5 Useful Assistive Technology Tools & Resources for Students with Special Needs

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Studying and learning often comes as a major difficulty in the lives of certain children. That’s why it’s so crucial we introduce them to different resources and tools that can aid them in their learning journeys. Each child learns differently, and everybody’s path is different, however, children with special needs have it the hardest.

Assistive technology is designed to help students who have learning disabilities. These resources are typically used from kindergarten all the way to the 12th grade. Students with both cognitive or physical impairments can benefit greatly from assistive tools, which usually include devices or resources that help with one or more of their disabilities.

Children with ADHD, dyslexia, autism or other disorders do much better at school if they’re provided the necessary equipment. One of the main goals of assistive technology is helping students capitalize on their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. These tools can range from hi-tech to low-tech resources, encompassing a wide variety of equipment. At Da Vinci Collaborative, we work with children with special needs every day. That’s why we thought it would be helpful for both teachers and parents to understand why some of these tools are so important. In this article, we’re going through several assistive technology resources, and seeing how each of them helps students excel at school.

1. Text-to-speech assistive tools

Text-to-speech tools help students in different kinds of ways. For example, children with severe vision problems or complete blindness can use these assets to listen to words read by software. If schools are equipped with books that come with audio files and text-to-speech software, it can make reading much more accessible for many students. Audiobooks can also be used in the classroom by other students. If a student struggles with writing, they can also make use of audio recorders and capture what teachers say.

2. Reading guides

Reading guides aid children who have difficulty maintaining focus while reading. If a student is easily distracted, their focus might shift away from the page, or they can end up reading but not paying attention to what they’re reading. One easy workaround for this issue is the use of plastic strip highlights. Essentially, this strip blocks out neighboring words and highlights the words students are currently reading. The strip is also easy to move as students progress through the page.

3. Calculators

Not everyone is good at math, and a child with special needs might struggle even more. In these instances, providing a calculator can help students be better at solving math problems. This will also increase their confidence, and you’ll see real progress when it comes to math. Depending on their needs, you can provide small, pocket-size calculators, or larger ones with built-in speech features. These can read numbers, symbols and operation keys aloud.

4. Timers

Stopwatches, wristwatches or even an hourglass can help children improve their time management skills. Timers can be used as visual helpers to show students how much time they have left to complete a task, test, or any kind of school activity. Plus, timers can also help better prepare students to switch between assignments, and roughly estimate how much time a certain type of task should require.

5. Graphic organizers

Graphic organizers can help with a variety of tasks, especially writing. These can help children organize their thought processes. Low-tech graphic organizers consist of prints and charts, while more hi-tech tools can actually map out a kid’s thought process. These tools work best with writing assignments, allowing children to properly organize their thoughts before starting to write.

Before you go…

Students of all ages can highly benefit from some of the tools we just mentioned. Most assistive technology tools help children with special needs, however, a handful of them can aid any student. At Da Vinci Collaborative, we always try to use every tool in our shed to help children reach their true academic potential. Mental health or special needs don’t have to stand between a child’s education, and every student should be able to learn, even if they do it at a slower pace. To achieve this, we’re offering a dedicated online training course to help teachers and parents make the best of assistive technology tools to support children who struggle.

If you’d like to find out more about assistive technology and our tutoring programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are eager to hear your questions.

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