Low Tech AT
What is Low Tech AT?
“Low Tech” assistive technology is all around us! Surprise! Most people use this type of technology because it makes daily living easier. What would we do without zippers, velcro, or egg timers? As it applies to students with disabilities, including those with visual impairments, this type of A.T. usually refers to items that don’t require electricity. Examples of these items include: slant boards; high contrast graphics; pencil grips; hand-held magnifiers; raised lines on floors or desktops; color acetate overlays (for reading); tactile magnetic alphabet letters; and enlarged foam dice. “Mid” tech items include switch operated toys or software programs; repositionable lighting fixtures; electronic talking calculators, clocks or timers; and voice recorders.
The benefits of using items that fall within these categories are cost effectiveness; usability regardless of access to electricity; replaceability; and transfer across school districts. In addition, low tech items are beneficial because they are durable and are easily disinfected. Students with multiple disabilities including sensory impairments benefit from Low to Mid Tech AT because items are customizable to meet their specific needs and abilities and are not dependent on the child’s level of academic literacy. Lastly, approaches made from this end of the AT spectrum are usually not dependent on funding limitations as items can be created out of upcycled materials that are relatively abundant in the school and home setting. These include cardboard, spray paint, duct tape, and velcro. Pretty cool, huh?!!
What does the Low Tech AT Team Do For You?
The Accessible Learning Materials Center (A.L.M.C.) located at the Ogden USB campus is a state resource specifically designated to provide Assistive Technology based in the Low to Mid tech ranges. Why is this needed you might ask? Because there is a significant number of sensory impaired students within our state who can not only benefit from materials we make, but also can increase their achievement levels accessing the nine different areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. The educational items created in our unit of the AT team are aimed to be durable, weatherproof, professional in appearance, and educationally beneficial for the most complex learners. These items can be customized for individual learners and once given, remain with the student. We believe in creating a sense of ownership for our students which will ideally lead to them to fully embrace their educational experience. Lastly, we believe in using materials that make the least impact financially in our school system; basically this means that we look for opportunities to repurpose items and refashion them into usable objects when possible, leaving funds available for our high tech devices and those users.
Low Tech FAQ:
What kind of students are best served by low to mid tech?
- All profiles of learners can benefit from devices that fall in the low to mid tech range. However, these types of assistive technology are usually well suited for students who are often labeled as “severe” or “functional learners” because these children are apt to need materials that are made to be weatherproof, durable, and reusable on a daily basis, and not require a plug power source. The items that can benefit these children in their learning experiences are usually ones that don’t get ruined if their hands are wet, or if the items are dropped or hit especially hard. That said, low and mid tech assistive technology is all around us; everywhere and anyone can benefit in a significant way!
Do you do consultations?
- Yes, absolutely! We will start with a video call first and then, if needed, we can travel to your location and meet the student. Outcomes will be based on assessment and trial and error
Can you help with doing functional vision assessments (FVA)? Or learning media assessments (LMA) assessments?
- Sure! However, writing the final reports will be left to the teacher of the visually impared (TVI) who is on the IEP. We can problem solve assessment strategies, make assessment materials more accessible if they are only in print, and also provide some low tech/low cost materials that will make the job itself easier.
Will the related service providers be involved?
- Absolutely, on the individual customizations we will involve the O.T., P.T., and any other related service provider that serves on a child’s IEP. Also UATT will be involved, if appropriate.
Keri Ostergaard-Welch, M.S. Sped-T.V.I.
USB Head Maker- Low/ Mid Tech A.T. Department
A.L.M.C. Project Manager
Accessible Learning Materials Center: