How Assistive Technology Has Changed Special Education

With the growing span of technology in modern society many aspects of society are being changed. For example, at the grocery store we now have the option to scan our own items at the self check out which 30 years ago was never thought of. This same idea applies to the field of Special Education which is the education of students with diverse abilities. Special Education was established relatively recently which many find shocking, in 1975 the first public law pertaining to educating those with disabilities entitled “The Education for all Handicapped Children Act”. Before this act many children were institutionalized and lived in horrible conditions and this was documented by Geraldo Rivera’s “Willowbrook” expose. This law was later changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1990 and gave students with disabilities the right to free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. I personally find this shocking that the education of students with disabilities was ignored for so long but in the classrooms today it is much improved.

Special Education has benefited so much from technology and without it many students would be unable to even communicate let alone learn. Assistive Technology are devices that assist those with disabilities in their everyday lives as well as in the classroom. For example, a child with cerebral palsy could have trouble producing speech and their motor functions and with a device that uses what is called “eye gaze” they can simply look at a specific word or picture on a screen and the device will produce speech. If a child with a disability has great motor skills they can use an Ipad app called “Proloquo2go” which allows for them to form sentences by choosing from pictures on a screen and it will generate speech for them. Speech generation devices are so powerful because so many individuals with disabilities before this assistive technology were unable to express their thoughts and learn in the classroom and now they finally have a voice and that is so powerful. Another example of an assistive technology device is navigation assistance so that students with visual impairments can navigate their school and other environments with ease. This device speaks aloud to you while you are walking and tells you what you are near and how far you are away from where you are trying to go. Special Educators now can use this assistive technology in the classroom and can easily adapt their instruction to their students. There are forms of this technology that can help individuals with various types of disabilities learn in the classroom and in life and without technology the education of these individuals would be completely different.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.