Assistive Technology Plan for a Disabled Learner

Description of the Learner

The learner has a reading disability primarily because he is partially blind. The learner experiences difficulty in reading during a normal lesson. Despite the visual impairment, the student has continued to show quite an impressive ability to learn. The rate of development over the past academic level has been commendable. Due to physical impairment, the learner requires special attention to meet his educational needs. These needs can be met by the use of assistive technology which involves having specialized books and reading materials. For Gordon to reach this far, he has been receiving special support from his family, friends, and teachers in school. His personal and educational needs cannot be met alone. It needs the involvement of everyone around him including parents, teachers, and peers.
Gordon does not use Braille because he is not entirely blind. He can see objects and symbols in large fonts. Writings and symbols have to be enlarged for him to be able to see them. He can walk without the assistance of a walking aid. Additionally, he can do general activities for his age without much help. When it comes to classroom activities, he needs a lot of assistance majorly because he has difficulty seeing small items. Therefore, academically, Gordon only needs assistance in reading. He does not have a learning disability. He does not need any assistance to move around and to communicate. However, to perform co-curricular activities, he has to be treated as a special case and categorized among participants with special needs.

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Goals of the AT Plan

  1. To meet the individual and unique educational needs of the student through a collaborative approach that involves the support of the teacher, parents, and peers.
  2. Assist the student to develop reading skills
  3. Assist the student to develop the ability to use various materials of assistive technology to meet his learning needs
Materials and Methods Potential Barriers/Missed Opportunities AT Solutions
Electronic textbooks. A student with partial visual impairment has difficulty seeing small text. Unlike printed books, electronic books permit the learner to control texts in a unique way (Lahm, Bausch, Hasselbring, & Blackhurst, 2001). Electronic textbooks provide the student with accessible alternative formats. The texts in the books can be enlarged, formatted, and made flexible to assist the learner in reading (Lahm, Bausch, Hasselbring, & Blackhurst, 2001). Spacing between the lines and texts can be adjusted to suit the need of the learner. The student may also control texts by increasing the page margin. This allows for fewer texts to be shown in a single line (Bausch & Aul, 2008).
Audiobooks. Students with visual problems may be required to use their hearing sense because of the difficulty in seeing texts. Audio-text only comes in various audio formats and students can listen to them in audio CDs, on computers, iPods, mp3 players, and other devices that play audio files. The teacher can help a student develop an audio podcast for book chapters, exercises, or short books (Smythe, 2005). This can be done before the lesson. The podcast will then be used during the lesson to help the student read through the material.
Reading pen. Students with reading impairment may struggle with unfamiliar and multisyllabic words. Reading pens act as word scanners. By moving it across a word or text, it can read the word and even define the word upon request. Some of the versions come with a thesaurus. This is a useful tool for students taking an advanced reading lesson. It assists the student in developing the right pronunciation (Gersten & Baker, 1998).
Textbooks and software that Use pictures with texts. A student with a reading disability has problems reading texts. The use of pictures with words helps students to understand what is written. It also helps the student the ability to associate a written text with vocabulary. Texts become meaningful and easy to recall when they are associated with words (Bausch & Aul, 2008).
Printed textbook or worksheets. A student with a visual impairment has difficulty seeing small text. This student would gain from the largely printed textbooks. Through the text-to-speech program, the teacher can help the student convert texts into larger fonts for the student to read. An electronic magnifier can be used to magnify the texts for the student to read (Lahm, Bausch, Hasselbring, & Blackhurst, 2001).

Resources have to be considered in the designing of a curriculum for the visually impaired. The resources are aligned with the curriculum in the sense that each of the identified learning experiences and teaching lessons would require the aid of learning resources to enhance the learning process (Lahm, Bausch, Hasselbring, & Blackhurst, 2001). For instance, sometimes it requires instructors to use assistive technology for a concept to be understood by learners. A good strategy has to be used to ensure that the plan is implemented effectively. The first thing is that the instructors and the school heads have to be in service since they are the main agents of implementation (Lahm, Bausch, Hasselbring, & Blackhurst, 2001). The purpose of servicing is to update the main implementers on any changes, discoveries, and new knowledge relating to student needs. This is necessary since, in this time and age, the world is experiencing a revolution in Information technology. Some discoveries and innovations can be custom made to fit the needs of an educational system within a district or an individual institution. In servicing is also good for instructors since it helps them to overcome some of the cultural limitations that they may have.

Another way in which the implementation of the assistive technology plan is done in school is teaching. Here the teacher communicates the content of the assistive technology plan using the recommended methods of teaching. The quality assurance education officers from the city or state government would also visit the school once in a while to ensure that the actual process of instruction is done accurately and that the instructors are observing all the requirements for maintaining high standards. In cases where the instructors have a little bit of limitation, the officers would offer suggestions for positive adjustments. For the assistive technology plan to measure up to standards, it has to be evaluated constantly. This is done by the implementers of the plan especially the instructors. The instructors are the ones who have the greater responsibility of implementing the curriculum since they are the ones who interact with the student. The performance of the students is one of how the plan is evaluated.

References

Bausch, M. E., & Aul, M. J. (2008). Assistive Technology implementation plan: A tool for improving outcomes. Teaching exceptional children, 41(1), 6-14.

Gersten, R., & Baker, S. (1998). Real world use of scientific concepts: Integrating situated cognition with explicit instruction. Exceptional children, 65(1), 23-36.

Lahm, E. A., Bausch, M. E., Hasselbring, T., & Blackhurst, A. E. (2001). The National assistive technology research institute. Journal of Special Education Technology, 16(3), 19-26.

Smythe, I. (2005). Assistive technology for all. British Dyslexia Association. Bracknell: British Dyslexia Association.

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