FACULTY:                                                EDUCATION    

DEPARTMENT:                                      GENERAL EDUCATON

COURSE TITLE:                                    EDUCATIONAL MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY

COUSE CODE:                                        SBED 2208

COURSE INSTRUCTOR:                      Mr. G. Muhode

REG:  NUMBER:                                     SEK/BEdSN/ 252/2014.

NATURE OF WORK:                             INDIVIDUAL ASIGNMENT.

ACADEMIC YEAR:                                2015/2016

SEMESTER:                                            2nd SEMESTER

TASK:  What are the assistive technologies for students with hearing impairment, cognitive impairment, and mobility challenges in education?

Assistive Technology for Students with Mobility Impairments

Students having difficulty with fine motor skills may require larger keyboard while using a computer, an on-screen keyboard or speech recognition programs to coordinate with their learning tasks. The use of a standard keyboard in a computer with access to a ’mouth- or head-stick’, where the keys can be pressed with the pointing device can help students with mobility impairments; while Track balls, head trackers and touch screens can serve as suitable alternatives to the computer mouse. Software utilities can create ’sticky keys’ that electronically latch the SHIFT, CONTROL, and other keys to allow sequential keystrokes to input commands that normally require two or more keys to be pressed simultaneously

Keyboard guards; can be used by individuals with limited fine motor control, and repositioning the keyboard and monitor may help in enhancing accessibility; like mounting keyboards perpendicular to tables or wheelchair trays at head-height to assist individuals with limited mobility using pointing devices to press keys, and use of disk guides for inserting and removing diskettes. Students with mobility impairments, using a wheel chair, may have their computer desks adjusted to a comfortable height, to pull up to the computer to work. Left-handed and right-handed keyboards available for individuals who need to operate the computer with one hand, have the provision of more efficient key arrangements, than standard keyboards designed for two-handed users.

For users with severe mobility impairments, keyboard emulation, including scanning and Morse code input, can be used with special switches that make use of at least one muscle over which the individual has voluntary control like – head, finger, knee, or mouth. In scanning input, lights or cursors scan letters, and symbols are displayed on computer screens or external devices, where hundreds of switches tailor input devices to individual needs. Speech recognition systems allow users to control computers by speaking words and letters, where a particular system is ’trained’ to recognize specific voices.

Assistive Technology for Students with Hearing Impairments; they are categorized into different categories depending on the function that they play in the whole auditory process of a learner. The first category is:

Amplification devices; Assistive Listening Device (ALD) – an ALD, which is a technology that has been around since the 1800s, actually enhances residual hearing for students with HI, allowing them to hear sounds and volumes that they otherwise could not detect.

Hearing Aids: hearing aids are amplification devices worn on the body, behind the ear, or on the eyeglass that amplify sound. Hearing aids are limited by their need to be used in a quiet and structured environment, as well as their need for the user to be situated close to the sound source.

Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD): TDD enables hearing impairments to receive phone calls using technology attached to the phone that has a small keyboard and screen for typing. While this device is not used regularly in the classroom, it is the most widely known device today.

Frequency-Modulated (FM) Amplification Systems: FM amplification systems create a link between the teacher (with microphone) and the hearing aid for the HI student. This technology works effectively in the classroom by greatly reducing background noise and freeing the teacher to walk around the room. As a result, this is of most commonly used assistive technology devices used in schools because of its versatility and portability for use in or out of the school building.

Audio Loops: Audio Loops are adaptations of Frequency-Modulated (FM) Amplification Systems where the loops amplify sound directly through wire connection radio waves to the hearing aid. This technology decreases background noise and increases teacher mobility, by allowing the teacher to move about the room freely.

Infrared Systems: this new technology uses a transmitter to send the sound invisibly to hearing impaired listeners. This technology is considered to be better for public places, as well as better for students and teachers alike, due to it having no wires and cords.

Cochlear Implants: implants can provide sound for people with profound hearing impairments. Implants enable the wearer to hear sounds previously indistinguishable by bypassing the damaged part of the inner ear and stimulating the healthy nerves.

Telephones and Ringers; sound-field systems, that assist listening for all children in the class. Using this technology, the teacher speaks into a microphone transmitter. The teacher’s voice is projected through speakers mounted around the classroom. This arrangement assists in overcoming the problems of distance. However, these systems should not be used in classrooms that have heavy reverberations. For any sound-field system to work effectively, good classroom acoustic are essential

Wireless Technology; in personal   listening systems provides direct and amplified sound with adjustable volume and little background noise. Example: UbiDuo Face to Face Communicator This device consists of two portable battery operated keyboards with displays that have a wireless connection that allow the deaf or hard of hearing person to communicate with a hearing person instantly through type written messages.

Captioning allows spoken word on the television to be translated into written language for the viewer to read. This type of assistive technology is used most widely in the regular classroom environment. Additionally, amplified telephone ringers allow customized selection of volume and frequency for those who may have difficulty in hearing the phone ring.

Computer / Web Camera: Many individuals utilize the combination of a web camera and computer Internet service to be able to visually connect with others. This readily available technology has been used increasingly by deaf and hard of hearing individuals to expand their communication options. This set-up can be utilized to access an IP relay service using sign language instead of text.

Voice to Sign devices: There are several commercially-available products that utilize voice recognition software to convert voice to computer-generated sign language. These devices are seeing increased use for a variety of situations. Sometimes the recognition is not exact and the deaf or hard of hearing consumer must be able to recognize when errors occur. The speaker needs to work with the specific device to train it to recognize their voice. Some allow only one user, but others are beginning to recognize multiple speakers.

Assistive technologies for a student with cognitive disability

Electronic math work sheets; Electronic math worksheets are software programs that can help a user organize, align, and work through math problems on a computer screen. Numbers that appear on-screen can also be read aloud via a speech synthesizer. This may be helpful to people who have trouble aligning math problems with pencil and paper.

Word prediction programs; Word prediction software can help a user during word processing by “predicting” a word the user intends to type. Predictions are based on spelling, syntax, and frequent/recent use. This prompts kids who struggle with writing to use proper spelling, grammar, and word choices, with fewer keystrokes.

Computer; it also offer alternatives for text production. Some people have difficulty with handwriting due to motor coordination difficulties, or have more difficulty comprehending handwritten text compared to printed text. A keyboard can provide assistance for these individuals, since typing may be easier than handwriting. Typing is also helpful because all letters are visible on the keyboard, compensating for letter recollection difficulties. The position of the characters on the keyboard can also be used to aid recognition; if the person can remember the position of the letter he or she wants on the keyboard, he or she does not need to recall the letter’s shape

Speech synthesis software; this can provide speech output to match text on the computer screen in a word processor or on the computer desktop. Text from books or worksheets can be scanned into the computer and read using optical character recognition software and many books are now available directly in electronic formats. In addition to using speech output as an alternative to text, it is possible to use auditory feedback while viewing the printed text. This software can therefore act as a reading assistant; the person reads most of the text, but has the computer speak unrecognizable words










Gregor, P., Alm, N., Arnott, J., & Newell, A.F. (1999). The application of computing                               technology to interpersonal communication at the University of Dundee’s                                 department of applied  computing. Technology and Disability, 10, 107-113.

Harris, J. (1978). External memory aids. In M. Gruneberg, P. Morris, & R. Sykes (Eds.),                         Practical aspects of memory. London: Academic Press.

Hosmer, J. (1995). Directions: Technology in special education. Retrieved                                                 from



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