What do pencil grips, talking calculators, wheelchairs, and augmentative communication devices have in common? They are all examples of assistive technology (AT).Per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), assistive technology devices are defined as, "any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities."
Assistive technology devices can range from low-tech tools such as pencil grips to assist students with written communication, to high-tech tools such as electric wheelchairs to increase personal mobility. Whether low tech or high tech, AT devices help individuals achieve an increased level of independence. As a special education resource teacher by trade (working mainly with students with learning disabilities and ADHD), I am always thrilled to find tools which help students access grade-level content. Outlined below are four of my favorite online AT tools that you can access today to support and enhance learning in your classroom.