The Critical Need for Practitioner Training in Assistive Technology (AT) to Better Serve Learners with Visual Impairments
This report from 2022 provides a snapshot of challenges and wishes of 1,035 individuals providing support to AT users who are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind, many of whom have additional disabilities. It is clear from both the quantitative and qualitative data that:
- Continuing education opportunities that are flexible in their delivery on a wide range of topics and depth is needed in the field as is high-quality comprehensive preservice instruction.
- AT is an important consideration to ensuring inclusion of individuals who are blind, have low vision, or are deafblind in their communities.
- Professionals with current and broad knowledge of AT are essential to the success of the individuals they support.
The Critical Need for Knowledge and Usage of AT and AAC Among Speech-Language Pathologists
In 2017, ATIA released the results of a 2011 survey of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) that was conducted to explore attitudes and use of assistive technology (AT) and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). 549 SLPs participated in the survey, all of whom were part of either the Schools special interest group or AAC special interest group divisions of ASHA.
Some of the results of the survey are of particular interest to those of us in the school setting.
- Most respondents felt that their undergraduate and graduate education did not prepare them to competently provide AAC services within their practice.
- 86% of respondents would like to know more about AT and AAC services and equipment.
- Only a tenth of respondents believe that there are “sufficient ranks of SLPs with AT and AAC knowledge to meet the needs of consumers.”
- Many respondents reported that AAC services were inconsistently delivered in their setting due at least in part to lack of expertise.