Assistive Technology

Special Education Instructional Materials Center (SEIMC)

Assistive Technology Services for the twelve school districts served by CKCIE are located in the Hageman building at 409 W. Cloud St. in Salina.

Federal Legislation defines assistive technology as " any item, piece of equipment, or product system….that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capacities of individuals with disabilities. " This does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of that device. (Authority: 20U.S.C. 1401(1))

Assistive Technology service provides assistance to a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology including:

  • Evaluation of the needs of a student with a disability
  • Arrange trial periods for certain software and devices
  • Aid in the selection, designing, maintenance, repairing or replacement of certain assistive technology
  • Coordination with educational personnel to provide support to the student using such technology
  • Training or technical assistance for the student and educators who provide services to the student
  • Purchase, lease, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology equipment by students with disabilities

Assistive Technology includes a wide range of devices and equipment that can range from a simple adaptation of an everyday device to a complex electronic devices and software. An example would to modify a pencil to compensate for impaired muscle control to a dedicated electronic communication device that provides speech output for a student who cannot speak. It would be impossible and impractical to include everything that could be included as a device for people with disabilities in this narrative. This is a broad overview of devices commonly used in the educational setting.

Augmentative Communication

Augmentative communication devices provide the opportunity for nonverbal students or with limited verbal abilities to produce and/or understand speech. The technology can range from a switch device that is activated by body movement that produces a recorded voice, a board with pictures to represent a student's daily needs to speech output devices used for storing and playing back prerecorded speech to computers with speech output that enable the users to create unique messages.

Adaptive Computing

Students with physical or sensory disabilities may not be able to use a computer because of their impairments. They may have no problem reading a computer screen but may not be able to type or input information without adaptive hardware. Such devices include expanded keyboards, where the keys are larger and further apart, trackballs/joysticks in place of a mouse, keyboards adapted for use with just one hand, and input through blinking an eye or blowing on a switch. For students who are visually impaired, Braille input and output devices are available as well as computer software that can enlarge portions of the screen. Since text-only computer output would be a barrier for a blind student, text-to-speech software can be used. Earphones for students using voice output can eliminate distractions for others. In addition, there are fundamental changes that can be made to a Chromebook or iPad to enhance its ability to assist a student including speech to text, increasing the font size, or making other temporary adaptive changes to a computer operating system as determined on an individual basis.

Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities

Despite adequate cognitive ability, learning disabled students' difficulties with basic skills such as reading and writing can prevent full participation in the classroom. Computer technology provides students with the means to create text through the use of a word-processing program or with speech to text. Students with severe spelling can compensate using spell checkers and on-line thesauruses. Word prediction programs that can anticipate words from a few letters to increase both accuracy and speed of input.

The Numerous Platforms and Software are Changing Rapidly

Students generally have access to a variety of computing platforms including Chromebook, personal computer, Surface Books, MacBook, Android tablets and iPads. Individual schools vary according to the difference hardware devices they provide and support. In addition, the explosion of software and applications (apps) continues to increase on a daily basis. It is nearly impossible to maintain a complete grasp and understanding of each specific application available for students at every level of development.

Samantha Moran - Ink Request Form

The SEIMC serves as a resource for supplemental instructional materials and information to support the programming for students in CKCIE special education programs. The staff includes a coordinator and one paraeducator.

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