September 30, 2012
Throughout this six week course, Meeting Individual Needs with Technology, we have researched the spectrums of Assistive Technology available for the individual and the classroom, and researched the different types of disabilities and how the Assistive Technology can aid students in navigating life and succeeding as individuals.
Case Study #1
Emily is a five-year-old female student who is visually impaired. Emily has low vision and has some independence. She is able to see letters and numbers with amplification. In the past, Emily has been enrolled in a Head Start class with typical peers. Emily experienced great success in her preschool classroom. She had access to assistive technology that assisted her in participating in most activities within the class. Emily will be starting kindergarten in the fall. She will be in a general education class with typical peers. Emily’s parents, and her IEP team, expect her to be fully included in most activities. Please describe assistive technologies that will allow Emily to have access to grade level content and to participate with her peers in the classroom. For Emily’s case, with her weak vision she would be considered to have a sensory disability, or visual impairment which would affect her academics, and keep her from the average experience of a typical student in a day of the average life. Fortunately, for both visual and auditory sensory impairments, Assistive Technology and the innovations continually developing within elements of Assistive Technology. Ultimately, Emily’s impairment does effect or impact her learning experiences, and in order to enhance her experience we have a variety of technical options. To begin with, I would give the classroom access to audio books and eBooks. Lectures would be adjusted according to the readings, but the whole class would listen to the readings from the textbook together as a class, and then would also be able to listen to the readings on their own times if needed to be reviewed again. In a recent article, Audio books and EBooks, authors states, “In "Special Needs/Special Places," in Reading and Reader Development, Judith Elkin brings an international research oriented perspective to this discussion. Elkin's focus is readers' advisory for patrons with special needs, which she defines broadly: "The range in disabilities is wide and includes motor, visual, aural, intellectual and emotional. Many of us probably have disabilities which are not even acknowledged as such. "Many of the readers included in this category are best served with audiovisual materials and, in particular, audio books,” ( Moyer, 2012). As electronic textbook becomes more common, they will eventually replace hard textbooks entirely, but for the transitional time being, for those with visual impairment or other impairments can blend with the changes, and adjust alongside classmates and peers. The audio abilities, along with assistance from technological capacities of the eBooks and audio books, students will be to all experience them on a regular basis. In the textbook, it states, “As discussed previously, a student who uses e-books can break the words into syllables to stimulate pronunciation of the word. The student may vocalize some sounds more easily than others. If lectures are recorded for audio playback, students can be encouraged to vocalize certain words on the tape when cued to do so by the person doing the recording,” (p 119). In addition to helping Emily to have easy access to audio versions of the texts, the AT can also assist other students, with issues such as word recognition and pronunciation of words. With time, these eBooks and audio books will become a regular part of the general classroom. One really important technology for Emily to begin to understand and develop upon regular uses would be learning and training to read Braille. Since she is only a...