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Assistive Technology

A wide range of assistive technology is available for children and young adults with deaf-blindness to augment communication, improve access to information, and increase independence.

These tools, which range from low tech materials (e.g., slant boards, picture boards) to high tech devices (e.g., electronics, computer software), help maximize a child’s available hearing, vision, and ability to learn and communicate.

A girl wearing glasses is sitting at table, looking at a document with a magnifier. A boy with a cochlear implant is sitting at a desk looking at illustrations on a tablet device.

Federal law requires school districts to provide assistive technology—and the services required to integrate the technology into learning environments—to students who need it. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must thoughtfully consider the student’s needs for assistive technology and identify what is appropriate for the student in the IEP. This process involves a thorough evaluation of the student’s needs as well as an understanding of what devices and systems are available.

Plans should also be made for training the student, staff, and family on how the devices work. And, as wonderful as assistive technology can be, backup plans should be made for when the technology doesn’t work exactly as planned. 

Technology is a tool to unlock learning and expand the horizons of students. (Phil Hatlen, 1996)

Reference

Hatlen, P. (1996). The core curriculum for blind and visually impaired students, including those with additional disabilities. RE:view, 28(1), 25-32.