SC Curriculum Access through AT


What is assistive technology and how is it used in schools?

Web based Resources:

“Toolboxes for Educators” compiled by Dr. Cheryl Wissick at the USC College of Education. Updated regularly, this site provides descriptions and comparisons of Alternative Web Browsers, Speech Recognition, Reading Skills, Talking Word Processors, Alternative Word Processors, Creative Writing, Text-to-Speech Tools, Word Prediction, Text-to-Speech Combinations, Reading Comprehension and Expression, Comprehensive Programs and Homework and Reading Tools. Prices and access to information on assistive technology devices and services as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public.

AbleData is a database with over 29,000 assistive technology products, with detailed descriptions of each product including price and company information. Searches can be made by a key word or phrase, by type of (or function of) product, by the brand name of an assistive technology product, by the name of a manufacturer or distributor, or by performing a Boolean search of the database.

How do we decide what assistive technology is appropriate for an individual student?

“Education Tech Points: A Framework for Assistive Technology Planning and Systems Change in Schools.” An overview can be found at

Get SETT for Successful Inclusion and Transition, an article by Joy Zabala can be found at

Setting the Stage For Success: Building Success through Effective Selection and Use of Assistive Technology Systems, a more in-depth article by Joy Zabala, can be found at

“Assistive Technology Assessment: A Team Approach” by the Technology Resources for Education (T.R.E.) Center in New York offers a detailed, step-by-step approach for assistive technology assessment at

"Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together" by the Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO) at the University of Buffalo, New York focuses on the need for a clear look at student strengths and needs and the tasks they must accomplish for their grade level. Their interactive assistive technology Decision-Making Process helps identify assistive technology and classroom strategies for children to engage in learning.

The Nebraska Department of Education Special Populations Office provides a comprehensive IEP guidebook with a section on primary questions, assistive technology assessment and implementation in the classroom at

A simple Assistive Technology Flow Chart for decision making is found at

RESNA credentials for service providers in the assistive technology field:

Certification programs in assistive technology are offered at universities such as California State University at Northridge (CSUN), George Mason University, Simmons College, the University of Kentucky and the University of Southern Maine. A list of programs available can be found at

Technology Resources for Education (T.R.E.) Center in New York has developed a list of “Desirable Qualities of the assistive technology Resource Person,” found at the following web site:

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) offers six forms (some in Spanish) that are very adaptable at These include: links to vendor web sites are given for each product.

National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (CAST) is the basic resource for universal design in learning and research based tools.

Ability Hub: Assistive Technology Solutions provides information about adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers. is a web site created by the Georgia Tech Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA) and funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The mission of this site is to provide increased

Assistive Technology Assessment Procedure Guide, providing the "big picture" of the steps to be completed.

Student Information Guide, a multi-page form that the school team can use to organize and gather information from file review, previous tests, new testing, interviews and/or observation to help determine what has been tried in the past, how it has worked, and what other things they need to know. 

Environmental Observation Guide (requires Adobe Reader), used during an observation of a child in any setting, looking at what other students are doing, what assistive technology, if any, is present, and what the child needs to be able to do.

Assistive Technology Planning Guide (requires Adobe Reader), a framework to facilitate discussion and decision making by the team.

Assistive Technology Checklist, a form that the school team can attach to the IEP or place in a child's file to show the assistive technology that was considered and selected.

Assistive Technology Consideration Guide (requires Adobe Reader), to help the IEP Team document the consideration that has taken place.

How can assistive technology be integrated into the curriculum?

Web-based Resources:

The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) provides a simple chart, “Assistive Technology Mini-Assessment: Qualities for Success” at

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), through an OSEP Special Project, has many valuable Topical Briefs that address universal design in curriculum.

The Georgia Project for Assistive Technology (GPAT) provides a range of assistive technology professional development and technical support services to local school system staff, students, and their families. They provide training videos and many resources in the following categories: Assistive Technology Definitions, Legal Mandates for Assistive Technology, Assistive Technology Devices, Funding Assistive Technology, Assistive Technology Consideration, Documentation of AT in the IEP, Assistive Technology Assessment, Assistive Technology Policies and Procedures

AT Implementation and Integration, Monitoring Effectiveness of Assistive Technology.

