Finding the Right Assistive Technology
This page will help you explore and learn more about the different types of AT. [Use the LP AT Planner first to identify the routines you would like to focus on and what you would like to see the child “do”]. In each AT category outlined below, you’ll find an overall introduction [AT Supports for _____], and a powerpoint training (highlighted in blue) that is easily shared with colleagues or your staff who would like to learn more about how, why and when to use this particular type of AT. In addition, you’ll find resources, videos and activities to illuminate how the AT can help a child participate.
Assistive Technology helps children interact with their environment while on the floor, sitting, kneeling, and standing, as well as moving. Appropriate positioning supports hold the child's body in a stable and comfortable position so that s/he can interact more effectively. AT supports are considered for a variety of settings so that the child can participate in multiple activities in his or her natural environments.
As children develop, disabilities can make it difficult to attend, read social cures, follow rules, and interact appropriately with peers and adults. The right assistive technology can made a big difference, reducing frustration and providing guidance. Assistive Technology tools can provide visual cues for schedules, activity sequencing, and self-regulation. They can support the use of social stories and video modeling.
Children grow and learn through play. Assistive Technology devices such as accessible toys, switch-operated toys and games, mobile devices, and adaptive materials serve a vital role in providing successful play opportunities for children with disabilities. AT supports allow children to control and actively explore their worlds by reducing and/or removing barriers to play.
Young children use multiple ways to communicate including gestures, baby signs, vocalizations and speech. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices include a range of tools that are used to support and expand the emerging language abilities of young children with disabilities, from simple to complex. The early use of AAC devices has been shown to enhance a child’s language development.
Early learning Assistive Technology supports enable young children with disabilities to participate fully in group and individual activities by providing supportive and alternative ways to learn, discover and demonstrate new skills and abilities. Learning opportunities are embedded within a child’s everyday routines and activities.
Tablets & Apps
Children with disabilities may need assistance in moving to explore their environments, a critical component of development. Assistive Technology items are used to support the various movements used by children to explore and participate in various activities. Movements include crawling, standing, walking, scooting, riding, rocking and swinging. Consider the various features of commercially available items as well as adaptive equipment for a full range of options. Adaptations can further help to provide a more customized fit.
Assistive Technology supports for young children's self-care needs strengthen their ability to participate in eating, dressing, bathing, and personal hygiene routines. Adaptations of readily available materials, as well as the use of specialized supports, accommodate a child's abilities to participate.
Switches are used with special interfaces to provide increased yet simplified control over a variety of activities. Switches provide successful ways to play with a toy, blow bubbles with friends, read a story on the computer and communicate a choice or express an idea through an app on a tablet device. Switches can also increase access to other technologies such as computers and mobile devices.
Mobile digital devices enable young children with disabilities to participate fully in an increased number of learning opportunities. Developmentally appropriate software and apps can strengthen and reinforce opportunities for discovery, communication and social interaction. They provide alternate, accessible ways to explore cause and effect, make choices, interact with stories/games, and play with other children.