Excerpt from: National Center for Learning Disabilities (click for full article)
What Is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the ability of individuals (with a disability) to perform specific tasks. AT products help users become more independent in school, on the job, and in activities of daily living. These products range from very low tech (e.g., colored highlighters) to hi-tech (e.g., optical scanners and speech synthesizers), and can cost little or be very expensive. They also vary considerably in term of whether they require training to get started or are “plug-and-play.” Keep in mind the following:
- Does every student with special learning needs require the same types of learning accommodations? No.
- Will all students with LD benefit equally from assistive technologies? No.
- Is there a definitive body of research that tells us which students will benefit from what types of assistive technologies? No.
How then do we make good decisions? The answer is to be an informed consumer. Think about the learning disability, understand the features and limitations of each AT product, try them out (and be sure to ask for help if needed), and personalize the application to address your specific LD-related needs.