2000 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents


LEARNING DISABILITIES AND ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: CHOOSING AND USING TECHNOLOGY AS A CREATIVE LEARNER

CHRISTOPHER M. LEE
TOOLS FOR LIFE/Georgia Assistive Technology Project
2 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 35-422
Atlanta GA 30303
Phone: 404-657-3081
FAX: 404-657-3086
christopherlee@mindspring.com
 
http://www.gatfl.org

CAROLYN PHILLIPS
TOOLS FOR LIFE/Georgia Assistive Technology Project
2 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 35-411
Atlanta GA 30303
Phone: 404-657-3057
FAX: 404-657-3086
carolynphillips@mindspring.com
 
http://www.gatfl.org

 

The application of assistive technology (AT) to the field of learning disabilities (LD) is, in fact, so new that there have been only a few scattered efforts to consolidate information and resources in one place.

However, over the last couple of years technological systems that were designed and used by people with physical disabilities have become more user friendly and used by individuals with LD. Identifying and being trained in the appropriate technology can affect the lives of people with LD in daily living, whether it’s in the classroom, at work, in the home, or in other social settings. Technology provides, in other words, valuable tools for life. The simplicity and ready availability of low-tech devices should not be overlooked. Inexpensive color highlighters, for example, can help individuals with reading difficulties distinguish words that appear the same – like proud, pound, and pond. Providers help the student highlight the troublesome words in different colors and make the reader visually aware of the differences between these words. Such training leads the student to a higher level of awareness of his/her disabilities.

High-tech devices, such as an optical character recognition system, provide a means of entering text or printed material directly into a computer by use of a scanner. Once the text has been scanned into the computer, it can be read back to the user by means of a speech synthesizer.

Technology in itself is not the answer to all problems faced by people with LD or for their service providers. Technology does, however, provide valuable tools for life. Those seeking technological assistance should focus not on the device, but on what the device can do for the individual in need. The fit must be right. The biggest or most expensive may not provide the best fit. The key to selecting the most appropriate tool involves many elements: seeking a thorough team evaluation, finding the resources to obtain the technology, customizing the technology to make the best fit, and providing the time as well as the patience for training.

This presentation, "Learning Disabilities and Assistive Technology: Choosing and Using Technology as a Creative Learner", will give participants a personal view of how AT can accommodate workplace settings as well as daily living situations. The presentation will examine, through a case study, answers to the following questions:

As an instructor, what do you need to know about assistive technology? What is the most effective instruction to use for individuals with LD?

How do you match the needs of the individual with the available technology?

What is some of the technology out there?

The presentation will lead participants to a clearer understanding of how technology can help answer these questions and direct you to selecting the appropriate AT for each individual’s needs.

 


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2000 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.