Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities

Prepared by: Gabrielle Young, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Jeffrey MacCormack, M.Ed., Doctoral Student, Queen’s University

Published on:  June 10th, 2014


Assistive technology refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability (Dell, Newton, & Petroff, 2012). While the phrase assistive technology may make us think of computers and computerized devices, assistive technology can also be very low-tech. For example, pencil-grips (the molded plastic grips that slip over a pencil) are considered assistive technology. Assistive technology that helps students with learning disabilities includes computer programs and tablet applications that provide text-to-speech (e.g., Kurzweil 3000), speech-to-text (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking), word prediction capabilities (e.g., WordQ), and graphic organizers (e.g., Inspiration).

In comparison to other interventions, assistive technology may have a significant effect in helping students with disabilities progress towards the goals outlined on their Individual Education Plans (Watson, Ito, Smith, & Andersen, 2010). Assistive technology helps in two ways: it can help the student learn how to complete the task and it can help to bypass an area of difficulty. For example, when a student decides to listen to a digital version of a book, they are bypassing an area of difficulty. However, if the student focuses on the computer screen as highlighted words are read aloud, they can learn unfamiliar words.

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Uploaded by Ash-Lee Hall
Uploaded on 2015-09-14 09:00:41

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