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.

Friday

Switch Use

Online Activities

  • Better Living through Technology has several programs that they direct you to designed for switch use. Some you are able to download onto tour computer, others are for use right on the internet. 
  • Boohbah Activities allows you to see some great visuals with the click of a mouse (or a switch). Many different Flash activities to explore and have fun with,. This is cause and effect fun! 
  • Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 offers many Flash programs that you can download to your computer to use. These are great fun. Be sure to preview as some people are not comfortable with.   
  • CBeebies by Inclusive Technology and CBBC, who have combined their efforts in this project to give switch users the chance to learn about money and prices.It also uses early math terms such as"cheapest"and "most expensive". Most instructions are read out clearly,though non-readers will need a bit of help.Play with one or two switches as well as standard access methods. CBBC Switch Games is a television channel for children also created by the BBC.  Its companion website has five Switch-enabled games.  These games are for older elementary and middle grade students and are purely for fun and entertainment.There are many other CBeebies activities to explore also. Take some time here.  
  • HelpKidzLearn has sections with stories, games, creative fun such as puzzles and paint, all which can be used with switch access!Many of these activities are not timed, use sound and visual information and have other features that make them appropriate for individuals with disabilities building access abilities. Each activity includes recommendations for products sold by Inclusive Technologies that may be of interest. 
  • Flower Garden let's you build your own garden with the click of a mouse, touchscreen or switch (but you will want to move it around.) 
  • Hiya allows you to download or play their games online. This is a nice feature. There are various programs available for a variety of skill focuses from early start and beyond.
  • Ian Bean is providing online (or downloadable) cause and effect games for PC computers. The activities are ‘Space Walk’, ‘Meet the aliens’, ‘Doorstep Ding Dong’ and ‘React: Shapes’. Keep checking back for more. Also be sure to check out his Free Downloads of Switch and Touchscreen Activities!!!  
  • Inclusive Technology offers a very rich site. This will link you to free downloads worth exploring. 
  • Jackson Pollock allows users to design great abstract art without complications. For a touchscreen this would be awesome. To learn the mouse- great, for switches- maybe not the best but what's wrong with using a little movement with a switch for some? 
  • Judy Lynn offers software for trial. Their software is based on developing switch skills.
  • KneeBouncers - Perfect! Great fun for our little ones.  A must explore site!
  • Moving Targets has a suite of Flash applications to use with; mouse, trackerball, touch screen or interactive whiteboard 
  • NanoGames offers free Accessible Computer Games in various categories: Single Switch, Low Vision, Simple, Senior, and even Speech Recognition!
  • OneSwitch is a resource of fun ideas aimed at moderate to severely learning/physically disabled people.
  • Papunet Games is a free website that contains games in English as well as Finnish and Swedish. The games are designed with AAC device users or students who use computers with alternative access in mind. They range from very easy to more challenging and can all be played with a mouse or switch.
  • Priory Woods School provides Switch videos and slide shows set to music, which can be controlled by a range of common assistive access devices. They are designed to help children understand and generalize cause and effect (the action / reaction bond), one of the foundation stones for early learning. All of the videos can be played online or downloaded for use on a PC or Macintosh computer. And now, their revamped videos!
  • RJ Cooper has a couple of cause and effect programs worth exploring.
  • Sen Software - starts with allowing the user to just watch then builds to using a specific amount of switch clicks to build a picture.
  • Shiny Learning offers 6 free games designed to be used with a switch, keyboard or mouse. They can be played on-line or downloaded right to the computer, which ever works best for you and your student. To play these games you need the Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer. These are great, simple cause and effect games. 
  • Specialbites has free switch games to download, switch games to play online and tons of video tutorials to help you make switch games.
  • Tar Heel Reader a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens, the IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches. You may write your own books using pictures from the huge collection at Flickr or pictures you upload. Now available to use on the iPad also.  
  • Up To Ten has some nice online coloring pages for switch use.
    Activities Using Switch Operated Devices
    • Switch access to the Internet? You bet. Better Living through Techology explains how to set up your switch Interface to access the Internet through the use of one or two switches.
    • Inclusive Technology provides suggested activities for developing and checking for understanding of cause and effect.
    • Moving, Grooving and Talking PDF by Carol Musselwhite provides movement activities to support language learning.
    • Plano Independent School District offers lesson planes/activities for a variety of switches and peripherals.
    • Project Participate has Strategies for active inclusion with Gadgets and Gizmos for reading, writing, play and home.
    • Switch Activities for the Classroom provides written step-by-step ideas for integrating switches into your curriculum.
    • DeafBlind Online (don't let the title fool you) has a free downloadable software program, which is called Sense Factory. Sense Factory is switch activated software that lets you make slide shows, sequences of pictures, videos and sounds for use with one of two switches.
      Sounds to Record

      Kids love sounds! This is just a quick reminder that it doesn't always have to be your voice on the switch. There are many sites on-line that are available for free. This is just one such site:

      Partners in Rhyme offers human sounds such as screams, moaning, burping... oh, what fun we could have!

      Further Resources to Explore

        Companies who sell Switches, Toys, and Environmental Controls

        iPad and Switches
        The iPad is a great tool for teaching Cause & Effect. It is rich with apps that allow you to touch and get a reaction. Using a switch with the iPad is a little different in that you need tools and programs that will allow you to use a switch with it. They are limited. For a listing of switch adapted apps, Jane Farrell has developed  Switch Accessible Apps for iPad/iPhone.