Assistive Technology

What is AT?
Assistive Technology is any device, piece of equipment or system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. It also includes the services related to selecting and using the AT.

While AT can range from "no tech" to "high tech", consideration utilizes a framework for decision-making based on each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).  

Use the links below to find learning opportunities, resources, information about AT/AAC support.


Content Areas

Math, Science and Social Studies Resources:

Free Online Content: 
CK12 - free online curriculum/content
Currikki - free online curriculum/content
Hippocampus - free online digital content
SAS - free online curriculum/content
Kahn Academy - free video supports for curriculum/content 
Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) - e-resources 

Math Resources:
Equatio - digital math for Google Docs
Big, Simple Online Calculator - an adjustable size full screen calculator with large buttons.
Graphpaper - free downloadable graph paper, and many other types of paper (handwriting, dots, notetaking paper, etc.)
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives - a library of interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials
IXL - Skill and practice through 8th grade
Brainingcamp Virtual Manipulatives and Lessons - Grade 6-9 animated lessons and interactive activities along with question sets to assess student understanding 
Glencoe Math Manipulatives - for K- 8, use the Help menu to understand how to use this online resource
ConceptuaMath - Interactive fraction tools for instruction which align with NCTM standards
K-7 Mathcasts Project - Short videos (using VoiceThread) of math concepts by grade level and strand
Geometer's SketchPad - math visualization software
MathTrain TV - student produced math videos
Scholastic Math - make your own flashcards for math (or any subject).  Print them out for studying on the go!
MathPage  - links to interactive math sites and games
InfoPlease - practice math flashcards online.
Numbernut  - lots of drill and practice online
MathLab - online lessons, games, printable games and activities for teaching all areas of math. - lots of activities to support math homework and practice.  Choose information based on an overview or more in depth look. 
Illuminations - online activities searchable by grade or type. 
AAAMath - a comprehensive website of interactive lessons and practice for Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Science Resources:
Starchild - Astronomy with multiple reading levels
Windows to the Universe - multiple reading levels, Spanish or English
Scholastic Student Activities - Choose subject, grade level, type of activity

Early Childhood

List of links and sites - thanks to United Way in Ohio

Moving Targets - cause and effect online games
Orisinal - gentle games that target fine motor coordination & mouse skills

Boowakwala  - online preschool games, stories and more
Funbrain Jr. - online games, activities

Starfall - prereading and reading games and activities
Sesame Street  - interactive preschool activities
Kids Sprout - PBS online games for preschoolers
Nick Jr. - games and activities based on the Nick Jr. shows and topics
BBC Bobinogs - BBC games, stories, songs and more
Bembo's Zoo - interactive alphabet game
Storyplace Preschool Library - preschool stories, games, activities and more
TarHeel Reader - Talking Powerpoint-style books
Night Time Animals - interactive game
Tumblebooks - interactive stories
Interactive Stories for Kids
Lee Summit Schools - list of preschool sites by topic area
KiddieGames - simple online games to teach safetly, early numbers and counting, etc.
Cookie - online games and activities
Turtle Diary - online games for Pre-K - 5th grade
Mocomi - games, stories, content searchable by age

iPad Related Resources:
iPad Apps and Early Literacy - 50 apps for preschoolers
iPad and the Young Child - Powerpoint with comprehensive information
Sample Rubric for Evaluating Apps (Jodi Altringer)
Duck Duck Moose Apps - 22 engaging interactive apps (all free) (iPad/Android)
Toca Boca Apps - 38 engaging interactive apps (offered free periodically) 

Hands On - Apps with Manipulatives:
Tiggly - Shapes, Words, Math
Osmo - tangram, math, words, coding, drawing and more
Play-Doh Touch - Shape, Scan & Explore - bring Play-Doh creations to life


E-books and Digital Text:
MEL (Michigan Electronic Library) - Search Kids or Teens
Tarheel Reader - collection of PowerPoint online books
East of the Web - collection of short stories, organized by genre (read aloud with text-to-speech)
Poetry4Kids - collection of poems and activities (read aloud with text-to-speech) - free online access to out-of-copyright literature  (read aloud with text-to-speech)
Bookshare - data base of digital books free for students with disability
Learning A-Z -  interactive book and reading supports for children (subscription-based)

Epic- Digital books for Kids 12 and Under (subscription-based)

