Selecting Appropriate Technology for Special Needs Students

Instructor: Michelle DeSalvo

Michelle has been an academic librarian for over twenty years. She has a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How many of us enjoy using technology such as Google Drive or iPads? Did you know that these tools can benefit students with special needs? There are many more options as well. In this lesson, we will give pointers on selecting technology.

Definitions

Have you ever heard the term inclusion and wondered what it meant? Inclusion is the integration of special education students into the regular classroom. The advantage is that special needs students get to learn along with their classmates and buddies.

For children with disabilities, special education provides resources and services. In addition, instruction is tailored to their unique needs. A major piece of the puzzle is having the right technology. Technology can be defined as a tool. The tools can either be low-tech or high-tech. Technology should always be used to help empower the student.

Braille
Braille

Braille is a wonderful example of both a low-tech and high-tech resource. Over 200 years ago, Louis Braille designed the raised-dot Braille system. Did you know that he was only a teenager at the time? His system has been used by millions of visually-impaired readers.

On the other hand, Braille can also be a high-tech tool. One exciting development is the creation of the UpSense Super Braille Keyboard. The technology uses touch-screen capabilities. Using their fingertips, people can create a library of digital commands.

Technology for special needs students is often called assistive technology. Assistive technology is any tool that helps an individual with disabilities maintain or improve their functioning. In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was created and the term assistive technology was born.

Children who qualify for special education services have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). (An IEP can either be called a program or plan). The IEP outlines the services available. Also, an IEP includes measurable goals for the student. Technology is also built into an IEP.

General and Specialized Technologies

Google Drive
Google Drive

The good news is that many operating systems support special needs. For example, have you ever used Google Drive? Did you know that Google Drive has an entire suite of special education applications? Students with learning disabilities have especially benefited from these applications. A learning disability is when a student struggles with tasks such as reading, writing, or math.

Dyslexia
Dyslexia

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support