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Assistive Technology for Multiple Disabilities

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Students with multiple disabilities have unique and severe educational challenges. Let's look at how assistive technology can help them gain better access in the classroom.

Multiple Disabilities

When a student is diagnosed with multiple disabilities, it means they have simultaneous impairments that cause severe educational challenges. Simultaneous impairments might be, for example, intellectual disabilities and orthopedic impairments, or blindness and intellectual disabilities. With the challenges presented by both disabilities, the student's academic needs can't be effectively met by addressing one disability or the other. It's the combination of the two disabilities that presents unique and severe educational barriers, and both disabilities must be addressed.

Students with multiple disabilities may have the following challenges in the classroom:

  • Difficulty maneuvering around the school or classroom
  • Trouble sitting in certain positions for a long period of time
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills such as grasping and pinching
  • Barriers to communicating with teachers and peers

Due to the complexity of coping with two or more disabilities, students with multiple disabilities often require the use of assistive technology, which helps students succeed in the classroom. Keep in mind that every child is different and will require their own unique set of accommodations and services. As we explore how assistive technology can help, look for ideas that may work for particular students in your classroom.

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