Think about all that goes into the makings of a successful classroom - somewhere on your list is a creative teacher who uses a variety of materials to teach concepts and reinforce lessons to help students to make connections. It's called differentiation - presenting materials in different ways to meet the individual needs of learners! We don't all think and learn the same and a one-size-fits-all approach in a classroom isn't going to be effective in helping a class of 21-differently wired kids learn!
So, when students have disabilities that limit their ability to access the materials that the rest of the students are using, it directly impacts their ability to learn and show what they know. This is when assistive technology supports are tailored to individual student needs - along a wide range of skills and support tools.
Assistive Technology for Special Education
Assistive technology (AT) is any product, equipment, software program and/or system that enhances learning, working, and daily living for persons with disabilities. The goal of assistive technology is to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities (ATIA).
In the classroom, assistive technology enables independence, function, and learning for students with different abilities. Assistive technology makes it possible for educational materials, environments, and experiences to be accessible to students with disabilities. It's the difference between general education students benefitting from multi-sensory instructional technology (i.e. math apps on the iPad) to reinforce concepts through games versus a student requiring that technology to participate, show what they know, or be more independent! If your child were to move classrooms or schools and the teaching tools were no longer available to him, would it impede his ability to learn? It's an important question to ask as you look at how your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is written.
Assistive Technology in the IEP