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Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities Essay

The Department of Education and Skills in Ireland provides an allowance to the schools and colleges to purchase specialist equipment for students with disabilities. The scheme applies to the student suffering from physical ability, mental ability, or learning ability. Additionally, if the students are suffering from a communication disability that makes regular communication difficult through writing or speech are considered crucial for assistive technology use. The main objective of assistive technology is to offer the Irish students equipment that will be of straightforward educational benefit for them.

Some of the efficient examples of assistive technology used in Irish schools or colleges include table computers, laptops with adapted software, keyboards, joysticks, braille equipment, touchpads, and audiology equipment. However, plasma screens, telephones, iPhones, smartphones, phone connectivity, or TVs are not covered under assistive technology for students with disabilities. Though the equipment is reserved in the school; however in some special cases, the Board of Management can permit students to use it at home.

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What do students mean by assistive technology?

Assistive Technology or AT refers to the specific equipment, tools, or devices that assist students with disabilities to accomplish a task. It can be something simple that is; Low-Tech like a mobile phone or quite complex that is; Hi-Tech like voice recognition software or screen-reading software. The major objective of assistive technology is to enable an individual to use certain tools and enhance their capabilities for performing a task effectively. The use of assistive technology in schools encourages as well as facilitates independence among the students with disabilities.

It is vital to assess the special needs of the Irish students along with their capabilities and challenges before providing them with certain tools. The wide range of assistive technology and other sample products are available in any classroom that makes a difference in how the students with different abilities learn.

What are the different types of assistive technology available in Ireland?

  • Text to speech tools

One of the crucial tools of assistive technology is well-designed to help the students having difficulties in reading. Some of the common print disabilities faced by students include dyslexia, learning disability, blindness, or any other visual impairment that inhibits the ability to read. However, students can benefit from text-to-speech tools to work effectively in their school tasks.

This assistive technology operated by scanning and then reading the words in a synthesized voice to the students. Students with ADHD disorder, autism, or any other intellectual disability can use TTS technology to enhance their academic performance.

  • Abbreviation Expanders

The students with communication disabilities generally fail to correctly spell the words. It creates several grammar mistakes, vocabulary, and many other issues. However, with the use of abbreviation expanders, the students can avoid such errors efficiently. These are used with word processing and allow the students to store, create, or re-use the abbreviations for phrases or other repeatedly used words. It saves the student’s keystrokes and confirms the students with the proper spelling of words and phrases.

  • Electronic math worksheets

Students with autism, intellectual disability, or any other disorder suffer while solving mathematical problems. However, with the use of electronic math worksheets, the students can organize, align, and even work through critical math problems on a computer screen. Along with it, the technology includes a speech synthesizer. It reads aloud the numbers appearing on the onscreen and allows the students to understand it. The technology is beneficial for the students having trouble aligning mathematical problems with paper and pencil.

  • FM systems

These tools are an ideal choice for students with sensorineural hearing loss. It is the most common type of hearing loss that occurs when the cochlea or inner ear pathways get damaged to the brain. FM systems use radio broadcast technology to work with a transmitter microphone and a receiver. It helps the students and teachers to maintain a consistent sound level irrespective of the background noise. That is why; in many Irish schools and colleges this technology is implemented to help the students with hearing tasks.

  • Hard of hearing/ deaf tools

Assistive Listening Systems are helpful for students who are deaf or have issues while hearing. Even students with auditory or listening disorders can use these tools. This equipment uses a type of transmission technology that is; microphone along with a device to capture and bring the sound to the ear. The technology enhances the effectiveness of cochlear implants as well as hearing aids.

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Essay sample on assistive technology for students with disabilities

Title: How proofreading software helpful for students with disabilities?

Proofreading software is the branch or subdivision of the assistive technology. The software is helpful for the students suffering from writing as well as reading challenges. It goes beyond the typical features of proofreading and assists the students with dyslexia. Additionally, this software is helpful for students with different types of learning disorders. Generally, the students suffering from dyslexia face issues with word spells. However, this software helps in correcting the misspelled words. Apart from it, this software can help the students to work on their English skillset and enables them to become a better and effective writer.

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