As I was reading Governor Wolf’s proclamation of November as Assistive Technology month, I thought about the significant difference it has made in the lives of children and adults with disabilities. In general, assistive technology itself is an umbrella term that includes any adaptive or rehabilitative device which allows a person to perform activities of daily living.
There are lots of examples of both high tech devices, i.e., eye gaze technology and “low tech” communication books. In the school setting, I think of assistive technology as any device that allows the student to be successful. Prior to the start of the school year, our team, consisting of a speech therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, tech coordinator, and supervisor, meet and review the students in each class and determine their assistive technology needs. Communication devices, iPads, device mounts, are all part of this discussion.
This is an evolving discussion as needs change and students accomplish goals through year. What is even more amazing is how technology is so quickly developing …all for the better! Who would have guessed a day where we use virtual reality devices instead of taking field trips!
I, too, have seen how Ryan has accesses assistive technology over the years. Lots of low tech, audio readers, timers, calculators, FM listening devices, graphic organizers and iPads are a few of the assistive devices that have helped him. He thoroughly enjoys sending emails to his friends and lately has found texting is a great way to communicate without engaging in a full conversation.
So what does the magic ball hold for us in the future? I would not even take a guess but whatever helps our children and adults, I am all for it!