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This post was written by Cathy Hoesterey. Cathy Hoesterey is an assistive technology specialist and occupational therapist living in Bellevue, WA near Seattle. She works for Belllevue School District in the special education department providing technology for special needs students ages years old.
Cathy presents at national conferences and gives webinars on iPads and other assistive technologies. Her blog iPad for All is designed to support iPad users of all ages and abilities, as well as educators, therapists and families.
She finds the overwhelmingly positive response of her students to the iPad energizing and rewarding.
However, I have never seen a device so engaging and versatile as the iPad. In the past it was not uncommon for a student to abandon an expensive communication device because it was too complex to use, heavy and often unattractive.
The iPad has a certain cool factor with students and their peers that cannot be underestimated. Teachers and family members are also more willing to use it. ABC News recently reported that a government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.
The definition of autism has expanded to include less severe and related conditions such as Asperger Syndrome. I work with dozens of students who have significant communication needs, the majority of them with autism.
The apps that follow are some of those that we most frequently use with students on the autism spectrum. There are also voices that speak English with accents.
One of our students from India was thrilled to find a voice with an Indian accent.
Typically the children with the most severe communication needs were getting access to a device. Now we have over 65 students using an iPad for communication.
This allows a picture of a room or other location to have embedded hotspots that open up to relevant vocabulary or video clips. For students who may prefer to type their communication messages, AssistiveChat and Something to Say give them that ability.
There are Flashcards that have a word and picture. Students can play mini-games by touching the correct photo or matching up images to the correct word. Word and sentence builder have the child drag and drop letters or words into the correct sequence.
Grasshopper Apps offers numerous free and inexpensive early learning apps that offer flexibility and customization that is so important for our students.
The iPad versions now collect data and offer other enhancements. Since many of our students with autism use photos for communication programs and visual schedules, this provides a quick and easy way to find appropriate ones. I like the way it often gives you images with a clean white background, which cuts down on distracting elements.There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) tools available to help students who struggle with writing.
Some of these tools help students circumvent the actual physical task of writing, while others facilitate proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage, and organization.
Assistive technology is one of the core strategies schools use to help with learning and attention issues. Some adaptive tools are low-tech and some are pretty fancy. Some adaptive tools are low-tech and some are pretty fancy.
The Assistive Technology Daily provides a review of a new guide for individuals with visual impairment or deaf/blindness. MiniGuide US, developed by the American Printing House for the Blind is a haptic feedback tools that uses ultrasound to detect objects .
Technology can be a great tool for students (and adults!) who have learning disabilities like dysgraphia or dyslexia that affect their written expression.
We’ve personally reviewed these mobile apps and we know they’re LD-friendly. Tech Finder tool from Understood: Find technology, apps, video games, or text-to-voice readers specific for kids with learning disabilities or attention issues.
Free Online Assistive Technology Tools to Help With Reading, Writing and Math. Assistive Technology Platforms: What You Need to Know. 7 Apps to Use as Assistive Technology The Special Education Master’s and Graduate certificate programs at George Mason University provide you with the skills needed to successfully help people with disabilities reach their potential.