Any software or equipment used to assist students with impairments in overcoming their learning obstacles and enhancing their skill sets is considered assistive technology. Every student has different learning difficulties and by using personalized lesson plans and assistive technology, everyone has the same chance to receive a quality education. In order to provide better education to all students who have special needs, I think that schools can enable students with disabilities to participate in the general education curriculum by modifying it with assistive technology, whether hardware or software. Teachers usually look for fresh approaches to aid students in comprehending the context of the subject being taught. Students with impairments may be able to overcome or get around their learning obstacles with the use of assistive technology.
My experience with assistive technology
When I was teaching in India and there were 2 students who had dyslexia and they were not able to understand anything in the classroom. First of all, I did not know that these two children have dyslexia and I was quite tense about why they are unable to understand the language after that I organized a meeting with their parents then I came to know that these two students have dyslexia. Due to their inability to understand the phonological features of a language, dyslexic students find it challenging to acquire languages. Writing is particularly difficult for them because they can no longer communicate their thoughts through language. After that, I started using speak-to-text software and which helps those students with learning disabilities. Speech-to-text software assists dyslexic students by allowing them to react verbally, making it an effective assistive technology tool. The software then converts the speech commands into a text representation. To make the words appear as text on the screen, students can simply dictate the words into a computer. It was the first time when I teach those students who have dyslexia and use assistive technology to teach them. I read articles and watched videos to understand the different methods to teach dyslexic children.
Challenges and Limitations of assistive technologies
Since technology is a big part of AT, teachers must have the right skills to use these tools efficiently. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not equipped to use these beneficial instruments. One of the major challenges impeding the introduction and usage of AT in classrooms is the dearth of trainers or teachers knowledgeable about the tools. Without a trainer, even if the required persons give these instruments, they risk being wasted. These instruments might remain unused because the individuals charged with mobilizing their use are unsure of how to get started.
Furthermore, The goal of assistive technology is to make life easier for people with impairments. These tools, for instance, compensate for learning challenges. For instance, text-to-speech technologies are available or vice versa if a child is struggling with reading or writing. However, in order to use all of these instruments, additional technology, such as phones and computers, must be used. Because they lack the essential tools, the majority of teachers don’t employ A/T in their classes. The teacher might be fully capable of using the tools. However, his or her expertise cannot be applied without the necessary tools and assistance. The majority of teachers are reluctant to implement AT in their classrooms. they hold the opinion that educational tools can’t assist a student to achieve. Instead, they believe that they are the only ones who can assist students with disabilities. They contend that the impacted students ought to face the same learning challenges as the other students. Additionally, some educators think that integrating AT gadgets into the classrooms may cause disruptions. They typically find the thought of adding the tools unsettling because they fear that the gadgets would take over their classrooms. Well, having some of these devices in a class, particularly phones and tablets, can distract the other students.
In conclusion, Assistive technology can be very beneficial because it can be used to help children with special needs. For students who struggle to express their ideas clearly through conventional channels, using computers and other communication technologies might be useful. Children with impairments who use assistive technologies have a better comprehension of learning in general, better communication and social interaction skills, and more developed cognitive ability. Unfortunately, there are several obstacles to using assistive technologies, including their high price, inaccessibility, and potential side effects. I believe that it is crucial for teachers, administrators, and parents to take into account all of the technologies that support the specific and individual needs and learning capacities of any child with disabilities while working with special students. As a result, education will be more meaningful and pertinent.
It can be so challenging to work with students who have undiagnosed learning disabilities. I often wonder what schools would look like if we were table to diagnose LD’s at their earliest. That would be beneficial for everyone. It would take the pressure and stress off teachers to figure out how to best meet the students needs. It would also alleviate a lot of the stress and struggles the student would having navigating the different learning experiences in the classroom.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts!