Spec. Ed. 2.0
Among the wide range of skills needed by today’s special education teachers, proficiency with technology may fast be rising to the top.
According to an article in the Boston Globe, a growing movement known as “universal design” is spurring special educators to use advances in technology—whether in specialized devices or widely available Web programs—to give students with disabilities better access to mainstream curriculum units.
Examples cited include remote-control switches that help wheelchair-bound students operate machinery; oral readers to help students with reading disabilities keep up with texts; and an online program called Voice Threads that lets users create presentations with a variety of media, including voice and video.
There is a definite art to the way educators select and implement the technology, experts say, insofar as it must be tailored to the needs of the individual student for inclusion.
"We haven't left anyone out," said Madalaine Pugliese, director of the assistive technology graduate program at Simmons College in Massachusetts. "I think that's the real spirit of the work we're trying to do."