The Iowa Department of Education’s publication “Assistive Technology: Creating a Pathway” includes charts with examples of assistive technology in the general education curriculum, as well as a comprehensive chapter on assistive technology in the IEP. This publication can be downloaded in pdf format at (requires Adobe Reader)

LD Online offers many practical articles on assistive technology integration and teaching with technology, at

The National Institute at Landmark College addresses issues of what assistive technology does and doesn’t do in the classroom, challenges to incorporating assistive technology in the classroom, suggestions for integrating assistive technology into the classroom, and selecting and introducing appropriate assistive technology to the student. Geared to college students, this site provides a good summary of the kinds of assistive technology used for reading, writing, and organization. It provides a particularly good analysis of voice-activated software as a tool for students.

LYNJAN Solutions has a web page for “freebies and ideas” with pdf files and many practical suggestions for use of assistive technology in the classroom in articles or handouts such as “Making Things Interactive,” “Learning should not be a spectator sport,” and “80 functional ways to use technology.”

Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource (MATR) provides tutorials from assistive technology presentations. These can be downloaded in pdf or PowerPoint format and include such topics as “Assistive Technology for Math and Science Classes,” “Considering Assistive Technology in the IEP Process,” and “Teaching Diverse Learners.” “Modifications That Can be Made to Any Classroom” (requires Adobe Reader) provides a concise list of general classroom adaptations, organizational tools, classroom considerations, and some suggestions for equipment needed.

Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Contributions to Understanding Special Education Technology by Dave L. Edyburn summarizes four models commonly used by school systems: SETT framework (Joy Zabala), Education Tech Points (Gayl Bowser and Penny Reed), Has technology been considered? (Antonette C. Chambers), and assistive technology CoPlanner ( Leonard Haines, et al). Other developmental and technology-enhanced performance models are also included. (requires Adobe Reader)

National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) has a library with a wealth of information about technology, disabilities, practice, and implementation. They also offer an outstanding series of ten-minute video profiles that vividly illustrate how students with disabilities use a range of assistive and instructional technologies to improve learning. Their online tour of two exemplary early childhood classrooms show practical uses of assistive technology.

The South Carolina Assistive Technology Program (SCATP): two articles by Janet Jendron address:

Assistive Technology and Learning Disabilities: an overview of various hardware, software and low tech tools for students and teachers with a focus on literacy and a mention of available math tools. While there is an emphasis on middle and high school, many of the tools described are useful for elementary school students.

Assistive Technology in the Classroom: a basic overview of assistive technology options for classroom use.

“Toolboxes for Educators” compiled by Dr. Cheryl Wissick at the USC College of Education. Updated regularly, this site provides descriptions and comparisons of Alternative Web Browsers, Speech Recognition, Reading Skills, Talking Word Processors, Alternative Word Processors, Creative Writing, Text-to-Speech Tools, Word Prediction, Text-to-Speech Combinations, Reading Comprehension and Expression, Comprehensive Programs and Homework and Reading Tools. Prices and links to vendor web sites are given for each product.

Books and Reports:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1997). Maximizing the Provision of Appropriate Technology Services and Devices for Students in Schools. Technical Report.

Beukelman, D., & Mirenda, P. (1998). Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Management of Severe Communication Disorders in Children & Adults (2nd. ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Glennen, S., & DeCoste, D. (1997). The Handbook of Augmentative and Alternative Communication. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group.

Brodin-Lennon, D. & Rinehart, C. (2002). Songs to Communicate. Solana Beach, CA: Mayer-Johnson, Inc.

Goosens, C., Crain, S., & Elder, P. (1994). Communication Displays for Engineered Preschool Environments. Solana Beach, CA: Mayer-Johnson.

King-DeBaun, P. (1993). StoryTime Just for Fun! Stories, Symbols, and Emergent Literacy Activities for Young Children. Park City, UT: Creative Communicating.

Quattlebaum, Patricia D and Nalty, Lily N. (1998). A Practical Guide to Augmentative & Alternative Communication: Assessment & Intervention Strategies. Easy-to-use forms are reproducible and apply to clients of all ages.

Rouse, C. (2002). Ideas for Using Classroom Materials to Teach Academics to Nonverbal Children and More! Solano Beach: Mayer-Johnson, Inc.

Wise, Robbie. The AAC Communication Training Kit: From Low-Tech to High-Tech. Includes simple materials to train students to use their AAC devices and forms to track and document progress.