Audio Books:
Story Online - stories read by members of the screen actor's guild
StoryNory - online audio books, read by professional actors
Unite for Literacy - over 100 children's books with various language options - Public Domain audio books
Loyal Books (Books Should Be Free) - public domain audio and e-books
Lit2Go - online collection of mp3 stories and poems
Librivox - collection of books recorded by volunteers
Learning Ally    -Subscriptions available, for students with an identified reading disability or schools
Audible - subscription/fee based commercial audio books
Playaways - MP3 books available for commercial purchase

Text Readers:
Read&Write - Chrome Extension (Office 365 also available) (request a free educator premium license)
Select and Speak - Chrome Extension
Universal Reader -  Premier Technologies software, free to schools and families within Kent ISD

WordTalk - free text-reader for Word with talking dictionary and mp3 converter
NaturalReader - free text-reader available online (premium voices available for an extra fee)
PowerTalk - free text-reader for PowerPoint

Sites with Scaled or Tiered Reading Levels:
CommonLit Short stories, nonfiction, poems, news - includes built-in text reader and font adjustments
Ben's Guide- guide to US government by grade level

Starchild- space and astonomy
The Brain - the brain and it's behavior
Newsela - Current Events
Tween Tribune - Current Events
Breaking News English - Current Events
Readworks - Articles, informational text and literature
Books That Grow - Subscription based content in all subject areas

Wikipedia-  use the "Simple English" link available in the language choices on the left.  Converts text to 'simpler' format.

Sites that Help Determine Readability of Text:
Juicy Studio - input a URL or website location and the readbility will be calculated
Using English - Cut and paste into this site for Readability stats.

Vocabulary, Dictionary and Thesaurus tools:
Visual Thesaurus- a very visual thesaurus
Mirriam Webster Visual Dictionary - online visual support
Snappy Words -online visual dictionary thesaurus
VisuWords - online visual dictionary/thesaurus
WordSmyth- look up words on any webpage, create quizzes, make a glossary, create a crossword puzzle. etc.
Vocabahead - vocabulary word videos
Wordia - video vocabulary hosted on YouTube
Harcourt Talking Dictionary - pictures and audio for elementary students
Many Things - vocabulary with pictures, video pronunciation and games

Spelling City -customizable online spelling that makes practice fun
ICT games - customizable online spelling practice
Spell A Picture - Pictoral spelling program
Woodlands School Site - free online games for spelling, language, written expression skills, etc.

Google Chrome

Chrome Web Apps and Extensions
In addition to the features Google has built into their products, many developers have created Chrome web apps and Chrome extensions that bring extra functionality to Chrome for accessibility and accommodations.

To learn how to install and manage Chrome web apps, see this video
To learn how to install and manage Chrome extensions, see this video

Below is a list of many useful Chrome web apps and extensions for special needs grouped by topic. Some tools fit into more than one topic, but each is only listed once.

Text to speech
  • Read&Write for Google - Provides a drop down menu bar in Google Docs with features including text to speech, translation, and highlighting. A paid version is also available that adds a picture dictionary, word prediction, vocabulary list builder, and more.
Note: Educators can get the paid version for a year at no cost by filling out the form at this link.
  • SpeakIt! Text to speech tool that reads any selected text on web pages or PDF’s that are opened in Chrome. Options that can be adjusted include speaking rate and choice of voice.
Speech to text
Focused Reading  Tools
  • OpenDyslexic - overrides all fonts on web pages with OpenDyslexic font, formatting pages to be more easily readable
  • Reading Ruler - Highlight text on a web page, one line at a time
  • BeeLine Reader - Remove ads, comments, and other extra distracting items, applies a color gradient to the text
  • ATbar - Change the colors, font size for a web page, text-to-speech, colored overlays, remove distractions and more
  • MagicScroll Web Reader -Turn web pages into a flippable e-book and control over font size and page color
  • Readline - Adjust the speed to the lowest setting and use this extension to easily read text one word at a time
  • Visor - Screen dimmer and reading aid
Summarizing Tools
  • SummarizeThis - Copy and paste any text into the app to get a summarized version of the most important information
  • Summarizer - Highlight text and then use this extension to get a summarized version of the content
  • TextTeaser - Summarize content from webpage as a list of sentences or paragraph, with adjustable slider for detail level
  • Shorten - Extract key points of web article, and translate
Clutter Free Tools
  • Mercury Reader - Read webages in a simplified format
  • Just Read - Read webpages in a simplified format
  • EasyReader - View webpages as a book, with Table of Contents, customizable font, size, color and more
  • MagicScroll - Turn webpage into a MagicScroll book
Support Meaning
  • Google Dictionary - Double-click any word on a web page to get a pop-up with the definition and audible pronunciation
  • Google Flashcards - For Google Dictionary users - save words/phrases to word list, displayed as flashcards
  • Power Thesaurus - View synonyms and antonyms
  • Click-free Browsing - Adds navigation icons to a webpage that can be activated by simply hovering over them, rather than needing to click. Commands include scrolling, backward and forward in page history, opening a link, and more
  • Vimium - (YouTube video) Provides keyboard shortcuts for navigation and control for those with difficulty using a mouse
  • CrxMouse -Use mouse gestures to navigate including forward, backward, scrolling, refreshing, switching tabs, and more. The user can program their own custom mouse gestures to open programs and perform other tasks
Brain Breaks
  • Move It - Movement reminders on your screen
  • Mindful Break - Offers a new minfulness tip each time it opens
For more educational apps and extensions (not necessarily specifically for special needs) see the following resources:

