Alper, S., & Raharinirina, S. (2006). Assistive technology for individuals with disabilities: A review and synthesis of the literature. TAM Board Members, 21(2), 47-64.
Despite the emphasis on technology and the rapid proliferation of assistive technology devices, little is known about the specific uses of assistive technology with persons who vary in disability type, severity, and age. The present study conducted a comprehensive review and a systematic analysis of published reports of assistive technology and skill acquisition of persons with disabilities. Uses of assistive technology, its benefits and obstacles, are reviewed.
Edyburn, D.L. (2006). What’s new about assistive technology outcomes in education? Technology Special Interest Section Quarterly, 16(2), 1-4.
Despite the longstanding interest in technology to support performance in special education, interest in measuring the outcomes of assistive technology is a relatively recent phenomenon. This article provides a brief overview of recent developments in the field of assistive technology outcomes in education and highlights resources for interested readers to explore. This article is particularly relevant, as all professionals are being encouraged to provide a more systematic evidence base for their practices.
George, C. L., Schaff, J. L., & Jeffs, T. (2005). Physical access in today's schools: Empowerment through assistive technology. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 355-377). Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin: Knowledge by Design, Inc.
FROM: An authoritative single-volume reference documenting the latest research and practice developments in special education technology. Featuring contributions from 100 authors, this handbook is essential reading for special education teachers, administrators, teacher educators, graduate students, technology specialists, researchers, and policy makers. The comprehensive single volume reference contains over 40 chapters on a wide range of topics: historical, legal, and policy foundations; access for diverse populations, assistive technology, disability specific technology applications; instructional design, technology and instruction; professional development; and trends and issues.
Judge, S. (2006). Constructing an assistive technology toolkit for young children: Views from the field. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(4), 17-24.
Assistive technology is guaranteed by law to be included when appropriate on individualized education plans (IEP) for young children with disabilities. Yet, the full potential of technology remains unfulfilled due to insufficient knowledge of options available, limited professional development, and a dearth of evidence on its effectiveness for particular daily routines and activities. This article describes a proactive strategy for meeting the needs of young children with disabilities through an assistive technology toolkit approach. Surveys were completed by 38 early childhood special education professionals to assess what assistive technology tools are most useful for working with young children with disabilities. Results indicated that communication and low-technology devices were considered most useful. Discussion focuses on the effectiveness of an assistive technology toolkit that supports the learning, language, and motor development of young children with disabilities.
Lange, A. A., McPhillips, M., Mulhern, G., & Wylie, J. (2006). Assistive software tools for secondary-level students with literacy difficulties. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(3), 13-22.
The present study assessed the compensatory effectiveness of four assistive software tools (speech synthesis, spellchecker, homophone tool, and dictionary) on literacy. Secondary-level students (N = 93) with reading difficulties completed computer-based tests of literacy skills. Training on their respective software followed for those assigned to the Assistive Software and the Microsoft Word Control groups. Posttests revealed an improvement for the Assistive Software group on reading comprehension, homophone error detection, spelling error detection, and word meanings. The Microsoft Word Control group also improved on spelling error detection and word meanings, but performed worse on homophone error detection. A Full Control group showed no significant improvements on any of the measures. Overall, results indicate a significant assistive value of the four software tools (from the software package Read & Write Gold, 2002) across several domains of literacy.
Lewis, R. B. (1998). Assistive technology and learning disabilities: Today's realities and tomorrow's promises. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 31(1), 16.
Lewis presents findings and commentary based on a survey of the status of assistive technology for students with learning disabilities. Lewis concludes that while not systematic, there is research support for the benefits of technologies such as word processing, videodisc-based anchored instruction, hypermedia supported text, and text-to-speech for students with learning disabilities.
Lueck, A. H., Dote-Kwan, J., Senge, J. C., & Clarke, L. (2001). Selecting assistive technology for greater independence. RE: View, 33(1), 21-33.
