Before I began working in the public school system, I worked for a non-profit organization teaching adult education. I worked with a large special needs population. You come to realize that people are just people. They want to be accepted and loved and understood. There is no such thing as normal and disabled is just another way of saying different. We are all different in our own ways, and our disabilities force us to work harder to achieve our goals.
I didn’t need to shadow a client at an Independent Living Center because I taught those clients- I was a service offered to them. They were truly inspirational. They were hard workers, motivated, and full of life. I’ll give you a great example. One of my students, “Jon,” was a truck driver who suffered a major stroke that left him debilitated. He worked tirelessly with physical therapists to regain the use of his arms and he came to see me twice a week so I could re-teach him basic math skills. With time and help, Jon was able to get a part-time job and continued to be a productive member of his community.
We have come a long way with assistive technology, and the resources available to people with disabilities is remarkable, but I think it is important to remember their most basic need- respect.
This is the official page of the Alliance for Technology Access. The Alliance is a national and international network of technology resource centers, community-based organizations, agencies, individuals, and companies. The website provides information about this network of community- based centers throughout the country, FAQs, success stories, a directory, newsletter, and links.
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services website provided by the U.S. Department of Education. It provides information about programs support services available for individuals with disabilities.
DREAMMS is a nonprofit organization "committed to increasing the use of computers, high quality instructional technology, and assistive technologies for students with special needs in schools, homes and the workplace." Its web site includes articles and links relating to assistive technology and children, funding, and state assistive technology products.
National Center to Improve Practice in special education through technology, media, and materials. This website provides support resources and information about technology in special education. It offers the experiences of students with disabilities as well as a guided tour of two exemplary early childhood classrooms.
A Pennsylvania non-profit organization providing information and resources to children and adults with disabilities. There are links to information about IEP’s, supportive agencies, and assistive technology. Check out the humor section- here is the link to a seasonally-appropriate poem!