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Articles on the Effects of Assistive Technology

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					                                                                                   Fall 2008, Vol.5, Num. 1



           Outcomes and Benefits in Assistive Technology
                        Service Delivery

                                              Phil Parette
                                                    Editor

                                             David Dikter
                                             Associate Editor

In this issue of ATOB, a collaborative report                However, the investigators also note that
by Cynthia Overton (National Center for                      calculators may not be a ‘valid assessment
Technology Innovation; NCTI);           Cheryl               accommodation’ when using Elbaum’s (2007)
Volkman (AbleNet®, Inc.); and Heidi Silver-                  definition of a valid accommodation, i.e., it
Pacuilla and Tracy Gray (NCTI) is presented                  “should improve the performance of students
that discusses how existing AT market                        with disabilities while having no effect on the
research can be leveraged to create ‘new                     performance of students without disabilities”
solutions’ to reach wider markets. The article,              (p. 219).
‘Understanding Consumer Needs Through
Market Research,’ is a seminal scholarly                     The third article, “Campus Community
contribution to the field in that it offers                  Partnerships with People Who Are Deaf or
suggestions to assist organizations with little              Hard of Hearing,“ describes a qualitative
or no experience in conducting effective                     study designed to (a) engage doctoral students
market research—information that to date has                 and AT end users in discussions regarding
been relatively obscure in the professional                  product development, (b) better understand
literature. Of particular interest are                       how focus groups should be conducted with
recommendations for primary market                           individuals who were deaf and hard-of-
research strategies, and information regarding               hearing, and (c) elicit feedback from end users
accessible Consumer Guides to assist                         regarding three specific devices that had been
administrators involved in technology                        conceptualized to benefit individuals who
purchasing decisions, and educational                        were deaf and hard-of-hearing. Co-authored
technology vendors.                                          by Jamie Matteson, Christine K. Kha, Diane J.
                                                             Hue, Chih-Chieh Cheng, Lawrence Saul, and
In the second article, Emily C. Bouck and                    Georgia Robins Sadler (University of
Aman Yadav (Purdue University) present                       California, San Diego), the article provides an
findings of a research study, ‘Assessing                     insightful cross-discipline approach for
Calculators as Assessment Accommodations                     working with persons who are deaf or hard of
for Students with Disabilities.’ In light of both            hearing using focus groups.
the accountability mandate of the No Child
Left Behind Act of 2001 and the                              In the fourth article, “Sight Word Recognition
accommodations responsibilities of schools                   Among Young Children At-Risk: Picture-
articulated in the Individuals with Disabilities             Supported vs. Word-Only,” a report is
Education Improvement Act of 2004, this                      presented of the impact of Boardmaker™
investigation provides support for the utility               Picture Communication Symbols on the
of calculators for 75 seventh-grade students                 development of word recognition skills
with and without disabilities in open-ended,                 among 31 at risk preschool children. Co-
problem-solving mathematics assessments.                     authored by Hedda Meadan, Julia B. Stoner,


                                                                  Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits / 1
                                                                         Fall 2008, Vol.5, Num. 1

and Howard P. Parette (Illinois State              self-reported use of AT and overall benefits,
University), the investigators found that          (b) barriers to AT use, and (c) facilitators to
previous research was supported regarding the      AT use. An insightful discussion follows
use of pictures paired with words in the           which Discussion centers on the struggle to
process of teaching word recognition, i.e.,        balance the triad of information that deaf
children learned and read Dolch words faster       students encounter in the university classroom
when they are taught without picture               and offers recommendations to assist deaf
supports. However, in the fourth assessment        students in ‘hearing’ classrooms at the
of the study, it was found that the                university level.
intervention group of children performed
better than the control group. The authors         Finally, in the seventh article, “Assistive
suggested that practicing sight words with a       Technology and Emergent Literacy for
picture and word might be best beneficial          Preschoolers: A Literature Review,” a five-
when testing occurs with a picture and word.       year review is presented of research articles
During interviews with the intervention group      that ‘concurrently’ addressed AT, emergent
children, all but one child reported that          literacy, and early childhood. Co-authored by
pictures helped learn the sight words              Kimberly Kris Floyd (Old Dominion
                                                   University); Lora Lee Smith Canter and Tara
In the fifth article, “Technology (AT)             Jeffs (East Carolina University); and Sharon
Reutilization (Reuse): What We Know                A. Judge (Old Dominion University), the
Today,” Joy Kniskern, Carolyn P. Phillips, and     review employed a literature synthesis strategy
Thomas Patterson (Pass It On Center,               previously reported by Edyburn (2002). The
Georgia Department of Labor) describe both         investigators reported only five peer reviewed
the value and limitations of current AT reuse      articles meeting the search criteria. Given the
data and outcomes. The authors present a           lack of attention devoted to AT applications
summary of activities and data gathered from       and their relationship to emergent literacy in
several national surveys culminating in a          the past decade, these findings are not
national classification system of AT               surprising, and the authors focus on both the
reutilization. Interestingly, examples of both     dearth of literature in this important area, as
successful and damaging AT reutilization           well as the need for targeted research to
initiatives are described to facilitate decision   increase the knowledge base of the early
making by groups committed to developing           childhood discipline.
new or expanding existing AT reutilization
initiatives. Limitations of existing research in   We hope that these articles stimulate
this area are presented along with                 professional dialogue in the field and
recommendations for future research on AT          contribute to heightened awareness of the
reutilization activities.                          need for scientifically based practices. We also
                                                   note that complementing this issue of the
The sixth article, “Perspectives of Assistive      journal is a wide array of presentations
Technology from Deaf Students at a Hearing         scheduled at the ATIA 2008 Conference on
University,” Maribeth N. Lartz and Julia B.        January 28-31, 2009, in Orlando (see
Stoner (Illinois State University), and La-Juan    http://www.atia.org/i4a/pages/Index.cfm?pa
Stout (Valdosta State University) report a         geID=3280 for Conference information).
qualitative study of the AT perspectives of        This meeting has become one of the foremost
nine Deaf students enrolled in a large ‘hearing’   AT consumer and professional venues and
university. The investigators identified three     presents a wide array of important program
categories of AT perspectives including: (a)       offerings to participants.



                                                        Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits / 2
                                                                     Fall 2008, Vol.5, Num. 1

We also express appreciation to our talented
Editorial Board members who were called
upon to assist in the review processes for
manuscripts submitted in 2008. Without their
input and support, this publication would not
be possible.

References

Edyburn, D. L. (2000). 1999 in review. A
    synthesis of the synthesis of the special
    education technology literature. Journal of
    Special Education, 15(1), 7-18.
Elbaum, B. (2007). Effects of an oral testing
    accommodation on the mathematics
    performance of secondary students with
    and without learning disabilities. Journal of
    Special Education, 40, 218-229.
Individuals with Disabilities Education
    Improvement Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.
    (2004)
No Child Left Behind Act, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et
    seq. (2001)




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