a tool that serves a set of education goals, and if we don't think about what we want
the technology for first, we end up with technology driven solutions that have very
little impact on the lives of children and in our educational system.
Linda Roberts, US Department of Education
We must make sure that we provide AAC for a child or young person that is appropriate for and supportive to their current need.
A good assessment process looks at the:
- Environment for all pupils.
- How the individual can operate.
Before deciding how best to provide a pupil with access to the most supportive technology, it is wise to make sure that the classroom environment is accessible to the widest range of pupils. Computers already possess several in-built access features and many pupils can access programmes without the additional need for an alternative means of access.
The following checklist of problems and solutions is a useful starting point.
The cursor or screen pointer is too difficult for the pupil to locate?
The pupil cannot see a font at any point across the whole computer system (e.g. s/he cannot read the menu bar or the names of icons as they are too small)?
The glare on the screen from reflected light is uncomfortable?
The pupil complains of fatigue when working at a computer?
The pupil can't double-click the mouse button fast enough?
The pointer moves too quickly across the screen?
Moving the mouse around the table to navigate is causing difficulty?
It is difficult for the pupil to hold down the mouse button and move it at the same time?
Strings of unwanted characters appear because pupils can't get their fingers off the keys fast enough?
After the computer is re-started it seems to lose the new settings for mouse, printer, display and others?
The control panel changes noted in the previous questions cannot be found or are not available?
Once the classroom environment has been 'made safe', each pupil will be more adept at communicating and taking part. When a classroom has enough adjustable height computer tables; easy access to additional power sources; blinds fitted on windows that reflect light onto computer screens, etc., individual additional requirements can then be assessed and implemented.
The questions and other material produced in this package have been drawn from the following document: