Assistive technology describes any use of a tool (low-tech or high-tech) that helps someone more easily interact with the world around them! For children and teenagers in school, this might look like using word prediction or speech-to-text from a program like Co:Writer to help them demonstrate their knowledge if writing is difficult for them. It also could involve using a program like Snap&Read or VoiceDream Reader to help a child who struggles with reading decoding to have words on a computer, or even from a book, read out loud to them.
Assistive technology can also come in the form of an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device – these devices use pictures, text, and voice output to help children who struggle to communicate verbally, to communicate in other ways. Programs like Proloquo2Go or TouchChat are great AAC apps available on iPads and are being used by some of the students at Berlin Elementary School.
Berlin CSD Director of Exceptional Education Samantha Brewer and BES Speech-Language Pathologist Heather Riccardi recently enlisted Jordyn Sims Pierce, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP Speech-Language Pathologist and Assistive Technology Specialists, to help explore these tools and think creatively about how best to meet each student’s individual needs.
Mrs. Riccardi has been seeking out these assistive technology tools and has been excited to put them to use this school year. Mrs. Riccardi works alongside BES staff as well to implement and integrate these assistive tools and strategies.