What Are Assistive Devices And Who Are They For?

Those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those who have a speech or language disorder sometimes require assistive devices (sometimes called assistive technologies) in order to help them communicate in certain situations. Sometimes the fault doesn’t lie in the person with the supposed “disorder” so much as in the people whom they need to communicate with. A deaf person can often communicate just fine using sign language, for example, but people who can hear don’t often take the time to learn how to communicate back. Sadly, the burden falls on the minority, and so the assistive devices are for their benefit as much as everyone else’s. Other devices are more necessary–like alarms or flashing lights to alert someone of danger.

There are many different kinds of technologies available depending on the needs of the person using them.

Assistive listening devices (or ALDs) are for the hard of hearing, and they help drown out background noises while amplifying more prominent sounds like voices or the sound of a horn blasting. They can be coupled with other type of hearing aids to further benefit the user’s hearing.

Alerting devices are used to complement bells or alarms. Instead of the sound of a doorbell, a deaf person might utilize a device that connects to the doorbell but issues a blinking light in place of the bell.

An augmentative and alternative communication device (or AAC) is used by those who have speech or communication disorders. As technology advances, so too do they. For example, the most basic AAC devices are picture boards, while the more advanced computer programs can create sound out of text or the same in reverse.

A hearing loop is a type of ALD that is comprised of a sound source, an amplifier, a wire that encircles a given room, and a receiver. Electromagnetic energy flows through the wire in order to enhance sound. Receivers for this type of system are often built into hearing aids, but aren’t always used.

Other ALDs involve FM radio signals to transmit similar sounds or infrared light to do the same. Personal amplifiers can also be used in place of the aforementioned if they aren’t available in a given environment.

These options represent only a very small number of the avenues available for those who need assistive technologies, and new research is conducted on a regular basis by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in order to consistently improve existing technology while searching for new and better technology in the future.

What Happens to Your Child’s IEP When You Switch Schools?

If your child requires an Individualized Education Program (or IEP), then you’ve probably been through the ringer a couple of times, and the gravity of your own decisions on the life of your child probably isn’t lost on you. If you’re experiencing a transition in your life, and that change affects your child as well, it can become a real hassle, and sometimes you won’t have the right answers at the right time. So what happens to your child’s IEP when they switch schools? It’s not all bad news.

First and foremost, your child’s IEP will not change if you’re switching to a new school within the same district. Whichever IEP you initially chose, it was a pact between you and the district in which you reside. No change in district means there is no change in the pact. Congratulations.

If you find that you need to move farther away, for example from California to NYC, and commuting to the old school district becomes impossible, then you probably will need a new IEP for the new school district, especially if it is in a new state. Fortunately, every state uses the same IEP terminology, even if that state has different rules that are applied to it. In the case that you move, you just need to do a little bit more research to find out about what’s available where you are and how different it is from what you already had.

If you switch to a different district in the same state, that district will ultimately decide how to handle the transition for your child’s IEP. It can choose to continue providing the resources for the current IEP, or it can choose to offer a new one that hopefully both parties will find amenable. Even if the new district decides to offer a new IEP, you can choose to be a part of the process or not. It’s up to you to do what you find is best for your child’s continuing education.

The problem with moving to a different state is law. Each state regulates education differently, and although those differences can be subtle at times, chances are you’ll find some of the details will change your child’s ability to maintain a place within the program at all. If the state rules regarding IEP find that your child is not eligible, there is not much you can do. It’s up to the school district to decide whether or not the child qualifies, and if he or she does, then they may also decide to offer a new evaluation for a new IEP. No matter the state, you’re still a part of the process if you choose to be.

The bottom line is this: moving might impact your child’s education in a big way, and it’s important to research how any potential moves can affect both of you long-term.

Choosing A School For Your Disabled Kid

Knowing the benefits of the many different school systems available whenever you move from one place to another is key if you want to provide your children with the kind of advantages they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world, but what was an already difficult decision for a normal child becomes nearly impossible if your child has special needs. So what should you do if your child is disabled or needs more attention than the other children in the neighborhood? Well, luckily there are systems in place to help you out.

