Assistive Technology » FAQS


Assistive Technology


Why are we doing all this?

1. It’s the law!! IDEA contains definitions for AT Devices and Services and specifies that those devices and services must be provided if required for the student with a disability to receive a free and appropriate public education. The law also states that consideration of assistive technology must occur in all student IEPs.


2. It’s important to us that our students have the opportunity to function to fullest capacity in the most independent way possible!

How does McCSEC deliver assistive technology services?

McCSEC does not have an AT Coordinator but rather provides service based on a capacity building model. That means all service providers are tasked with learning about assistive technology for students. The decision-making process includes those individuals who know the student best.

McCSEC also uses outside resources (Infinitec and OCCK) for guidance on specific AT devices, evaluation of student needs and staff development opportunities. The Assistive Technology Team members are go-to sources of assistance at the individual building level. The Team Co-Leaders coordinate the assessment process.

What are some helpful tips to remember when considering AT?

● AT is a tool to support a goal. A need for AT must be documented in the IEP.
● Focus the need for AT to a specific task. (What is it that you want the student to do
that he/she is currently unable to do?)
● Tools must be student-centered, environmentally useful, and task-focused.
● Consider a range of options from low-tech to high-tech.
● Set up a simple plan to collect data and document success.
● Allow sufficient time to determine success.


How will I know when a student is successful with an AT device?

Four Competencies:
1. Operational – Does the student have the skills to operate the device independently? (For some students, “partial participation” is success.)
2. Functional – Does the student demonstrate mastery of the tasks and goals for which the device was selected?
3. Strategic – Does the student have the ability to decide when the device is appropriate?
4. Social – Does the student use the device appropriately in different environments?

Where can I find out more?

The following websites contain lots of information on assistive technology:
● (click on Supports tab, then “free materials”)
● (AT Decision Making in Resources and Online Classroom)


Text to Speech:

What resources are available for students who need text to speech accommodations for educational materials?
McCSEC has a process in place to provide audio accommodation for students with print disabilities. Check the Assistive Technology page in Special Education on the USD418 website Click on the Digital Text link to find an outline of the registration process.

How does my student qualify for this service?

The Digital Text Project is for students who qualify under copyright waiver as print disabled. There are three categories of qualification with the common factor being inability to read standard print effectively:
*Visual Impairment
*Physical Impairment
*Learning Disability (Students may qualify even if their IEP designation is not Learning Disability if they have an accompanying reading disorder.)

Where can I find information about the resources for students who have a qualifying print disability?

Three agencies provide digital text for students with a print disability. Those agencies are Learning Ally (, Bookshare (, and Infinitext ( In addition, the Kansas Instructional Resource Center (KIRC) is a resource for students who are visually impaired. Talk to Teri Chaney, Teacher of Visually Impaired, for information about materials from KIRC.

Are there resources available for students who do not qualify as print disabled but who would still benefit from this accommodation?

There are many ways to provide text to speech for students.
*Public Domain (no longer under copyright) materials can be downloaded and read on computers using text to speech options or with apps on tablets.
Project Gutenberg can be accessed through their website or through the Voice Dream Reader iPad app ($15).
*Public Library books are available for download also.
Public Libraries use OneClick DigitalAudioBooks, 3MCloudLibrary, and in some cases, OverDrive. Check your public library home page for details.
*SYNC provides free audio book downloads during the summer months for young adult readers. Two titles are available for one week each week from May through August. Students and teachers can access this resource.
Go to to sign up for weekly e-mail or text alerts/reminders and for information on download options.
*Check with the Digital Text Team members in your building for other ideas.
*Check with your school librarian for help with accessing local public library resources as well as the State Library System.








What options are available for students who have difficulty with the mechanics of writing?
Speech to Text/Voice Recognition

*Chromebooks: (require internet access)
1. Google Docs built-in “Voice Typing”. Open a Google Doc. Go to Tools. Select Voice Typing. Click on the microphone icon and start speaking. May have to Allow microphone.
2. Chrome Apps: Locate in the WebStore and add to Chrome. To use, locate in Add-Ons in Menu Bar in Google Docs.
*Dictation (also called Voice Recognition)
3. Read&Write for Google: Available free to teachers from the ChromeStore and for a subscription for students (30 day free trial). Speech to text is one of a set of literacy tools.

1. Dictation: Can be used offline.
Go to System Preferences. Select Dictation and Speech. Click Dictation tab. Choose “on” and “Use Enhanced Dictation” (to allow offline use)
Open document such as Word, TextEdit or Pages. Go to Edit and Choose “Start Dictation”.
2. Use any of the Chromebook options above through the Chrome browser.
3. MacSpeech Dictate.
Mac version of Dragon (software)

1. Use any of the Chromebook options through the Chrome browser.
2. Dragon Dictation software

*iOS Tablets:
1. Use the microphone and your voice within an app that supports keyboard input such as Docs, Microsoft Word, Pages.
2. Apps: Download to device from the App Store
a. Paperport Notes
b. Dragon Dictation
c. Clarospeak
d. VoicePad


*Android OS:
1. Use the microphone button and your voice within an app that supports keyboard input.
2. Apps: Locate on Google Play and download.
a. ShoutOut
b. Evernote Voice-to-Text
c. Vlingo
d. Push to Talk
e. ListNote
f. VoiceText


(Search for videos available on YouTube for information regarding the above resources.)





EmPower Program (
Efofex provides free registration codes for their products to any student whose disability makes it difficult to produce secondary level math and science materials. The program is integrated with Microsoft Office 2007 and above. Products include FX Draw, FX Equation, FX Graph, FX Stat, FX Chem, and FX ChemStruct.