1. Identify the assistive technologies available to special needs populations in Illinois? 2. What types of assistive technologies are available?
3. What healthcare educational resources are available to special needs populations? 4. Does Illinois provide a comprehensive database of services and technologies available? 5. How do special needs populations’ access services in Illinois? 6. What additional assistive technology is available that is not currently used in Illinois? What are the challenges to implement the technology?
1. “Children with disabilities sometimes need and are entitled to special equipment and services to ensure that they have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Learn more about equipment, funding, consultation and evaluation resources, implementation strategies, best practices and other services available. Assistive technology includes both devices and services. As defined in IDEA: an assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. (34 CFR 300.5),” (Meeks, n.d.). “An assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. (34 CFR 300.6) During the IEP process, assistive technology must be considered for every child and then provided by districts if required in a child’s IEP to access a free and appropriate public education (FAPE)”, (Meeks, n.d.).
2. “Illinois has the Assistive Technology Act of 1998. A federal law that provides funding to Illinois and other States for programs and activities that increase access to assistive technology devices and services (AT). To increase the availability of AT; to improve the AT skills and abilities of persons working with people with disabilities; to increase awareness and knowledge of AT. People with disabilities who need access to assistive technology devices or services,” (Illinois Legal Aid, 2002).
3. There are so many different educational resources Illinois has to offer their residents. For example: “HFS Medical Benefits may be available for individuals who are age 65 or older, blind or have a permanent disability. To qualify for HFS Medical, persons must live in Illinois and meet income and asset limits. Persons must also be U.S. citizens or qualified immigrants. You can review the HFS Medical Benefits Information to find out if you qualify, The Division of Mental Health (DMH) is responsible for assuring that children, adolescents and adults, throughout Illinois, have the availability of and access to public-funded mental health services.
Services are available through 162 community mental health centers/agencies, 27 community hospitals with psychiatric units and nine state-operated hospitals, and UIC Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has 13 regional offices across the state where care coordinators are available to assist families with medically eligible children (birth to age 21 years) access needed specialty services. The Core Program is the major focus of DSCC and offers care coordination and cost-supported diagnosis and treatment for children with chronic health impairments determined eligible for program support,” (State of Illinois Heath and Wellness, 2015). These are just to name a few.
4. Illinois provide a lot of different services and technology. They have an extensive comprehensive database. “The Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) is a statewide, non-profit agency funded under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988. IATP’s mission is to break down barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing the assistive technology,” (Wright, n.d.).
5. (ANSWERED THIS QUESTION IN NUMBER #1) (Meeks, n.d.).
6. Some challenges with assistive technologies are : “Faculty training still does not acknowledge the fact that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession, the emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching outpace sufficient and scalable modes of assessment, too often it is education’s own processes and practices that limit broader uptake of new technologies, the demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices, new models of education are bringing unprecedented competition to the traditional models of higher education, and most academics are not using new technologies for learning and teaching, nor for organizing their own research,” (Lepi, 2013).
Illinois Legal Aid. (2002, November). Retrieved from Disabilities Guidebook: Technology-Related Assistance for People with Disabilities: http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentid=205 Lepi, K. (2013, February 14th). Edudemic: Connectin Education & Technology. Retrieved from The 6 Biggest Challenges of Using Education Technology: http://www.edudemic.com/challenges-of-using-education-technology/ Meeks, J. T. (n.d.). Illinois State Board of Education . Retrieved from Special Needs Services: http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/html/assist_tech.htm State of Illinois Heath and Wellness. (2015). Retrieved from Illinois Healthcare Programs: http://health.illinois.gov/specialneeds.html Wright, M. A. (n.d.). Illinois Department of Human Services. Retrieved from Assistive Technology- Related Resources: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=32088