You can choose to enroll in an online school, but there are disadvantages to doing so, especially if your child has a behavioral disorder which precipitates a personalized, one on one approach. You can also choose to homeschool, if you know you can provide the right education to meet your child’s needs. Most parents find this a substantial challenge, and it should only be undertaken if you’re sure you aren’t doing more harm than good. Seek professional support before you try. It’s a lot more likely that you’ll need the guidance of an institution or individual professionally accustomed to your child’s needs.

Magnet schools are public schools that cater to kids who are disabled. Unlike most traditional schools, they specialize in certain areas or provide a focus in an area where your child may struggle, such as math or science. Magnet schools are prone to unfortunate long waiting lists, and if the particular magnet school you really want is located in a different school district, then transportation could become a major issue. With every pro, there’s a con.

Charter schools represent another more controversial option, and it’s up to you if you want to take the chance on this one. Although they do offer smaller classes that allow your child a more personalized experience, they are run by groups that may not get adequate funding for children with disabilities, and if the government finds that standards aren’t met, the school can be abruptly shut down. If this happens, your children will need to transition to a different school with different teachers, and that can hinder the learning process a lot more for a disabled child.

There do exist private schools that offer special services for students that have learning or attention problems as part of their disability, and these are especially good for all-around, comprehensive learning. Because all the children in these schools are in the same boat (they all have special needs) there is potentially less bullying, while the culture itself is adapted to meet all of their needs. The problem for most parents is expense, even though this probably offers the best solution to the problem of choosing a school. There are some scholarships available to help pay for the inflated expenses, however.

Ultimately, what you choose for your child depends on his or her needs and the level of support that can be provided from all sides.

What is The National Technical Institute for the Deaf?

The deaf and hard of hearing don’t always require the support of outside networks, because they build their own. The deaf community is strong and robust, and the pride of its members is unrivaled. If you were to ask a deaf person whether or not they would choose to be granted the ability to hear, the answers of many might surprise you. Most individuals who are born deaf do not consider themselves disadvantaged or disabled in any way, and many would choose to remain deaf in order to remain a part of the greater community. Even so, many institutions do provide support for those who require it. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is one such institution.

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (or NTID) is one of nine colleges that make up the Rochester Institute of Technology (or RIT). Of the 15,000 undergrads who choose to study at RIT, 1,200 are deaf or hard of hearing. That’s because the NTID provides the tools they need to learn on an equal footing with their peers who aren’t deaf. NTID has a number of programs that focus on career paths for any student, and has a phenomenal graduation rate. The NTID job placement rate is top of the line as well.

The mission statement of the NTID is simple, yet profound in its scope: the institute strives to give deaf or hard of hearing students state of the art technical programs, while complementing education with traditional arts and sciences packages. The purpose of all of this is to teach students how to maintain a proper work-life balance when they must eventually integrate with a fast-paced and quickly transforming world on the outside.

On top of that, NTID also strives to enhance already-strong networks for deaf and hard of hearing individuals by training new professionals how to work with them and for them. The institute complements its mission by taking advantage of research opportunities that might prove helpful to deaf members and people in general. The college does not keep the fruits of this labor to itself. Instead, it disseminates the relevant knowledge acquired to other organizations and institutions that could make use of it.

The instructors at NTID use a variety of methods to communicate with students. Sign language is of course used, as is fingerspelling, visual aids, and the Internet which provides material on the web. Tutoring is available for those who require it, as are the resources of any of the other eight colleges within RIT. When necessary, captioning services are rendered. NTID currently retains the biggest staff of interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing students in the United States, according to a personal injury attorney in Dallas.

What is The Association of Higher Education and Disability?

