What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any kind of technology and/or tool that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as communicating with others, going to school or work, or participating in activities can be a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance and have access to a quality of life, that may otherwise not be known, and lead more independent lives.

The mission of this blog is to serve as a voice of a constant researcher in the field of educational and assistive technologies so that the best products, strategies and services may be located easily, in hopes that they will then be delivered, taught and used to better the lives of people with disabilities.


Sites to Support Students with Special Needs


Crayola Digi-Color is a new element on the Crayola website. Artists choose from an array of tools, colors and effects. With support for picking the tools many children will be able to create images of their own. The requirement for coloring is the "click and drag" function of a mouse. Preferences can be set to activate a click lock on most computers operating Windows or OSX.

The Artists Toolkit: Explore the tools that artists use like line, color and balance to build works of art.

Tux Paint is a free drawing program for children. It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program. Kids are presented with a blank canvas and a variety of drawing tools to help them be creative.

Paint Freely: Just start moving your mouse and have fun. Click every once and a while and new colors will appear. Anyone can do this and have great fun while exploring the simplicity of this unique site.

Doodle is a simple drawing and coloring program which includes stamps (small pre-drawn pictures to color) of Winnie The Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Rabbit, Gopher, Roo and Kanga to add to your pictures.

Rub a Dub teaches kids to mouse with this fun art application! Beginning mousers sometimes have trouble with the "click and drag". This fun little coloring book is designed with the tiniest tykes in mind. Kids can color pictures by dragging the mouse over them. The rubbing reveals colorful surprises underneath the black and white features!

Happy Tulip offers a great little coloring book where you can choose the pictures you want to include and color them in/print them out. A very simple program.

Kaleidoscope Painter: Simple program of making a kaledoscope with the drag of a mouse.

Sketch Swap is great fun. It allows you to draw anything and then in return you get to see what someone else has drawn.

Art Pad allows you to color on the spot with different size tools and a variety of colors. Very simple program. Nothing elaborate! Great mouse practice!!
Imagination at work is an interactive drawing program. You may invite a friend or a group of friends and all draw together. Great collaborative and fun tool.

Take a walk through this wonderful Museum of Art and explore every kind imaginable!

Lots of links for a variety of art information and exploration at Edison Elementary's site.

National Art and Disability Center Web Tour.

Reading is fundamental and so is art! This site includes a coloring book, illustrating stories, poetry in pictures, Read it, Draw it and much more.

Audio Stories

Tumble Books
has a free and subscription section on their site. Many books are available for free, all you have to do is sign up and then you will have access to some amazing audio stories called eBooks for Kids.

Story Online
which has actors reading books with full visuals of each page. The books change often so be sure to revisit this site and enjoy all that it has to offer.

Stone Soup offers a place for your students to publish their stories and read them and/or a place to listen to stories read by other students.

Candle Light Stories provides classic stories (read by professionals with sound effects included) that can be listened to on the computer, downloaded to iTunes and even put on iPods for portible listening. (Great way to allow iPods in your class!) You can even subscribe to have them automatically downloaded to your iTunes.

BookBox- Downloadable Flash stories are digitally narrated with simple animation and streaming text across the bottom - you see whole phrases, and the letters go from white to red as the words are spoken (called 'SLS' - same language subtitling). The stories are $2 per download - for PC, Mac or Video iPod, or you can buy DVD or CD-ROM collections. The stories are international in flavor, and come in several languages. You can preview the stories for free, so you could see if it fits your needs. The illustrations are beautiful and the animation simple.

Storynory provides fee audio stories. You can sign up and have them delivered to you every week. They can even be put on your iPod and played in the car... All the stories are read by our their own storyteller, who will beguile you with her warm tones and her many different voices.

Computer Skills

Young children who are just beginning to master the hand-to-eye coordination necessary to use a mouse might enjoy this rubadud site.

Patchworx- A site "where kids with illness or disabilities discover a Circle of Support". Contests, prizes, games, bulletin board, news, show and tell and much more.

Practice clicking with Mix and Match on-line games with Billy Bear.

Computer Safety

Child Proof is a program that protect your computer from children by accident pressing wrong buttons or key. It hides all windows, the toolbar at the bottom and the desktop and replaces it by a toolbar with programs you allow your child to execute. This avoids most problems when children use the computer (but not all).

Disability Awareness

The web site of Winners On Wheels (WOW), is a recreational program for children who use wheelchairs. Provides information about basic internet surfing skills, offers youngsters an opportunity see their creative genius displayed, and provides e-mail based pen-pal connections.

