Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal #8: Adaptive Technology

Augmentative and alternative education is a term which covers any permanent or temporary communication method that is used to help replace speech or writing functions for those that have trouble speaking or writing.  

One tool that fits well in this category is the e-Talk GT tablet, which enables audible communication for people that are not able to talk. It basically looks like an iPad with a smaller screen, but thicker to protect it from someone dropping it. It also has an app on it which uses pictures and symbols to create audible communication meaning that users would not need to input complete sentences. This device seems to be one the leading products in its class, but it comes at a price. This will set you back more then $5000, but I'm sure its worth it if it helps you communicate. 

One of the ways this could be used in the classroom is by using the MultiChat program, which is designed for students who's is working on their language skills. The way it works is that the tablet displays small icons that the students could use to build a sentence. So by pressing only these icons, a student could create a complex sentence. For example if a teacher asks the student to describe a noun, they would only have to press a few icons.

What is great about this idea is that it can be supplemented with numerous creative low-tech ideas that parents can use at home. For example a parent can make a placemat menu which has similar tiles, and kids can then use the tiles to signal what they would like for breakfast. In fact, many restaurants offer a picture menu for kids with disabilities that would be great in conjunction with this tool. 

An Input device for students with special needs is basically any tool which provides students an alternative way to enter information into a computer without using the traditional keyboard or mouse. 

One of these tools is the Quad Joy adaptive mouse, which allows people with limited or no hand movement to use the mouse feature on the computer. The Quad Joy works by responding to the movements that your mouth makes, allowing users to do anything from surf the web to play PlayStation.

The uses in the classroom are obvious, as it allows students that cant use their hands to use a computer. This tool has been key in allowing students with limited hand movement to keep up with the growing technology movement.

For students that have can use a keyboard but has trouble typing, Word Q is software which can detect what words the children are trying to type, and help them with the process. This can be used for students who have trouble typing, or students that have trouble speaking in class. The program also provides audio to the text, meaning students can hear the words they are typing, which will help them with the language as well.

Check out some other ideas at Kristen's and Melanie's pages.


  1. I really like both of the devices, but especially the Quad Joy adaptive mouse. I think it is great that there are devices like this to help handicapped people use the computer. There is no reason why anyone should be exempt from technology usage; everyone should have the same resources at their disposal. Thankfully, the Quad Joy really helps with that :)

  2. Hey I thought the e-Talk GT tablet was pretty cool! A little expensive but pretty cool never the less. The MultiChat also seemed like a pretty straightforward way of communicating with individuals who lack communication skills.

  3. The placemat menu is pretty cool! I'd like to actually see someone using one in a restaurant. Wish that Word Q prediction software was around back when I was learning to would've saved lots of time. Good to see that technology is being put to work helping people who otherwise would struggle to communicate!

  4. The Quad Joy looks like such a great tool. And I loved the MultiChat for kids with special needs that need alternative ways to communicate. It's great to learn about all the devices to help people with all sort of disabilities communicate and function in everyday society, as well as the classroom.

  5. I used something similar to the Quad Joy in my journal. What an awesome tool! I think it's great that it can be used by people who cannot move their hands. The tool on my blog, called the Roller Joystick Plus, is meant for people who have a solid hand movement but cannot really move the rest of their body. This seems like a nice alternative.