This article discusses a systematic method for selecting assistive technology that enhances or enables people with visual impairments to perform literacy skills. The method identifies critical tasks, personal preferences and abilities, and the relationship of visual, auditory, or tactile media needs to the critical tasks and personal preferences.
Male, M. (2002). Technology for inclusion: Meeting the special needs of all students (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Technology for Inclusion is an extremely practical, comprehensive survey of professional practices needed by teachers to meet the technology needs of their students. This book is designed for hands-on practitioners, whether beginners or advanced users. Written in an informal style, with a strong research base, this new edition will appeal to both pre-service and professional in-service audiences. For anyone special education with a focus on technology.
McKenna, M. C., & Walpole, S. (2007). Assistive technology in the reading clinic: Its emerging potential. Reading Research Quarterly, 42(1), 140-145.
In this article, the authors establish a clinical definition of assistive technology (AT), describe how theory and available research support its use in clinics, link AT in clinics to AT in schools, and describe the potential uses of AT in clinical settings. Although many reasons may underlie a reluctance to embrace AT, surely one of them is an adequate research base to guide its clinical use. Until an adequate foundation of evidence becomes available, AT applications cannot reasonably be expected to flourish in the clinic. Although clinical practice must always rely on trials of potential methods with actual clients, research must first have validated such methods to the extent that they can be reasonably attempted with a given individual. In this article, the authors identify central questions that might guide useful lines of inquiry in the establishment of such a research base.
Mechling, L. C. (2006). Comparison of the effects of three approaches on the frequency of stimulus activations, via a single switch, by students with profound intellectual disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 40(2), 94-102.
The effects of three classes of reinforcing stimuli were compared across three students with profound intellectual disabilities. A multi-element design with no baseline and final "best treatments" phase was used to measure the frequency of single-switch activations by each student across treatments. The three interventions were Treatment A, adapted toys and devices; Treatment B, cause-and-effect commercial software; and Treatment C, instructor-created video programs. Stimulus activations using a single switch were consistently greater when using individualized computer-based video programs. Implications for identifying stimuli for students who may not respond to traditional methods for teaching means-end contingencies (cause and effect) are discussed.
Raskind, M. H., & Higgins, E. L. (1998). Assistive technology for postsecondary students with learning disabilities: An overview. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 31(1), 27-40.
This article reviews research on the effectiveness of assistive technology for postsecondary students with learning disabilities. The conclusion is made that assistive technologies (for example, optical character recognition and speech synthesis, speech recognition, and word processing) can be beneficial to postsecondary students with learning disabilities but that there are complex relationships between specific technologies and the students and target tasks/skills for which they are effective.
Rose, D., Hasselbring, T. S., Stahl, S., & Zabala, J. (2005). Assistive technology and universal design for learning: Two sides of the same coin. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 507-518). Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design.
Although the existing benefits of technology for students with disabilities are already widely recognized (e.g. Edyburn, 2003, Elkind, Elkind, & MacArthur, 1998; Hasselbring & Glaser, 2000; Raskind & Higgins 1995; Rose & Meyer, 2002), the potential benefits are likely to be even more profound and pervasive than present practices would suggest. To ensure full realization of technology's potential for students with disabilities, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has funded two national centers that have a strong focus on technology—the National Assistive Technology Research Institute (NATRI) at the University of Kentucky and The National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC) at CAST. While both centers focus on the role of technology, their work is neither duplicative nor competitive. Rather, each is researching a distinct role for technology in improving education for students with disabilities, Assistive Technology (AT) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), respectively. The question of how these two approaches can enhance and even support one another for the further benefit of students with disabilities is fundamentally important. We have engaged in early discussion of this issue with the National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Pip Campbell and Suzanne Milbourne at Thomas Jefferson University, organizations whose OSEP-supported work is also at the forefront of technology in special education. In this article we provide a framework for further discussion of this significant issue by articulating the points of commonality and difference between AT and UDL.