iPads & Tablets

Weekly and Daily App Deals
AppAdvice (previously Apps Gone Free): iPad app with free daily alerts
Autism Apps: iPad app targeting Autism
Moms with Apps:  Free App Fridays (HonorRoll is the app version)
Best Apps for Kids: New apps and tips
Smart Apps for Kids: daily deals

Apps for Special Education
a4cwsn: reviews and video clips of apps
Spectronics: education and special needs
Apps and Resources for Autism
Apps for Autism
Bridging Apps - apps for special needs
AppsForAAC - communication apps organized by function

Apps for All Students
Apps in Education: organized by subject
Teachers with Apps: reviews with video and pics
OT's With Apps: reviews, tips, accessories & more
Geek SLP: apps & tips for speech & communication

Fun Educational Apps: in depth reviews 
Appolicious: detailed categories  
Digital Story Time: daily deals posted

Android-Based Apps
Droid Apps for Autism - review of apps
Bridging Apps - apps for special needs
Apps for Autism 
Google Play Store Education apps

Handouts and Presentations
Apps for Reading, Writing, OrganizationSTART Conference
MITS iPad Facilitator Materials
 iTouch and iPad apps for Special Education  -- PPT with examples of apps


Low Tech

Find Low Tech Tools at:
Try some of these low-tech ideas with your students:
Time Timer:  A visual timer targeted at students who benefit from a visual reminder of time left, or become over-anxious at the anticipation of an auditory "ding" .  Available from
Fidget Putty:  silicone, non-toxic, non-greasy putty for sensory needs in the classroom, for homework, attention, etc.  Comes in four levels of resistance.  (Search for therapy putty)
Kneadable Eraser:  great 'fidget' for students to use in the classroom or while doing homework.  Sturdy, resistive, functional eraser. or local office supply/art supply stores.
Highlighter Tape:  Removable highlighter -- perfect for highlighting in textbooks or library books, or removing when decisions about important information have changed.  Use to highlight vocabulary, main ideas and supporting details, parts of speech, correct math computations, etc.  Available from
Crayola Model Magic:  Form into a pencil grip to fit a student's grasp.  Available at 
 EZC Readers: make reading easier to track and follow for some students.  Available from or make you own with colored laminate film and index cards.
 Fidget Pencils: for those students who need to quietly fidget while listening or working.  Available from
Hokki Stool - Classroom stool with a rocking, wobbly bottom.  Allows for movement while sitting. 
 Bad Speller's Dictionary:  Look up words using their phonetic "misspellings" and find the correct spelling.  Available from
Neo by AlphaSmart:  portable word processor is a solution for word processing on-the-go, for students who can keyboard more successfully than write, and classroom collaboration.  Available from
Franklin Speaking Homework Wiz:  Speaking speller and dictionary.  Available from
   Franklin Pagemark Dictionary:  slides between pages like a book mark.  Available from
Carbonless Notebook:  share student notes.  Available from or
Handheld Keyboard:  Wireless handheld thumb keyboard by Logitech interacts with any computer.  Available at 
Handheld Keyboard:  Wireless handheld keyboard/mouse interacts with any computer.  Available at
Anybook Reader:  record yourself reading a book for your students. With this simple touch, record, playback process you can record any page of any book you already own. Use the recordable stickers to record audio on anything - worksheets, communication boards, and other classroom materials. 
LiveScribe Pulse SmartPen:  Take notes while the pen records the audio, and plays back at the touch of the paper.  Upload notes and audio to the computer for review, study, etc.  Available from
Handheld Scanner:  Scan in text/notes from resource materials and books electronically.  Hear it read back, upload to your computer for modification, highlighting, etc.  Available from 

Networking & Community

Organization & Study

Harvard's Center on the Developing Child 
Executive functioning resources

JMU's Learning Toolbox
Find tools and strategies based on a specific executive function challenge

