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SEPTEMBER 14, 2015



Special needs
children in the



Apps that help with



Special needs children in the

Students with learning disabilities and emotional problems account for nearly
60% of all children receiving special services in schools today, and the
numbers are rising each year as reported by Ted S. Hasselbring and Candyce
H. Williams Glaser present in their article, Technologies for Students with

60% of all children

receiving special
services have


SEPTEMBER 14, 2015


Mild Learning and Behavioral Disorders. Many of these students

have persistent problems learning and behaving appropriately in
school, problems that may become apparent only after teachers
work with the students for weeks or months. Though teachers are
making every effort to provide classroom instruction to help all
students to learn, time does not allow for the significant amount of
time necessary for individual attention.

With the introduction of the Internet and computer aided

technology, Assistive technology gives students with learning
disabilities the opportunity to enhance their academic skills and
content knowledge. The research presented indicates that students
with mild to moderate disabilities show benefit from the use of
course related materials presented with assisted technology

What is Assisted Technology?

Assistive technology device means any item, piece of
equipment, or product system, whether acquired
commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized,
that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the
functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The
term does not include a medical device that is
surgically implanted, or the replacement of such
device. (34 CFR 300.5)

If you have a need for glasses, for clearer eyesight, a

hearing aid to give clarity to better hearing or a motorized
wheel chair for persons who cannot walk, this is Assistive

Assistive technology can be considered low-tech as a

pencil grip for better control or very high-tech as a
computer with speaking software.

More than half of all

students receiving special
services are males.
Most are in elementary
or middle school.
Most have no obvious
disability; they have
problems that are primarily
academic, emotional, social,
or behavioral.



SEPTEMBER 14, 2015


The type of assistive technology can widely differ based on

the needs of the child. Instructional technology, used for
classroom instruction, uses innovative tools such as
videotapes, computer-assisted instruction, projectors,
multimedia effects, sound enhancement, and the Internet to
expand the instructional modalities in the classroom, without
regard to specific students needs. For many students assistive
technology can make the difference to having access to
mobile freedom to the ability to having academic success.

In 1997 and again in 2004, the Federal Government amended

the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to
recognize the importance of accesses to learning. This
amendment gives persons with disabilities access to
education and services by improving services and instruction
methods for persons with learning differences and or
disabilities. This means that any child receiving special
education services, the education team must ask if there is a
device that will increase, maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of that child. If the answer is yes, the school
district must provide certain services:

a qualified evaluator must complete an assistive
technology evaluation;

if the evaluator recommends a device, it must be

and if you, your child or the staff in your childs
school need training to use the device, that training
must be provided, too.

iPad Apps for

Speak It!: A text-tospeech app, Speak It! can
help your learner read or
speak. The app highlights
each spoken word so
thatkids can more easily
follow along with the text.
This $1.99 app givesa
non-verbal childa voice
sothatheor shecan
interact with classmates.
Read2Go: Read2Go
withBookshare, a digital
library that makes books
available to students with
reading-related disabilities
such as dyslexia and vision
issues. The app costs
$19.99 but allows you to
access Bookshares
expansive library featuring
over 170,000 booksvia
your iPad or iPhone.
Dragon Dictation:
Students who have
difficulty writing due to
disabilities can benefit
from the free Dragon
Dictation app. This voice
recognition technology
app enables a students
iPad or iPhone to capture
and document what the
child says. Users rave
about the apps accuracy.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2015


Inside the Special Education Classroom: How Technology

Can Help Students with Special Needs
As a class instructor or parent of a child with a learning disability you may believe that the services
and technology used to help your child learn may appear complicated. You will be surprised to learn
that assisted technology in a special education class is pretty much the same technology you will find
in any class. As Stacy Humienny presented in her article, Inside the Special Education Classroom:
How Tech Can Help with Special Needs, computers, laptops, SmartBoards, and even an iPad or two, is
the order of business for the day.

Assistive technology runs the gamut from software to listening systems to pencil grips and over-sized
keyboards. Audio books, graphic organizers, talking calculators and talking dictionaries are all
examples of assistive technology commonly used to support students in special education.

For years special education teachers have used various hardware and software to help students with
organization, reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students with low fine motor skills may have a
large font keyboard plugged in the USB of a regular computer. This same keyboard can be colorcoded to help students with a vision impairment. Allowing students more support with auditory
processing, hearing and attention issues to pay better attention.

Its not uncommon to see SmartBoards in most classrooms now. A SmartBoard, an interactive
whiteboard with a touch screen instead of a mouse is engaging for everyone. Its more like a giant
interactive computer screen. SmartBoards and iPads allows the teacher to add kinesthetic (tactile)
learning piece to the classroom. Kinesthetic learning involves visual, auditory and kinesthetic (tactile)

In general assistive technology in the classroom has shown to have beneficial effects for students with
special educational needs. Teachers can support all students with equitable access to all aspects of the
learning experience giving equal access to the curriculum where otherwise this would be impossible or
very difficult to accomplish.
Retrieved Sept 9, 2015 from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-12-15-inside-the-special-education-
Hasselbring, Ted S., Williams Glaser, Candyce H. (2000) Use of computer technology to help students with
special needs, Journal Issue: Children and Computer Technology
Retrieved on September 12, 2015 from https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/34/300.5
Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from www.pbs. Org/parents/education/learning-disabilitities/stratedis-
Retrieved on September 12, 2015 from http://www.specialeducationguide.com/pre-k-12/tools-and-
Retrieved on September 10, 2015 from https://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_asst_tch

Retrieved on September 12, 2015 from http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2012/12/17/