iPads and smart phones and computers have all become common place in our society. But the technology that so many of us have grown accustomed to is not as easily accessible to people with disabilities. I want to even the playing field for my students and I hope that you can help me!
I work in a preschool class for children with autism spectrum disorders.
My room is located on an isolated site with 5 classes that only serve children with special needs. Because we are a preschool site, we do not receive Title I or ADA funding because those programs do not assist preschools. However, because we are a special education site, we do not receive the funding that other preschool programs receive such as HeadStart. This means that any "extras" we need are not likely to be purchased by the school district.
Although we have a classroom computer, it is difficult to use with a group. The children try to crowd around it & get close to the monitor but then the other children can't see. Also, the children find it hard to use the mouse or even the touchscreen that we have installed on the monitor. They often touch the screen unintentionally & end up clicking on something they didn't want to access. This makes using the computer frustrating instead of fun & meaningful.
I am requesting a device called TAP-it as well as the Smart Technologies software that
will allow my students to access all aspects of technology with the simple touch of their finger. Unlike an iPad, TAP-it can tell the difference between intended and unintended touch. A student with mobility issues may need to lean on TAP-it's screen while using their other hand to activate the lesson on the screen. TAP-it makes this possible & puts an end to the frustration many of my students feel when trying to use a regular touch screen on the computer or even on an iPad. TAP-it can also adjust to the height and positioning of any child because it can be lowered to just a foot off the floor, be tilted to make it easier to reach, and can even be brought to the child because it is on casters instead of being mounted to the wall like a SMARTboard!
Having TAP-it in my classroom will give my students truly easy access to the technology that so many other students in general education classrooms already have.
Even better, TAP-it can be shared with the other 4 classrooms at my school site and make technology even more accessible to 75 preschoolers instead of just the 15 in my classroom!
Given the terrible budget crisis in our district, there is NO WAY to get TAP-it into my classroom without your help! Thank you for considering this project.
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