Special Education Assistive Technology Collection

Introduction

The WERC & School of Education have developed a collection of Special educational materials and devices for PK-12 public school teachers and IUSB faculty for review and demonstration. The focus of this collection is to allow educators to learn how these materials can be used to improve the educational experience of students with special needs. The WERC Media room (EA2010D) allows users to view and explore how to use the games and other special education technology materials. The room is designed to accommodate 2-4 people.

All materials and media room reservations require IUSB ID, or WERC/Schurz library card. Indiana residents (18 and older) who are not currently enrolled or employed at IU may obtain an Indiana University Libraries Borrower’s Card at the WERC front desk. To receive this card, present a valid INDIANA STATE ID, along with 2 pieces of mail postmarked within the last month from current Home address. Exception: Local teachers may use their school faculty IDs instead of mail received at their home. The card is nontransferable and may be renewed annually.

Devices

The Silent Reminder

The Silent Reminder is a remote control device that vibrates. A teacher may place the activating “door bell” like component on their desk or use it remotely to activate the vibrating box. The box can go in a student’s pocket of or hang on the belt. Teachers may utilize this device to remind students of a variety of things, for example- to cue the student to pay attention, to cue that an upcoming statement is important, or to remind
a student that a behavior is in appropriate. The teacher and student will have an agreement as to what the cue means that is discussed ahead of time.
The Silent Reminder may be used with students that do not have disabilities or that do. It may also be used as a sensory stimulation device for some students.

The Tubular Vibrator

The Tubular Vibrator, and other vibrating devices, are generally used with people with disabilities as sensory tools. They may used to stimulate tactile neurological sections of the brain and subsequently elicit responses. Generally, sensory devices, such as a vibrator, or materials of different textures, and visual devices, are useful for people who have poor sensory or neurological integration. This may include people with autism, with multiple sensory disabilities (e.g. deaf and blind) or who have very low cognitive functioning. These may also be utilized by people with head traumas or Traumatic Brain Injury. Some switches may be used by plugging them into the device. In some instances, the vibrator may be used to reward students who find the sound or sensation comforting or pleasant.

Puff Switch and Squeeze Switch

The Puff Switch and the Squeeze Switch are unique types of  switch is to turn devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device. For the Puff Switch, people must blow into the tube to turn a device on or off. The Squeeze Switch works by exerting a grasp on the blue “tube” to control the device.
These switches may be used by people with physical disabilities who may not have movement or control of their arms and legs. These are useful for people who have a quadriplegic disability, have Cerebral Palsy, or who may learn need to work on motor coordination or strength. These switches are used by plugging them into a device that has been adapted for use, such as the Penguin Toy.

Game Devices and Video Games

A contemporary use of gaming systems and video games is their utilization as teaching tools in the special education classroom. Examples of the skill areas may be:

Fine motor control through the use of the buttons or switches

Counting, through the use of scoring

Planning, through the use of strategy in some games

Social Skill development can also be impacted through gaming applications.

Examples of skills that may be developed are: 

Turn-taking in multiple-player games, and collaborative planning, as in team games.

Jelly Ball Lamp and Go Everywhere Light Show

The Jelly Bean Lamp and Go Everywhere light are generally used with people with disabilities as sensory tools. They may be used to stimulate visual neurolgical sections of the brain and subsequently elicit responses. Generally, sensory devices, such as a vibrator, or materials of different textures, and these visual devices, are usuful for people who have poor sensory or neurological integration. This may include people with autism, with multiple sensory disabilities (e.g. deaf and blind) or who have very low cognitive functioning. These may also be utilized by people with head traumas or Traumatic Brain Injury. Some switches may be used by plugging them into the device.

Tablets and Ipads(tm)

Contemporary special education assistive and augmented technology has been greatly enhanced with the proliferation of tablets and Ipads(tm). Especially impacted have been the communication and social skill areas for persons with autism and Asperger syndrome. Thousands of applications are available for people with special needs. For example, these may benefit people with hearing impairments or deafness, others with neurological challenges, and a plethora of disability areas.

Penguin Race II and Bubble Machine

The Penguin Race toy and Bubble Machine are battery operated devices that have been modified to use an adaptive switch to turn it on and off. It has a port for the switch and must be used in conjunction with one of the switches. These devices may be used to experiment with the different switches or to train people for using a particular switch. This may be used by people with physical disabilities who may use switches and for people with cognitive disabilities who may be working on cause and effect.

