Special Education » Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Special Needs Students Use Assistive Technology

MPUSD has assembled an Assistive Technology Team to implement support devices to assist students with speech, language and learning needs. These devices range from low tech solutions such as weighted pencils for those with motor skill problems to high tech iPads with applications that help students with communication.

Katie Rivera, school psychologist and autism program manager with the Assistive Technology Team, describes the technological opportunities now available to special needs students. “We currently have several students across the district using iPads or iTouches with the Proloquo2Go application as a means of communication with staff, peers, and parents,” she says. “We also use several education applications on the devices to support student learning, such as Smarty Pants School, TeachMe series, ABA flashcards and more.”

Diane McCluskey, an occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist with MPUSD works with students to use Kurzweil 3000, a computer program that helps students with learning disabilities and problems with reading, scanning, and writing. The District also uses Classroom Suites, an educational software that “combines direct instruction with a flexible tool environment” which enables students to log on both at school and at home to complete assignments and activities. Activities can be modified to allow all students to access the core content.

MPUSD is partnering with Santa Clara University and Telepractice Strategic Blend Solutions to develop an e-platform to bridge the gap between home and school, which will allow parents to log on and view their students therapy sessions, or to practice techniques modeled during those sessions. Santa Clara University students are developing an application that can be used on both the Android and iOS mobile devices. This application would be developed specifically for working with MPUSD students.

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