Assistive Technology Overview

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					  Supporting Student
     Learning and
Independence Through
 Assistive Technology

  …Challenges and Opportunities

      Pauline Auld & Michelle Speight
      Statistics on Disabilities in Canada

u 12.4 % of Canadians have disabilities - one in eight
u A total of 3,601,000 with disabilities

u 4% of school-age children have disabilities
u A total of 154,720 children 5-14 with disabilities

YOUTHS (15-24)
u 3.9% of youths have disabilities
u A total of 151,030 youths have disabilities

                       Government of Canada PALS Survey
The Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) was conducted by Statistics Canada in 2001.
      Statistics on Special Needs Students
                  within the CBE

u   Total Students CBE                       90 670

u   Total Number Special Needs               17 248         19.0%

u   Mild/Moderate                            11 865         13.1%
u   Gifted & Talented                         2 010          2.2%
u   Severe                                    3 373          3.7%

                             Grades 1 – 12
              Student Services Support Department Profile
                            September 2005
        Addressing the Diversity

How can technology:

u address diversity?
u motivate students?
u develop independence?
u promote self-advocacy in our students?
Definition of Assistive Technology

    “any item, piece of equipment, or
    product system, whether acquired
    commercially off the shelf, modified, or
    customized, that is used to increase,
    maintain, or improve functional
    capabilities of individuals with

  Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (adopted from)
    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 20,
              Chapter 33, Section 1401 (25) USA
   Overview of Assistive Technology

This includes technologies that:
u Support individuals with a variety of disabilities
u Allow equal access to information and production
  (access to curriculum)
u Reduce barriers to learning resulting from
  physical, sensory, cognitive, speech or learning
u Allow students to perform functions that would
  otherwise be difficult or impossible to undertake
u Compensates for areas of disability or impairment
u Address a variety of learning styles
   Alberta Education: A Historical
Perspective of Assistive Technology in
“Shaping the Future for Students with Special
  Needs” (November 2000)

Short Term and Long Term recommendations for
  Alberta Education:

u   to provide a repository/clearing house of services for
    acquiring technology for students with special needs
u   to develop a mechanism to determine the
    assistive/adaptive technology and equipment needs of
    students with special needs
u   create a plan to coordinate the provision of technology and
    equipment to students with special needs
     Assistive Technology for Learning

    Alberta Education is assisting school authorities
    to build their capacity to deliver appropriate ATL
    through activities in the following areas:
u   Awareness
u   Collaboration
u   Accountability
u   Access to Resources
         Awareness, Collaboration,
        Accountability and Access to

    The Alberta Education Text-to-Speech Initiative

u   Software RFP – Closed early November
u   Evaluation and testing – Nov. 14 - 15
u   Looking for a Standard Solution
u   Results will be posted on the LRC Website
u   Purchases will be made through the Website
    (through CBE Purchasing)
      Assistive Technology Within the
        Calgary Board of Education

    The Assistive Technology Capital Budget Project
    is a three year research initiative which focuses
    on the identification of:

u   technologies that support and enhance student learning for
    identified learners
u   professional skills, understanding and implementation
    strategies critical to supporting and enhancing student
u   technology infrastructures and organizational (institutional)
    requirements and barriers that restrict and support the use
    and implementation of these technologies
    Assistive Technology Specialist Role

u   Assistive Technology Specialist is new position within the
    Calgary Board of Education

u   Outcome of a collaborative partnership between
    Innovative Learning Services and Student Services Support

u   Role is to provide leadership and support in the application
    of Assistive Technologies that enhances students’ access to
    their learning within the school system

u   Promoting a vision of the role of Assistive Technology

u   Involves connecting the priorities and directions of the
    Calgary Board of Education with that of Alberta Education
              Focus for 2005-2006

u   Focus this year will be on initiating several Key
    Demonstration Assistive Technology Projects

u   Action research projects will result in data driven
    learning outcomes

u   Examined on a larger scale and used to inform
    future models of allocation of such resources, for
    all Calgary Board of Education Learners
      Four Key Demonstration Projects

u   Text-to-Speech/ Speech-to-Text Software/Optical
    Character Recognition

u   Assistive Technology in Communication

u   Designing Access to Web Based Resources and

u   Integrated Infrared Sound Amplification Project
    Supporting Teachers and Students

u   The role of the Innovative Services Learning
    – Support individual schools and teachers
    – Workshops and In-services
    – Presentations at provincial and local conferences
    – Assistive Technology Community of Practice
    – Focusing on both everyday and specialized technology
      for a variety of learning needs and settings
    – Research projects
                  Everyday Technologies
u   Accessibility options within Windows computers
    (Programs, Accessories, Accessibility)
         -Accessibility Wizard allows individualize set up to
           address vision, hearing and mobility needs
         - Microsoft Magnifier – Text Size, Display Settings,
           Screen Resolution
         - Microsoft Narrator - Text-to-Speech Program
         - On Screen Keyboard – mobility impaired user

u   Accessibility options within Macintosh computers
    (System Preferences, Universal Access)
         -   Seeing – Zoom, Background
         -   Hearing – Text-to-Speech
         -    Keyboard – Numeric Keyboard instead of mouse
         -   Mouse – Speed, Sticky Keys, Slow Key

u   Using standard image programs to differentiate instruction
“The real miracle of technology may be
the capacity it has to remove previously
   insurmountable barriers faced by
        persons with disabilities”

Contact us: Pauline Auld
           Michelle Speight

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