According to recent figures published by the U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), between the
years 1997-1998, approximately 5.5 million students, ages six to twenty-one,
received some form of special education. Of these, almost .20 displayed speech
or language impairments and .053 displayed visual impairments. The webquest you
are about to engage in will direct prospective teachers such as yourselves to
assistive technology resources that are available for your students with Speech,
Reading or Visual special needs. Assistive
Technology, according to the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with
Disabilities Act of
1998, is any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired
commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase,
maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”.
Increased access to assistive technology and special
Enhanced understanding of stake-holders' issues and
roles in the assistive technology decision-making process.
Increased knowledge of the types of available assistive
This webquest was designed to help future educators learn more about the use
of assisted technology in education. The quest is focused around three type of
disabilities: Visual, Reading and Speech. By the end of this lesson, you
and your group after considering each of the roles, will determine which
assistive technology solution is best for the particular type of disability you
have selected. You will then give reasons for the selection. You will break up
into groups of three and you and your group will choose to research one of the
following categories of Speech, Reading or Visual Impairments:
- Read the scenario and research all sides of the issue.
- Share research and reach a group consensus.
- Create and present the group recommendations according to the directions
given for each category.
your new 3rd grade student Darla. Darla has an Individual
Education Program from her previous school because she has cerebral
palsy. She has been diagnosed with athetoid CP and with moderate
hemiplegia. Because the left side of her body is primarily affected,
she uses a walker. With the aid of the walker, she can maintain
movement similar to a typical third grader. Her parents moved her to
your school because they were not satisfied with the communication and
accommodations made at her previous school. As a result of poor
muscle control on her left side, she has dysarthria. Although she can
form words, she is difficult to understand. Her parents can
understand her, but few others are able to communicate with her.
Through diagnostic testing, it has been determined that Darla does not
have any learning disabilities and that her vocabulary is above that
of the average 3rd grader. Unfortunately with the picture
board she was provided at her previous school, her ability to
communicate to the extent she is capable was limited. Darla’s
parents would like Darla to have a more comprehensive augmentative and
alternative communication tools and techniques to reduce her
limitations. This was prevented by the multidisciplinary team at her
previous school who felt that Darla’s speech could be improved using
low tech. augmentative communication to encourage her to improve her
difficulty with visual processing. She misspells words, leaves out
words, and has difficulty making sense of what she reads. She must
read things over and over to understand the content. She even has
difficulty reading back what she has written herself. You will be
having Cammy in your college level course next semester. The course is
required for her major and is currently offered in a web-based format.
She has just informed you that she is “dyslexic” and is very
apprehensive about the online course.
My 19 year old son Neil, was the victim of a fire several weeks ago in
San Francisco. As he was running down the stairs, he was struck in the head by
falling debris. One of the firemen was able to free him, and he was
taken to the hospital where he was treated. He was diagnosed with DVI or
Neurological Visual Impairment. The category of the impairment is termed
Cortical Visual Impairment. The doctors think it could be temporary but no one
is absolutely sure. Only time will tell. Neil is attending the university and
was taking three web classes before his injury. Neither, Neil, his father
or myself know where to start. Who do we contact to let them know that Neil will
need technological assistance to complete these courses? What type of
technological assistance will he need? What do we need to provide at home for
him? What are the laws?
You and your group's performance will be evaluated according to the
Credits & References
Turnbull, R., Turnbull, A., Shank, M. Smith, S. Dorothy, L. 2002.
Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools. Upper Saddle
River:N.J. Merrill Prentice Hall,
Nicole Kramer, Northern Arizona University,
College of Education, Institute of Human Development.
Technology Related Assistance
for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1998
Jesse Stemmler, a survivor.
Last updated on (4/02/03). Based on a template from
The Recommendation WebQuest Page