Melissa Skiffen, Disability and Family Support Advocate at Achieva, shares insight into assistive technology through her personal experience. Find where to go for help in school, and explore a list of assistive technology that may ignite ideas.
When my son was 4 years old and had no verbal words, I knew we needed to find a communication method that worked for him. Getting over the barriers to access AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) didn’t come fast or easy, but because we were unrelenting in the belief that he had the right to communicate, we are here.
So where are we? Well, he – and we – are on the second day of the new adventure of middle school. Yes, middle school. A lot has certainly changed since the acronym AT (assistive technology) became part of our vocabulary. My son has matured and grown almost as fast as the technology has.
Helpful Assistive Technology Resources
- Proloquo2go has been my son’s go-to communication app for years It’s fully customizable. He has a dedicated iPad for his communication app and his communication app only. There are several app options, but this one fit his needs and has grown with him.
- Snap Type Pro 2 App – to assist with independent work.
- Clicker App – to promote independent writing.
- Anti-Glare screen protector to help improve focus.
Text leveling apps modify the text to be simpler to fit a student’s reading/comprehension skills while allowing them to access the same content as other students:
Intermediate Units and Training and Consultation Teams
The information above is courtesy of a report shared with us after a new AT Consult was done with a consultant from our IU (Intermediate Unit) who is a part of the TaC (training and consultation) Team.
You can find your Intermediate Unit by visiting the PA Intermediate Unit (PAIU) website.
AT Your Service: The Crucial Role of Assistive Technology (AT) Specialists
Please remember, these are examples that were identified for my son to trial. AT and AAC should be person-centered to meet the needs of each student, and that includes having time to trial options, not just forcing options. Conversations about this should be ongoing, as students and technology change, it’s important to review and revise. Students should also be a part of these conversations.
Technology is so helpful to all of us, I hope this piqued your interest in exploring what is out there.
Melissa Skiffen, Disability and Family Support Advocate