Using Assistive Technology: Enabling All Children to Feel Capable and Connected in the Early Childhood Classroom

Using Assistive Technology: Enabling All Children to Feel Capable and Connected in the Early Childhood Classroom

Rene Crow (University of Central Arkansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-784-3.ch006
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Abstract

This chapter explores how technology is used with young children with special needs in the United States. It also discusses the legal issues and mandates and the reality of how teachers and schools are dealing with children with special needs in early childhood settings. Information resources and how assistive technology fits into developmentally appropriate practice is included in this discussion.
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Background

Children, regardless of their levels of functioning in cognitive, social, emotional, language, and/or physical domains, have the desire to belong and to feel significant (Nelsen, 1996). Like no other time in our educational system’s history have educators been better able to support this desire in children with special needs. Not only do educators have the law working on the behalf of children who struggle, the increased availability of technology in classrooms, even in classrooms for young children, supports the efforts of teachers and students in enabling all children to feel capable and connected (Albert, 1996) to their peers in the early childhood classroom environment and beyond.

With assistive technology, the ability of young children to experience success through access to the general curriculum and to contribute to the overall functioning of the school community is heightened in a way that goes beyond meeting the academic goals outlined on the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). With the aid of technology, not only can children gain access to the curriculum and succeed in mastering measurable goals outlined therein, they can genuinely be valuable, contributing members of the school community, thus enriching their social and emotional competence in ways that are not as easily measured but perhaps most important to overall growth and satisfaction.

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