Research Paper: Technology for Students With Disabilities

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Technology for Students With Disabilities

In our modern society, there is integration of technology into education programs as well as practices in for the purpose of facilitating learning to students with all forms of disabilities across all ages. Concerning this, there is offering of specialized features to help these students overcome these challenges. As a result, students with disabilities are now able to increasingly interact with classroom technologies (Kirk, Gallagher, Coleman & Anastasiow, 2012, p.240). On the other hand, teachers are also able to customize the content in various subjects for the purpose of varying needs and preferences of the disabled students. In addition, use of modern technologies as well as educational applications designed for students with learning disabilities emerge on daily basis from teachers, researchers, curriculum developers and parents (Winzer, 2005, p. 23). Sometimes, they also emerge from students themselves. These factors contribute significantly to the national dialogues on changes in instructional methodologies and policies which may affect how and when it is useful in special education.

There are several categories of disabilities, which makes a student qualify for special education services through the help of technology (Lindsey, 2007, p. 9). These include autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury and visual impairment (Kirk, Gallagher, Coleman, & Anastasiow, 2012, p.14). During the process of determining the required accommodations for a specific student, parents, teachers and the Individualized Education Program team. This is for reviewing, as well as recommending the suitable assistive technologies for the student.

Many students with learning disabilities are now benefiting from the use of new modern features built in current technologies (Ivers & Pierson, 2003, p.41). Current research indicates that the majority of students in special education services are in the category of specific learning disability. The growing number of students with learning disabilities experiences hard time in written expression, oral expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, reading fluency skills and mathematics calculation and problem solving.

For most of the students with learning disabilities, the above difficulties remain a lifetime challenges. However, other students usually develop excellent skills, which significantly improve their academic life. The use of technology in assisting these students is a key factor in changing their disability into a learning difference (Lindsey, 2007, p. 337).

Technology resources, which support students with learning disabilities, are now becoming more available. Nevertheless, classrooms are still lagging far behind. Current research shows that only 25% of students with learning disabilities get access to assistive technologies in order to support their instructions as well as learning (Winzer, 2005, p. 21). Specialized knowledge of assistive technology is necessary for the purpose of meeting the needs of students with specific sensory or motor disabilities.

Various innovative features in modern technology products usually customize learning inputs as well as outputs, support use of study time efficiently and facilitate effective communications. This results to minimization of frustrations by the students. With regards to this, there are various assistive technology tools available in the market today. Some of these include abbreviation expanders, alternative keyboards, audio books and publications, freedom database software, personal FM listening systems, portable word processors, speech recognition programs, proofreading programs, screen readers, talking calculators, talking spell checker, electronic dictionaries, variable speed tape recorders and word prediction programs among other tools (Aitkin, Fairley, & Carlson, 2012, p.107-343).

Role of Technology in Supporting Student Learning Students

The use of technology in enhancing learning is a highly effective approach for many students with disabilities (Lindsey, 2007, p.245). In addition, students with learning disabilities usually experience greater success if allowed to use their abilities in order to overcome their disabilities. Assistive technology is now available to assist the student with all kinds of disabilities ranging from physical impairments to other cognitive problems (Winzer, 2005, p.22). Assistive technology for students with learning disabilities are usually pieces of devices or equipment which assist students to compensate for their specific deficits in learning.

Current research, as well as studies indicates that there is efficiency of use of technology for students with disabilities (Lindsey, 2007, p. 314). Use of technology in this case does not eliminate difficult or cure learning disabilities. It only helps the student to reach their potential as use of technology allows them to capitalize on their strengths while bypassing their areas of difficulties or weaknesses. For instance, students who struggle with reading but have excellent listening skill may benefit when they listen to audio books (Kirk, Gallagher, Coleman, & Anastasiow, 2012, p.240).

Generally, the use of technology in teaching students with learning disabilities compensates for the deficits or areas of disabilities of the students. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that utilizing technology in these students does not imply that the students cannot receive other remedial instructions aimed at alleviating deficits. An example of a remedial instruction is software designed to enhance poor phonic skills of the students (Higgins & Boone, 1997, p.15). In addition, students with learning disabilities may use remedial reading software for the purpose of listening to audio books. In fact, current research indicates that use of technology in teaching students with disabilities can help in improving certain skill deficits such as reading and spelling. The use of technology usually increases the self-reliance of the students, as well as sense of independence. Students who struggle a lot in school are usually overly dependent parents, friends, siblings and even teachers for assistance with their assignments. Through use technology, students experience success through working independently.

Use of technology in teaching students with disabilities usually addresses various types of learning difficulties. Students who have difficulties in learning can be able to compose a school report through dictation and then convert it into text by the help of special software. Students who struggle with mathematics may use hand-held calculators in order to keep scores while playing games with their friends. Also, students suffering from dyslexia may benefit from the use of technology which can read about their employer's training manuals through the internet. Most of the technology tools usually assist students in listening, mathematics, organization and memory, reading and writing among others.

The technological tools used to capture spoken words have a disadvantage in the sense that they do not retain the information (Lindsey, 2007, p.314). These technological devices are useful in a variety of setting such as class lecture or during a meeting with many speakers. In mathematics, technological tool take a significant role in assisting students with learning disabilities. This is because it helps them in computing, aligning, organizing and copying mathematics problems on papers. With the aid of visual, as well as audio support, these students can enhance set up and calculate basic problems in mathematics (Winzer, 2005, p. 23).

The role of organization and memory is significant in the academic life of students with learning disabilities. This is because technological tools helps the students to organize, plan and keep track of their calendars, contact information, schedules, task lists, and miscellaneous notes. These tools assist students in managing, storing and retrieving vital information with the help of hand-held devices as well as special software (Ivers & Pierson, 2003, p. 8-37).

Reading is vital for every student whether with a disability or normal student. With the introduction of technology, it becomes easy for students with disabilities to enhance their reading skills. This is because special technological tools usually assist students with a reading problem. There are various technological tools for enhancing reading, and each tool works in a unique way. Nevertheless, all these tools assist students through presenting text as speech. In addition, these tools help the students in facilitating decoding, comprehension and reading fluency.

When it comes to writing, it is evident that there is a wide range of technological tools designed to help the student with disabilities (Aitkin, Fairley, & Carlson, 2012, p.87-111). While some of these tools assist students in overcoming the actual physical problem of writing, other helps students to overcome the problems of spelling, grammar, punctuation, organization and word usage.

The use of ICT (information and communication technology) usually plays a significant part in enhancing the academic lives of students with learning disabilities. This is because it offers a considerable potential for supporting a lifelong learning process for all types of students with learning disabilities (Winzer, 2005, P. 21). The application of ICT in special students always enhances integration, independence and also equal opportunities for all people. Through this way, it facilitates the inclusion students with learning disabilities in the society as respected, valued, and as contributing members of the society. ICT helps students with learning disabilities to improve their independence as well as integration through elimination of categories, socially constructed labels and disabling phenomena. Despite the functional limitations of the use of the ICT, it has a great opportunity to take a significant part in the learning process of students with learning disabilities (Winzer, 2005, p. 24).

Benefits of Implementing Technology in Classroom

Implementing technology in classrooms… [END OF PREVIEW]

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