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Assistive Technology Case Study

Lilit Bayburtian
EDTC 625
TO: Dawn Rodrigues, Principal, Erasmus Elementary School
FROM: Lilit Bayburtian, Educational Technologist, Erasmus Elementary School
DATE: March 6, 2012
RE: Recommendations for new special needs third-grader, John Eras

Overview
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, more than 2.4
million children are diagnosed with learning disabilities and receive special
education services in our schools, representing 41 present of students with
disabilities nationwide. Our new third-grade student, John Eras was transferred to
Erasmus Elementary School last month. He has been diagnosed with both Attention
Deficit Disorder (ADD) and dyslexia. ADD can interfere with a person's ability to
concentrate or focus and can cause someone's mind to wander too much. Dyslexia
is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by
difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and
decoding abilities (Ness, 2010). Dyslexia causes people to have trouble recognizing
or processing letters and the sounds associated with them. John Eras has both
learning disabilities which make it difficult for him to read, write, spell, or solve math
problems. As an expert on the application of the educational technology at Erasmus
Elementary school, I would like propose the following recommendations for John
Eras to succeed at school. According to the National Institute of Child health and
Human Development, the earlier the children with reading difficulties are identified,
the better their chances are to receive effective remedial instruction.
Recommendations for hardware and software for the student
There are many ways that assistive technology can be used to accommodate
Johns disabilities. One of the best possibilities is to introduce AT into Johns daily
routine to help him strive at school. The federal government has defined AT devices
as any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired
commercially or off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase,
maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities
(Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 ). Assistive
Technologies can increase a child's autonomy and sense of independence. Children
who struggle in school are often too reliant on their parents, teachers, older siblings,
and even friends for help with school work. Using assistive technologies can help
children with learning disabilities experience success operating autonomously.
Here are the recommended hardware and software programs that the school can
look into:

One of the recommendations for John is the software called Read and
Write Gold. Read & Write Gold software provides text-to-speech output of
individual words, sentences, or paragraphs. It allows the student to
customize the program and select personal preferences for the text-tospeech output, such as voice gender, speed, and pitch. The voice reading
aloud may be heard through computer speakers or through personal
headphones (Hasselbring, 2006).
Audio books will allow users to listen to text using CDs, MP3s, and iPods.
Kurzweil 3000 is an assistive technology tool designed for struggling
readers as well as students with learning disabilities. Kurzweil 3000 helps
LD students keep up with peers.

Advice to the student's key academic faculty (English, Math, Social Studies
and Science)
To make significant progress, students with dyslexia need both systematic
and explicit, focusing on the alphabetic principle of how letters and letter
combinations represent speech sounds. In particular, readers with dyslexia benefit
from various methods of intensive intervention: instruction on letter-sound
correspondence, phonemic awareness including blending and segmenting, fluency
practice with sight words and decodable words, oral reading practice, and writing
instruction connected to word work (Ness, 2010). All this can be achieved by using
Assistive technology in the classroom to help John and children like him to overcome
the difficulties and to learn the best way they can. Assistive technology can act as a
lifeline for students with learning disabilities (Hasselbring, 2006). With assistive
technology, the educators role is specific, and the goal is to use AT to connect the
individual learner to the curriculum. With instructional technology, the educators
role is broad and universal, and the goal is to integrate technology into teaching
and learning in content areas (Jost, 2011).
John needs the following accommodations in class:
- Minimal distractions
- Assigned seat on the carpet, preferably closer to the teacher and
promethean board
- Directions should be broken into steps and given to John one at a
time
- Routine should be established for John to eliminate the surprise
element which is a huge distraction on its own
One adaptation that can provide access to curriculum for students with these
disabilities is assistive technology. As schools move toward more inclusive models
and toward standards-based instruction to meet the requirements of IDEA and No
Child Left Behind, students with physical disabilities may rely on adaptations and
assistive technology more than ever (Colman, 2011).

Recommendation to the principal where the school might be able to find


funding for this project

The merging of Assistive technology and consumer technology makes AT


affordable for schools and provides access for learners with disabilities to critical AT
that connects them to the curriculum (Jost, 2011).
Erasmus Elementary School has already assistive technology tools in place
that can help John and other children like him. Moreover, if the school decides to
follow my advice and purchase additional hardware and software to accommodate
children with learning disabilities, the school can look into its funds and use them
towards much needed technology. If the school does not have enough money
allocated for assistive technology, the principal can ask the PTA to collect money
through Fundraising and use the money towards buying the assistive technology
software and hardware.
Also, the school can contact organizations that support and focus on children
with specific learning disorders and ask them to help fund for a certain assistive
technology tool.
With all these options available, there is a great possibility for the principle to
collect funds towards purchasing AT for John and other children like him.

References:
(2000). Teaching students with attention deficit disorder. Retrieved from
http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content2/add.html
Coleman, M. (2011). Successful implementation of assistive technology to promote
access to the curriculum and instruction for students with physical disabilities.
Physical disabilities: Education & related services. 30(2), p2-22. Retrieved on March
4, 2012 from Educational research complete database.
Data Accountability Center (2011). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Data.
Retrieved March 3, 2012, from https://www.ideadata.org/DACAnalyticTool/Intro_2.asp
Hasselbring,T. S.; Bausch, M. E.(2006). Assistive technologies for reading.
Educational Leadership, 63(4), p72-75. Retrieved on March 2, 2012 from Education
research complete database.
Ness, M. K., & Southall, G. (2010). Preservice teachers' knowledge of and beliefs
about dyslexia. Journal of Reading Education, 36(1), p36-43. Retrieved on March 4,
2012 from Educational research complete database.