Assistive Technology Works!

Knowing where to begin and how to proceed can be daunting though.  We're here to help.  Funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, the Family Center on Technology and Disability provides a wide range of resources on assistive technology, from introductory fact sheets and training materials to in-depth discussion of best practices and emerging research.  Try setting aside 30 minutes a day to review an FCTD resource.  Before you know it, you'll know a lot more about assistive technology and the ways in which it can improve the lives of the children and youth with disabilities.  Of course, we're here for your just-in-time information needs as well.  We hope you'll visit our site often!

Technology Voices

Instructional Technology in Early Childhood: A New Way for a New Day

Little boy playing with toy letters

For some it took a while, but by now the majority of the education world seems to agree – technology is powerful and can bring significant benefits to students in both general and special education classrooms, supporting a full range of abilities and challenges.  Advances in technology, however, require that we re-think how we teach and learn, how we structure our class time, and how we provide equitable access to all students.  That’s not an easy task – retooling decades-long approaches to teaching – even when we recognize the benefits that can accrue.  

Illinois State University Professor Howard P. Parette and his colleague Craig Blum have attacked the problem head-on with respect to early childhood education, creating a framework for selecting and implementing appropriate technology tools into curriculum-based classroom activities.  Their framework is detailed in their new textbook, Instructional Technology in Early Childhood: Teaching in the Digital Age.  In this edition of Technology Voices, Dr. Parette discusses the components of their framework and the need for a structured approach to technology integration, and shares some of the technology tools that he finds particularly useful.

Assistive Technology (AT) Resources

Explore our AT Resources database for information on assistive and instructional technology.  This week, our featured resource is The National Gallery of Art - NGAkids Art Zone, a website that allows children to experience the museum's collections and create art themselves. This is an interactive site with lots of activities for kids of all ages and abilities. All of the activities are accessible online with a free user account.  The activities give children the opportunity to create animated seascapes by arranging photographs on a background, create an abstract painting using 40 brushes, a full color palette, and special effects, or create animated portraits and landscapes with both jungle and still life themes. Kids can also take an interactive tour of some of the National Gallery of Art's collection. The website is easy to navigate and colorful and inviting to children. Children using alternative methods to access the computer should be able to use the different activities as well.

2012 AT Resources CD-Rom

2012 AT CD cover2012 Assistive Technology Resources CD-ROM!  Order one free copy or request a bulk order to distribute to others. To order cd's, please visit

Join the FCTD Network!

MembersLet people throughout the U.S. know who you are and what you do. By joining the FCTD network, you'll make it easier for colleagues and consumers to find you through our searchable organization database.  You'll also automatically receive our monthly newsletter by email.  It's simple to do and, of course, it's free! Join the FCTD Network.

Sign up for our listserv.

E-mail graphicReceive our free monthly newsletter and announcements ( email overload from us.)   To register for our listserv, click here.

Assistive Technology in Action Video Series

FCTD and PACER Center are pleased to share our fully-captioned assistive technology awareness series, AT in Action. The videos are designed to strengthen awareness of AT devices that help individuals with disabilities participate fully in school, at home, and in the community. In the first video, Meet Sam, we meet a young man with cerebral palsy who, with the help of AT, is a successful college student, blogger, and sportsman. Meet Elle, introduces a young woman able to communicate with family, friends, and teachers with the help of AT. In our third video, engaging first grader Mason introduces us to technology that assists those with blindness/visual impairments. In our newest video, Meet Jared, we introduce a young man who, controls his computer using a sip and puff switch. We invite you to view and share this video with your colleagues and the families you serve. 

AT in Action - Isabel Necesita la TecnologĂ­a de Asistencia (Isabel Needs AT)

Isabel's mother watches as she uses a tablet computer.Isabel using an Ipad as her mother watches.  AT in Action -  Isabel Necesita la Tecnología de Asistencia.  In this story, you'll meet Marta, the mother of Isabel, a young girl with fine motor and learning disabilities. The video introduces viewers to assistive technology (AT) and takes them through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting during which AT is considered. The video is captioned in both Spanish and English and is "described" as well. We invite you to view and share this video with your colleagues and the families you serve.

Assistive Technology Solutions Fact Sheet

Girl using headphonesThis fact sheet provides visual examples of a range of AT products to help parents who are beginning their search for AT.  It includes basic questions to be considered when trying to identify AT devices that will best suit your child and illustrated examples of some of the options available.  Each example has an icon indicating whether it is high-tech, mid-tech or low-tech. Product vendors are also listed. Please note that vendors listed may not be the sole supplier for a particular product. View a pdf of the AT Solutions fact sheet.   

Now available in Spanish!  View the Spanish PDF.

Early Childhood and AT

This PPT presentation provides images of AT devices designed for young children and identifies the issues that  should be considered when selecting AT for them. Functional areas include: communication, mobility, and learning. This resource briefly discusses IDEA issues and the need to identify AT in IFSP and IEP plans. We invite you to use the resource with families, caregivers, educators, advocates, and disability professionals.    

Esta presentación es ahora también disponible en español.  Este PPT, Niños Pequeños y la Tecnología de Asistencia (TA), ofrece una amplia gama de ejemplos de tecnología de asistencia apropiados para los niños pequeños y discute los temas que deben ser considerados. 

Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
FHI 360 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20009-5721
phone: (202) 884-8068 fax: (202) 884-8441 email:
Copyright 2014