Sunday, February 26, 2012

Technology Helps Special Needs Students Learn

Technology has become an essential part of American education, whether through the use of mobile devices in a classroom or through the creation of online learning platforms. Education technology can enhance the learning experience for students of all ages and can even assist the education of students with special needs.

The special education category does not just include students with mental retardation, but encompasses a larger group of students such as those with learning disabilities, physical illnesses, speech, auditory, and visual impairments, and autism, among others. Over 1,000 students within Lufkin Independent School District (LISD) in Texas require some form of special education- nearly 12 percent of the district's total student population. Most special needs children in the district are enrolled in regular classrooms but require additional instruction or more one-on-one attention. The idea of offering extra help to these students is to get them back into regular classes full-time. And technology is helping special education teachers to do just that.

In the past two years, Lufkin Independent School District (LISD) in Texas spent around $40,000 on new educational technology devices designed to help special needs students learn. Resources to purchase the technology were provided by funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Examples of technology that have been incorporated into the classroom are touch-screen computers and oversized "switches" which are used to help students in decision making.

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