Currently, there is a high-demand to better meet the ever-changing needs of children who use assistive technology tools. In particular, improving areas such as the accessibility and flexibility of funding plans, timeliness of supply with reduced administrative burden, and environmental sustainability.
This blog post will discuss the importance of early childhood assistive technology, particularly in a learning environment, and its beneficial impact on students with disabilities:
- What is an assistive technology tool?
- Benefits of assistive technology tools.
- How can you apply for assistive technology?
What is an assistive technology tool?
Assistive technology is any item, device, system, equipment or software that is used to help someone complete an activity or task that they would not be able to do otherwise. It can be either low tech or high tech. This technology can assist students with special education needs to maintain or improve their functional capabilities. In an educational setting, AT can include speech recognition technology, word prediction software, talking calculators, speech to text software, or text to speech software. The incorporation of this special education technology in a classroom can enable students with learning challenges or disabilities to improve their reading and spelling performance, writing skills, math skills, comprehension skills, and fine motor skills by providing additional support and fostering an inclusive learning environment.
Through the use of AT, children with developmental delays or disabilities can achieve their goals and increase their independence.
There are assistive technologies for all kinds of disabilities. Examples of assistive technology include:
- Mobility aids (wheelchairs, prosthetics, walkers, and scooters)
- Educational aids (book holders, page-turners, and pencil grips)
- Hearing aids
- Computer technology and assistance (voice recognition software, screen enlargement, and screen readers)
- Cognitive aids (to assist with memory and attention)
- Closed captioning
- Sports mobility devices
- Visual impairment tools (braille keyboards)
Benefits of assistive technology tools
Assistive technology allows children with disabilities to gain independence from a young age. With the right equipment, devices and software, your child can begin to better interact with their community, peers and support staff, and pursue education. Receiving AT can significantly benefit children with disabilities both mentally and physically. It allows them to live more independently, fulfill their goals, grow their confidence, and increase their overall happiness, as they are able to participate in more of the activities that they enjoy.
For many children with disabilities, learning environments such as schools can feel scary or isolating. The adoption of AT for students with disabilities in classrooms can positively impact their learning experience. AT can support students with diverse learning needs by delivering information to students in a way that is better accommodated to their needs, and exploring alternative ways a student can interact with the curriculum and their environment.
Assistive devices can also help those with a disability to communicate better. This can generate happier and closer relationships with people they regularly interact with. For example, at school AT can be used to help the teacher provide students with better learning resources, therefore improving education and curriculum access.
AT tools are not only beneficial for children with disabilities, but also their family and support network. This can include parents, guardians, carers, teachers, and disability workers such as speech therapists. When a child has access to technology and equipment that can help them perform tasks, it can alleviate pressure from carers and their families because they can do more things independently.
How can you apply for assistive technology?
If you are an NDIS participant with NDIS funding, you can bring up your child’s need for AT in your planning meeting. If you are already an NDIS participant and want to add additional AT to your plan, you can request a plan review. It is important to ensure your AT request meets the necessary criteria in order for it to be approved.
Need help with accessing disability and support services?
At AHP Disability and Home Care, our highly qualified staff are well-equipped to assist with any and all of your needs.
Contact our team on 1800 247 342, should you require assistance.