UDL and Assistive Technology
Assistive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for individuals with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling individuals to perform tasks they were formerly unable to accomplish, or could only do so with great difficulty, by providing enhanced methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish certain tasks.
Likewise, disability advocates point out that technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people. Even those who develop technology-based assistive supports still argue that universal design is preferable to the need for AT and that universal design projects and concepts should be continuously expanded. UDL stresses the best possible design, resulting in little or no need for AT accommodations.
Demonstration of Screenreader Use
Screen Reader Research and Resources
Faculty Developer Tips
The goal of EnACT~PTD is to help faculty understand how Universal Design for Learning supports assistive technology use by students with disabilities. Emphasis is first place on Level 1 of the EnACT~PTD UDL Pyramid (below), where faculty gain a firm understanding of the principles of UDL and making relevant course changes. Then, faculty add technology components, tools, or resources to a course. In doing so, faculty should be aware of accessibility related benefits and challenges. Finally, there is increased faculty awareness of assistive technologies and how they are used by some students with disabilities. Faculty members are not expected to become experts regarding assistive technology but should understand how the resources they develop or implement in their courses can be crafted in a way that best supports assistive technology users.