Leveling the Playing Field: Technology as an Equalizer in Education, Transition to Careers, and Daily Life
The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) held three forums in Washington, D.C. to discuss ways that awareness of assistive technologies could be promoted. These forums attracted a wide range of participants including representatives of the administration and Congress, state, and local policymakers, national associations, and media representatives. Individuals working in the fields of educational technology, reform, leadership, assistive technology, special education, vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, and those interested in school-to-work transition attended.
Some lessons learned from the forum series include:
- Teachers and administrators must recognize and respond to differences in the way students with and without disabilities learn.
- Technology can be used as a tool to help manage and respond to these differences.
- Technology, both educational learning tools and everyday communication devices, should be designed with universal usability.
- Advances in software allow a range of solutions to be programmed into equipment to make it more accessible early on, rather than having to adapt at a later stage.
- The costs of adaptation are decreasing, making them more appealing to producers of such technology.
- Transitions to work can be facilitated through high-quality and supported work experiences while a student is still in school.
- Employers need to understand how technology and adaptations can aid workers with disabilities to be successful and that many of these adaptations improve nondisabled workforce productivity and efficiency as well.
A publication called Leveling the Playing Field: Technology as an Equalizer in Education, Transition to Careers, and Daily Life has been developed that summarizes what was learned in the this and two other forums in this series. It offers suggestions for lessons learned written by the American Youth Policy Forum.
You may view the report on the AYPF Web site. (Adobe Acrobat is needed to view this document. Download now for free.) If you would like a copy sent to you, please send a check for $3.00 (for postage and handling) made payable to American Youth Policy Forum to:
American Youth Policy Forum
1836 Jefferson Place, NW
Washington, DC 20036
For more information, contact AYPF at (202)775-9731 or by e-mail, or visit the AYPF Web site.
Source: FAPE, August 20, 2001