Kid's Quest is great site for kids to learn about various disabilities.

Disability Central is managed by and for teens with disabilities; an online cyber community where teens can socialize, educate one another.

AbleLink- Internet community where kids with disabilities or illness can meet role models, mentors and friends.

Tell us your Story offers a disability discussion forum for those with disabilities. Disability discussion forum for stories about awareness, rights, inspiration.

Disability Awareness Kit - designed to promote an understanding of issues surrounding particular disabilities. Handouts, activities and resources.

Disability Awareness- Articles, interviews, etc., general interest and some specifically geared to teens. There are also chat rooms and message boards.

LD Pride- Learning styles test.

Adult Learning Activities- provides a wide range of adult daily living learning activities.


Using e-mail is such a great way to get kids writing but you may want to explore some sites that provide just a little extra:

Springdoo is a free service that lets you talk your emails. Anyone can now easily send talking emails in their own voice, without typing. You can use your computer and a microphone, or any telephone. This allows users who have difficulty with writing / typing / spelling to create voice emails and email to anyone they want.

YackPack is simple, web-based voice messaging for groups. For younger or cognitively challenged people this would be absolutely ideal - it's a closed and controlled system... click on the *PHOTO* of the person you want to email, click on the BIG button to record, then click on the BIG button to send. It really is an amazing system and just ideal for people who are able to talk but who have difficulty with functional typing or writing.

Skype is a program for making free calls over the internet to anyone else who also has Skype.

(Google gmail and yahoo messenger all allow for full telephone conversations over the web - a benefit for people with physically disabilities.)

Ability OnLine "is a friendly and safe computer friendship network where children and youth with disabilities or chronic illnesses connect to each other as well as to their friends, family members, caregivers and supporters."

Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world.

Gmail is a in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want. Go to Google and go to Gmail. It's just one click to chat with the people you already email, as well as anyone on the Google Talk network.

eText (Electronic Text)

EText Center Is an e-Book collection site that states "for young readers" but then goes on to say: "These ebooks are intended for a variety of ages. Not all books may be appropriate for very young children." Explore the site as there are a wide variety of ebooks available.

BookShare is now free to qualified students. (See separate posting.) Unusual offerings of the latest best-sellers in fiction and non-fiction, computers & technology, sci-fi, romance, children's titles, K-12 and college-level textbooks. (Subscription Site)

Accessible Book Collection- Providing Digital Text to Persons with Disabilities.

Calisphere - a world of digital resources offers a broad range of scholarly and popular content.

Internet Public Library site has been designed to make it accessible to persons with disabilities.

Health and Fitness

Bam- This is a site for students to explore fitness, health, disease and peer pressure. Great graphics for teens and fun to explore.


Literacy Net - News stories and comprehension questions.

Kenn Nesbitt's Children's Poetry Playground- This site is easily searchable using graphics and titles to find a fun poem to read. Additional tools include poetry writing lessons and poetry games. (Have a switch user? Have your student in charge of sharing a poem every day!)

Giggle Poetry is FUN! This site gets everyone in the mood to rhyme. Read poet biographies, practice with fill-in-the-blank poems and read & rate poems.

Kidspace has links that take you to author websites, online comics, e-zines, poetry, children's stories in Spanish and more! (Used with a text reader and open up all kinds of new resources!)

Early Math, Language Arts

PBS.Org has a wide variety of activities available.

Knee Bouncers - This site provides games and activities to stimulate computer use for young children or students learning about cause and effect through computer activities. There are colorful animated graphics combined with great sound effects.

Math (See separate posting on strictly math)

Cool Math is an amusement park of math games.

General, Money, Time, drill games at Edu4Kids.

The Place Value Game is a site dealing with place value only.

Illuminations - Explore a library of 68 online activities that help to make math come alive in the classroom or at home.

Big Brainz - Multiplication practice

Teaching Time - Is just what it says it is.

Create a Graph -
Graphs and charts are great because they communicate information visually. For this reason, graphs are often used in newspapers, magazines and businesses around the world. This site really lets you explore the world of graphs.

AAAMath is sorted by subject with hundreds of pages of Basic Math Skills. Interactive Practice on every page. An Explanation of the math topic on each page. Several Challenge Games on every page.

MathFlash is Flashcards for drill and practice. (This must be downloaded onto your computer.)
Math Links – offers a wide variety of math links from flash card programs to problem solving to fractions, decimals and algebra.

