Technology and Special Education

4/28/20212 min read

Special education is geared toward students living with a broad range of conditions, including blindness, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, motor impairments, and autism. Estimates show that more than 7 million students living with disabilities are attending public schools in the United States, and individuals with specific learning disabilities or speech or language impairments make up the majority of these students. Technology in special education can help these disabled students keep up with their peers to the extent possible and prepare for future success. One of the most well-known types of technologies utilized in special education classrooms is assistive technology. Assistive technology is anything that helps students with special needs engage in basic tasks their peers can do without assistance. Technology plays a significant role in making a classroom inclusive. With adaptive tools, students with and without learning disabilities can study next to each other, improving their social-emotional development while growing academically. The central purpose of technology in special education is to enable students to learn in a way that accommodates their individual learning styles and limitations. Historically, learning in the classroom has been an auditory process. Educators explain information and students listen, with the help of occasional visual aids. However, modern educators have fought to increasingly add visual and kinesthetic elements to the learning process. Auditory learners only make up 30 percent of the population. Most people prefer visual cues and connections when learning. These can range from watching videos on certain topics or looking at pictures that accompany text. Word processing, editing, spellchecking, and grammatical tools commonly found in high-end software facilitate the inclusion of students with learning disabilities in regular classrooms by allowing them to keep up with much of the work.Students with special learning needs or students with developmental disabilities can be considered as a type of students with low academic ability students. Some of the general learner characteristics include short attention span, low capacity of working memory, need for repetitious practice and feedback sessions, and difficulties to make connections between events and characters in the same story (Bender, 2008; Taylor, Richards, & Brady, 2005; Wenar & Kerig, 2006). Typical instruction for these students is highly structured, provides strict guidelines, progresses with small steps, repeats practices and feedback sessions as many times as students need (Kirk, Gallagher, Coleman, & Anastasiow, 2011; Smith, Polloway, Patton, & Participatory Educational Research (PER), 6 (2);189-205, 1 December 2019 Participatory Educational Research (PER) -191- Dowdy, 1990). This type of instruction can be developed with educational technology tools such as computers, tablets, or game consoles. In addition, new technologies can provide the tools to bring more children with disabilities into mainstream educational settings.