Assistive Technology (AT) is simply anything that helps someone with a disability be able to accomplish the task at hand. Most of the time when people think about AT, they think of devices that turn words into text and other advanced technologies. But AT can be as simple as a calculator or even simpler, organizers to help a student become more organized which could help them with their school work. Recently I have done some reading on the topic and wanted to share what I have learned.
In the first text I read, it discusses how students with a 504 plan or and IEP can have assistive technology in the classroom. For a student with an IEP, the school chooses and provides what technology a student needs. For students with a 504 plan, a school does not have recommend or provide the technology for the student. But they do have to consider it for the student. To figure out what assistive technology a student needs, they will do an assessment on students who have an IEP with a professional who can truly decide what technology would be most effective for the student. But if your student does not have an IEP, parents are responsible for looking into technologies and seeing which one would help their child.
The second article I read is about how music can be considered a useful tool for students. Teachers and parents can use music to help students learn. Teachers and parents can make a song so facts are easier for students to remember. Teachers should try to utilize rhyming and putting facts to music so it sticks in a child’s head. But after you do so ask a student questions about it to see if they are retaining everything that they should be.
The third article I read discussed the controversial question that if a student is using assistive technology, is it taking away from them learning other skills. Like for an example, does the use of the calculator take away a students ability to learn long division by hand? This article really focuses on if technology that turns words into text takes away from students developing typing skills. There is no clear precise answer. It is up to a teacher and parents to decide if there is a limit to where assistive technology should go.
All students should be able to get the help they need to help them in schools and in life. Teachers and schools should look into what they can do to help their students. But parents should also be aware of certain technologies and see if they can help their student if they are struggling. Here is a link to an article that has many more resources for teachers and parents to learn about assistive technology. This article would be a really great place to start for parents or teachers who are completely new to the topic of assistive technology.