In two students IEPs, many examples of assistive technology at all four levels can be found. In R.S.’s, a student with multiple disabilities, there are several examples of no tech, low tech, and medium tech assistive technology usage to meet her various needs. In JJ’s IEP, a student who is blind/has low vision, there can be found examples of high tech assistive technology.
Examples of no tech assistive technology include signs for poison, stop and walking as a means to build R.S.s’ knowledge and application of these concepts and their use in real life. Additionally, she has physical and verbal prompts as well as a visual schedule as a means to help her plan her day and complete everyday tasks such as unpacking her backpack. Another no tech AT piece is a koosh ball used for managing anger. In my current job, I have used Koosh ball’s with students who come to SRBI angry about something as it helps them calm down. I have also used Koosh balls with students with high energy who focus on squeezing the ball to redirect\from a more destructive behavior such as ripping their pants.
Examples of low tech assistive technology include visual timers to which R.S. uses to pace herself when completing assignments. The goal is to have her gain an understanding of the concept of passing time and managing time. Additionally, a digital clock is used to identify a time frame with a certain period of the day. I have used timers with studetns in a more general classroom management technique – i.e. allowing three minutes for a transition. I have also used the concept of time for students who need a break but giving them a 5 minute break for them to calm down or rest their brain. I also use time to motivate students. I’ll challenge them to finish as many problems as they can in 5 minutes, 3minutes, etc. as a motivator. Students actually respond very well to this structured time frame – much better than me just asking them to do their work!
Examples of medium tech assistive technology include the use of the computer. The computer is utilized for multiple purposes, including computer games to gain number sense and a word processing program where she can “print/type/repeat her name daily”. Other related computer technology include books on CD and word prediction software that is used to type sentences and prepare presentations to peers. Additionally, the computer is used for answering practice questions before she has a quiz. I love this last idea. I think this student and other students would benefit from this because it is a low stress way to warm up in a tech friendly way that kids often like.
Examples of high tech assistive technology can be found in JJ’s IEP. For JJ to succeed in school, he uses many pieces of high level assistive technology which include a braille writer, a personal laptop, big keyboard, scanner and printer. There is one student who uses a big keyboard at my school. He struggles writing and relies on this for note taking and completing homework assignments.
The diverse use of assistive technology by these two students show how AT can be used for many purposes and the AT itself can be very diverse. It also demonstrates how simple tools as well as more complex tools can all add to the students learning and create a FAPE for all students.
Council of Ontario Directors of Education. (2013). Individual Education Plans (IEP) Samples. Retrieved from http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/IEP-PEI/en.html