Presentation on theme: "The Role of Assistive Technology"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Role of Assistive Technology Inclusive EducationThe Role of Assistive TechnologyGhana Education Services Special Education Division,Ministry of Education, Science and Sports,Accra, GhanaDecember, 2007Mary HookerEducation SpecialistGlobal eSchools and Communities InitiativeDublin, Ireland.
2 What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technology (AT) includes a range of technologies, which enable people to build on their abilities and participate as fully as possible at home, school, work and in their community.
3 What does Assistive Technology mean? AT is used to describe both the products and the services for people with special needs.
4 AT ProductsThe term ‘assistive technology device’ means any item, piece of equipment, or product system (whether acquired off the shelf, modified, or customized) that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capability of an individual with disability.
5 AT ServicesThe term ‘assistive technology service’ means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.Individual with Disabilities Act of 1990 (IDEA) P.L
6 AT RangeThe AT definitions are flexible and open many possibilities for what the products and services of assistive technology can be.They do not imply that assistive technology must include computers, or that it must be expensive, or that it can only be prescribed.Assistive technology is essentially a very broad field and may range from the very simple to the very complex
7 What are the types of AT devices? AT may be organized into a system of low-tech, medium-tech and high-tech tools and strategies that match a person’s needs, abilities and tasks.Learners/ teachers/parents pick and choose from the system the appropriate tools for the situation
8 Low-techrefers to unsophisticated devices and largely non-electronic devices, many of which can be produced from local materials, such as:pencil gripsbook holderstexture boardsreading standseducational toys and games
10 Medium-techdevices are more complicated, many of which can be manufactured locally, such as :hearing aidsspeech trainersBraille paper and stylusestape recordersmagnifying reading glasses
11 High-techdevices involve the use of sophisticated communication and environmental control systems that are electronically based.increasing variety of methods of adapting the computer through the use of special needs peripherals and/or software
12 Peripherals Some keyboard alternatives Input or Output devicesOther non-standard devicesBenefitsKeyboardConcept KeyboardsPhysical, visual and cognitive accessOverlays allow for pre-programmed, words, symbols, picturesAdditional features include key guards, alternative overlays, switch accessLarge keyboardKeys that are up to four times the size of standard computer keysCan be useful for students with visual difficulties or limited hand function.Available in multi-colour, plain white, ABC or Qwerty format.Some have speech feedback, permitting students to talk and work at the same time.
13 Peripherals Some screen alternatives/enhancers Input or Output devicesOther non-standard deviceBenefitsScreenTouch screenIdeal for students who cannot understand the relationship between the mouse or the keyboard and movement on the screen.Instead of using a pointing device such as a mouse, the student can use their finger to point directly to objects on the screen.Also suitable for those who find it hard to manipulate a mouse or other pointing devices.Braille displayReplaces the computer monitor and is often augmented with Speech Output SystemsA line of Braille cells gives a tactile representation of the computer’s text output
14 Peripherals Some pointing options Input or Output deviceOther non-standard deviceBenefitsPointing devicesRoller ballsStationary, requires little operating spaceSlows down movement of cursor buttonsJoysticksStudents with limited hand function can find them easier to useDampens down random motion s the movement of the pointer will be less erraticSwitchesCan be operated by any area of the body (e.g. hand head)Allows user to operate a computer or other electrical deviceTouch padAlternative to conventional mouseUseful for people with fine finger control but lack gross movements
15 Software categories Software Benefits Concerns Reinforcement (drill and practice)Helps develop skills and reinforce concepts and knowledgeProvides practice on learned skillsGives immediate feedback/ non judgementalShould complement teaher instruction, not replace itSkills are often presented in isolation from classroom themes and planningInteractive books Electronic books which bring stories to lifeCater for a range of levels (Non-readers to older students with reading difficultiesLinks written word with spoken wordsGives students opportunity to practice reading same text more than one timeEdutainment value v Educational value
16 Content-free software BenefitsContent free software allows teachers to design own content - text and graphicsCan be used in many areas of the curriculumTeachers can develop materials to meet individual needs of studentsHelp students overcome barriers to learningWord Processing Programmes enable production of a wide range of productsStudent can express themselesSpellchecker allows concentraion on contentRelieves pressures that face students with learning dfficultiesTalking Word Processing Programmesinclude in-build speech synthesizerAllows students to monitor their workBrings writing to life - auditory feedback links written word to spoken wordAuditory feedback assists students in correcting spelling, grammar and syntax
