Assistive Technology training is provided to all staff. The training emphasizes legal requirements to assess all children with regard to needs which can be addressed through the utilization of technology and other augmentative and assistive equipment.
In September, 1982, the Orange County Department of Education established an Assistive Technology Program which has become an integral part of the special schools' programs. The overall goal of the special schools is to provide opportunities for students to learn how to become more independent in their present and future environments.
Through the use of assistive technology, special schools students who were in the past unable to actively participate in their environments now have a means to independently control events in their lives such as turning on television sets, radios, lights, toys, etc. Students are taught how to use various types of single switches such as foot pedals, touch-sensitive switches, head control switches, etc.
The program, SS-ATP (Special Schools-Assistive Technology Program), the first comprehensive training program of its kind, will meet the needs of students, parents, staff, and the IDEA act to be implemented beginning 1998. Part of our diligence in providing the very clear training structure and formative and summative assessments, is due to the expectation that the model may be replicated by other counties, regions, and entities serving special needs students.
In addition, students have been able to learn how to interact with mobile devices (Touch2Learn) and microcomputers providing for varied individualized learning opportunities. This learning of cause/effect relationships allows very disabled individuals to interact in a variety of ways with computers using many custom and commercially available software programs. This innovative assistive technology program is available to all students in the Orange County Department of Education Special Schools program.