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Department of Special Education launches campaign for new assistive technology

Blind person using computer with braille computer display

A crowdfunding campaign is underway for the Department of Special Education to raise money for new and updated assistive technologies (AT).

Illinois State’s special education program is one of only two in the U.S. that prepares teachers in D/deaf and Hard of Hearing, Low Vision and Blindness, and Learning and Behavior Specialist. Our students take many courses that integrate AT into the content, which sets our program apart from other teacher preparation programs in the field. Rapid advances in technology, however, require continual updates to our AT in order to stay current with the field.

Giving students the opportunity to explore AT devices as part of multiple courses in their program allows them to have a deeper understanding of how technologies can assist their future students in learning.

“I was able to experience how some devices were so hard for me to use but would make all the difference in the world for an individual who needed it,” said Nicole Costello, junior in the learning and behavior specialist program, about her in-class experience. “I was able to see how they work and how each device is specifically modified to fit the needs of individuals.”

Donations will help the Department of Special Education purchase updated and repair existing AT so current students can learn how to provide access to the curriculum for K-12 students with disabilities. Examples of technologies to purchase include audio amplification devices, sophisticated text-to-speech apps, augmented and alternative communication (AAC) devices, and Braille writers.


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