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.


Tutorials/Quick Guides

There are online tutorials that can be very useful. (When using them, be sure they match the version you have.) The online tutorials are usually much shorter, much more to the point and often easier to follow than the manuals that come with the software.

  • ATTO provides tutorials on several programs. These are easy to view and easy to follow.
  • CALL Scotland produces a series of useful Quick Guides on how to set up software and equipment. They are updated regularly and are available as PDF files that you can print and use at no cost.
  • DynaVox/Mayer-Johnson provides on-line trainings for most of their products. Check out their wonderful toolbox.
  • HIAT Technology Quick Guides and Video Tutorials offer step-by-step guides and tutorials for software programs and hardware such as AlphaSmarts. Printable Quick Guides are in PDF format.
  • Internet4Classrooms provides Tutorials/On-line Practice Modules to support Microsoft Office and a few other programs such as Inspiration.
  • The Learning Centre by SET British Columbia has a library of resources, developed over the years, broken down into categories of  Access, Autism, Communication, Curriculum and Vision. This is a very rich resource of materials to help us all learn more about our tools and techniques.
  • Loudoun County Public Schools has a wonderful site offering a whole section on AT. These include Multi-Media Guides, How-to print outs and so much more. This site is worth spending some time on.
  • On Demand Training lists many sites with direct links for trainings via video or handouts including software, strategies, switches and AT basics.
  • This site displays hyperlinks to technical training videos and tutorials created by PATINS. Kurzweil and Classroom Suite are included (be sure to scroll all the way down) as well as the Flip Video camera and using NIMAS files.
  • SCCATN is a nice little Wiki with some great How to Manuals which includes a whole section of step-by-step guides for Boardmaker, Don Johnston products, IntelliTools, and more.
  • An UDL Quick Wheel  provides you with quick ideas for how to provide various supports for students. Not like the tutorials above, but a great resource to have on hand! An Assistive Technology Quick Wheel is also available and a great resource to remember.

Many companies who sell software provide their own video and/or print step-by-step guides. Always ask if you can't find it on their site! Don't forget to check YouTube and TeacherTube as there are many published tutorials worth watching. If you are a visual learner, this is often the best place to look.