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.


50+ Ways to Use Voice Output Devices

Do you have  a  QuickTalker , GoTalk 9+ or other light tech communication device and have run out of ideas for how to integrate it? I recently ran across this list by the LAT Team that I thought I would share and add to. Please note that I have another list on this blog about recordable switches but decided you could never have too many lists. 

1. Make Choices:

  • Choose centers during play time.
  • Choose toys for play.
  • Make choices of food and drink items during snack and meal times.
2. Introduce new vocabulary items:
  • Place vocabulary for special events or stories on the device and let the child push.
  • The pictured target to practice hearing the new word and making the association.
3. Provide color choices:
  • Child can select the color of the named items.
  • Child can select the color in a color song.
  • Child can be the color caller in a “Twister” game.
  • Choose which color they want to wear today.
4. Practice Story Sequence
  • Place pictured events in a story. Child can select what happens first, second, third, or last. Child can simply push the items in sequence to hear the story.
  • CAn answer questions by having sequence cards and they tell you what order they go in by using numbers. 
5. Indicate steps for an activity (cooking, game, etc.) 
  • Child will give directions to the group by pushing the appropriate step in the activity.
  • Read off a recipe, letting others know what comes next.
6. Deliver a message
  • Record a message and send the student to the office to deliver the message. Could be lunch count, attendance, etc.
  • Read class announcements for the day. 
7. Make requests:
  • “Do it again.” 
  • “I want a cookie.”
  • "Let' splay a game."
8. Direct actions:
  • “Build the blocks into a tower.” 
  • “Knock them down.”
  •  "Add one more."
  • "Turn right."
9. Bathroom Comments:
  • “I need help.” 
  • “I need toilet paper, (soap, etc.)” 
  • “Please turn on the water.” 
  • "I want some privacy."
10. Put the daily schedule on the device. 
  • Child can announce what event is next in the class day.
  • Help to develop time management skills, "It's time for..."
11. Allow the child to express emotions.
  • “I’m mad.” 
  • “Leave me alone.” 
  • “I feel great!”
12. Emergency information:
  • “I don’t feel good.” 
  • “I feel sick.” 
  • “I am hurt.”
  • "I need my mother to be called."
13. Express negatives (we all should have that right):
  • “I don’t like it.” 
  • “I don’t want any.” 
  • “I don’t want to stop.” 
  • “Go away.” 
  • “Bug off.”
  • "I want some time alone."
14. Encourage social interaction:
  • “Come play with me.” 
  • “It’s my turn.”
  • "Let's play a game."
15. Make positioning requests:
  • “I want out of my chair.” 
  • “Put me in the floor sitter.” 
  • “Push me please.”
  • "Would you help me tilt my chair?"
16. Have a child announce transition times:
  • “Time for music.” 
  • “Time for clean-up.”
17. Record the clean-up song on the device. 
  • Child can lead the class in singing the song.
18. Greetings: (Place the recordable switch near the door.)
  • “Good morning.” 
  • “Goodbye.”
  • "See you later, alligator."
19. Attendance
  • Allow one child to call roll.
  • Have the child answer, “I’m Here”
20. Record Pledge of Allegiance and have the child lead the class.
21. Give the child a response during lunch count.
  • “I’ll buy lunch.” 
  • “I brought my lunch.”
22. Record names of classmates. Ask them a question:
  • Who would you like to play with? 
  • Who is line leader today? 
  • Who is here today?
23. Introduction:
  • “Hello, my name is Joey.”
24. Give a child a way to let you know he is finished.
25. Request additional items.
  • “More juice please.” 
  • “More jello please.”
  • “This is good.” 
  • “This is yucky.” 
  • “Cool.” 
  • “I hate that.”
27. Observe the child during center play and record four things they did during play.
28. Use sabotage to encourage communication efforts. 
  • Fail to give the student an item such as a napkin, a drink, or a spoon. 
  • Encourage the child to request the missing item. 
  • Never deprive a child of an item indefinitely. 
  • If the child does not initiate a request, then assist until a response is obtained in some form. 
  • They may need prompting or hand over hand assistance to locate the correct picture target.
29. Give child small snack portions, so they will be encouraged to ask for more.
30. Record a breakfast conversation (this type of thing is good on a step-by-step). Have them ask:
  • “What’s for breakfast?” 
  • “When do we eat? 
  • “I’m hungry.” 
  • “I’m finished.”
31. Place device in the art area to allow requests and comments:
  • “Look at my picture.” 
  • “I need some play-dough.”
  • "Please offer me a new color."
32. Select verse of song:
  • “Wheels on the bus”
  • “People on the bus” 
  • Choose animals for Old McDonald song
33. Place song choices on the device and allow the child to choose the song to sing.
34. Place job choices on the device and allow child to choose his job or announce his job.
35. Place book choices and allow the student to choose the book to read.
36. Place repetitive story lines on the device so the student can participate with the other students in repeating those lines.
37. Record “Happy Birthday” and allow the student to lead the song for a friend.
38. Nap conversation:
  • “I’m not tired.” 
  • “I don’t want to sleep.” 
  • “May I have a book?” 
  • “Rub my back please.”
39. Use the device to practice colors and shapes.
40. Use the device to practice object functions. Place pictures of objects on the device. Ask questions such as, 
  • “You ride a ____.”
  • “You sweep with a ____.”
41. Practice prepositions such as in, out, in back of, under, etc. Record the prepositions on the device and allow the child to direct another student’s play.
  • “Put the block under the box.”
42. Don’t forget to record vocabulary and comments for the student to use for special field trips or for special activities.
43. If the child has their own device, record the comments to send home to the parents and allow them to record home events to share when the child returns to school.

44. Place the device in the center with comments such as,
  • “It’s my turn.” 
  • “I want that one.”
  • “Please play with me.”
45. Place weather choices on the device and the child can participate in weather discussions.
46. Place the device in the center with comment such as,
  • “Five more minutes please.”
47. Make center choices. First choose the center for play and then choose the specific item within the center.
48. Gain attention:
  • "I can answer that."
  • "I think I know." 
  • "Can I tell you something?"  
  • "I have something to say." 
  • "Can I tell you what I think?" 
  • "I want to try." 
  • "Can I have a turn soon?"

      49. Playground choices:
      • “I want the scooters.” 
      • “I want to swing.” 
      • “I want to play in the sand.”
      50. Presentation: Have students take their device and share information with other classes; such as 
      • giving announcements
      • give a short speech,
      • tell a quick story
      • be in charge of providing a joke of the day.  
      51. Emergency messages: When we’re communicating about things like spasms, seizures, pain, medication, fear, and danger, time is of the essence. The quicker, the better.
      • "Help me."
      • "I feel a seizure coming."
      • "I'm sick."   
      • “My asthma is kicking up. Get my puffer, please.” 
      • “I’m having a back spasm. Take me out of my chair.” 
      • “I think my sugar is off. Can you do a finger prick to check my levels?” 
      • “I’m scared. Can you help me?”
      52: Low-risk contributions: Make it easy to agree with a classmate’s response:
      • “That sounds right to me.”  
      • “That makes a lot of sense.”
      53. Provide positive feedback:
      • “I like the way you said that.” 
      • “I’m glad you asked about that. I was wondering, too.” 
      • “That was helpful.”
      Resources to explore for more Information and Ideas: