ICT Support

So within an individuals everyday setting there is a fair amount of exposure to a variety of ICT within different guises. This could range from a Desktop or Laptop through to an iPod or iPhone. Often ICT, in the form of access technology, is a useful vehicle for overcoming the barriers preventing an individual with SEN achieve their full potential. From this authors experience of working with pupils that have a visual impairment the progress range of access technology available is impressive. So really there are two two trains of thought here:

  1. Identifying a suitable access technology to overcome the individuals SEN barrier to access their ICT.
  2. Identifying suitable learning materials once they are able to access their ICT.

To look at this further we will identify common learning difficulties, strategies to bypass these learning difficulties through the use of different access technology, and what may or may not be suitable programs to learn.

SENVisual Impairment
Access DifficultyWith visual impairment the main obstacle to access technology would be being able to see the screen, the key board or locating so the cursor on the screen so as to make use of the mouse.
Solutions to help access difficultyWith regards visual impairment the growth of technology has aided access. Using phones as an example the talk back technology can allow the user to bypass the visual aspects of their phone to make their request.
With Desktop and laptops similar technology is available. Screen readers can be bought which will read what is on the screen for the user. These work best in programs such as Word where the information is presented in a linear format. For those with some sight the screens can be magnified to an accessible size.
In terms of recording their work on a desktop there are a variety of different sized keyboards available. The large keys keyboards (See below) are useful for those who find it difficult to locate the keys- a common problems among those with a VI.
Regarding mouse for a large percentage of those with a VI the mouse might be a non-starter. However with those with some sight you can change the accessibility settings on an individuals login so that the cursor is bigger and easier to see. This can include changing the contrast setting and colour preferences.
What should you be learning There is no reason that someone with a VI can’t learn and access the same ICT learning materials as their peers. However some areas might take longer and some might not be relevant/important. To start with the main aim would be to familiar the individuals with the start screen- enable them to navigate either using their keyboard or mouse to the different programs. You would also need to help them become familar with the location of the keys on the keyboard. There are programs available to help train in touch typing for those with a VI. There is a link below to a good touch typing program.

Word, emails, music and most programs should be all accessible to those with a VI (even if they have no sight what so ever). Caution should be taken when teaching around Microsoft Excel due to the visual complexity involved in accessing this program.
Useful lnks https://shop.rnib.org.uk/accessible-technology/reading-and-music/software.html

http://www.doorwayonline.org.uk/typing/
Contrasting keys keyboard
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