FDLRS provides assistance and support in the appropriate use of a variety of technologies for students, teachers, professional staff, and parents. Support services are available in the areas of assistive technology, instructional technology, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), AIM/NIMAS Florida services, and virtual/online instruction.
The Technology Specialists at all of the 19 local FDLRS Associate Centers also collaborate with the MTSS Technology and Learning Regional Technology Specialists and district-based Assistive Technology Specialists. TLC-MTSS also offers a statewide assistive technology loan library (AT & UDL Loan Library).
FDLRS Technology Specialists…
- Help students, families, and educators identify, acquire, and make effective use of assistive and instructional technologies.
- Help teachers integrate technology with effective teaching, leading to improved student outcomes.
- Provide opportunities for students, families, and educators to explore high and low-tech equipment and program solutions.
- Disseminate information and training through distance learning opportunities.
Instructional Technology vs. Assistive Technology
Instructional technology is utilized to help teach skills or content. Assistive technology helps increase the functional capabilities of students.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Assistive technology helps people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things. Different disabilities require different assistive technologies.
National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Learn the basics of accessible materials and technologies, register for and view webinars and presentations from our AEM Events, and discover AEM Publications to dive deeper into AEM.
Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA): ATIA’s mission is to serve as the collective voice of the assistive technology industry to help ensure that the best products and services are delivered to persons with disabilities.
Technology & Learning Connections (TLC): The TLC Team is a part of Florida’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) through the Problem Solving/Response to Intervention Project at the University of South Florida. Their services support the local development of highly effective classrooms for all students based on the Florida Standards through a multi-tiered system of supports in a universal education system.
Switch-Accessible AT Tools
Tar Heel Reader: A collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens, the IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches.
Tar Heel Shared Reader: A variant of Tar Heel Reader that emphasizes shared reading.
Tar Heel Gameplay: A collection of free, easy-to-play, and accessible games. Each game is speech enabled and may be accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens and 1 to 3 switches.
Priory Woods: Switch videos are animations or slideshows set to music, which can be controlled by a range of common assistive access devices. They are designed to help children understand and generalize cause and effect (the action/reaction bond), one of the foundation stones for early learning.
Papunet Games: This site offers memory games, puzzles, language games, and even Sudoku, all of which can be used with a switch.
HelpKidzLearn: HelpKidzLearn is a collection of software for young children and those with learning difficulties to play online. The software is split into five sections: Early Years, Games and Quizzes, Stories and Songs, Creative Play & Find Out About.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Resources
Children and adults with severe speech or language problems may need to find other ways to communicate. There are many types of AAC that they can use. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help.
Project Core: The Universal Core vocabulary and implementation model is aimed at students with significant disabilities who do not yet use speech, signs or symbols to communicate in flexible ways. This includes students who rely on early forms of communication such as facial expressions, vocalizations and body movements, as well as students who are beginning to use symbols, signs, or words but cannot yet put them together.
Creating PowerPoint Books from Templates from UNC Medical School: The templates included on this site are for creating ABC books and personal books for students with significant disabilities, including deaf-blindness. The templates have high contrast backgrounds and some have finger spellings.
PrAACtical AAC: PrAACtical AAC supports a community of professionals and families who are determined to improve the communication and literacy abilities of people with significant communication difficulties.
OpenAAC: OpenAAC is an initiative to create and encourage open-licensed resources and tools to support AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) users.