e2 B o o k R e v i e w The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education

January/February 2012  www.2eNewsletter.com

Book by Joan L. Green, M.A., CCC-SLP

Published by Prufrock Press, 2011
Format: 221 pages, 10×7 inches, paperbound; also available in
electronic versions
Joan L. Green must be something of a pack rat when it comes to gathering information about hardware and
software in the category of assistive technology. We’d love to know whether her office desk is covered with little notes
and pieces of paper about the hundreds of resources she covers in her book The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology
in Special Education, or whether she’s just fiercely well-organized electronically. Green, a speech and language pathologist, offers her
compendium of assistive technologies in order to “empower individuals with literacy, learning, and communication differences.” Among the groups whose lives she hopes to improve are those with autism, learning differences, and cognitive deficits. Her goal is to create opportunities and remove performance barriers. Covering a Range of Challenges The first three chapters provide an overview of the power of technology, the benefits of assistive technology, and the various classes of hardware and software useful in assistive technology. (Chapter 2, on benefits, is available online at the Prufrock website.) Those are followed by seven chapters covering A.T. that can help with specific challenges:

• Verbal expression (two chapters)
• Auditory comprehension
• Reading comprehension
• Reading skills
• Written expression
• Cognition, learning, and memory.

The book concludes with chapters on games and online activities; Internet communication and learning tools;
and adapted e-mail, search engines, and browsers.

A Sample Chapter

A look at a sample chapter gives a good idea of Green’s approach in her book. The chapter “Treatment
and Technology to Improve Written Expression” opens by identifying when written expression may be a problem —
for example, in those with LDs, strokes, or other cognitive challenges. Green then lists the skills involved in written
expression and suggests that low-tech options such as pencil grips be considered as well as high-tech. After stressing why written writing skills are important, she then presents strategies and resources to improve writing, starting with software and apps for drill-and-practice. For each of 16 drill-and-practice writing A.T. apps, the chapter provides the app name, platform (Apple, Window,
etc), price, and bullet-point descriptions of the features of the app. Here’s an example:

Story Patch By Haywoodsoft
• Apple app
• This is a story creator designed with the goal of
helping kids create stories on their own or with
the help of a template.
• The user first titles the story, then selects a
theme such as “a trip to the zoo” or builds his
story independently.
• If the templates are used, questions are
presented with possible answers and the user
selects her response to create a unique story.
• There is an image library with more than 800
images grouped into 47 categories to create
settings for each page.
• A character designer or personal pictures can be
used to create the characters in the story.
• $4.99

The chapter continues with sections on:
• Software to improve spelling
• Word processors as a way to help the writing process
• Picture-based and talking word processors
• Word prediction programs
• Dictionaries
• Graphic organizers
• Technology to help with the physical aspect of writing
and typing
• Speech-to-text and voice recognition
• Additional tools to help with written expression.

All in all, the chapter covers over 70 tools

Putting A.T. to Work
Realizing that a book captures technology as it was at a particular moment in time, Green describes her book as a
starting point, recommending that readers visit the websites cited within the book for up-to-date information. Green
also offers an e-newsletter and a couple websites which can help keep aspiring A.T. consumers current. Green also notes
that obtaining professional guidance may be desirable depending on the condition being addressed.

This book is likely to prove to be a useful starting point for many parents and educators of twice-exceptional children in
the search for resources to help those children overcome their challenges

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