‘Assistive technology’ aids special education

Dec 31, 2013 by

i padPersonal technology such as iPads, notebook-size word processors and electronic pens that scan words and display definitions are helping Arizona special-education students keep up in class this year.

The Arizona Department of Education has distributed a $265,000 federal grant among 12 school districts and charter schools that will study ways to better equip students with what educators term “assistive technology.”

Grace Ehmke, for instance, is on the honor roll at Mesa Public Schools’ Pomeroy Elementary thanks in part to a $200 word processor called a Forte.

The 11-year-old struggles to hold a pencil because she has cerebral palsy, a condition that hinders her fine motor skills. The Forte helps her keep up with her fast-paced sixth-grade class.

“I use it for writing assignments and things like social studies,” Grace said. “I’m a fast typist.”

Jan Cawthorne, Mesa Public Schools’ special-education director, said assistive technology is not new for her district or many others receiving the grant money. What is new is the portability of many devices — and a coolness factor that didn’t exist before the iPad, she said.

via ‘Assistive technology’ aids special education.

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