The education system is changing and is more challenging than before. The purpose of education is to provide equal education to all students to become more productive and to be citizens who contribute to their society.
But one of the most challenging part in education process that also includes a lot of debates between parents, teachers, school administrators and politicians is to promote independence for people with special needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004 helped to secure a place for students with special needs students in the public schools. IDEA combined with No Child Left Behind Act ensure that all children with disabilities have access to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. These laws include students with deafness, hearing disability, mental retardation, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disabilities, speech impairment, and visual impairment to make them enable to perform tasks that they were not able to performed, the development and the implementation of AT it will be a greater helper for them. (IDEA, 2009; Shih, Shih, & Luo, 2011; Krieg-Bruckner, Shi, Fischer, Rofer, Cui, & Schill, 2009; Shi, & Krieg-Bruckner, 2008; Rothstein, Rothstein, & Johnson, 2010; Beard, Carpenter, & Johnson, 2011; Rofer, & Laue, 2009).
AT is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”(American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. (2013). Retrieved from: http://aaidd.org)
Students with special needs must be provided equal access to AT education programs. Numerous research studies suggest that students with special need can benefit from experiences that involve hands-on minds-on learning, equivalent to those experiences students in technology education programs receive (Luo et al., 2011; Wressle & Eek, 2011; Jay, Brown, & Harper, 20011; Beard et al., 2011; Shi, & Krieg-Bruckner, 2008; Rofer, & Laue, 2009). The potential of AT to facilitate students with special needs’ hands-on minds-on learning by “doing” strategies in the classroom cannot be ignored. This paper presents assistive technologies that teachers can use to enhance academic outcomes of students with special needs in the classrooms. Also, this paper explores the impact of assistive technology on students learning, especially students with developmental, physical and intellectual disabilities and based on their disability that they have,which are the devices that they use to improve their difficulties.
An explanation of the use of assistive technology in inclusive education and the availability and accessibility of technology that should be appropriate to the needs of the situation to be accessible to the users that in this case are people with disability is the purpose of this research paper.