This module provides an overview of assistive technology (AT) used by children with disabilities ages 5-11: what it is and how it can be used to promote independent participation in elementary classrooms. As educational reforms include the application of technology to support and expand classroom curricula, assistive technology can provide both routine and customized access to the general curricula for students with disabilities. Although AT increases independent participation in home, school and community environments, we will focus on its impact in the classroom.
Assistive technology has the potential to augment abilities and, bypass or compensate for barriers that disabilities create (Lewis, 1994). This and following modules address the potential of assistive technologies as they relate to specific disabilities and life tasks. For children with disabilities in public school classrooms, assistive technologies are their tools to extend their physical, social and communicative abilities. They also provide the means for academic and cooperative inclusion.