Wednesday, June 12, 2013

5 AWESOME Technology Resources!!!

Hi everyone!  I was in a master's level class on inclusion strategies for special education. The class ended a few days ago and I wanted to share a few resources that I learned about the course of my time in that class.  Enjoy!  Please leave a comment on your thoughts or reactions to any of these resources!



This YouTube video highlights the parental perspective on assistive technology for young
children.   Since assistive technology implementation works best in an inclusive environment
when a family has completely “bought in” to a device to use across all environments, this video
presents the concept of assistive technology through the story of Ed and Christine Quail and
their son with multiple disabilities, Brian.  They state that Brian’s quality of life,
vocabulary, and access to the world around has increased beyond their understanding.
The family encourages the use of technology as early  as possibly in the daily routine of a child 
with disabilities. 


Hayes (2013) states "Teachers and support staff need to be trained to recognize that technology is a tool, not a panacea." A combination of professional development, peer-to-peer learning, and student directed teaching and multimedia support resources are helping general education teachers understand that technology is a tool that can help the child with special needs in their classroom achieve their individualized education goals (Hayes, 2013). Peer-to-peer learning has many flexible benefits since many teachers can take online classes on specific adaptive devices and software. It can also help strengthen a trans-disciplinary team to collaboratively learn from one another. Additionally, Hayes (2013) highlights that student directed teaching can also be beneficial for both the student using the device and the teacher. Often times the student can teach the teacher about features on the device that some technology specialists would have struggled to find. A teacher could then look to online multimedia supports like websites and list serves to better understand the way certain devices can be integrated into their classroom.


This comprehensive article on effective uses of the various BigMack switches on the market gives the reader several ideas on positioning and implementation ideas on the use of this device for a learner with motor and communication challenges.  Jones, T  highlights that Big Mack Switches are most appropriately used when it is mounted to increase the physical accessibility of the user to the activity, used with a symbol representation, with an augmented voice that would be similar in sound to the students’. 


The article describes how therapists and early childhood education teacher can create Assistive Technology Tool Kits for the inclusive classroom.  The toolkits are designed for flexibility in curriculum and instruction for individual students.  According Judge, Floyd, and Jeffs (2008) “An AT Toolkit that anticipates learning, language, motor, and sensory needs of  young children would give children immediate access to meaningful experiences and allow them to participate in classroom activities more effectively.”  For example, based on the assistive technology devices mentioned in the article, a five year old child with a visual impairment and communication delays might use a Rocker Switch with large print and high contrast Boardmaker Symbol to make a choice between activities during free choice time in an early childhood education classroom.


The authors of this resource studied how early exposure to AAC devices affect the student’s overall development.  The study found that learning to use an AAC device while in early intervention can help students increase socialization opportunities, build a solid foundation of speech and language to be able to communicate with more complexity, and develop strong literacy skills.


4 comments:

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