It is important for parents to understand the "language" of assistive technology so they can be informed advocates for their child's technology needs. The following glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.
Browse our lists of high-quality apps to support the emotional, language and communication, organizational, and social needs of kids with autism or Aspergers.
Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audio books also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Here, you’ll find guidance on what to look for in choosing audio books as well as listening tips.
Turn travel time during a family trip into a great bonding and learning adventure with activities that build language for literacy and boost kids’ brain development. Here, you’ll find simple, fun ideas for singing, reading, and sharing family stories together.
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more.
In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents manage the digital landscape they're exploring with their children.
Take this simple quiz to help you become more mindful in using digital technology with young children. It's all about content that is educational and developmentally appropriate, a context that encourages conversation and learning, and the needs of each individual child.
Choose wisely! This list is not exhaustive, but gives parents and educators a good idea of what to look for when considering an app and evaluating its educational value. Use app review sites and advice from literacy experts — including your local media mentor or librarian — to find materials that match children's needs.
A veteran teacher describes how she used visualization, Google images, video, and Skype to build background knowledge and enrich her students' classroom read aloud of a fiction book about ospreys in the UK.
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of "born accessible materials" and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.
When students engage in "word analysis" or "word study," they break words down into their smallest units of meaning — morphemes. Discover effective strategies for classroom word study, including the use of online tools, captioning, and embedded supports to differentiate instruction.
Find out how to help your students improve their writing through activities and tools that support the drafting stage. Show your students how to use technology tools to create, revise, and store their drafts in a digital writing portfolio.
Semantic maps (or graphic organizers) help students, especially struggling students and those with disabilities, to identify, understand, and recall the meaning of words they read in the text.
When a student is trying to decipher the meaning of a new word, it's often useful to look at what comes before and after that word. Learn more about the six common types of context clues, how to use them in the classroom and the role of embedded supports in digital text.
For years, the field of reading education has been engaged in thinking about best practices. Explicit instruction in vocabulary, rereading and using digital textbooks to motivate children's reading are among some of these updated best practices. Those in the reading community are urged to consider best practices, and how we may promote their uses, with high fidelity in classroom instruction.
Writing for an audience gives kids a reason to use their developing reading and writing skills. Here are some tips to get you and your child started with free, safe blogging sites.
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, and even our youngest children interact with technology on a daily basis. Find out what you as a parent can be doing to help your young learner navigate the digital world — you may need to reconsider how you connect with your child during technology use.
Learn about the features in e-books that may distract, support, or extend comprehension and the need for more scaffolding of reading instruction with e-books. The article also addresses ways to familiarize students with multi-touch tablet devices while encouraging students and teachers to transfer print-based reading strategies to this new medium.
Electronic books are becoming more and more commonplace. Here you'll discover practical tips for sharing e-books with your child, and how to keep the focus on reading and the story.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Our interconnected and digital world demands a lot of our learners. Here are five simple ways to help build your child's critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Learn how technology tools can support struggling students and those with learning disabilities in acquiring background knowledge and vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and making connections between reading and writing.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.
Explore two ways you can help your child begin to develop information literacy: learning to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and figuring out if a source of information is reliable.
The struggling second and third graders in this study increased their reading comprehension after a 10-week Readers Theatre podcasting project. Podcasting made the students aware of a wider audience, which enhanced the authenticity and social nature of the strategy, and made their performances permanent so they could be stored and conveniently retrieved for later listening and evaluation.
Young kids love technology, gadgets, and nature! While parents may be looking for ways to reduce screen time for their kids, here are a few helpful suggestions for integrating simple technology and books into your outdoor adventures in a fun and educational way.
One motivating, engaging, and inexpensive way to help build the foundational reading skills of students is through the use of closed-captioned and subtitled television shows and movies. These supports can help boost foundational reading skills, such as phonics, word recognition, and fluency.
Drawing on research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning, this article presents 10 strategies that use free digital tools and Internet resources to engage students in vocabulary learning. The strategies are designed to support the teaching of words and word learning strategies, promote students' strategic use of on-demand web-based vocabulary tools, and increase students' volume of reading and incidental word learning.
Speech recognition, also referred to as speech-to-text or voice recognition, is technology that recognizes speech, allowing voice to serve as the "main interface between the human and the computer." This Info Brief discusses how current speech recognition technology facilitates student learning, as well as how the technology can develop to advance learning in the future.
The law requires that public schools develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each child. The IEP is a written plan for educating a child with a disability. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology.
If your child has a learning disability, he or she may benefit from assistive technology tools that play to their strengths and work around their challenges.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from abbreviation expanders to word-recognition software programs — that address your child's specific writing difficulties.
Learn about assistive technology tools — from audiobooks to variable-speed tape recorders — that help students with reading.
Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. Here are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help your child get the most out of a family or school educational experience.
In addition to the unique gifts and interests that autistic students bring to the classroom as people, their responses can serve as an early warning system for pedagogical problems that are happening in the classroom as a whole.
Technology tools and supports can be an excellent way to help struggling students engage with social studies texts in a meaningful way, and build deeper understanding through guided inquiry.
Are your students drowning in information, misinformation and downright bunk? Are information literacy skills tested in your state? Teaching information literacy skills has never been more important. But it's easier said than done. As teacher-librarians, how do we teach those critical, all-important information literacy skills in ways that capture and hold student interest?
If your child cannot read their textbooks, they need digital copies of their books. Schools now can use National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) to get e-text. Learn the details that will help you advocate for your child so they can use NIMAS. And learn where to find the publishers and producers that provide e-text.
Technology — and especially the subset of technology tools known as assistive technology (AT) — can be an effective element of the writing curriculum for students with disabilities. Since writing is so integral to school success, AT is often indicated to assist students with disabilities.
By the time they begin kindergarten, children in the United States have watched an average of 4,000 hours of TV. Here are some tips that will help you monitor and guide your child's TV viewing.
Learn the basics of how a digital whiteboard works and potential benefits of using the technology in early literacy instruction. Results of a research study in a first grade classroom reveal that digital whiteboards are effective as an organizational tool for lesson preparation and followup instruction; provide opportunities for scaffolded learning; and stimulate greater student engagement.
Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders. In many cases, audiobooks have proven successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books. But they have not been widely used with average, avid, or gifted readers. This article lists the benefits of audiobooks for all students.
Learn about specific strategies you can use to differentiate instruction to help your students overcome fluency problems, as well technology tools that can support development of fluency skills.