The Association of Higher Education and Disability (or AHEAD) is a grand international network comprised of more than 2,800 member organizations located in countries like the United States, England, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Japan, and many others. The purpose behind AHEAD is to help those tasked with developing policies that cater to those with disabilities. AHEAD provides extensive training for professionals who work in higher education institutions through a variety of means, including workshops and conferences, and various publications that help extend the influence of the network further than it would go otherwise.

AHEAD prides itself on the diversity of the entire network. The primary goal of the network is helping those with disabilities achieve equality in daily activities. AHEAD believes that participation by these individuals is key to a normal experience in higher education, and works to promote greater involvement.

A big part of what AHEAD does happens because of involvement by the governments behind each member. Without the support and continued  involvement from government bodies throughout the world, the network could not achieve what it does. That’s why AHEAD routinely discusses in an open forum different regulations that are instituted around the world. In the U.S., for example, AHEAD was able to comment on and influence the consequences of the ADAAA of 2008, which was passed in order to maintain previous laws passed ensuring that disabled Americans could not be discriminated against. When senate confirmation hearings began for Judge Sotomayor in 2009, AHEAD was there to put its two cents in and make sure that members inside of the network were informed of relevant news items.

Among the core values of AHEAD are diversity, wherein the platform helps foster more diverse communities inside of higher education institutions. Another is equity, wherein AHEAD strategically develops the resources needed for those with disabilities to achieve all they can. Respect is another, because everyone should be allowed to express individuality regardless of their differences. Lastly, the network promotes inclusivity, to ensure the participation of all who wish it.

Institutions and organizations like AHEAD help propel some of the world’s lesser represented individuals into the limelight, where they find the support they need to excel in a world that sometimes seems out to get them. Even so, the success or failure of such networks is limited because so many people aren’t aware they exist–and many others don’t seem to care. AHEAD will continue to fight the good fight for the foreseeable future.

A Speech Pathologist Can Help Those With Communication Disorders

A speech pathologist is a clinician who specializes in diagnosing, evaluating, and treating cognition, communication, swallowing and voice disorders. Speech pathology involves more than helping a person learn to talk or speak correctly. The discipline involves working with the entire spectrum of language, speech, voice and swallowing issues. These include:

– Problems with social communications which involves how people communicate their ideas to others.

– Issues with finding the correct word. This can be caused by a language delay or dementia.

– Issues with literacy including writing and reading when it is related to phonics, understanding written text, or understanding the meaning of words in context.

– Issues with language structure including creating sentences which are meaningful and grammatical.

– Cognitive impairments such as executive function, attention or memory when they interfere with communication.

– Issues with voice quality such as a too-soft voice or a raspy voice.

Speech pathologists work with patients who have trouble communicating including difficulties listening, speaking, reading, understanding language, writing, stuttering, and social skills, according to many law firms. The people who work with a speech pathologist have trouble communicating due to a variety of issues. These include developmental delays, cerebral palsy, stroke, learning disability, brain injuries, dementia, intellectual disability, and hearing loss. A speech pathologist can also help those who have trouble drinking or swallowing food safely.

A speech pathologist is employed in different settings including private clinics, schools, public health agencies, nursing homes, and hospitals. Other institutions such as universities, health departments, federal and state governments, and research laboratories also employ speech pathologists. Speech pathologists often specialize in either working with children or adults.

A speech pathologist must obtain certification in Speech-Language Pathology. They must earn a graduate degree and complete a clinical practicum through an accredited university or college. The school must be accredited in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology by the Council on Academic Accreditation. Applicants finish required clinical and pass a national exam. Individuals who want to do research, college teaching or private practice must have a Ph.D.

Many speech pathologists also hold a degree and certification in audiology. This is a fast-growing profession, especially for those who want to specialize in working with older adults. Additionally, medical advances have increased the survival rate for premature babies as well as stroke and trauma victims. Another factor in the growth of this profession is the growth in secondary and elementary school enrollments.

