The Early Start Program is California's response to federal legislation ensuring that early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families are provided in a coordinated, family-centered system of services that are available statewide.
- have a developmental delay in either cognitive, communication, social or emotional, adaptive, or physical and motor development including vision and hearing and are under 24 months of age at the time of referral, with a 33% delay in one or more areas of development or are 24 months of age or older at the time of referral, with a 50% delay in one area of development or a 33% delay in two or more areas of development; or
- have an established risk condition of known etiology, with a high probability of resulting in delayed development.
- There are no prerequisite skills are needed for assistive technology. The goal should be to identify the child's current method and build on it.
- Assistive technology gives children control. You shouldn't wait until a child cannot do something before introducing assistive technology. Instead, introduce technology early as a way to have a child actively participate in daily routines, using switches, toys and communication strategies as "typical toys." This active role changes the way they view themselves and the way others view them.
- It is good to involve the families in the delivery of assistive technology from the very beginning. Input from family members is vital, and their expertise should be part of the process.
- A team approach is required to implement assistive technology, and should include all pertinent persons involved with the child.
- We all use a variety of methods to communicate. Since different methods work in different environments, it is important from the very beginning to use a full range of options with children from low tech to high tech. The technology should match the child's needs and the communication requirements of the environment.
- Create slant boards/book stabilizers by gluing low pile carpet to a large 3 ring binder, and use Velcro to anchor books to the carpeted surface.
- Adapt commercially available lap trays to use as supports for positioning books.
- Easel, rain gutter or chalkboard tray used as a book support.
- Recycled materials like sheet packing foam, chip clips, large paper clips, sticky back foam, hot glue dots or soft Velcro can be attached to book page corners to “fluff” pages apart for easier turning. (See Page Fluffing 101)
- Large heavy duty hair tie loops can be hot glued or taped to create handles on chubby book pages or popup book pages.
- Scan or copy book pages to enlarge or place in more user friendly format such as 3 ring binders with page protectors, laminate, or photo albums.
- Enhance copied book pages with communication symbols, textures or homemade 3-D props, use Velcro to attach props, symbols or textures to story boards or book pages.
- Commercially available books that are enlarged or come with 3-D props can be found at www.lakeshorelearning.com or Constructive Playthings www.constplay.com
- Add pictures or symbols to text to enhance story meaning.
- Create ways to store books in open baskets with props to increase ease of independent access and choice.
- Pool noodles can be used to position the child during play and reading activities.
- Program single repeated line stories using a single message communication devices like the BIGmack from AbleNet or the Chipper from Adaptivation.
- Program simple short stories using a single switch sequential message communication devices like the Step-by-StepCommunicator from AbleNet or the Sequencer from Adaptivation.
- Create your own stories using talking photoalbums.
- The Book Worm from AbleNet can make almost any book a talking book, allows voice recording and alternate access to “listen” to the story.
- Commercially available books on tape or CD, can be controlled by the child by using a single switch adapted cassette or CD player to start and stop the story.
- Head phones can also be used to enhanced listening.
- Create simple single switch or mouse click access stories using Microsoft PowerPoint
- Create your own books using My Own BookShelf which is an authoring program that allows you to create books, and categorize them into bookshelves. Children can pick their books from the bookshelf and read using a variety of access devices.
- There are many free books available to play and view on line. Some examples are www.storyplace.org, Mighty Books, or www.starfall.com.
- AbleNet, Inc - Switches, environmental controls, battery adapters, and light tech voice output devices
- Adaptivation - Switches, environmental controls, battery adapters, and light tech voice output devices
- Constructive Play Things - School supplies that often have features that can be helpful to young children with disabilities
- Creative Communicating - Early childhood software with emphasis on emergent literacy, classroom support materials, resource books and videos, workshops.
- Don Johnston, Inc. – Switches, computer interfaces, software from early literacy to learning disabilities, resource books.
- Lakeshore - School supplies that often have features that can be helpful to young children with disabilities such as paint stamps with large handles or paint mitts, book props.
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools is a great preschool
The Success with Assistive Technology program supports Pre-K SPED teachers and school support personnel in their endeavors to provide assistive technology (AT) solutions to young children with disabilities and their families.
- PennState has a perfect resource with research behind the use of technology for developing language skills in kids with disabilities.
Also, read this mom's experiences with her son and using the iPad. Great ideas! "Learning Play Skills with the iPad: A Guest Post by Wonderbaby's Amber Bobnar"
Apps4Stages takes a research-based approach. The recommendations and information gathered is facilitated by the students and faculty of the Simmons College Assistive Technology and Master of Arts in Teaching Graduate Programs. Specific apps recommendations and tutorials are primarily contributed by students who are supervised. This is a very rich site with apps aligned with stages, tutorials, an app recommendation wheel, and providing a list of sites that specialize in specific types of apps in education. A very rich site!
Assistive Technology for Infants and Toddlers, provided by the Idaho Assistive Technology Project, handbook provides information about assistive technology, home modifications, and service options available to the very young, who have physical, cognitive, social and/or emotional, or adaptive disabilities. It states a handbook for parents and caregivers but is great for anyone working with this age group.