Discover the 5 tools every assistive technology professional must know that play an important role in learning with disabilities.

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5 tools every assistive technology professional must know

One in every 59 children has at least one learning disability, like dyslexia and ADHD. The general shortage of special needs teachers and professionals in this field makes creating special education programs challenging. This is where assistive technology services come in.

Professional special education teachers and caregivers must be familiar with essential assistive technology tools to help students with visual impairments and various disabilities. In this article, we’ll go through the most important types of assistive technology and explain how they can help students with special needs.

The importance and challenges of assistive technology

Assistive technology is crucial for students with learning disabilities like ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, autism, and dyspraxia. It can also benefit students with low vision and other types of disabilities.

Common examples of assistive tools include hearing aids, Braille, canes, ramps, wheelchairs, pencil grips, and more. As helpful as these assistive products are, students with learning disabilities have a growing need for low-tech and high-tech assistive technology.

One of the biggest challenges assistive technology faces is limited implementation, integration, and a general lack of assistive technology devices. Another common problem is that people with special needs don’t have access to assistive technology, especially in the public sector, which can be traced back to the lack of state funding.

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), every child with a disability should have access to free appropriate public education. Assistive technology tools help them fulfill daily living needs, improving their self-esteem, well-being, and quality of life.

The 5 essential assistive technology tools

These are some of the examples of assistive technology tools every professional and special education teacher should know about:

Text to speech

Text to speech software (TTS) reads digital text aloud. What’s great about text to speech is that it can help people with various disabilities, not just those with difficulty reading. Text to speech can take the form of programs, web browser extensions, and mobile apps.

Users can typically choose from a wide selection of voices and languages. Text to speech isn’t only valid for learning but for recreational activities as well.

One-button computers

One-button computers are a type of low-tech assistive technology tool made for those who don’t know how to use technology. It’s also useful for senior citizens who have mobility issues. One-button computers are simple to use. You just need to press the button, and the computer will do its thing. For example, make a call, answer a video call, or open a sent photo.

Graphic organizers

Graphic organizers can help students with learning disabilities with word processing and organization. They can be used in various ways, including creating a concept, making a list, and remembering information by associating it with pictures. Graphic organizers are typically used for young learners with special needs.

They can take the form of mind maps, Venn diagrams, concept maps, flow charts, and others.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants are some of the most popular and valuable types of assistive technology. Some of the best ones include Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana. They’re so widely used because they can do just about anything on your device, from setting the alarm and playing a song to making to-do lists and checking the weather.

However, voice assistants aren’t only useful for daily living. They can also help students with learning disabilities. For example, the voice assistant can read aloud a text to you.

An easy-to-use video editor.

Videos are a great learning tool for people with ADHD because people are easily engaged when visually stimulated. So if you are an educator, providing animated videos or video summaries of your content can go a long way when it comes to helping students that struggle with attention disorders.

Speechify – a TTS solution that serves as assistive technology

Professional special education providers can implement Speechify into individual education programs (IEPs).

Speechify is a text to speech (TTS) software that converts digital text into spoken language. Thanks to its optical character recognition (OCR) technology, it can even read aloud text from images. In other words, you could use Speechify to turn hard-copy text into a audio files. This helps users who struggle with visual impairments, eye strain, or difficulty reading. Listening rather than reading can also help those with ADHD to stay focused and engaged.

What makes Speechify so helpful is its wide variety of voices, languages, and accents, which you can use to personalize your listening experience. What’s more, the TTS voices sound natural, allowing you to listen to anything you want without effort.

The easiest way to use Speechify is as a web browser extension. That way, you can use it to read aloud text from any web page. Speechify can also be used on mobile devices, including iPhones and Android phones.

Try Speechify for free today.

FAQ

What are the 7 common applications for assistive technology?

The seven most common applications for assistive technology include Speechify, Proloquo2, EquatIO, ModMath, Bookshare, Seeing AL, and Book Creator.

What is the most common assistive technology?

The most widely used types of assistive technology include text to speech software, Braille, magnifiers, screen reading software, and large print materials.

What is the most common assistive technology for people with a visual impairment?

The most common assistive technology for people with visual impairments is Braille, screen readers, magnification tools, voice recognition, speech recognition technology, and text to speech software.

What is the most common assistive technology used in the workplace?

In the workplace, you can find assistive technology such as adaptive keyboards, note-taker apps, word prediction apps, text to speech software, and screen readers.

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