Assistive Technology includes 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 functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Assistive Technology Service is any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
Source: The US technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities act of 1988, Section 3.1. Public Law 100-407, August 9, 1988 (renewed in 1998 in the Clinton Assistive Technology Act)
“The varied use of technology for children with autism continues to receive limited attention, despite the fact that technology tends to be a high interest area for many” students with autism. (From Assistive Technology for Children with Autism, Written by Susan Stokes under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.)
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies assist people with severe communication disabilities to participate more fully in their social roles including interpersonal interaction, learning, education, and community activities. AAC entails learning to communicate by typing on a keyboard or pointing at letters, images, or other symbols to represent messages. This allows a mode of communication other than speech for those who need it. At HTS, one AAC device we use is the Lightwriter.
We use many kinds of technology to help our students develop. Various technologies target specific skill areas commonly associated with children with autism.
- “Low” Technology: visual support strategies which do not involve any type of electronic or battery operated device. Example: picture icons, picture communication boards, schedules.
- “Mid” Technology: Battery operated devices or “simple” electronic devices requiring limited advancements in technology. Example: tape recorders, simple voice output devices.
- “High” Technology: Complex technological support strategies. For example: video cameras, computers and adaptive hardware, complex voice output devices.
(Adapted from “Assistive Technology for Children with Autism” written by Susan stokes under a contract with CESA 7 and funded by a discretionary grant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.)