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In 1990 the United States government enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act a law requiring public schools to design an Individualized Education Plan for disabled students The plan must meet the needs of the disabled student in the least restrictive environment possible a learning environment as close to equal as their non-disabled peers The acts intent was to teach disabled children skills needed to seek higher education pursue employment and live independently Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 22 Today schools are obligated to design creative educational programs for disabled students and for their part technology coordinators facilitate the selection of appropriate assistive technology These devices aid students in every school subject from the formal classroom to the physical education environment Disabled students use assistive technology in educational settings to improve cognitive abilities and motor functions Assistive technology is defined as any device that disabled children might use to help them learn and function more effectively Steele-Carlin 2 There are over 4000 assistive technology devices available for school use based on a students needs Dalton 1 The technology coordinator can select a device from one of three categories based on the students capabilities Devices are classified as low tech mid tech or high tech Low tech devices do not require an electrical power source or special training for use by students Mid tech tools may use a power source such as batteries and involve some training before the student can use it High tech equipment involves higher costs and requires students to be trained to use the device effectively LeCaze 7 When selecting assistive technology the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board START team determined several elements to consider 2007 The factors areAgeDevelopmental and cognitive statusPhysical abilitiesPresent needsFuture needs of the studentAdditionally before any decision is made opinions about assistive devices should be collected from the students and their parents
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