize on their strengths and by-pass their difficulties, if used appropriately and imbedded within quality instruction.  It is important to note that you will not be alone in making the choice of which assistive technology is appropriate.  You will have a team of professionals to help match the technology to the need.  This team might include the family doctor, teachers, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation engineers, occupational therapists etc. 

One element to take into consideration is the specific needs and challenges of the student.  Precisely, what do they struggle with?  Is it a physical issue or a cognitive one, or both?  Is it all the time or only in certain academic areas?  You will also want to identify the student’s strengths, because they will need to use these abilities to compensate for the disability. Also, take into account their environment.  What is the physical layout?  What will it look like at home, in class, or in the cafeteria?  The team will also need to look at training for the student, parents, and teachers so that the technology can be utilized in all settings.

What types of assistive technology might be beneficial for all students?

While some of your students may require specific assistive technologies, there are some tools that could benefit all learners regardless of the age, subject, or with or without learning disability.  Here are several suggestions:


Close captioning (including You Tube and GoNoodle) helps students connect text and audio.


Graphic Organizers:  These organizers offer a simple way for all students to categorize, compare, or organize thoughts before writing.  They can also be especially helpful for students with dysgraphia who struggle with handwriting and fine motor skills, word spacing and putting ideas on paper.


Classroom Seating:  Many of our students struggle with “sitting still.”  It can be helpful to have a variety of seating options such as bean bag chairs, yoga balls, carpet squares, etc. to help kids stay in motion without wandering around the room.


Visual Timers:  Many students become anxious when the teacher announces that you have 10 minutes left to finish.  Having a visual reminder helps with this anxiety and aids those students who struggle with transitions, giving them time to mentally prepare.


Word Processing Aids:  Many students struggle with written assignments.  Free tools such as spell check, grammar check, word prediction, and voice typing can allow students to get their thoughts on paper without dwelling on the mechanical aspects of writing.

Sullivan, Jennifer. (2019, May 28).  
Easy Ways to Bring Assistive Technology Into Your Classroom.  Edutopia. 


Watch the video below to learn about 2 students with learning disabilities and the assistive technologies that have helped them be successful

Working Together:  Computers and People with Learning Disabilities

Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training THEDOITCENTER. September 26, 2016


1. On your GO TO Page – Special Populations, add 6 different types of assistive technology that can be used in your classroom.

2. Revisit 
10. Resources and Materials on your LPG.  Give 2 examples of how you might use some of the resources identified above to accommodate special learners in your classroom. 

3.  In the text box below,  assume that you have a student in class who struggles with reading, discuss 3 factors to consider when determining what, if any, assistive technology might be appropriate .





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