Assistive technology refers to technologies and services that help students with disabilities increase, maintain, or improve their abilities. Computer programs and tablet applications that give text-to-speech, speech-to-text, word prediction, and graphic organizers are examples of assistive technology. And they provide great benefit to children with learning impairments.
Some examples of assistive technology in the classroom which have the potential to make a considerable difference in helping students with disabilities achieve their educational goals include:
Speech programs are high-tech AAC tools. For example, Speech Generating Devices convert written text into digitized speech. For students with higher language abilities, they can also do the opposite by turning spoken words into digitized text!
Speech synthesizers and screen readers may be useful for visually challenged students. These voice-activated software tools show text to the pupil. And they can also read aloud while highlighting each sentence to aid visual tracking.
Basic word processors provide tools to assist with spelling and grammar. In addition, software can assist students whose thoughts rush ahead of their abilities to write things down. When the student uses word prediction software, the software suggests words that start with that letter. Then, when the student talks, the text displays on the screen. It’s worth noting that many smartphones and tablet computers come with this type of software pre-installed.
Use plastic pencil grips or a computer if the learner is having problems writing.
Variable Speed Recorders
Many learners struggle to comprehend auditory lectures. A variable speed recorder is an excellent choice for these learners. To initiate the recording, the student simply presses the record button.
To facilitate learning, the recording can then be slowed down or even sped up. Students can adjust the pitch of the audio to make their lectures more accessible if the pitch is difficult to understand.
Speech to Text
Writing needs both low-level transcribing and high-level composition abilities. Speech-to-text software converts spoken words into computer text, allowing students to avoid the time and effort of typing or handwriting, allowing them to write stories that are longer, more complicated, and with fewer errors.
Assistive Technology Keyboard
When compared to a standard keyboard, these keyboards offer different looks and functions. They are available for students with impairments, and tailored to the user’s specific requirements.
Most AT Keyboards have special overlays with bigger font sizes — roughly 11 times larger than a standard keyboard’s. They also have color and location-based groups. Some keyboards are adjustable to meet the student’s activities and may include fewer input options and graphic aids to enhance comprehension.
Students’ reliance on others to write, read, and organize their schoolwork can be reduced with assistive technology. Assistive technology can help students who have difficulty learning by making things easier for them. For students to benefit from technology, teachers must have a working knowledge of assistive technology and integrate it into high-quality instruction.