Speech pathologists are highly-qualified professionals who help individuals who have communication disorders. They must have at least a graduate degree, complete a clinical practicum and pass a national exam.

What Is An Occupational Therapist? An Overview

Are you interested in learning more about what an occupational therapist actually is and what they do? If so, this guide is going to give you all the key information you need, including a summary of what the role entails, and some of the benefits they can provide to their patients. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look.

What is an occupational therapist?

In general, an occupational therapist is someone who is focused on working with people who suffer from injuries, disabilities, or other impairments that have an impact on how they can live their life.

As such, the occupational therapist will use a wide range of skills to help a person achieve the things they want to achieve and perform the tasks that they need to in order to live a happy and successful life.

In fact, the easiest way to summon the role of an occupational therapist is that they are focused on helping a person to live their life to the fullest, regardless of any disability, injury, or illness that may be holding them back.

What does an occupational therapist do?

In most cases, the occupational therapist will first evaluate their patient’s life and help them to determine what they need to do in order to achieve success with the different daily activities they want to accomplish.

A customized intervention plan will usually be developed, and this will often be the most efficient way to make progress towards helping the person achieve the outcomes they desire.

It’s also worth noting that a skilled occupational therapist will approach the task from a holistic perspective, and this can involve adapting the environment to the person, training the person, or using any science-based or evidence-based solution to achieve the goal.

What are the benefits of seeing an occupational therapist?

As you would expect, seeing a skilled occupational therapist can have a big impact on your life if you are dealing with any kind of injury or disability that is hampering you from achieving everything you want.

Whether it is learning how to fully participate in social situations, the education system, or your work role, an occupational therapist can give you the support and assistance you need to develop your skills, and train yourself to take part in life at your fullest potential.


Overall, it’s clear to see that occupational therapy plays a key role in many people’s lives, and they are essential in helping people from all backgrounds and all walks of life to fulfill their daily ambitions and activities.

Disabity Types

The dictionary’s definition of a disability is a cognitive, mental, physical, or developmental condition that will interfere, limit, or impair someone’s ability to engage or perform in certain actions or tasks. This also implies to the participation of typical daily interactions and activities. For example, someone who has a problem reading could have a dyslexia disability.

According to the Equality Act 2010 in the UK, the definition of a disability under this act is someone who has a mental or physical impairment that will produce a long-term, negative affect on their ability to perform normal daily activities. The long-term signifies something that is more than trivial or minor. For example, it could mean taking a longer time to getting dressed than it normally would.

There can be different types of disabilities, according to a consumer patent lawyer, such as a medical disability, a mental disability, or a social disability. The various types of medical disabilities include things such as diabetes, cancers, AIDS, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, and so forth. Medical disabilities can affect both motor and cognitive functions. Functional limitations and abilities will vary widely with a medical disability but they are often associated with fatigue.

Mental disabilities or disorders may occur as a result of your family history or genetic makeup. These type of disabilities can also occur because of life experiences such as a history of abuse or stress. There may also be biological factors that could cause a mental disability. For example, a mother may be exposed to a toxic chemical or virus while pregnant which could affect the child’s mental stability. Abusing the use of illegal drugs or alcohol could also be responsible for a mental disability.

Social and learning disabilities, another type of disability, are becoming more and more apparent in today’s society. These type of disabilities are rarely confined to work or school. Social and learning disabilities affect relationships with family, friends, workmates, and daily encounters with strangers. They often erode self-confidence and self-esteem so as to make dealing with any normal daily situation a challenge.

Social and learning disabilities are often misinterpreted and may be perceived as a social ineptness or immaturity. Some common social disability and learning characteristics include a need for immediate gratification, an inability to interpret social and environmental cues, a bossy or immature behavior, a low frustration tolerance, or an inability to set realistic goals and priorities.

Therefore, as you can see from the above information it is important to understand that there are a variety of disabilities. However more importantly, it is essential that we all support anyone who has a mental, social, or medical disability.

