Investigating the use, knowledge, and perceptions of assistive technology (AT) by special education teachers

Assistive technology (AT) has been shown to be an effective tool in the education of students with a wide range of disabilities. However, the effectiveness of using assistive technology devices, materials, and services in supporting the needs of students with disabilities is decidedly limited due to several obstacles including a lack of teacher preparation and insufficient funding of assistive technology services. These obstacles result in students who are not given the opportunity to potentially benefit from assistive technology as well as students who may access to AT services but do not have the proper training and support to effectively use the technology. In an effort to investigate the use, perceptions, knowledge, and level of AT preparation or training in assistive technology by currently employed special education teachers, this study employed a brief ten item survey which was distributed to secondary level special education teachers. Results from the survey indicate a general lack of pre-service preparation and in-service training in assistive technology for special education teachers. The results indicate a need for teacher preparation programs and school districts to provide adequate AT training opportunities as well as securing the funding required to support these programs. KEYWORDS: assistive technology, at, teacher preparation