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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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Looking at the profile model in another way


While the profile model is very generalized, it is a matter of degree of how pervasive or severe the difficulties are.  It is then a matter of 'fine-tuning' the intervention and selecting both materials and adaptive technology that are appropriate.


Students who have physical visual impairments and visual-spatial processing difficulties

This includes students who have a Physical Exceptionality - Vision Impaired.

Some students with a Communication Exceptionality- Learning Disabled with visual spatial processing deficits (dyslexia) will have difficulty using all visual information to a larger or lesser degree.

Usually both of the 'types' of students have strengths in auditory processing and in oral language usage and production but may have severe difficulty learning to read.


What can be done:

Accommodations will be needed using the stronger modality - Auditory

In reading or learning to decode it is important to learn the sound to symbol association. Students who have visual or visual processing  deficits have difficulty learning the symbol in the sound to symbol association. (the symbol may not be isn't stable e.g. d, b, q, and p). So for Learning Disabled students with visual processing deficits need an auditory method to teach reading.  These students may be able to use phonics or specific types of interventions such as Orton Gillingham.  However, it would not be  appropriate for the regular classroom teacher to undertake such highly specialized teaching.

Students who are severely vision impaired - blind need to learn Braille.  Those who are vision impaired may benefit from having text enlarged either by photocopying and enlarging or using texts that have enlarged print. or using taped books.

In technology both of these groups of students can benefit from using the reading software and hardware.


Software is available to translate text into digital formats and assist the learner in reading through reformatting and audio output of content.

Premier - Literacy Suite - suite of 10 tools to support reading and writing

Optical Character Recognition and Reading Software

Kurzweil - digitize text and read using text-to-speech



Assistive technologies support students with low vision, blindness or other visual impairments to access digitized or web-based content.  

Screen Magnification Software

ZoomText - enlarge display and read outloud

Screen Readers

JAWS - translates text to audio output

Modified Keyboards

Intellikeys - customizable touch keyboard


Further the learning disabled student with visual spatial processing deficits may have difficulty with Math as it involves lining up numbers and number sequences. Spelling may also be problematic and so software that has a spell checker MAY help but these students will still have difficulty determining which is the correct spelling to select. 

However most often both of these groups of students have good oral language abilities and will benefit from virtually all of the technologies available will to assist with the production of written work.

Note: One cannot improve visual processing just as one cannot improve a student's ability to see.


Exceptional Students who have muscle control difficulties

Students with Physical Exceptionalities 

Also some students Communication Exceptionality - learning disabled have muscle control difficulties especially fine motor control difficulties which affects the ability to write.

While some improvement in muscle control can be done by intensive Occupational Therapy intervention for LD students.

Implications for Teaching

These difficulties affect the student's ability to write and copy notes etc.

In young children it may be seen in difficulties colouring 'in the lines.

Sometimes it affects speech and results in articulation difficulties.

It may also affect a student's ability to participate in physical activities and many have problems socially because they tend to be clumsy. 

Accommodations are needed. 

The technologies for writing that are appropriate would be all word processing, although some students may have as much difficulty with keyboarding as with writing.  In such cases adaptive keyboards can be helpful.

Voice to text software is very successful as long as articulation is taken into account.


Students who have Auditory Difficulties with Concurrent Developmental Delays in Language Students

Communication Exceptionalities: Hard of Hearing. These students have difficulty hearing what is said and may have concurrent difficulties in the production of language.

Students with a Communication Exceptionality - Autism may experience difficulty with processing the language he or she may hear or may experience sensitivity to sound.  What appears to be a normal sound level for most students may appear to be very loud for a student with Autism. In addition these students may have difficulty with expressive language or language production.

Some students with a Communication Exceptionality - Learning Disability, experience difficulty processing what is said at the same rate as others in the class, and may have difficulty understanding the language and vocabulary used in the class.  In addition these students may have some difficulties remembering what is heard as well as in all aspects of language production. 

In addition some students who have Intellectual Exceptionalities - MID and DD may also have difficulty processing and understanding what is said in the class in the same way that others are able to do.
All of these students with intellectual exceptionalities have language production difficulties to a larger or lesser degree.  In some cases the student is only able to communicate using adaptive technology. In others the language produced tends to be simple in vocabulary and structure.

At times in many of the above it involves the vocabulary, the complexity of the language ( e.g. active and passive sentences), figurative language and the rate of speaking.

1. Oral Language is learned from what we hear.  So all students who have hearing or auditory processing difficulties concurrently have delays in the development of language and associated cognitive developmental delays in making connections and so forming abstract concepts. 

2. In reading or learning to decode it is important to learn the sound to symbol association.  Students who have auditory processing or phonological deficits have difficulty learning the sounds in to the sound to symbol association.

3. These students will require:

  • Accommodations for all auditory factors.
  • Accommodations for difficulties understanding age appropriate or subject appropriate vocabulary and language. language.
  • Direct Teaching of Vocabulary and concepts of age appropriate or subject associated vocabulary and language.
  • Accommodations for expressive language - giving students extra time to formulate a response to a question.
  • To learn to read using either the stronger modality - visual or a multimodality approach - using both visual and auditory factors combined.

Due to language limitations especially in vocabulary these students will have difficulty with reading comprehension even if they are able to decode.

Difficulties in oral language production and reading will also be reflected in written language production.

Although most of these students do have difficulty with math, problems solving may be a challenge as it involves reading, and reading comprehension.

In addition the pace of speech and the progression of the lesson may be too fast and so become problematic for the student. (It may be too slow for gifted students.)

Some technology may assist these students but some may not.  As an example unless the pace of text to voice software is too fast  or the use of taped books may prove to be as problematic in as any listening task is.  However, if the text is simplified in terms of content then it my be the only way such students can access text.

Voice to text software may assist these students in that they can then get immediate feedback on what is written. It really will be highly dependent on the students as to what will be successful.  However, some software such as Clicker may help students develop vocabulary and expand language structure.

Students with Behavioural Exceptionalities tend to be very different.  In some case the behaviour is as a result of mental health issues, social emotional issues in their lives, while others have learning disabilities and Attention deficits disorders that make learning difficult and frustrating.




Instructors using these case studies in your course:
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