• Assistive Technology for Academics

    Michelle Hampel - Assistive Technology Coordinator



    Instructional Technology vs. Assistive Technology

    Students with disabilities can benefit from the instructional technology that is available to all students.  If teachers take a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to lesson planning, then they would anticipate and plan for all learners.  Technologies such as; text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and word prediction are now part of Microsoft and Apple products.  Learners can choose from these resources.  For some students, the instructional technology may be considered assistive technology if the IEP/504 team determines the need for it to progress toward identified IEP/504 goals. If a student needs more specialized technology, then the IEP/504 team would consider other AT solutions.  For more information on AT Consideration, go to the AT Welcome page.

  • Accessible ebooks for qualified students

    logo for Bookshare  logo for Learning Ally

     Bookshare and Learning Ally audiobooks are available for students who have a qualifying reading or perceptual deficit, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works.

    For assistance in enrolling schools and educators, contact Michelle Hampel, Assistive Technology Coordinator hampelm@pcsb.org 

  • Microsoft Accessibility Tools for Learning


    Microsoft Immersive Reader helps with independent reading and comprehension. Features include reading text out loud, breaking words into syllables, options for visual layouts, such as spacing between lines and letters, and choice of background color themes. Available in many languages.

    image of immersive reader

    Immersive Reader YouTube video 

    Immersive Reader Interactive Guide


    Microsoft Edge Browser features: Read Aloud and Immersive Reader, QR code generator, screenshots, PDF Read Aloud and Ink/Draw on PDF, Dark Mode

     image of microsoft edge browser

    Microsoft Edge YouTube video


    Microsoft Dictate allows students to speak into a device and the written text will appear in the program.  It is a quick and easy way to create drafts, outlines, notes, or just get thoughts out into text.

    image of arrow pointing to  microsoft dictate on word document

    Microsoft Dictate Information 

     Microsoft Dictate Interactive Guide

    Windows 10 Word Prediction uses text suggestions to assist with writing in a word processing program. As students enter in the first letter or letters of the words, the program predicts the word that the student is trying to type. Words appear in a prediction list and students select their desired word from this list.

    image of windows 10 word prediction in a word document

    Windows 10 Word Prediction YouTube video


  • Teaching Strategies and Accessible Technologies for Emergent Readers and Writers with Complex Communication Needs

    Shared Reading

    "The focus is on interaction and meaning making. Teachers read with the students not to students.

    The goal is for the student to lead the interactions during shared reading."

    Karen Erickson & David Koppenhaver

    Project Core Online Module for Shared Reading


    Independent Reading

    "Self-selected reading is important for children with disabilities because it builds fluency and a love for reading.

    During this time, teachers do not require children to read and respond, but rather set up environments where children want to read and respond."

    Karen Erickson & David Koppenhaver

    Project Core Online Module for Independent Reading


    Shared Writing (Predictable Chart Writing)

    "...early writing can be a challenging and frequently overlooked activity for students with significant disabilities including complex communication and physical needs. Beginning with emergent literacy development, writing plays a central role in supporting typical children's understandings about print."

    Hanser, 2009

    Project Core Online Module for Predictable Chart Writing


     Independent Writing

    "All students must have access to the full alphabet to make progress in learning to read and write."

    Caroline Musselwhite

    "Students can start exploring and experimenting with alternate pencils BEFORE they know letter names or sounds, and well before they have control of the choice making required to choose specific letters..."

    The Center for Literacy and Disability Students

    Project Core Online Module for Independent Writing