Encouraging Children to Use Assistive Technology

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Imagine the following interaction with your toddler who is visually impaired:

"Josie! Daddy found a ladybug. I am getting your magnifier so you can see it clearly."

"Daddy, la-y-bu?"

"Yes, a ladybug! Put your hand on mine and help me hold the magnifier. I placed the bug on white paper so you can see it best. Check out his red body and black spots."

"Bat spot. Like him."

"You like him, Josie? You like his black spots?"

"Mmhmm… Hold him?"

"You can hold him, Josie. He doesn't bite. Here, give me your hand. Feel him tickle your skin with his little legs?"

Josie squealed with delight. Daddy searched for more bugs with Josie.

Assistive technology (AT) will give your child access to much of the visual world. You can read an Overview of Assistive Technology to gain an understanding of the types of technology available. In order to perform her future job functions independently, your child who is visually impaired may use screen enlargement software on the computer, a handheld magnifier, and a closed circuit television (CCTV). If your child is blind, she may use a braillewriter, a digital recorder, an electronic notetaker, and screen reading software for a computer.

Work with your early intervention specialist and anticipate AT that will benefit your child. Early experiences with using technology are valuable for learning to utilize the devices and for providing access to what she can learn. Don't forget to get creative and make the learning experiences exciting!

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