Assistive Technology – Summary

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has placed a great emphasis on using modern technology to enable the disabled learner to have a more level playing field. Choices made according to the Act must reflect the genuine need of an individual student.

Reading Technology

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology for scanning written text –
    • large desk-top scanners that are used to scan a page of text
    • small pen-sized units that are hand-drawn along text one line at a time
  • tape recorders for reading aloud as well as dictation

Writing Technology

  • the word processor, a well-known software technology for manipulating text
  • dictation software with a microphone, to create typewritten text from speech
  • spellcheck technology
  • word prediction software that completes a word once the first letter is typed
  • software that “maps” the brainstorming process, making a visual map or flow chart

Math Technology

  • calculators
  • talking-calculators with built-in speech synthesizers that state a number, math symbol, or answer
  • touch screens
  • talking-math worksheets that position the cursor and speak the numerals shown on the screen.

Constraints on Use

  • an assistive technology device will be allowed as an accommodation or test modification when it is an integral part of the student’s instructional program
  • certain test manufacturers state allowable uses of assistive technology on their websites – but not all technological accommodations are considered “standard”
  • non-standard accommodations mean that the student’s test scores cannot be aggregated into the total collection of test scores from a group