It goes without saying that the utilization of innovative techniques can open new horizons for the educators dealing with students with special needs, one such being the utilization of assistive technology. The appropriate use of this assistive technology can help in the development of the students, thus eradicating the monotony of the overall teaching-learning procedure and can be considered as a very important tool in terms of making the future educators gain adequate knowledge about teaching the students with special needs, thus catering to their development as they pursue the comprehensive online special educational needs courses.
In the following lines, we will have a look at the various tools of assistive technology that can help a future special needs educator to provide the best education to the students with special needs while they start their career in the sphere of special education.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is used to help students with special needs. Whether these students have physical problems or show symptoms of dyslexia or cognitive problems, assistive technology can help them to properly function in the class. Assistive technology includes certain tools and various types of equipment or device that helps students to make amends for their learning disabilities. However, while these tools are unable to eliminate learning problems entirely, they can help the educators to let the students with special needs capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Among the most innovative assistive technologies available, the following ones are the most popular.
1. Electronic Worksheets
Students with special needs like dyslexia can utilize electronic worksheets to perform their assignments successfully. These worksheets provide students the insight to line up words, equations and numbers on their assigned projects. On a few of these worksheets, text-to-speech or speech synthesizing technology is also available, which can be helpful for the students with special needs and can be well utilized by the learners of the online special educational needs courses when they start their teaching career.
2. Phonetic Spelling Software
For a number of children with special needs, reading and writing can be a challenge. The usage of Phonetic spelling software can help to automatically convert the student’s typing into the word that they want to write. For alternative reading options, students can look out for audiobooks as well, which can help them follow along in their text and overcome reading difficulties. A future special needs educator should understand the appropriate utilization of this software and can derive benefits while teaching the students with special needs in the future.
3. Talking Calculators
A talking calculator can be highly beneficial for students who have dyscalculia. This gadget can help in checking assignments, reading numbers and performing calculations. The talking calculator being a fairly simple tool, it can offer some exceptional benefits for students who can find it otherwise difficult in math classes. Other than talking calculators, text-to-voice devices can be another tool for the ease of the students with special needs. Like talking calculators, they also function on the same concept of turning written words into audible tracks. Students with special needs can use these devices to check their spelling or to improve their comprehension skills and a future special needs educator must take note of these devices as well for the ease of delivering the course content to the students.
4. Variable Speed Recorders
As we know, every student has a different learning style, and many of them find it difficult in understanding auditory lectures. For the students who have this problem, a variable speed recorder can be a perfect solution. The student just has to hit record while they are in class and capture the lecture. Later, the recording can be slowed down or sped up according to the advantage of the student so that he/she can listen to it again and again. If the recording is difficult to understand, the students can look to modify the pitch as per their preference in order to make the lectures more accessible. This can be extremely beneficial for the students and should be taught about by the educators, who are currently pursuing online special educational needs courses.
5. Videotaped Social Skills
Children with autism along with the students with learning disabilities may struggle to learn normal social interactions. In the past, the most common way to learn the nuances of social interactions was to practice them. Unfortunately, many children with special needs inadvertently behaved in an inappropriate manner as they were taught to learn what defined “normal” social interactions. With videotaped social interactions, students and children with special needs can learn important life skills and social behavior without accidentally offending someone. In addition to the various interpersonal skills, these videos can also provide solutions for self-help, linguistic, academic and emotional problems as well. As a result, this can be one of the best tools for the future special needs educators to utilize while providing education to the children with special needs.
Learning disabilities can be demonstrated in a variety of different ways by the students or children with special needs. From mild disabilities to bigger problems, these disabilities can hamper the student’s ability to learn and be the part of a classroom. Along with it, the unfair stigma circling this difficulty in popular culture makes it even harder for the students as well as the educators in charge of their education. Thanks to the introduction of assistive technology, it is now possible to overcome many learning disabilities for these students. The aforementioned technological devices are able to meet the unique needs of the students that include offering them ways to slow down the lecture to providing talking calculators. With help from the educators, who also need to learn and inculcate the nuances of the appropriate usage of the tools of assistive technology while pursuing the comprehensive online special educational needs courses, the students with special needs can become the competent, exceptional individuals that they already have the potential to be in the future.
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