Abolitions medium and oval switch

Stored in Blue/white media box, the - Abolitions medium oval switch is a textured button switch to turn devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device.
This may be used by people with physical disabilities who may use switches and for people with cognitive disabilities who may be working on cause and effect. Plug this switch into a device that has been adapted for use. Self-Training time is estimated at 10 minutes or less.

Gumball Switch With Textured Overlays

The gumball switch is a button switch turns devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device. People must push the button until a device goes on or off. The plastic button overlays (covers) add texture to the device. Several inserts may be used with the plastic overlays. Inserted may be words, colors, symbols, or pictures. The different textures can be used to signal different uses by persons with visual impairments. Also, this may be used by people with physical disabilities, people with cognitive disabilities who may be working on cause and effect, and people who need to learn fine motor coordination.

Abolitions wobble yellow base switch

A wobble switch is a type of switch used to turn devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device, such as an appliance (e.g. mixer) or a toy (e.g. Penguin toy). People must push the pole and hold it in place for approximately 5 seconds until the device is turned on or off. This may be used  by people with cognitive disabilities who may be working on cause and effect. It may also be used by people who need to learn motor coordination, such as a person with Cerebral Palsy.

Gumball Switch

The gumball switch is a type of  switch is to turn devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device. People must push the button until a device is turned on or off. Inserted may be words, colors, symbols, or pictures. This may be used by people with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities working on cause and effect or people who need to learn fine motor coordination. Plug this switch into a device that has been adapted for use. Self-Training time is estimated at 10 minutes or less.

Abolitions farm Animal jumbo shape (Puzzle Switch)

The Farm Puzzle is a unique type of switch is to turn devices on and off. It must be plugged into another device. People must assemble all three of the pieces of the puzzle by matching the shapes to turn a device on. This may be used  by people with cognitive disabilities who may be working on cause and effect and people who need to learn fine motor coordination. It is used by plugging this switch into a device that has been adapted for use, such as the Penguin Toy

Abolitions Door Buddy

The Door Buddy is a low technology device that is used to convey information to people with special needs. Words or pictures are mounted  to the surface of the door buddy. As an example, a students who cannot read may have a picture schedule with times mounted to the device or it can also be used at home by a parent. A list of chores can be mounted to the device and hung on the child's door. The device can be altered by placing Velcro(tm) on the surface of the device and having inter-changable pictures laminated to stick on the door buddy.

Skylink Wireless Remote

The remote wireless switch is used to turn devices that plug into the wall on and off. A device, such as lamp, an appliance (e.g. mixer), or a radio may be plugged into the portion that goes into the wall. People must push the red button until the device is turned on or off. This might be used by a non-ambulatory person confined to bed or by  an individual who has poor fine motor control and may not be able to turn a small switch. It could also be used by a teacher to control classroom electronic devices.

Button Talk With Magnet

the button talk is an augmentative for persons who are non- verbal or have speech difficulties. In some cases they are used for people with autism, people with neurological impairments caused by strokes, or persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.) The button talk is programmable for a single phrase and may be adhered to any magnetic surface, such as table top. It could be used, for instance, by a non-verbal person the physical disabilities who has motor control to press the button (but not to raise their hand) to indicate that they may know an answer and will write it by programming is to say: I have the answer! And then writing the answer on a piece of paper or using another communication device such as the Go-Talk.

Cheap Talk With 4 Inline With Overlay

The Cheap Talk four is an augmentative communication device for persons who are non-verbal or have speech difficulties. In some cases they are used for people with autism and people with neurological challenges. The Cheap Talk 4 has four programmable phrases or words. The device must be pre-programmed with symbols, words, or pictures used for each small square. The squares can be altered to be used with Velcro ™ to allow laminated squares to stick. Self-Training time is estimated to be 30-60 minutes.

Intellikeys Alternative Keyboard

The system has a port connection to be plugged into a computer’s keyboard port or is utilized on some lap-tops as an input device. Intellikeys is an alternative keyboard system. It has a variety of overlays that can serve various functions- some related to specific content. The self- training time is three hours to six hours.

Go Talk Single Phrase

Go Talk devices are augmentative communication systems for persons who are non-verbal or have speech difficulties. This Go Talk can be programmed for one phrase or words. Create words or pictures for each small square. Go Talk augmentative devices have a software (CD disk) that may be utilized. Estimated self training time for a single phrase Go-talk is less than 30 minutes.

Last reviewed: 7/2017