Assistive technology (AT) is an important consideration for any child with a disability.
In addition to the consideration needed at Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings,
assistive technology supports are a valuable resource when we are considering the
provision of equitable access to grade level content.
For classroom teachers and others that support children with disabilities, it is vital to
understanding what is available as an assistive technology tool. The bigger our tool box
of resources, the greater impact we can have on equity of instruction.
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology is a consideration for expressive language as well as for
academic support. For the purpose of this article, we are focused on AT classroom
tools; however, here is general information on AT for communication.
AT as a classroom tool is available to children with disabilities to build
independence and to assist them in doing something they couldn't otherwise do.
There are 3 primary types of AT that may be considered as a classroom tool.
● No tech: supports that only require the user's body with no need for
batteries or electronics. These are usually readily available in the
● Low tech: might be a simple electronic or a non-electronic object. These
are usually readily available in the classroom.
● High tech: are usually computers, tablets, or some other type of electronic
device or accessory. These might not be readily available in the
When choosing the right AT support for a child, teachers must know the child's
strengths and needs, consider the goals and objectives on the IEP, and get input from
other service providers who work with the child. When the right supports are combined
with good teaching, equity is possible!
AT is generally available for Reading, Writing and Typing, Spelling, Mathematics, and
Learning and Focus. The list of available options for AT can be extensive; here is an
example of no-tech, low-tech, and high-tech in each category.
● no-tech: chapter outlines
● low-tech: color transparency strips as reading rulers
● high-tech: recorded books for children with print disabilities (Learning Ally,
Handwriting and Typing
● no-tech: reduce far point or near copy work
● low-tech: pencil grips or adaptive pencil holders
● high-tech: adjustments to screen background, tint, or contrast, Microsoft
● no-tech: explicit instruction in spelling patterns
● low-tech: personal word walls or spelling dictionaries
● high-tech: spell check tools on computer
● no-tech: minimize number of equations on a page
● low-tech: graph paper to help with number alignment
● high-tech: talking calculator
Learning and Focus
● no-tech: reminders to finish assignments by due date
● low-tech: color-coded subject folders, sticky notes, highlighting tape
● high-tech: work and assignments sent home via a drive, electronic
organizers or checklists
Regardless of the type of AT classroom tools needed for a child, the most important
idea to remember is the opportunity for equitable access to learning.
Need support with Assistive Technology? Have questions? CLICK HERE to schedule a
free consultation with DJ of Inclusiveology.
DJ Nicholson is an educational mentor and trainer with a life-long passion for education and ensuring that children with disabilities are engaged and supported in their educational environment. DJ’s super powers include creating unique learning options for children, problem-solving for success, and building empowered learners.
Inclusiveology provides coaching and mentoring for parents of children with disabilities to advocate for their child’s best learning through tools and strategies for engagement, accessibility, and flexibility.
When parents are empowered and knowledgeable
about their child's full potential, inclusive and
meaningful learning can happen!