When a student is unable to participate in classroom activities because of a physical limitation, there are endless technology possibilities to connect that student. If it is a question of physical mobility, there is so much that can be accessed from the student’s workspace. With Wi-Fi and networking, students can use a laptop or iPad from their desk and submit assignments wirelessly. Adapted keyboards, Big Keys and IntelliKeys can be used to create assignments and tailor them to the student’s specific ability. Using Overlay Maker and IntelliKeys, the curriculum can be modified and presented to a student so that he or she can respond using whatever level of motor ability is available. The IntelliSwitch allows students to access one or two computer switches wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. The Classroom Suite software has the capacity to act as a word processor which allows the physically challenged student to use word prediction and have the text read back to him or her. Keystrokes can be built into the documents so that fewer physical moves are required when those are challenging to the student’s speed and endurance.
As an AT Specialist, I try to work closely with the teacher to determine the specific concepts required, and then I create a Classroom Suite activity which can be modified for several methods of access: mouse, touch screen, switch, IntelliKeys. I modify the activity so that it is presented to meet the student’s visual requirements and ability to access. If needed, I add music and the student’s photographs to encourage interest and feedback. The possibilities are endless for presentation of science, social studies, math and language.
Cindy Kerr, MA
Speech Pathologist with a Masters in Speech Pathology, Assistive Technology Specialist