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Inclusive Education and Assistive Technology

Inclusive Education
The Role of Assistive
Ghana Education Services Special Education Division,
Ministry of Education, Science and Sports,
Accra, Ghana
December, 2007
Mary Hooker
Education Specialist
Global eSchools and Communities Initiative
Dublin, Ireland.
[email protected]
00353 863378219
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology (AT) includes a
range of technologies, which enable
people to build on their abilities and
participate as fully as possible at
home, school, work and in their
What does Assistive Technology
AT is used to describe both the
products and the services for people
with special needs.
AT Products
The term ‘assistive technology device’
means any item, piece of equipment,
or product system (whether acquired
off the shelf, modified, or customized)
that is used to increase, maintain or
improve the functional capability of
an individual with disability.
AT Services
The term ‘assistive technology
service’ means any service that
directly assists a child with a
disability in the selection,
acquisition, or use of an assistive
technology device.
Individual with Disabilities Act of 1990 (IDEA) P.L. 101 - 1476
AT Range
The AT definitions are flexible and open many
possibilities for what the products and services
of assistive technology can be.
They do not imply that assistive technology must
include computers, or that it must be expensive,
or that it can only be prescribed.
Assistive technology is essentially a very broad
field and may range from the very simple to the
very complex
What are the types of AT
AT may be organized into a system of lowtech, medium-tech and high-tech tools and
strategies that match a person’s needs,
abilities and tasks.
Learners/ teachers/parents pick and choose
from the system the appropriate tools for
the situation
refers to unsophisticated
devices and largely nonelectronic devices, many of
which can be produced from
local materials, such as:
• pencil grips
• book holders
• texture boards
• reading stands
• educational toys and games
cut-out pictures
jigsaw puzzles
sign language
natural gesture
facial expression
body language
devices are more
complicated, many of
which can be
manufactured locally,
such as :
• hearing aids
• speech trainers
• Braille paper and
• tape recorders
• magnifying reading
devices involve the use of
sophisticated communication and
environmental control systems that
are electronically based.
 increasing variety of methods of
adapting the computer through the
use of special needs peripherals
and/or software
Some keyboard alternatives
Input or
Other non-standard
Output devices devices
Concept Keyboards
visual and cognitive access
Overlays allow for pre-programmed, words,
symbols, pictures
Additional features include key guards,
alternative overlays, switch access
Large keyboard
that are up to four times the size of
standard computer keys
Can be useful for students with visual
difficulties or limited hand function.
Available in multi-colour, plain white, ABC
or Qwerty format.
Some have speech feedback, permitting
students to talk and work at the same time.
Some screen alternatives/enhancers
Input or Output
Other non-standard device
Touch screen
Braille display
for students who cannot understand the
relationship between the mouse or the keyboard
and movement on the screen.
Instead of using a pointing device such as a
mouse, the student can use their finger to point
directly to objects on the screen.
Also suitable for those who find it hard to
manipulate a mouse or other pointing devices.
the computer monitor and is often
augmented with Speech Output Systems
A line of Braille cells gives a tactile
representation of the computer’s text output
Some pointing options
Input or Output
Other non-standard
Pointing devices
Roller balls
Touch pad
requires little operating space
Slows down movement of cursor buttons
with limited hand function can
find them easier to use
Dampens down random motion s the
movement of the pointer will be less
be operated by any area of the body
(e.g. hand head)
Allows user to operate a computer or
other electrical device
to conventional mouse
Useful for people with fine finger control
but lack gross movements
Software categories
(drill and practice)
Electronic books
which bring
stories to life
develop skills and
reinforce concepts and
Provides practice on learned
Gives immediate feedback/
non judgemental
for a range of levels
(Non-readers to older
students with reading
Links written word with
spoken words
Gives students opportunity
to practice reading same text
more than one time
teaher instruction, not
replace it
Skills are often
presented in isolation
from classroom themes
and planning
value v
Educational value
Content-free software
Content free software
allows teachers to design
own content - text and
Word Processing
Programmes enable
production of a wide range of
Talking Word Processing
include in-build speech
be used in many areas of the curriculum
Teachers can develop materials to meet
individual needs of students
Help students overcome barriers to learning
can express themseles
Spellchecker allows concentraion on content
Relieves pressures that face students with
learning dfficulties
students to monitor their work
Brings writing to life - auditory feedback links
written word to spoken word
Auditory feedback assists students in
correcting spelling, grammar and syntax
Content-free software
Word Prediction Software
runs in conjunction with
word processor and
suggests words as text is
entered - as soon as a user
types first letter of a word, a
list of words beginning with
that letter appear
words so students can concentrate
on context rather tan spelling
Remembers words that student uses most
Word Bank Programmes
Teacher can choose words that individual
allow the teacher to input
students have difficulty with
lists of words the student has Students can concentrate on context rather
particular difficulty with than spelling
topic words, lists of nuns,
verbs, adjectives, adverbs,
sentence starters etc.
