This is the question asked by Karen Janowski in her recent “Teaching Every Student Blog”. As you can guess, the answer is a resounding YES! As we start this new year it is something that we who see it every day should take the time to pass on to our peers. The importance of Assistive Technology to our students is immediate and essential to their ability to learn. If you are looking for examples to inspire those who have doubts, please share the following:
There are many ways to go about choosing the best assistive technology. The following guidelines and resources are my favorite and they are all cost free!
- PATINS www.patinsproject.com If you are a public educator in the state of Indiana, please contact your Regional Coordinator for any assistance you may need. From suggestions to borrowing a specific piece of technology, we are there to help!
- SETT Framework – Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools: A guideline that puts choosing AT in perspective.
- Reading – Does the student qualify for Accessible Educational Materials? Would they benefit from them?
- AIM Explorer – “a free simulation that combines grade-leveled digital text with access features common to most text readers and other supported reading software. Magnification, custom text and background colors, text-to-speech (synthetic and human), text highlighting, and layout options are presented in a logical sequence to help struggling readers decide which of these supports might help them to access and understand text.” aim.cast.org
- PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) – Don Johnston Inc. “The PAR manual helps you determine the most suitable reading accommodations for specific students by assessing their individual needs. Anyone on the IEP team can administer PAR to systematize how reading accommodations are recommended on a student level or across the school district.”
There are a lot of new teachers out there this year. Don’t assume that they are familiar with these resources and PATINS. Continue to be a good role model for them and pass this information along as needed.