Physical disability is a sad but real truth which cannot be ignored and overlooked in the classroom environment. Not every pupil is born with the same physical and mental capabilities and disabilities can make academic life challenging for a student, who might be academically brilliant otherwise. The requirements of students differ widely and teaching a group of students, consisting of those with mental or physical handicaps, can be quite challenging. With the use of assistive technology (AT), the general educational ambience can be made more successful. Read on and know how the integration of this kind of technology in the classroom can be done.
Computer- Assisted Instruction
Directions given through computer applications and software, specially designed to offer instruction on varied devices like laptop, tablets, computers and smartphones can benefit students suffering from learning disabilities and prevent them from getting distracted. It can make practicing of math problems, reading and general problem solving much easier. For students with some amount of visual or hearing problems, computer-assisted instruction can be very useful. For instance, text-to-speech software can read printed or digital text aloud for students.
Graphic Organizers can be very useful for people who suffer from issues in expressing their own thoughts over paper. Students who are visual learners can find their ideas being displayed in detail. With an online graphic organizer, students can produce superior and more organized papers. Those suffering from learning disabilities can plan strategies and arrange writing in a more efficient way. Students can get an organizational framework where content and topic for projects can be generated easily. They can get help with planning and arranging writing in different stages, without having to worry about things like categories, order or level of importance. These things can easily be controlled on a computer screen. Assistive technology apps like Inspiration can assist students to visually arrange ideas without bothering about spelling or handwriting requirements.
There are Cue cards, which can offer assistive suggestions while presenting information orally. While creating cue cards, disabled students can arrange helpful information ahead of time. There is also the 3D graphic organizer Prezi which is available free of cost and can be used for developing presentations. These can be created collaboratively so that students are able to comment on other Prezis, additionally you can get a template that can be use for Prezi at Prezibase.com the site contains different kinds of templates. Another app called ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard can lower the level of anxiety in students and allow them to record their presentations beforehand on their iPad. They can upload the video recordings over YouTube or a source which is more private.
Assistive Receptive Technology
Notepads can help record information in a much better way, and special notepads are able to help students with learning disabilities record information in a color-coded form on the basis of topic, purpose or usage of information. They can also use talking dictionaries for spelling and verifying definitions. These types of dictionaries are quite small and are not as costly as tablets or computers for assistive technology. There are also audiobooks which offer a simple way for students to listen to plenty of modern titles and even the best of classic books.