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Assistive Technology Online Learning Supports

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Assistive technology helps learners who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things. Different disabilities require different assistive technologies. These tools are called assistive technology (AT). AT can be a device, software, or piece of equipment that allows students with disabilities learn, communicate, or function better. AT can be as high-tech as speech generating device or as low tech as a fidget or specialized pencil grip.

Resources to Support Your Child at Home


Shared Reading - This is a “how to” for shared reading. Shared reading is about the interaction and meaning making that occurs when a child/student and adult look at or read a book together. Shared reading would benefit any emergent reader, regardless of their age, or current ability.

Tar Heel Reader - Tar Heel Reader is a web based collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces.

Tar Heel Shared Reader is a variant of Tar Heel Reader that emphasizes shared reading. Core words are built into the program, you can specify which core words you are targeting while reading the book so that those appear in a strip below each page. Sample phrases and sentences to model using the target core words are also provided in the comments area, which can be customized to highlight the particular words your learners are focusing on.

Literacy for All  offers information, research-based instructional approaches, and effective instructional and learning strategies to better meet the literacy and communication needs of students with significant disabilities, including students with:

  • moderate to severe cognitive disabilities
  • complex communication needs
  • multiple disabilities including deaf/blindness and/or physical access challenges

Alternative “pencils” were created for students who are unable to hold a traditional pencil or physically manipulate a standard keyboard. Alternative pencils can be used with writers of varying abilities and ages including students who are emerging writers and those who are able to write more conventionally.

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