Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Using Stimulus Dollars to Build Your Essential Assistive Technology Toolbox

What Essentials are in Your Toolbox?

I was asked to recommend some tools that I consider "staples of the trade" to put in a tollbox for special ed classrooms. I was asked to keep it "reasonable" in cost and equip with the essentials. I might be sticking my neck out here, but I thought I would throw my list out to you and get your feedback. What am I missing? What would be better? Give us your ideas... remember, in this scenario there is money to spend!

My Toolbox List:
Boardmaker software $399 (Mayer Johnson)
Super Talker Progressive Communicator - $339 (Ablenet)
2 Jelly Bean switches - $45 each (Ablenet)

1 Switch Interface Pro USB 5.0 - $99 (Don Johnston)

1 Big Mack Communicator - $109 (Ablenet)

1 Big Red Switch - $45 (Ablenet)

I Universal Mount - $80 (Ablenet)

1 Powerlink 3 - $189 ( I would get a cheap radio to use with it) (Ablenet)

2 Battery Interrupters (AA and C/D sizes) - $12 each (Enabling Devices)

1 Touchscreen (13"-15") - $179 (Don Johnston)

1 Canon Canoscan LiDE 200 flatbed scanner with OmniPage SE OCR software- $99

1 Mp3/voice recorder/audiobook flash drive player - $39.95 (RCA Pearl)

Don Johnston SOLO Literacy Suite with Talking Word Processor, Graphic Organizer, Text Reader, Word Prediction. - $749 (Don Johnston)

(A free suite of tools with some lower-end tools like on SOLO comes in Access Apps as a download to put on a 2GB flashdrive) A low cost alternative I recently discovered is Confident Reader. It will not read DAISY files, but you can get one that does free online from Bookshare.org if you have an account, They also have a free version of a Don Johnston Reader.

There are so many great software tools like Classroom Suite, Clicker 5, Kurzweil 3000, etc. but with the tools above I could do alot - I think I could survive fairly well actually. I also know there are lots of different kinds of switches, but we have our equipment center to trial varities of switches so I would check them out and get them as needed. There are low-end ideas like pencil grips, see-through color strips, etc. What are your resources? (things you would want to be on your list?)

All the best to you!


1 comment:

equinn said...

If there is money how about some sort of SmartBoard? These have been useful in a few of our special needs classrooms.