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April 23, 2024

Understanding Assistive Technology for Your Child's Academic Success

Are you feeling overwhelmed about understanding how assistive technology can support your child’s learning? In this episode of The Parenting Cipher, Genie Dawkins clarifies the often misunderstood world of assistive technology, sharing her own experiences and insights to shed light on how this resource can be tapped to unlock your child's full academic potential.

In This Episode:
- Genie delves into what assistive technology is and how it can level the playing field for children with disabilities.
- Discover the range of assistive technology, from low-tech solutions like pencil grips to high-tech software for speech-to-text functionality.
- Learn the significance of ensuring your child not only receives these technologies but is also adept at using them.
- Understand the institutional hesitancy around acknowledging and providing assistive technology, and prepare for the forthcoming discussion on challenging schools to check the assistive technology box on IEPs.

Key Takeaways:
- The Definition: Assistive technology includes any item, equipment, or system that enhances the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.
- Importance of Early Implementation: Assistive technology can be introduced as early as pre-K or kindergarten to support a child's educational journey.
- Low to High-Tech: Ranging from pencil grips and planners to sophisticated computer programs, assistive tech is varied and adaptable to each child’s needs.
- Empowering Learning: The proper use of assistive technology, coupled with quality instruction, can significantly impact a student’s independence and academic achievement.
- Next Steps: Genie will continue the conversation on assistive technology, discussing how parents can advocate for its inclusion in their child’s education plan and hold schools accountable for their child’s success.


00:00 Schools overlook assistive technology, but it's crucial.
05:17 Assistive technology supports students with learning disabilities.
07:20 Assisted instruction aids children with focus and learning.
10:34 Text to speech software supports dyslexic children.
15:16 Graphic organizers improve writing quality for students.
18:09 Assistive technology supports students with disabilities.
21:54 "IEP discussion and technology in schools"
25:59 Child's story misconstrued, resolved through communication.

Links and Resources:
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Learning Ally
- Sora Reading App
- Read & Write

Key Topics and Bullets:

Primary Topic: Introduction to Assistive Technology
- Definition and importance of assistive technology in education
- Potential oversight of assistive technology by schools
- Implementation of assistive technology from a young age

Primary Topic: Types of Assistive Technology
- Low-tech assistive technology (e.g., pencil grips)
- Mid-tech assistive technology (e.g., computer programs and tablet applications)
- High-tech assistive technology (e.g., speech-to-text software, text-to-speech software, graphic organizers)
- Examples of assistive technology devices (e.g., pen top computers, calculators)

Primary Topic: Benefits and Impact of Assistive Technology
- Support in improving academic performance and learning process
- Enhancement of autonomy, independence, and social skills
- Increased student motivation and participation

Primary Topic: Personal Experience with Assistive Technology
- Personal example of how speech-to-text software supports a child with dyslexia and autism
- Impact of assistive technology on the child's writing and communication skills

Primary Topic: Addressing Challenges with Schools and Teachers
- The necessity of ensuring the "assistive technology" box is checked in a child's individualized education plan (IEP)
- Initiative to advocate for the implementation of assistive technology in schools for individual children

Primary Topic: Parent-Teacher Relationship and Communication
- Importance of open communication between parents and teachers
- Encouragement for parents to listen to their child's perspective in situations involving teachers

Primary Topic: Conclusion and Reflections
- Encouragement for parents to stay connected and involved in their child's education
- Affirmation of the importance of being understanding and supportive towards both parents and children in navigating education and challenges at school


- "Assistive technology is so important to our children, and it's something that can be implemented as young as kindergarten, as young as pre-K."
- "In special education, if you ever been in a meeting, you may hear the word 'remediate'. Remediate is when your child is behind... putting a plan in place for the child to fill the gap."
- "Assistive technology supports our children in being the best versions of themselves and working past some of their struggles."
- "Don’t let teachers use our relationships with them for chaos. The doors of communication always have to be open between you and your child."

Stay tuned for part two of our conversation on assistive technology in a future episode of The Parenting Cipher, where Genie will dive deeper into advocating for your child's needs in the realm of educational technology.

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