CONNECT Module 5: Using Assistive Technology Interventions with Young Children

by Dale Epstein
CONNECT Module Coordinator

Join us for a quick discussion of an audio clip on Assistive Technology, part of the new CONNECT Module 5.

Assistive technology is often thought of only in terms of high tech, expensive devices, when in fact it incorporates much more. In CONNECT Module 5: Assistive Technology Interventions, a wide range of assistive technology interventions are presented including types of equipment, simple adaptations to materials and routines, and using assistive technology to promote participation in everyday settings.

CONNECT just released its newest module- Assistive Technology Interventions.  In this clip from the module, Dr. Patsy Pierce, a speech-language pathologist and AT expert, discusses three important things to consider when working with children who use assistive technology.  We invite your comments on the video clip and the questions below.
 

(running time 1 min. 18 sec.)

Community Questions

  • Which kinds of assistive technology are you most familiar with?
  • •  What is your experience in working with young children who use assistive technology?
  • •  Have you noticed any advances in assistive technology in the last few years?

Comments

Survey on parental impact of assistive technology. Please help!

We need your help.  Our names are Heather Koch and Abigail Boyce and we are completing a research project to help us complete our Masters of Occupational Therapy Degrees.  Our research is looking at the effect of assistive technology on the quality of life of parents or caregivers of children.  We are looking for parents or caregivers of children who use assistive technology who would be willing to complete a brief online survey.  If you are 18 or over, are a parent or primary caregiver for a child who uses assistive technology and would be willing to complete a brief online anonymous survey we would appreciate it.  The web address for the survey is: https://sole.hsc.wvu.edu/Survey/2223/ResponsesPublic/SurveyIntro?Guid=3b8ec48a-3d05-4bba-979a-b3cc4bff04d1

Feel free to pass on our link if you know someone who would qualify! Thanks so much!

Survey on parental impact of assistive technology. Please help!

We need your help.  Our names are Heather Koch and Abigail Boyce and we are completing a research project to help us complete our Masters of Occupational Therapy Degrees.  Our research is looking at the effect of assistive technology on the quality of life of parents or caregivers of children.  We are looking for parents or caregivers of children who use assistive technology who would be willing to complete a brief online survey.  If you are 18 or over, are a parent or primary caregiver for a child who uses assistive technology and would be willing to complete a brief online anonymous survey we would appreciate it.  The web address for the survey is: https://sole.hsc.wvu.edu/Survey/2223/ResponsesPublic/SurveyIntro?Guid=3b8ec48a-3d05-4bba-979a-b3cc4bff04d1

Feel free to pass on our link if you know someone who would qualify! Thanks so much!

Module 5 Implementation

Hello,
I'm using Module 5- Using Assistive Technology Interventions in my EDU 271 Educational Technology course. This is an onine course. Students are completing the assignments over a 2 week time period.
Here's how I've set it up:
Students will complete activities 5.1a, 5.4a, 5.6a, 5.7a as individual assignments. Then they will make the squishy book (or another assistive technology device) take a picture of it and share it with the class in a discussion forum. Here's how the discussion is set up:
Assistive technology interventions for young children often include easy, inexpensive adaptations to the environment and materials. Adaptations mean making simple changes to existing items (e.g., toys, books, and spoons), are usually “low tech” in nature and often created by parents, teachers, and therapists. For example, the handle of a paint brush or marker can be enlarged by placing it in a foam hair roller or tennis ball to help a child who may have difficulty grasping or holding onto small, slender objects. Other examples of adaptations include placing a towel roll in a high chair to help a child sit upright, propping a book on an easel for easier page turning, or stabilizing a toy using Velcro or magnets.
View the video and read the handout located here:
http://community.fpg.unc.edu/connect-modules/learners/module-5/step-3/b-...
Then do CONNECT activity- make a squishy book! http://community.fpg.unc.edu/connect-modules/resources/activities/CONNEC...
Take a picture of your book and upload it here. If you do not make a squishy book, then make another low-tech adaptation and share a picture of it with your classmates. Tell us us how you will use your book or other low tech devise.
Then students will complete 5.8a, 5.9a, 5.10a and 5.11a as individual assignments.
After that we will do 5.12a together as a class in a discussion forum.
Kathy Allen
Blue Ridge Community College

We all need assistive technology

As a teacher in an Early Head Start Classroom, I so appreciate what Patsy Pierce reminds us in her audio clip. All children, with and without disabilities are children first, and we need to remember that a tool that can assist one child will most likely benefit all children. When an almost 2 year old in my class was not yet standing or walking on his own, the use of a small step stool with handles assisted him in climbing and pulling up to stand to wash his hands. It turns out that the step stool was useful to all the children in my class. Patsy reminds us to listen to the families and what they need for their children. I have found that using assistive technology to make life a little easier for a child, is one of the best ways to partner with their family and show them how much you care. I believe we can all use a little help now and again.

Re: We all need assistive technology

Thanks Maggie for sharing that story and discussing the importance of figuring out what the child and family need. It is wonderful to hear how assistive technology helped not only that one child be able to participate more in the classroom, but also helped all the other children as well!

Re: We all need assistive technology

I could not agree more with above about keeping the child as the focus for any assistive technology. To add a little more to this.... make sure to involve the child when planning/thinking about assistive technology for them, is also very important. I can think of numerous examples, as an OT, of trying to figure out how to make some of daily life activities more accessible to kids with special needs and the best ideas coming from the children themselves (at times verbally and others non-verbally). Even if the child is not able to express his/her needs, keeping the child's strengths and abilities can help tremendously in providing successful assisstive technology solutions.

We all need assistive technology

Maggie i enjoyed reading your comments. I never realized how we assist our children with technology. I've done the same thing. One of our children that was fourteen months old and was not crawling, walking or moving we placed in the house in the infant classroom next to the mirror. The child began to turn over, then sit up. Now he is standing up in this house and so proud of himself that he claps each time someone gets close to him and talks about his progress. The family wanted him to walk several months ago and compared this child to his sister. He now is moving like never before and placing him in the house helped. This house has been home to many non-walkers who all learn how to manipulate this technology to benefit themselves.

We all need assistive technology

wonderful example Linda...thanks so much for sharing