What do you think?
Before you get started, think about how you would answer the following questions.
- What type of technology do you use in high school to complete tasks?
- Do you use any technology to help you with tasks that might be difficult such as reading, writing, organizing, planning, listening, math or studying?
- Have you seen any types of assistive technology? If yes, what was it and what was it used for?
- Is there any type of technology you would like to use to help you complete difficult tasks?
- Who in your school could help you explore technology to help you complete difficult tasks?
- Assistive technology
- Getting organized
Assistive technology is a tool or technology to help you complete a task that might be difficult or even impossible for you to do on your own. These tools can be as simple as a highlighter or pencil grip; or more advanced like a computer program that allows you to dictate into the recorder and your words are posted on the screen. There are many different types of assistive technologies available that range in price and capabilities.
- Portable talking speller and dictionary: handheld device in which you type a word and receive the correct spelling and pronunciation of the word, using a computerized voice.
- Speech recognition: a microphone that is hooked up to your computer and your words appear written on the computer screen when you talk into the device.
- Text-to-speech: software that allows you to hear text on a computer screen read aloud with a computerized voice.
- Word prediction: software that allows you to start typing a word and the program predicts the full word based on the first few letters of the word typed.
Benefits of AT
AT can help you with tasks that may be challenging for you such as reading, writing, organizing, planning, listening, math and studying. Some of the benefits include being able to complete tasks independently and more efficiently.
It’s important to find the right match for you and to start thinking and exploring AT now while you are in high school. Once you are in college, it will be more difficult to learn a new technology while trying to keep up with the demands of college.
So, what can you do now? Make a list of academic skills that are easy and difficult for you to do. Then talk with your teacher or AT specialist about technology that might help you improve your performance on specific tasks. For example, maybe you can listen really well but you have difficulty understanding what you are reading. You, along with the person helping you with technology, might want to explore tools to help improve your reading comprehension such as books on CD or text-to-speech software. You may also want to consider asking about AT during your IEP meeting. Then, explore different types of technology to help you with these tasks. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t work and then make a decision about what technology you want to use.
For more information about technology, check out the informative podcasts (in the eSources) by Susanne Croasdaile from the Virginia Department of Education’s Training/Technical Assistance Centers.