Rationale for Assistive/Adaptive Technology: In this forum please respond to the following: Schools, universities, and libraries are struggling with tight budgets. How can we justify spending a lot of money to buy assistive technologies that might only be used by a small number of people? Cite relevant literature.
To begin with, it is estimated that over 50,000,000 people in the United States have a disability; with this number increasing yearly, how can society not fund programs or tools that aid individuals with disabilities? If we have 50 million Americans who cannot be as productive as they can be given the right tools, imagine the cost to every aspect, every level of our society. Obviously, for the betterment of both the individuals with disabilities and of the country, we need to spend the money to assist, educate and involve these individuals in all of the realms of our society. The solution is technology, for technology is the great equalizer.
Technology allows individuals to be more independent in any environment. In addition, the fact that federal laws govern special education is a solid justification for funding assistive technologies in schools, libraries, and universities; for example, there are “federal laws that promote the use of technology by individuals with disabilities”(Roblyer and Doering, 2013). To begin with, the Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities provides not only the awareness of, but also the access to assistive technologies (AT) devices and services. This means that individuals with disabilities can participate “in education, employment, and daily activities on a level playing field with other members of their communities.” In addition, “the act covers people with disabilities of all ages, all disabilities, in all environments (early intervention, K-12, post-secondary, vocational rehabilitation, community living, aging services, etc.)” (“national dissemination center,” 2009). Technology is so important in our everyday lives, not only in the educational realm, but also for our economy and democracy. Overall, technology empowers individuals with disabilities and allows them to participate and be productive citizens.
According to the National Service Inclusion Project, (2011), an estimated 20.3 million families, or 29% of all families in the United States, have at least one member with a disability. Another federal law that protects individuals with disabilities, the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), revised in 2004, “mandates that every individualized education program (IEP) team consider assistive technology when planning the educational program of an individual with a disability” (Roblyer and Doering, 2013). Mittler, (2007) defined assistive technology as any “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” Schools, universities and libraries not only need to offer ways that provide individuals with physical access (Roblyer and Doering, 2013), but also this technology needs to assist with instructional access, including special teaching and learning needs. Therefore, AT devices should be available in both libraries and educational institutions, especially given the percentage of tax paying citizens who will benefit from them.
Mittler, J. (2007). Assistive technology and IDEA. In C. Warger (Ed.), Technology integration: Providing access to the curriculum for students with disabilities. Arlington, VA: Technology and Media.
National center on instructional accessible materials. (2009, August 24). Retrieved from http://aim.cast.org/learn/historyarchive/backgroundpapers/technologies_supporting
National dissemination center for children with disabilities. (December, 2009). Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/laws/ata
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.