a search engine that allows users to
input desired features and select potential tools.
Perhaps the most important aspect
of implementing AT in schools is ensuring the students and all who work
with them receive appropriate training. Unless educators understand the
specific AT well enough to teach a
student to use it and a student has the
skills necessary to efficiently operate
AT, integration will be difficult.
As with any technology, training
without planning for integration is
not enough. The following activities
can help ensure that you integrate AT
seamlessly into your classroom:
Contingency planning. Technology will
fail from time to time. Ensuring that
there is a backup plan for when a student’s primary AT fails is important.
Coordination. AT needs to be managed.
Developing a plan that addresses
equipment management and availa-
bility as well as support needs for
the student is essential.
These two articles describe methods
for measuring student performance
when using AT: “Evaluating Academic
Performance with and without Technology,” MACUL Journal, by Dave L.
Edyburn ( bit.ly/TSCDEdyburn), and
“Monitor That Progress! Interpreting
Data Trends for Assistive Technology
Decision Making,” Teaching Exceptional
Children, by Howard P. Parette, George
R. Peterson-Karlan, Brian W. Wojcik,
and Nora Bardi ( bit.ly/monitorthat
progress; requires login and purchase).
In the United States, each state has
an agency that serves as its Assistive
Technology Act Program provider, offering technical support and, in some
cases, a library from which schools
can borrow various forms of AT. You
can find a listing of those programs at
I hope these thoughts and tips help you
as you work with students who may be
candidates for, or who are already using,
AT. These technologies provide much
promise for students who are experiencing difficulties in school. Ensuring that
we follow a thoughtful AT process helps
us to realize that promise and create successful outcomes for students.
Brian W. Wojcik, EdD, ATP,
is an assistant professor of
teacher education at the
University of Nebraska at
Kearney. He is also a past
president of ISTE’s Special
Interest Group for Special
Gayl Bowser serves as the
volunteer column editor for
As I See AT. Her work as
an independent consultant
focuses on the integration
of technology into the educa-
tional programs of students
with disabilities. Bowser provides assistive
technology consultation, training, and technical
assistance in the United States and abroad.
MACUL Journal article
Teaching Exceptional Children article