Assistive technology is highly individual in not only the selection, but the application of the technology to specific students.
Students might require scaffolding techniques to use assistive technology. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. For example, with reading, you might “chunk” the text and then read and discuss as you go. The same scaffolding techniques apply to reading with assistive technologies.
Some situations in which you might scaffold might be when students have language, processing or attentional difficulties.
Some scaffolding strategies for reading with text-to speech and word prediction are:
- Chunking the text (good for students with processing or attentional issues)
- Re-reading (let students re-read as many times as necessary)
- Slowing down the rate of speech in the software
- Decreasing or increasing the number of words in the word prediction box
- Adding specific words to the student’s vocabulary list so that they show up consistently in the word prediction box (great for writing in a particular theme)
For a comprehensive overview of teaching techniques to use with students who use assistive technologies, see this post with contributions from English Montreal School Board and Lester B. Pearson School Board Speech-Language Pathologists.