Levelling the Playing Field: Assistive Technology, Special Education, and a Canadian Perspective
Robert Graham, Warnie Richardson

In trying to appraise the current public school educational experience and its understanding of and use of assistive technology (AT) in programming for students, one finds a situation that is both eclectic and gallimaufry. As a direct consequence, there appears to be a dearth of extant literature which closely examines this very important and ever expanding issue. Consequently, this small-scale exploratory investigation is a first attempt at addressing some of these concerns as it purposely sets out to specifically examine one set of perceptions on AT; namely those held by a sampling of principals. The results of this study appear to corroborate earlier findings from a scattering of studies in that a wide range of barriers still continue to impede the effective use of AT within general educational practice. The findings also underscore the need for a move away from directive forms of assistive technology to more inclusive forms, with an increased level of pedagogical understanding and collaboration required. This small Canadian study has become the prototype for a much larger one that is currently ongoing.

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