Assistive technologies – technologies that help students with special needs to overcome barriers to participate in educational activities.
Assistive technologies allow people with disabilities to perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to do. They reduce barriers to learning and inclusion by providing support of some kind. For many students, assistive technologies are crucial to their educational experience. Technologies of this kind are found in both mainstream classrooms and special needs’ schools. For example, a student with hearing difficulties might wear an earpiece that is wirelessly connected to a lapel microphone worn by the teacher. This allows the student to overcome their disability and to fully engage in all learning activities. Without this simple and cheap technology, the student is likely to miss some of what the teacher says; over thousands of lessons, this potentially results in lower levels of achievement.
Assistive technologies allow people with disabilities to perform tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to do. They reduce barriers to learning and inclusion by providing support of some kind.
Assistive technologies come in many forms, including:
A major benefit of assistive technologies is that they provide the user with a higher degree of independence than they could otherwise achieve on their own. This means less reliance on adults, improved confidence and self-esteem and greater access to the school (and wider) community.
Teaches are not expected to be experts in assistive technologies. However, teachers should:
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and an author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of Fast Track Training Australia, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
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