How Can Assistive Technology Benefit Preschool Special Education Students?

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How Can Assistive Technology Benefit Preschool Special Education Students? The inclusion of special needs children with typically developing peers has become a key service option in preschool special education classrooms (Odom, 2000). Benefits abound, yet inclusion does not present without challenges. Young children with disabilities find it complicated to interact with objects and peers due to obstacles that their disabilities present. A child unable to speak too often goes unheard. Students with limited movement are frequently unable to participate in activities with peers. How can young children with disabilities achieve some degree of independence so that they may interact in their environments without reliance on others?…show more content…
Assistive technology is both a device and a service that helps those with disabilities do things more quickly, easily or independently (South Carolina Assistive Technology Program, 2010). AT may involve; no technology, low technology or high technology (Prater, 2007). Some examples of low-tech AT devices beneficial for young children are oversized crayons, slant boards, adapted eating utensils, pillows, picture boards, and switch activated toys. Computers, software, augmentative and alternative communication [AAC] devices, and motorized wheelchairs are considered hi-tech devices. Whether low-tech or high-tech, assistive technology opens doors of possibilities, making it possible for children with disabilities to do more for themselves than ever thought possible (Willis, 2009). The ability to communicate, and express thoughts, desires, and needs with others is essential in our daily lives. But for the child with a communication disorder, being able to express wants, needs, and ideas in the preschool classroom is not a reality. Communication skills for young children are particularly important given that much of what a preschooler learns is through interacting with others (Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers, 2006). Young children need communication supports to make the most of their experiences in

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