Top Ten Strategies for Special Education Instruction
Take advantage of these ten strategies for using technology to enhance education for students with special needs in the following categories.
Students with Physical Disabilities
- Use alternative keyboards such as Intellitools' IntelliKeys — Students with limited manual dexterity need alternatives to the standard keyboard that let them use the computer independently.
- Use joysticks or switches instead of keyboards — Students with severe physical disabilities need ways other than a keyboard to get input to the computer.
- Use voice recognition software such as DragonTalk's Dragon Naturally Speaking — Students who are unable to write by hand, who have illegible handwriting, or who find handwriting extremely tedious can use this software to create text from their speech.
Students with Sensory Disabilities
- Use text-to-speech readers such as JAWS for Windows — Students with visual disabilities can use these to have text read to them from a computer screen.
- Use optical character recognition (OCR) software or CCTV — This strategy helps enlarge text for students who are partially sighted.
Students with Communication Difficulties
- Use text-to-speech products such as WizCom's Quicktionary pen — These devices and materials assist students who have difficulty speaking.
- Provide a range of tools to support student writers — Some students need; simplified word processing tools such as Tom Snyder's Scholastic Key, or specialized word prediction word processors such as Don Johnston's Co:Writer.
- Use talking word processors such as Don Johnston's Write:OutLoud — Provides speech synthesis to allow students to hear what they have written.
Students with Cognitive Disabilities
- Use digital cameras to capture images of objects and environments — Students with cognitive disabilities sometimes need concrete examples as cues and prompts for learning.
- Use specialized calculators such as Programming Concepts' Coin-U-Lator® — These handheld devices help students learn numerical concepts like making change.
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