Sunday, November 13, 2011

Assistive Technology for Special Needs Students



  This afternoon I was excited to be a guest of Dr. Kari Miller on Blog TalkRadio.com. The name of the radio show is Special Kid School Talk, and the topic today was technology. Click here to listen to the broadcast and be sure to read all about  Dr. Kari's show @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/specialkidschooltalk.
     When it comes to technology for special needs students, there are low-tech and high-tech solutions that can meet an individual’s particular needs. The high-tech solutions can be really cool, but they are not necessarily always work out best for the child. On the show, I hope to provide several examples of low-tech options that have helped students be successful, such as pencil grips, splints, and picture exchange systems. I will also talk about several app that I really like:

Model Me Going Places- (the basic app is free but the layout can’t be changed)-iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad- You can build social story slide shows for the ipad, about going to the mall, the grocery store, the doctor, and getting a haircut.

Social Skills- ($6.99...it can be modified)- iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad- includes 6 social stories that deal with reciprocal play, task avoidance, turn taking, gestures, recess, and school rules.

Proloquo2go- ($189.99)- iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad-Has a vocabulary of over 7000 items; provides a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking; provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices; high resolution up-to-date symbols.

iCommunicate- ($49.99)- iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad- Creates pictures, flashcards, storyboards, and visual schedules includes. 100+ pictures, and you can add your own. It includes a task completion component. You can actually put a check mark on top of each picture when completed.

Tap to Talk-(Free)-iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad-The app is free but has only one communication board comes with and it cannot be altered. If you subscribe to their online site for 99.95 you can alter boards and customize it.

Smart Pens-Basically a computer in a pen. Go to their website for more info. The site has nice informational tutorials. Also available on Amazon.

Speech-to-Text- Dragon Naturally Speaking- Go to their website for more info. Also available on Amazon.
Alphasmart & Fusion- Cool portable word processing devices. Go to their website for more info and see my earlier post
    Technology can open so many doors for students with special needs. There are many different products available on the market, some that are reasonably priced, and some that are extremely expensive. Please understand that it is critical to have your child's individual needs assessed by an assistive technology team before making decisions about which technology is most appropriate for your child. 

Although it is not necessary to have an AT evaluation conducted by certified professional, you may want to see if there are any in your area. To see if there are any certified assistive technology personnel in your area through RESNA click HERE

Here are a few more references from the radio show:
Daily Living Aids
Computer Access Aids
Environmental Aids
Prentke Romich Devices 

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