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Assistive Technology Effective as a Special Education Intervention, Study Says

A new study shows that assistive technology employed by a team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and educators has a significant impact on helping students with disabilities achieve their academic goals.

The study, conducted in the Arlington, Va., school district, showed that assistive technology appears to make a greater contribution toward accomplishing goals set on a child's Individualized Education Plan than other possible interventions, including "related services," tutoring, changes to the curriculum, and student maturation, said Anne H. Watson, an occupational therapist with the district, said in a statement about the study. Assistive technology is hardware, devices and software equipment that help students with disabilities by giving them the same access to perform certain tasks that would otherwise have been challenging.

The research was published in the January/February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

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