Create effective assistive technology solutions to help diverse learners succeed
According to research by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), approximately one of every five children in the United States has learning and/or attention issues. These obstacles are not due to low intelligence, poor vision or hearing, or a lack of quality instruction, but the result of learning differences hard-wired into the brain that impact reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, motor skills or a combination of these. Less than half of these 1-in-5 students are formally identified with Specific Learning Disabilities or attention issues and receive accommodations or services (IEPs, 504 plans). The others often struggle, may be mislabeled (lazy, unmotivated), and may develop secondary issues (anxiety, depression, social problems, resistance to school).
Fortunately, diverse learners have access to an ever-growing array of technology supports to level the academic playing field. With tools and strategies matched to their personal learning strengths and challenges, struggling students can enjoy improved academic performance, increased independence, and greater self-confidence.
However, successful technology outcomes require more than knowledge of available tools – they also rely on a tool selection process, skills training, application strategies, curriculum integration, accessible materials, and evaluation of effectiveness. This course shows parents, teachers, and other education professionals how to build effective AT solutions for students with learning and thinking differences.
10-week online college course: Assistive Technology for Learning Differences
University of California Santa Cruz - Silicon Valley Extension offers a 3-unit online course titled “Assistive Technology for Learning Differences”. It’s part of UCSC Extension's Educational Therapy Certificate Program. You do not need to apply for admission to take UCSC Extension courses, and because it's online, you don't need to live in Silicon Valley.
Next class begins January 2024
For the full course description and registration webpage, see:
To help prospective students make decisions about this course (which I nicknamed "AT4LD"), I created this standalone website separate from my own (www.TechPotential.net) or the Extension's (www.UCSC-Extension.edu).
Designed for educational therapists, learning specialists, teachers, and parents
My focus with AT4LD is technology for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and executive functioning deficits, as well as issues with processing information and memory. This is a beginner to intermediate level course, appropriate for those looking to add assistive technology to their practice or skill set, and those familiar with AT who want to delve into the nuts-and-bolts of creating effective solutions.
The course is designed around the needs of educational therapists – highly-trained education professionals skilled in academic assessment, instructional intervention, and program planning for children and adults with learning challenges – who typically work with clients one-on-one or in small group settings. For more about the Educational Therapy profession, please visit:
Association of Educational Therapists (AET) website: www.aetonline.org/
AET Mission Statement: www.aetonline.org/index.php/about/statement-of-commitment-mission-statement/
AT4LD is also designed to assist teachers, learning specialists, other education professionals, and parents – in essence, anyone who teaches, works with, or supports the 1-in-5 students with brain-based learning difficulties, and who wants guidance on how to help these students with technology.
Self-paced online instruction, supplemental "live" weekly Zoom sessions, individualized guidance
Instruction for AT4LD is primarily online and asynchronous (self-paced) – comprehensive reading material with diagrams, videos, photos, tables, and links to additional web-based resources, plus self-guided hands-on activities. Live weekly Zoom sessions supplement the online instruction and coursework with class discussion and technology assistance. All instruction is delivered through Canvas, UCSC Extension's Online Classroom platform. Most Zoom sessions can be attended live or viewed later as a recording.
Recognizing that every participant's interests, background, technology skills, and professional focus are different, individualized online guidance is also available as needed.
About UCSC Extension
From their "About" webpage (www.ucsc-extension.edu/about/):
UCSC Silicon Valley Professional Education, the leading workforce educator in Silicon Valley, is the only accredited institution in the area to offer University of California-quality courses designed by experienced instructors who are actually working in their field. Our Students [are]:
- New college graduates needing practical skills
- Professionals looking to update skills
- Specialists changing direction
- People seeking accreditation, permits, continuing education units, exam preparation, curriculum for licensure
- Lifelong learners interested in studying with industry experts in the heart of Silicon Valley.
If you have questions about course registration, the Educational Therapy Certificate Program, or UCSC Extension in general, please contact a student services representative at 408-861-3860 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit an Inquiry Form on the bottom of this webpage: www.ucsc-extension.edu/certificates/educational-therapy/.
If you have questions about course content, please explore this website or feel free to contact me directly at:
shelleyhaven <at> TechPotential.net.
AT4LD.net was created to provide prospective students with more information about UCSC Extension's online course, "Assistive Technology for Learning Differences". This site was created by instructor Shelley Haven, ATP, RET, and it is not affiliated with UCSC.