A community with state-of-the-art technology, personalized resources, free daily access to experts, and practical tips to support students with learning and attention issues.
Assistive Technology to Support Executive Functioning
Presentation featuring a variety of tools and strategies from low tech to high tech

Resources collected by FCPS
A variety of tools and resources for executive functioning

UDL Tech Toolkit's collection of graphic organizers
Includes online interactives, printables, browser extensions, and device apps
Freeology's Graphic Organizers
Over 100 free, printable graphic organizers for a wide variety of topics and purposes
A flexible and multi-functional tool that will improve your productivity with lists, notes, outlines, and tracking functions
Remember the Milk
The smart to-do app for busy human beings--Sync across devices and platforms

Research Project Calculator
Utilize this tool to break a large project down into manageable guided chunks and track progress

Switch Access

Switch Access and Activity Resources:

Online Switch Games:
Tarheel Gameplay - a collection of free, easy-to-play, and accessible games, speech enabled, accessed using multiple interfaces
Priory Woods Videos - clickable videos   Priory Woods Talking Books - clickable books
Talking Book Library - clickable books for all ages
Knee Bouncers - online games
Shiny Learning - Some free and subscription-based online games
HelpKidzLearn - Subscription-based games and activities

List of Switch Accessible Sites - from Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs
List of Switch Accessible Sites - from Students With Difference

Switch Accessible Software
Inclusive TLC
Judy Lynn Software

iPad Apps
List of iPad Apps
 - from Enabling Devices
List of iPad Apps - from Jane Farrell

iPod/iPad Access Ideas - from Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs

60 Things to do with a Single Switch - from Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs

Tips, Tricks and Ideas for a Single Switch - from TalkSense


National Center on Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Learn about UDL through a variety of resources and examples. 

UDL Guidelines

Full text of the UDL guidelines, a graphic organizer of the guidelines, and rich examples of tools to achieve each checkpoint within the guidelines

Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice

Create a free account to access the web edition of this interactive text introducing and illuminating UDL principles and practices.

UDL Exchange

The place to browse and build UDL resources, lessons, and collections

UDL Wheel

Explore the UDL principles, checkpoints, and related resources with this interactive tool

Maryland Learning Link's UDL Resources

Rich collection of tools and resources to better understand and explore UDL principles

UDL Studio

Explore or Create!  Browse, read, interact with, or create your own UDL projects. 

UDL Toolkit

Collection of UDL tools and resources utilizing an interactive Wiki and poster

Visual Supports

Free online sources for pictures:
ConnectABILITY Visuals Engine - online Boardmaker alternative (free)
SymbolWorld  - symbol sets, current events news, activities, stories
Sclera Picto's - free black and white symbols, by category
Mulberry Symbols - free clip art images
ARASAAC Symbols - free clip art images

Pics4Learning  - pictures and graphics free for use in education, catalogued by category
Do2Learn - free picture cards, activities and other resources

Subscription-based online sources for pictures:
LessonPix - Online resource for customized visual learning materials ($36/year)
Smarty Symbols - 
Online resource for customized visual learning materials ($45/year)
Widgit Symbols - Online resource available with annual subscription
SymbolStyx PRIME - Online resource available with annual subscription
Boardmaker Online - Online resource available with annual subscription

Activities and ideas:
Symbol World: free activities and ideas using picture symbols
Speaking of Speech - free downloadable PDF files of activities using Boardmaker symbols (scroll down to categories)
Do2Learn - free pictures and activities
News 2 You - fee-based online and printable current event activities with picture support for students with special needs
Unique Learning System - fee-based standards based curriculum for students with special needs.

Boardmaker links and downloads - from Glenda's Assistive Technology 
More Boardmaker links and downloads - from Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs 

Picture-supported books and text:
Adapted Books - hundreds of books adapted with Boardmaker pictures, from Baltimore City Schools
Adapted Books -  
adapted books with picture icons and associated activities
Adapted Books - adapted books from the Sherlock Center for Disabilities

Social Stories to download or sample:
Socials Stories and Resources - PBISWorld's extensive list of story links and resources
Visual Support Social Stories - Microsoft Word format stories

Free Social Stories - list of social stories from various sources (from One Place for Special Needs)
Social Stories - 8 simple stories with some pictures such as Getting Dressed, Playing With Friends, etc.
Autism Inspiration - stories created
by a mom for her son

Aspergers Social Stories - a variety of stories
Watson Institute - Behavior social stories
Model Me - social stories available for purchase

Workshop Handouts

Click on a training below to find the handouts:

