Considering Alberta’s financial situation and the possibilities of Alberta Education’s upcoming budget (a slash and burn type), the most powerful point by Coleman (2011) was that many AT’s were under utilized. Essentially, most tools were lacking and did not “fit” into the education plan of the students.
How many times has this happene in schools and how often has money been wasted at vain attempts to find magic solutions to students with learning disabilities?
Part of the problem is that when new, exciting, attractive AT comes to the market or is presented on at convention or elsewhere, teachers are promised more than the product can deliver and students are left with tools that may look nice, however, they cannot accomplish the tasks that lead them to greater success. Coleman (2011) argues, still, that assessment, training, timeliness, and consistency of implementation are keys to the success of AT; as reiterated by Wilson (2011, 59) “providing students with technology tools must be combined with adequate training (of students, parents, and professionals), careful assessment and decisionmaking, detailed implementation plans, and persistence in follow-up if we are to see gains in student learning.”
Educational assistants, teachers, and administrators need to assess the value that the AT can have in the education of the student. From there, a plan (possibly a SMART goal) must be implemented to ensure the AT can assist in the education of the whole child and not attempt replace teachers, valued programs, and other ATs. All partners in the education of the child with disability need to understand how the plan will work in the hopes to meet learning that the child is striving for.
Without a team, a plan, and a scan (re-assessment), the AT will end up collecting dust like others before it.
Coleman, M. (2011). Successful Implementation of Assistive Technology to Promote Access to Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Physical Disabilities. Physical Disabilities: Education And Related Services, 30(2), 2-22.
Wilson, M. (2011). Assistive Technology. Journal Of Special Education Technology, 26(2), 55-60.