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives is one of the best sites out there. It is a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction with a K-12 emphasis.

offers many Interactive Elementary Math games, making math fun and entertaining.

Mouse Practice

Mouse Practice
has lots of activities to use with kids when they are learning how to use a mouse. They cover, click, drag, hold down, scroll... all in fun and interactive ways. Some great graphics.

Custom Solutions provides a list of mouse practice Internet sources.

Reflex is a game that will improve your speed and accuracy when working with a computer mouse. (This must be downloaded.)
Provides a game that is available to download.

Burlington County Library provides introduction to pointing and clicking.

Shambles provides a list of various Internet sites with links for providing skills in using a mouse. Also- links for specifically designed for left handers!


National Gallery of Art - This program allows the user to use all sorts of wonderful tools. This is Paint with a twist. This is an online painting machine for all ages. This shockwave interactive includes more than forty brushes and customizable size, transparency, texture, and stroke options. A rainbow palette, along with a toolbox of special effects that blur, ripple, smudge, blend, and fragment your design. A full-feature painting program.

TuxPaint is Designed for young children. It has a simple interface, sound effects, and a cartoon mascot who helps guide children as they use the program.


Literactive provides reading material for pre-school, kindergarten and grade 1 students available online. The program is comprised of carefully levelled guided readers, comprehensive phonic activities and supplemental reading material.

Clifford interactive stories provides phonic "fun" for early readers.

PBS Kids has stories read with animations. Designed for young readers and listeners. 

Silly Books entertains kids while promoting child literacy. The gifted child to the child with learning difficulties will appreciate these stories. Text is high-lighted in time with the voice-over in both story and song so children can see each word as spoken.

StoryLineOnLine offers books read on-line by actors. The books rotate so be sure to check back often. 

Symbol Word Stories  is just that. Broken down into categories such as Nursery Rhythms to Film Reviews to stories for older readers.  

BookCrossing is a place to talk about and learn about books people are reading.

Starfall is Designed for teaching beginning readers, starting with letter recognition and moving all the way to reading simple books with support. One of the best sites on the Internet!

Story Place offers interactive digital stories and activities for pre-school and elementary readers. (Available in English and in Spanish!!)

Story Book Maker is a Dr. Suess build your own story then share it site. Great as a writing and reading activity. You can add music, characters, text, background and then play it back.


Sign Language

American Sign Language Browser: Videos and descriptive text of thousands of words in American Sign Language are available for reference purposes. QuickTime plug-in is required to view movies.

HandSpeak is a subscription website with ALS dictionary, lessons and resources.

Study Tools

Study Shack - Flashcards on the computer. Many already designed in various subjects. If it isn't there, design it yourself and use it with your students tomorrow. Better yet, assign it as homework to study with their parents. Parents will love it!

Switch Use

Inclusive Technology has modified games so that they can be accessed using switches.

One Switch - Classic arcade games to work with one or two switches.

Carbon Lehigh - Go to "Launch Power of Office CD" then to "Fun and Games". Some great PowerPoint books and visuals for switch users. You can save these to your computer.

BBC CBeebies - Modified games and stories for Special Needs children using switches.

Mesa Public Schools has a great site with direct links to the above and more. This is a great resource.


Fact Monster provides reference tools, curriculum activates and information, homework center.

I Know That! - Pre-K -6 grade variety of subjects, tools and activities.

4 Teachers helps to integrate technology into your classroom by offering free online tools and resources. Helps teachers locate and create ready-to-use web lessons, quizzes, rubrics and classroom calendars. Tools for student use also.


BBC Cbeebies is a great site for the little ones. Songs to sing, stories read to you, recipes to cook with Mom and Dad, art activities, fun and games!

Scholastic provides various subject matters in all grade levels.

Learning Center has activities for parents and teachers to share with young children.

Game Aquarium - Oodles and oodles of activities in every subject imaginable. You could get lost for days!

Spark Top - Specially designed for Special Ed. Teenager dealing with lots of issues.

DLTK - Educational activities for children: alphabet, color, numbers, shapes and more.

The Discovery Channel site for kids with games and activities to explore. Many based on their television programing.

Cool Links for Kids - You could be here for hours. Sue LeBeau has put together a site with many, many links that will keep you busy for days.

Do To Learn - Games, cards, communication card, fine motor, word games, etc.

Kids Domain - Links to a wide variety of educational and entertainment games.

with Comic Strips
Looking for a website with comic strip situations where the user creates the captions/cartoon bubble info for each panel? Try these:

For more sites, visit: MATN

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