17 Content-free software BenefitsWord Prediction Software runs in conjunction with word processor and suggests words as text is entered - as soon as a user types first letter of a word, a list of words beginning with that letter appearSuggests words so students can concentrate on context rather tan spellingRemembers words that student uses most frequentlyWord Bank Programmes allow the teacher to input lists of words the student has particular difficulty with - topic words, lists of nuns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, sentence starters etc.Teacher can choose words that individual students have difficulty withStudents can concentrate on context rather than spelling
18 Content-free software BenefitsPlanning and organising software helps struggling students visually organise their ideas - can be used for brainstorming, outlining, prewriting, diagramming and concept webbing.Ideal for students who think in pictures rather than words (visual learners)Spellchecker allows concentration on contentRelieves pressures that face students with learning difficultiesDesktop Publishing/Art & Design Applications include a wide range of writing and drawing tools that can be used to draw a picture, write a story, create a newsletter etc.Individualise for students by adding or removing toolsProfessional results help struggling students gain confidence
19 Software categories Software Benefits Study Skills Software assists students in developing the necessary skills needed for efficient studyEnables students to independently develop their own organisation and study skills strategiesProvides students with direct instruction and practice in developing these skillsAssessment software used to assess student attainment and identify learning difficultiesCan be helpful in early identification of learning difficulties including dyslexiaResults can be used to individualize instruction and develop individual education plansProgress can be monitored on a regular basis
20 Access tools software Optical Character Recognition Programmes Reads a text on a pageConverts it to digital formatScan/Read softwareAllow scanning from any bookDisplay on-screen version of printed materialScreen readersRead back text from any programmeHighlight text as spokenRead downloaded pages from internet, s, text scannedScreen magnification systemsIncreases size of text or image displayed on the monitorOnly prt of the screen can be seen at any one timeVoice recognition softwareAllows dictation of written assignments, notes etc.Vocabulary must be developed for software by the userSwitch Access SoftwareUsed by many students with physical disabilities who are unable to use a mouse or keyboard due to limited manual control
21 AccessibilityAll OS have built-in options to support students with special needsOptions allow user to adjust keyboard response, mouse movement and screen appearanceFeatures have been designed to support the needs of those with hearing, visual, physical/motor and learning difficultiesBefore looking at specialised solutions, check accessibility built-in options for effective utilization
22 AT not a fix for impairment Pupil's impairment should be accepted as normal to that personTechnology attempts to provide an alternative or compensatory approach that works around the impairmentAT sometimes called work-around technology
23 AT and Inclusive Education AT will be more likely accepted if it is seen to contribute to the achievement of relevant and identified educational goalsGoals should be set in accordance with individual’s needs, differences and abilitiesLearner may need support to achieve goals at a slower paceAT interventions should not create unrealistic expectations of what learner can achieveInformation on AT sourced principally from the Irish National Centre for Technology in Education NCTE website – and Bassi, 2007
24 AT Utilization and Production Lynch, 2007 How are they used?Can we generalise them across disability?Use symbols for hearing impaired and learning disabilities or speech conditions?How easy is it to make them?Who should make them?
25 AT and Curriculum Access Lynch, 2007 How can AT help children with disabilities access the curriculum?E.g. Braille books, large print, symbols, increasing font size on the page, using low vision aids to read books.
26 AT, Assessment and IEPs Lynch, 2007 Planning where AT can be used to help a child learn.What are the implications of assessing a child and recommending AT if none are available?
27 Low-tech V high-techLow-tech solutions often more effective and easily integratedHigh-tech solutions have enormous potential, yet requirecareful assessment/ judgement for ‘fit’ with individualrequire considerable specialist training and support to be effectivecan be prohibitively expensive
28 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 Capacity BuildingBuild capacity for the Material Resource Centre Accra to become a key institution for the supply of AT into both mainstream schools and special schoolsDevelop capacity for AT production in Ghana by firms in the country in the form of:low to medium-cost materials development beyond Braille booksequipment to assist children with physical disabilities
29 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 Resources Centres and Special SchoolsEstablish fully equipped and staffed assessment centres outside of Accra, and Kumasi.Provide all of the 110 teacher resource centres in every district in Ghana with AT and technical advice in order to assist teachers.Special schools and institutions should be restricted to children diagnosed as having a Profound/Multiple Learning Disabilities.
