Assistive technology undeniably makes a huge positive contribution to many people’s lives; however it sometimes lacks the look and feel of more engaging mainstream technologies.
This still often leads to SEN students standing out as different in class which inhibits true inclusion. I am keen to see educational and SEN companies working more closely together to achieve more up-to-date interface design, engaging graphics, effects and multimedia elements for SEN technologies, putting assistive technology on a more even par in terms of visual appeal with the broad-line consumer products that we are all familiar with.
An even bigger leap for education would see educational ICT vendors working alongside mainstream consumer companies such as games developers which could result in educational software with a true at-home feel that students know and love.
Assistive technology is designed to be easy to use for people with different learning difficulties. However, it can also prove incredibly beneficial for all students in the mainstream classroom.
Teachers should discuss with their school’s SENCO the different benefits assistive technologies bring to their SEN students as different features and applications will help support a variety of learning styles.
For example, dyslexic students often experience issues with comprehension and so rely on software which can record and read back their lessons or homework.
This is also a trait of any auditory learner who would benefit immensely from the use of text-to-speech software.
Integrating assistive technology into the mainstream classroom is also a massive step towards a greater acceptance of disabilities as SEN students are not set apart from their peers when using it.
Head of Service and Mobile Development, iansyst