After just a few weeks of my studies, I have realized that students, regardless of their physical, health, and mental conditions merit the chance to reach their full potential in education. When I first started this course, I was naïve about the use of assistive technologies and students with disabilities. Surprisingly, I not only believed that assistive technologies were luxury equipment, but expensive and high tech as well. On the other hand, I held an opinion that students with disabilities could meet their educational prospects through the traditional segregated educational models. I believed that students with disabilities could perform best when they are segregated, as long as there is a teacher or an instructor to guide them through the school curriculum.
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In the past five weeks, I have read several eye opening journals on this subject. I must admit that my prior perceptions on the above subject were misguided and wrong. I have learnt that just like individuals in wheelchairs need ramps to go around stairs, students with learning disabilities also need tools that might help them work around obstacles in educational areas of writing, reading, numbers, spelling memory and organization (McLaughlin, Wilson, & Hoffman, 2009). I have come to understand that assistive technologies make the aforementioned tasks more convenient and easier to perform. Thus, assistive technologies are not a luxury, no matter how expensive they are. McLaughlin, Wilson, & Hoffman (2009) express the opinion that “most effective and useful tools are simple, inexpensive and are known as ‘low-tech.’” This highlights the fact that assistive technologies have been developed to work around these deficits while capitalizing on strengths. I must admit that my expectations were met considering the fact that I can now address the individual needs of each student regardless of their physical, mental and health status using assistive technologies.
As a counselor, I always interact with both able and disabled people in my line of duty. Therefore, this course will enable me to attend to the needs of both the able and disabled without fear of being challenged. Having known and understood the importance of assistive technologies to students with disabilities, I would also like to know if these technologies have any negative effect to the consumers.