  • Assistive Technology to Support Executive Function, Attention & Behavior
  • Google Tools for Special Education - Student and Administrative Management
    • Google Apps Tip Sheets
  • Assistive Technology - More Than A Checkbox!
  • Reading  Council - Writing Supports
  • Support for Struggling Students: Grandville MS
  • A Tech Toolkit to Support Struggling Readers
  • AAC Overview
  • AAC: Light Tech to High Tech Supports for Students with Communication Barriers
  • Text-to-Speech & Speech-to-Text: Not Just for Accessibility
  • Removing Barriers to the Classroom with Universally Designed Strategies
  • Assistive Technology Overview Handouts: 
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Chrome Extensions & Apps
    • SETT Framework
  • Tech in Early Learning: Take Down Your Program Walls (ATIA 2017)
  • Chrome for Accessibility
  • AAC - Integrating into Classrooms and Curriculum
  • Apps for Reading, Writing and Organization
  • Technology Triage
  • Tools for Diverse Classrooms
  • Google Chrome and Google Drive 
  • Supports for Writing:  Inside and Outside the Classroom
  • Assistive Technology for Students with Cognitive Impairments and Delays 
  • Technology for Early Childhood 


Writing is a complex process involving motor ability (handwriting, keyboarding) through composition (written expression).  Writing tasks cross into many areas of a student's education including generating ideas, constructing words and sentences, sequencing and organizing ideas, spelling, grammar, copying, note taking, completing worksheets and assessments, and more.  Consideration of the student's specific areas of need is key:

Digital Writing Supports - Chrome Extensions:
Read&Write - text & picture dictionaries, speech-to-text, word prediction, highlighting (Free for 30 days, then annual subscription).  (iOS app also available)  (request a free educator premium license)
Co-Writer Universal - Word prediction and speech-to-text  (Free for 30 days, then annual subscription)

Keyboarding Practice - Chrome Apps:
Typing Club
Typing Lessons
Type Scout

Keyboarding Practice - Websites:
Dance Mat Typing - 4 levels of practice
Rapid Typing - download these free keyboarding programs
Fingerjigger - a 6 minute typing game/test with random words
Free typing games - free games to play online
And more free typing games - more fast-paced online games

Handwriting Practice:
Handwriting for Kids - free printable paper templates and worksheets

Spelling, Grammar and Writing Support:
Grammarly - grammar support
Ginger - spelling support for all applications, free trial, then purchase

Ghotit - spelling support

Writing Support Add-Ons for Google Docs:
Find and add Google Docs Add-Ons - short how-to video
   - Look for: Mindmeister, LucidChart, Grammarly, EasyBib

ReadWriteThink Interactive Mapping and Organizing Tools:
ReadWriteThink Essay Map - interactive graphic organizer
ReadWriteThink Mapping Tool - 
interactive graphic organizer
ReadWriteThink Graphic Map - 
 interactive graphic organizer
ReadWriteThink Persuasion Map - interactive graphic organizer
ReadWriteThink Biography Cube - interactive biography builder
ReadWriteThink Story Map - interactive story builder


Dictation Tools:
Google Docs Voice Typing
Dragon Dictate for iPhone and iPad - this is a free app through iTunes
Digital Graphic Organizers:
Popplet - free online or app brainstorming and mapping tool
Webspiration - subscription-based online brainstorming and mapping tool 
Mindomo - free online brainstorming and mapping tool 
Gliffy -  free online brainstorming and mapping tool - free online brainstorming and mapping tool

Digital Story Telling:
Glogster - create online, interactive posters
Voice Thread - capture audio for online digital storytelling
Animoto - create fully customized videos 
Blabberize - create talking photos, EASY
FotoBabble - create talking photos, EASY 
Storybird - collaborative storytelling, beautiful graphics
Little Bird Tales - digital stories with audio recording option
Story Jumper - read, listen or create books

Photo Peach - create an easy Photo Story
Story Maker - download this application and use with reluctant writers to create a fairy tale
ToonDoo - Online comic strip creator
Make Believe Comix - Online comic strip creator
Wacky Web Tales - an online "madlib" tool  

More Digital Writing Supports:
Online Note-Taking Tool - (one of the interactive Read/Write/Think resources - do not use with Chrome Browser)
Sutori- collaborative, online Time Line tools

 Writing Fix - Interactive Writing Prompts
Scholastic: Story Starters for Grades 1-4 - Students spin lever to get a writing prompt, or change prompt.

SnapType - iPad or Android app used to complete worksheets on a tablet
StoryKit - iPad app to create digital storybooks

Word Clouds:
ABCYA Word Cloud


Visual Impairment