Content-free software
Planning and organising
software helps struggling
students visually organise
their ideas - can be used for
brainstorming, outlining,
prewriting, diagramming and
concept webbing.
Desktop Publishing/Art &
Design Applications
include a wide range of writing
and drawing tools that can be
used to draw a picture, write a
story, create a newsletter etc.
for students who think in
pictures rather than words (visual
Spellchecker allows concentration
on content
Relieves pressures that face
students with learning difficulties
for students by
adding or removing tools
Professional results help
struggling students gain confidence
Software categories
Study Skills Software
assists students in
developing the necessary
skills needed for efficient
Assessment software
used to assess student
attainment and identify
learning difficulties
students to independently
develop their own organisation and study
skills strategies
Provides students with direct
instruction and practice in developing
these skills
be helpful in early identification of
learning difficulties including dyslexia
Results can be used to individualize
instruction and develop individual
education plans
Progress can be monitored on a regular
Access tools software
Optical Character
Recognition Programmes
a text on a page
Converts it to digital format
Scan/Read software
Screen readers
Screen magnification
scanning from any book
Display on-screen version of printed material
back text from any programme
Highlight text as spoken
Read downloaded pages from internet, e-mails, text
size of text or image displayed on the
Only prt of the screen can be seen at any one time
Voice recognition software
Switch Access Software
dictation of written assignments, notes etc.
Vocabulary must be developed for software by the
by many students with physical disabilities
who are unable to use a mouse or keyboard due to
limited manual control
All OS have built-in options to support students
with special needs
Options allow user to adjust keyboard response,
mouse movement and screen appearance
Features have been designed to support the
needs of those with hearing, visual,
physical/motor and learning difficulties
Before looking at specialised solutions, check
accessibility built-in options for effective
AT not a fix for impairment
Pupil's impairment should be accepted as normal
to that person
Technology attempts to provide an alternative or
compensatory approach that works around the
AT sometimes called work-around technology
AT and Inclusive Education
AT will be more likely accepted if it is seen to
contribute to the achievement of relevant and
identified educational goals
Goals should be set in accordance with
individual’s needs, differences and abilities
Learner may need support to achieve goals at a
slower pace
AT interventions should not create unrealistic
expectations of what learner can achieve
Information on AT sourced principally from the Irish National Centre for Technology in Education
NCTE website – www.ncte.ie and Bassi, 2007
AT Utilization and Production
Lynch, 2007
How are they used?
Can we generalise them across
Use symbols for hearing impaired and
learning disabilities or speech
How easy is it to make them?
Who should make them?
AT and Curriculum Access
Lynch, 2007
How can AT help children with
disabilities access the curriculum?
E.g. Braille books, large print,
symbols, increasing font size on the
page, using low vision aids to read
AT, Assessment and IEPs
Lynch, 2007
Planning where AT can be used to
help a child learn.
What are the implications of
assessing a child and recommending
AT if none are available?
Low-tech V high-tech
Low-tech solutions often more
effective and easily integrated
High-tech solutions have enormous
potential, yet require
• careful assessment/ judgement for ‘fit’
with individual
require considerable specialist training
and support to be effective
can be prohibitively expensive
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
Capacity Building
 Build capacity for the Material Resource Centre
Accra to become a key institution for the supply
of AT into both mainstream schools and special
 Develop capacity for AT production in Ghana by
firms in the country in the form of:
low to medium-cost materials development beyond
Braille books
equipment to assist children with physical disabilities
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
Resources Centres and Special Schools
 Establish fully equipped and staffed assessment
centres outside of Accra, and Kumasi.
 Provide all of the 110 teacher resource centres in
every district in Ghana with AT and technical
advice in order to assist teachers.
Special schools and institutions should be restricted
to children diagnosed as having a Profound/Multiple
Learning Disabilities.
