For students with significant physical impairments that impact movement such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, TBI or paralysis it is important to work with the student’s Physically Impaired Specialist and/or Assistive Technology Specialist to provide assistive technology that will ensure the curriculum is accessible to the student. Along with removing physical barriers within the school and classroom environment, students with physical impairments will often benefit from using pointing and typing aids, alternative keyboards, touch screens and various low tech strategies.
- the assistance of others for specific tasks
- adjustable tables
- having equipment located within reach
- materials being available in electronic format
- access to resources on the Internet (i.e. textbooks)
- computers equipped with special devices such as voice input and alternative keyboards
- using multimedia such as video, PowerPoint presentations, animations, visual art, photographs and storyboards to expand the opportunities to demonstrate mastery of learning
- oral presentation of materials versus written
- work in cooperative learning groups on authentic, project-based learning assignments
Things to consider:
- E-Books and Apps/Programs – There are apps and software programs for accessing digital books, as well as many free e-book and audiobook options. Students can read textbooks for school or books for pleasure through the use of these supports. Apps/Programs can be utilized with accessibility features such as the use of text-to-speech, zoom/magnification, highlighting (to help keep your eyes in place), provide definitions (limiting the need for a dictionary), annotations, larger text, etc. There are apps/programs to support all subjects of learning and instruction as well as support for literacy, communication, mobility (GPS), studying, organization and time management, reminders, scheduling, etc.
- Computer Access and Instruction: Accessing a computer or tablet and using a mouse can prove to be a complicated task, but with today's advancements, persons with disabilities are faced with various options to assist them with computer/tablet access difficulties. A variety of technology solutions are available to adapt technology for students with disabilities. Some technology to support access offers a method of input other than the standard computer keyboard, mouse or stylus. Other computer adaptations include software and hardware that modifies the visual and sound output from the computer.
- Augmentative Alternative Communication is another area of need by some students with physical challenges. There are various posts on this blog discussing AAC. This is such a large area to discuss, it is best to look at the other posts if AAC information is needed.
It is important to encourage students with physical disabilities to take ownership for their learning by assisting them in developing strategies for effective goal setting, reflection and self-monitoring of progress. Students who have access to appropriate assistive technology solutions are more likely to be successful in their educational programs. Use of assistive technology is one way that allows students greater access and independence.
See Pinterest board, "AT for Students with Physical Needs" for ideas on specific tools.