30 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 Itinerant teachersBuild capacity of graduates in special education as itinerant teachers to school clusters in the districts where mainstreaming is intensively being focussedto support individual studentsto work with whole classes, classroom and teachers.
31 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Lynch, 2007 Another example of a recent initiative between Sightsavers and Dolphin to produce a screen-reader on a USB that third-level students can use on any PC. I think a few students at the University of Ghana are using these USP pens.
32 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 On-line SupportDevelop ODL training for University and teacher training college levels on the fundamentals and implementation of assistive technologiesLink with free online courses such as the NCTE, Ireland which has 7 online courses of 20 hours each for ICT & Special Needs:The BasicsLearning SupportMild Learning DisabilitiesModerate/Severe/ Profound Learning DisabilitiesDeaf/Hard of HearingIntroduction to ICT and Visual ImpairmentsAutistic Spectrum Disorders
33 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 Special CoursesTrain teachers in Assistive Technology usage through regular training programmes organised by the SpED with the support of outside agenciesCall on private sector ICT training companies to provide initial In-Service training in how to use computer software to teach or supplement curriculum areas in SEN
34 ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003 Community Based RehabilitationThe Integrated Education Project (IEP) was set up by Sight Savers, Ghana in collaboration with the SpED and the Ghana Society for the Blind (GSB)Programme success generated through the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) model:funds for an itinerant teacher to visit the schoolprovision of free classroom materials (e.g. books in Braille) and regular eye treatmentcapacity building to enhance teacher skills in monitoring and evaluating progress
35 Technical knowledge on how to use it Issues around ATCostTechnical knowledge on how to use itLevel of support, loss and breakage.
36 AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches As special schools become decongested, develop a new role for the schools as outreach centres of advice and ideas for teachers in ordinary schools –Centres with dedicated staff who have theoretical knowledge and practical expertise in the areas of curriculum, assessment and teaching methods in special education and the development, utilization and monitoring of AT technologies (Special School Approach).Twinomugisha, 2007
37 AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches Develop a decentralized dedicated network of resource centres or special units linked to regular schools or school cluster zones (Resource Centre Network Approach)Twinomugisha, 2007
38 AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches Developing a full IE setting where the AT is deployed in the regular classroom (School Based Approach).Twinomugisha, 2007
39 AT provision where there are few resources – 3 approaches A combined approach?Twinomugisha, 2007
40 ReferencesBassi, R How can ICT help people with disabilities? Dublin: GeSCI (Internal document)Casely-Hayward, L. and Lynch, P A Review of Good Practice in ICT and Special Educational Needs for Africa. London: Imfundo/DFIDEnabling Technology. (Homepage). [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 21 October 2007]Individuals with Disabilities Act 1997 [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 14 November 2007]Morrison, K Implementation of assistive computer technology: A model for school systems. International Journal of Special Education. 22 (1), pp83-95National Centre for Technology in Education [Online]. Available from: fromhttp://www.ncte.ie/SpecialNeedsICT/ResourcesAdvice/AssistiveTechnology/[Accessed 14 November 2007]Twinomugisha, A. 26 November Re: Financing IE where there are few resources. Educationist Group [Online Discussion List]. Available from: Gesci [Accessed 28 November 2007]UNESCO Press Conference on Inclusive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities [Online]. Available from UNESCO <http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2007/070326_Disabilities.doc.htm> [Accessed 20 October 2007]
41 Resources Group discussion 1 The topic of resources is a very emotive one when inclusion is being discussed. Many people argue that they ‘cannot do inclusive education because we do not have enough resources’.What are the resource barriers to inclusion?What resources do we have within ourselves and our communities? CBR, Special Schools, National, District and School Cluster Resource CentresWhat is needed?What are the options?How can they source funding through the Education Sector Plan?
42 ResourcesGroup Discussion 2Case StudyKwame is 7 has low vision, goes to local school, unable to see blackboard, finds it difficult to read normal size print, enjoys maths, etc.Work out a plan on the use of Assistive Technology that helps Kwame integrate into the class.