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
Itinerant teachers
 Build capacity of graduates in special
education as itinerant teachers to
school clusters in the districts where
mainstreaming is intensively being
• to support individual students
• to work with whole classes, classroom and
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Lynch, 2007
Another example of a recent initiative
between Sightsavers and Dolphin to
produce a screen-reader on a USB that
third-level students can use on any PC. I
think a few students at the University of
Ghana are using these USP pens.
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
On-line Support
Develop ODL training for University and teacher training
college levels on the fundamentals and implementation of
assistive technologies
Link with free online courses such as the NCTE, Ireland
which has 7 online courses of 20 hours each for ICT &
Special Needs:
• The Basics
• Learning Support
• Mild Learning Disabilities
• Moderate/Severe/ Profound Learning Disabilities
• Deaf/Hard of Hearing
• Introduction to ICT and Visual Impairments
• Autistic Spectrum Disorders
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
Special Courses
Train teachers in Assistive Technology usage
through regular training programmes organised
by the SpED with the support of outside
Call on private sector ICT training companies to
provide initial In-Service training in how to use
computer software to teach or supplement
curriculum areas in SEN
ICT Based Solutions for SEN in Ghana
Casely-Hayford and Lynch, 2003
Community Based Rehabilitation
The Integrated Education Project (IEP) was set up by
Sight Savers, Ghana in collaboration with the SpED and
the Ghana Society for the Blind (GSB)
Programme success generated through the Community
Based Rehabilitation (CBR) model:
funds for an itinerant teacher to visit the school
provision of free classroom materials (e.g. books
in Braille) and regular eye treatment
capacity building to enhance teacher skills in
monitoring and evaluating progress
Issues around AT
 Technical knowledge on how to
use it
 Level of support, loss and
AT provision where there are few
resources – 3 approaches
As special schools become decongested,
develop a new role for the schools as outreach
centres of advice and ideas for teachers in
ordinary schools –
Centres with dedicated staff who have
theoretical knowledge and practical expertise in
the areas of curriculum, assessment and
teaching methods in special education and the
development, utilization and monitoring of AT
technologies (Special School Approach).
Twinomugisha, 2007
AT provision where there are few
resources – 3 approaches
Develop a decentralized dedicated
network of resource centres or special
units linked to regular schools or school
cluster zones (Resource Centre Network
Twinomugisha, 2007
AT provision where there are few
resources – 3 approaches
Developing a full IE setting where the AT
is deployed in the regular classroom
(School Based Approach).
Twinomugisha, 2007
AT provision where there are few
resources – 3 approaches
A combined approach?
Twinomugisha, 2007
Bassi, R. 2007. How can ICT help people with disabilities? Dublin: GeSCI (Internal document)
Casely-Hayward, L. and Lynch, P. 2003. A Review of Good Practice in ICT and Special Educational Needs
for Africa. London: Imfundo/DFID
Enabling Technology. (Homepage). [Online]. Available from: http://www.enabletech.ie/index.html
[Accessed 21 October 2007]
Individuals with Disabilities Act 1997 [Online]. Available from:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/idea.pdf [Accessed 14 November 2007]
Morrison, K. 2007. Implementation of assistive computer technology: A model for school systems.
International Journal of Special Education. 22 (1), pp83-95
National Centre for Technology in Education 2007. [Online]. Available from:
fromhttp://www.ncte.ie/SpecialNeedsICT/ResourcesAdvice/AssistiveTechnology/[Accessed 14 November
Twinomugisha, A. 26 November 2007. Re: Financing IE where there are few resources. Educationist Group
[Online Discussion List]. Available from: Gesci
[Accessed 28 November 2007]
UNESCO 2006. Press Conference on Inclusive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities [Online].
Available from UNESCO <http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2007/070326_Disabilities.doc.htm>
[Accessed 20 October 2007]
Group discussion 1
The topic of resources is a very emotive one when inclusion is being discussed. Many people
argue that they ‘cannot do inclusive education because we do not have enough resources’.
What are the resource barriers to inclusion?
What resources do we have within ourselves and our communities? CBR, Special
Schools, National, District and School Cluster Resource Centres
What is needed?
What are the options?
How can they source funding through the Education Sector Plan?
Group Discussion 2
Case Study
• Kwame is 7 has low vision, goes to local school, unable to see
blackboard, finds it difficult to read normal size print, enjoys
maths, etc.
Work out a plan on the use of Assistive Technology that helps
Kwame integrate into the class.