Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is basically technology that “supports people with differing abilities or their service providers to help them select, acquire, or use adaptive devices.” (StateWide Assistive Technology, Augmentative, Alternative, Communication) The purpose of AT is to include students that need the support of advanced technology into the classroom. AT also “activates participation and sense of belonging, successful learning, demonstrates knowledge – accountability -, access to information” (StateWide Assistive Technology, Augmentative, Alternative, Communication). Students with disabilities and special needs can finally be engaged in school and communicate with others in everyday life. A couple AT services are: functional evaluations, training on device, product demonstration, equipment loan/lease or purchase.

These are important resources for me to be aware of because I know I will have students with AT integrated into my classroom. Thankfully, students with all different types of needs can be in all different kinds of classrooms so it would be a disservice to my future students to not be involved in their education and learning. I understand that students will have someone trained to work with them but if they are in my classroom they are my students too. Knowing about the different kind of resources available for students with disabilities will make me a teacher that is involved and curious about their students education.

I think teachers need to stay up to date and involved in all sorts of resources that will benefit students at any level of their learning. I am not sure what that looks like now but I would imagine that by reading blogs, integrating yourself into social media, staying connected with peers, and going to teacher conferences are great ways to be involved in different types of learning that is out there for students.

I think AT relates especially to how technology is used in the classroom. We have learned that we have to constantly be open to change and do our best to understand all the different ways to teach using technology because technology is constantly changing and evolving. Technology is what kids know, they are experts and can often teach us about it more than we can teach them. By refusing to use what they like and know in the classroom, we are making it harder to connect the learning to their lives. Just like if teachers are not up to date with what is happening with AT, we are making it very hard to actually teach them and connect them.

I really enjoyed this class because I am currently a caretaker for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and I got to see a few things that I am familiar with used in a different setting. I am very used to tablets around homes and my clients will sometimes use them to communicate with me but seeing the technology being used for education was very eye opening. I also loved that Trish explained the importance of communication because I often see people talking over my clients and it is dehumanizing. I love that AT integrates the students into the classroom not only for their personal education but also so that other students see kids that may seem different than them but actually can do the same things with just a little extra help.

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