How to Access Assistive Technology

Upon researching Assistive Technology(AT) I have found that AT is clearly crucial for aiding students who have learning disabilities. Schools province wide have access to a number of resources in their classrooms to assist their students, but my question is, how do schools get access to these things. It’s no secret that electronics are expensive, so how do schools receive the funding to supply students access to such materials.

After talking to a former principal from my hometown, School District 67 Okanagan Skaha, I found that getting access to these educational tools isn’t actually too difficult. While he said that the school he worked at was just beginning the process of accumulating such types of technology, he was able to share a number of ways that teachers can acquire AT’s for their classrooms. School districts allocate each school in the district a certain amount of money each year that is to be spent on technology, teachers can then apply to their principal to use this money for tools that they deem necessary. Districts also supply technologies to individuals who require it as part of their individual learning plans(IEP). There are also grants that teachers can apply to and companies that offer better prices to schools on class sets. Additionally, teachers and principals can also apply to their schools, Parent Advisory Council(PAC) for help in funding materials. As well, in more rare cases, schools in very affluent districts can require such technologies as a school supply. While not every classroom will gain a class set of iPads all at once, it is very possible for schools to acquire an appropriate quantity of Assistive Technologies over the span of a few years.

Apple offers school discounts on volume purchases of iPads and other tools. Read more at: https://www.apple.com/ca/education/ipad/how-to-buy/

There are also programs that work with school districts to develop their use and understanding of technology in the classroom. In British Columbia there is a program called SET-BC that has a partnership with all BC school districts. SET-BC offers a number of services including: consultations,professional development, technology training and loaning of equipment. Read more at: https://www.setbc.org/information-for-families/

The benefits of assistive technology have become widely known in our province and a number of resources have been made available to aid schools in acquiring such technologies, as well as providing support on how to implement these materials into the classroom.

Cassidy Lindsay

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