What Is Fragile X Syndrome? An Overview

If you’re curious to learn more about what fragile X syndrome is, as well as the common symptoms and treatments that are available, then this guide is going to give the information you need. So, without any further introduction, let’s take a closer look at this condition.

What is fragile X syndrome?

This condition is regarded as a genetic disorder that primarily influences a person’s intellectual ability. The severity can range from mild to severe, and it is also related to autism, with around one-third of sufferers also having autism-related issues such as delayed speech and difficulty with social interaction. What’s more, it more commonly affects males rather than females.

It’s worth noting that the condition is also referred to as Martin Bell syndrome, although fragile X syndrome seems to be the most common term used to describe the disorder nowadays.

What are the common symptoms?

The symptoms of the condition can vary by quite some degree, with a range of developmental, behavioral, and muscular issues being associated with the condition. Additionally, there are some physical characteristics such as larger ears, enlarged head, and a prominent jaw, combined with a thinner-than-average face.

In terms of behavior, it can cause aggression, repetitive movements, and nonsensical word repetition for most sufferers.

Developmentally, it can cause speech delay and overall learning disability for most people with the condition. For many sufferers, seizures and anxiety along with hyperactivity become behavioral issues that have further effects on learning ability.

The condition is usually diagnosed at a very young age, and there will be a noticeable onset by the time the child reaches approximately two years old.

What are the treatments?

Unfortunately, there are no known cures for the condition overall, although there are a number of therapy-related solutions that can help the sufferer to treat their most problematic learning disabilities.

Additionally, there are several medications that can help to regulate the person’s mood as well as help to combat the anxiety that is often associated with the condition.


Overall, the condition of fragile X syndrome is a relatively rare condition that only affects 1 in 4000 males or 1 in 8000 females, and it has a number of symptoms that are often noticed a young age.

While there are no known cures, there are several therapies and medication based treatments that can help a person to navigate the challenges that this syndrome can cause throughout a lifetime.

What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and How Is It Treated

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is an anxiety disorder that’s often identified by interfering and undesired thoughts known as obsessions and mental or behavioral rituals known as compulsions. OCD is a very common disorder, and in fact, the fourth most diagnosed mental disorder in the united states. It can be quite mild or highly deliberating, but all patients agree that this disorder interferes with their lives and relationships in an unhealthy state.

Well, treating OCD takes time as the obsessions are embedded in the mind, and the victim finds it hard to distract his or her mind. The obsessions tend to cause anxiety and to alleviate it, the individual needs to exercise compulsive behavior. The difficulty in treatment arises at two levels. The first appears when the person becomes habitual to reduce anxiety through compulsive behavior and the second happens when the clinician stops the patient from performing a compulsion after an obsession occurs.

There are a variety of techniques and therapies that collaborate and are used to treat OCD, which we shall briefly cover below:

Pharmacological Treatment

Research has shown that serotonin, a neurotransmitter is involved in OCD. Low levels of serotonin can induce obsessions and compulsions in an individual, and if that’s the case, Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are recommended.


There is a number of psychotherapies that can be used to treat OCD:

The first thing that psychologists is psycho educating the patient and his or her loved ones about the condition. This stage involves developing a full understanding of the issue including the causes, symptoms and viable treatment modes.

Clinicians usually employ relaxation therapy as a treatment for the OCD. In this form of therapy, the clinician teaches the patient how to calm themselves down. Self-instruction or self-talk is one of the most beneficial techniques for people with obsessive compulsive disorder. During self-instruction, the patient talks him or herself in order to guide. This is also helpful in preventing the patient from performing compulsions.

Exposure Response Prevention or ERP is one of the most popular OCD treatment methods under psychotherapies. In this treatment method, the patient is exposed to anxiety provoking action, for example, touching the handle of a door and not being allowed to wash their hands afterward. This hopefully alleviates anxiety, and the patient learns that compulsive behavior is not the way to reduce anxiety.

These are of course, not the only methods of treating OCD, but are the most popular.