Date of Award

10-5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Casey, Joseph

Keywords

Assistive Technology, Children, Learning Disorders

Abstract

Assistive Technology (AT) allows children with Specific Learning Disorders (LDs) to adequately access school curriculum. There is a paucity of literature addressing the use, perception of use, and training of students who qualify for AT. The few studies completed suggest that children with AT like their devices and find them useful. The current exploratory study examined the grade level of children provided AT devices, the types of AT hardware and software being used by children with various learning limitations in a school environment, and children’s perception of their AT devices. Archival data collected from school-aged children referred to the Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor-Essex County (LDAWE) was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. It was predicted that grade level, type of AT device, themes of liking, and themes of disliking would predict children’s perception of their AT and the AT training after training sessions. Logistic regressions revealed that children’s perceptions of their AT and AT training were influenced by their grade, device, and Disliking theme, but not Liking theme. Affirmative perceptions of the utility for specific apps ranged from 0% to 100%. In regard to what they liked about their AT, children most commonly responded with themes of “Helpful” (51%), with 8 themes emerging in total. For what they disliked about their AT, children most often responded with themes of “Technical Problems” (31%), with 15 emergent themes. The results of the current study add to the understanding of current practices of AT training and the utilization of AT by children. The findings of the current study should guide AT distributors and trainers in deciding which AT hardware to provide to children with LDs and how to provide training. Additionally, these results can benefit consumers and practitioners in their selections and recommendations of AT hardware.

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