28 May 2018

SELECTING THE RIGHT ASSISTIVE TOOLS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

ICT has become a very important part of the educational delivery and management processes and to great extent facilitates the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, and therefore can provide extraordinary opportunities to developing countries for enhancing their educational systems particularly for children with special needs.

With these, the adoption and use of Assistive Technology (AT) is becoming popular in schools and at home. As very important as AT to the learners at all levels of education has been, the use of computer and other technologies, as extended to children with learning disabilities, have benefited and enhanced lives and given many children with learning disabilities options of intervening in their various educational and cognitive needs.

Technology can open doors and break down barriers for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. This could be whether in the classroom or workplace, assistive technology, including devices, software, recordings, and much more, can increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with learning disabilities. ICT has become a very important part of the educational delivery and management processes and to great extent facilitates the acquisition and absorption of knowledge, and therefore can provide extraordinary opportunities to developing countries for enhancing their educational systems particularly for children with special needs.

In today’s learning environments, a wide range of technologies are creating new options for making a distinction in instruction and supporting the participation of all children, including children with learning disabilities. Learners and professionals need to be informed of the importance of providing learners with learning disabilities with the technology tools they need in order to be successful learners.

Assistive technology can only enhance basic skills, and not replacing them. It should be used as part of the educational process and can be used to teach basic skills. • Assistive technology for children with disabilities is more than an educational tool; it is a fundamental work tool that is comparable to pencil and paper for non-disabled children. • Children with disabilities use assistive technology to access and use standard tools, complete educational tasks and participate on an equal basis with their developing peers in the regular educational environment.

However, in choosing a technology in special education, there is a need to identify the child’s problem. The use of assistive technology tools should depend on the identified problems of the child with learning disabilities. For instance, AT could help solve the problem of writing difficulty, such as problems with grammar or compensate for a memory problem should be selected to meet or support the child’s specific problems.

When using assistive technology, it is important to look at the needs of the student and the task that is being attempted. Then you can determine if assistive technology is appropriate and which type of technology might help the student succeed. For example, text to speech is not appropriate in a decoding class, where the point of the class is to learn to decode or improve fluency. However, in a social studies class, students should not be held back by their decoding level. Allowing them to “read” (using text to speech) allows them access to material that is at their comprehension level, which is often much higher than their decoding level.

There is also a need to know whether or not the particular technology tool that will be provided for the child is using. Technology can be quite impressive, with all its shapes and designs, but not necessarily helpful to the child. It is better to be sure these tools are useful for a child before so it can meet the child’s identified problems.

Nevertheless, the choice of the appropriate use of AT, whether available or improvised, the right selection depends on the individual child, the skills problems, the setting and the particular tasks the child wants to achieve. This implies that one tool used for a child may not be useful for another child in a different setting.

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