What does it mean to use visual supports for literacy?

Web Resources:

ASHA provides information, such as the article “Fostering Emergent Literacy for Children Who Require AAC” by Janice C. Light and Jennifer Kent-Walsh.

AAC, under the direction of speech pathologists Julie Maro and Caroline Musselwhite provide a wealth of tools at, founded by SLP Pati King-DeBaun, provides many freebies and resources, including a section on teaching tips.

Do2Learn provides many free materials to parents and teachers.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides a good summary of research in emergent literacy and teaching principles in the article “English Language Arts Curriculum” at
(requires Adobe Reader)

Use Visual Strategies.Com provides some good examples of how visual supports can be used by children in settings such as the grocery store and at home.

“Ways Technology Supports Early Literacy,” an article by Dara Feldman, can be found at Basic principles and the use of specific aids such as electronic books, word processing, multimedia applications, templates, digital images, the Internet and the World Wide Web are covered.


Emergent literary success: Merging whole language and technology
Caroline Musselwhite and Pati King-DeBaun. This book compiles current theory and practical applications to support and empower students in their quest for literacy. Sections include a review of the literature, illustrations and mini-case examples.
Pati King-DeBaun, Communicating, PO Box 3358, Park City, UT 84060. 435-645-7737.

Making Language Visible
Pati King-DeBaun. This CD has a collection of scripts and symbols for home and school. Easy to print out and use. Compatible with MAC and Windows.

Pati King-DeBaun, Communicating, PO Box 3358, Park City, UT 84060. 435-645-7737.

What is accessible information technology?

Technical Assistance:

Southeast Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC): The Southeast Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) is a resource center on the Americans with Disabilities Act and access to information technology (IT) in educational settings, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) at the U.S. Department of Education.  The Southeast DBTAC is part of a network of ten regional centers, and serves the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Free technical assistance is available through the national toll-free number at (800) 949-4232 or via the website at:


Access Board’s Guide to the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines:


AccessIT: The National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education (AccessIT) at the University of Washington serves to increase the access of individuals with disabilities to information technology in educational institutions at all academic levels nationwide. Questions and Answers on the web include a wide variety of topics.

DO-IT Publications: Electronic and Information Technology (University of Washington). This site offers many publications, including an online tutorial entitled “Accessible Electronic and Information Technology."

Resources:  Adobe Systems Incorporated’s website on making Portable Document Format (PDF) files accessible to all users.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is an educational, not-for-profit organization that uses technology to expand opportunities for all people, especially those with disabilities. Many articles on universal design for learning are included in their web site. The book “Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning,” by David H. Rose & Anne Meyer can be found at

EASI: Equal Access to Software and Information. Provides Online Training on Accessible Information Technology for Persons with Disabilities. Offers a certificate in Accessible Information Technology.

IBM Accessibility Center offers resources on Web Accessibility, Integration of Accessibility into Business Enterprise Transformation, Integration of Accessibility into Infrastructure.

Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center offers a one-stop resource for state laws and policies affecting information technology  accessibility.

(SIER- TEC) SouthEast Initiatives Regional Technology in Education Consortium: “Resources for Electronic Accessibility & Assistive Technology.”

Southern Regional Education Board Educational Technology Cooperative: “Accessible Information Technology Resources: A Quick Reference Guide for Educators” by Dianne Griffin

University of Texas: Making Web-based Instructional Resources Accessible to Students and Colleagues with Disabilities. Basic principles and solutions, explaining how non-accessible web sites affect students with special needs.

Veteran’s Administration: “Serving Veterans and Employees with Accessible Electronic and Information Technology (EIT)” Great links to government implementation of 508.

WebAIM at the University of Utah is a federal grant that provides trainings and resources for web accessibility across many disciplines. Their site has a wealth of resources, publications, simulations and online tutorials.



Lynx Viewer:


Resources for Libraries and Distance Education

Access E-Learning:  A ten-module online tutorial regarding common accessibility questions in distance education.

Colorado Department of Education: “Common Questions about assistive technology in Libraries”

The American Distance Education Consortium: Accessibility Issues

California Community Colleges: “Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities.”

NEW! National Center on Disability & Access to Education: The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) at Utah State University monitors and promotes electronically-mediated distance education policies and practices that enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Many resources and some video clips that address accessibility of electronic information in distance education.

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