Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Technology for Students with Multiple Disabilities

Technology continues to offer new access to information for everyone, and the options change so quickly that it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with what is available.  As with any tool, the first question must be how it will support existing goals for an individual student, rather than letting it become an end in itself.  In other words, the use of a switch to activate a computer may reinforce the concept of cause and effect and, as such, it can be a tool to help a student to develop important cognitive skills. The information on this page offers a basic introduction to some types of technology that may be valuable to help students with multiple disabilities to have increased access to literacy skills.  We invite you to share your ideas and resources with others!

See also:


Picture of Power PC Macintosh G3, with an Intellikeys keyboard, a Don Johnston switch interface and an AbleNet Jelly bean switch. The software is teacher generated using the program Intellipics, by Intellitools.


Adaptive Equipment to Promote Literacy

Learn more about options for increasing accessibility for students with multiple disabilities.



 Girl with glasses points to touch screen on Intellitools


IntelliTools  incorporates multimedia modeling, animation, and auditory support to assist students to develop challenging concepts.
 A girl with glasses uses IntelliKeys to write about a green frog.
IntelliKeys offer a programmable keyboard that allows students who can't use the traditional keyboard and mouse to develop literacy skills through pictures and text on a computer.
Girl wearing glasses points to touch screen, using Clicker5
Clicker5 is a writing-support tool that enables student to write sentences by selecting words, phrases and pictures. You can even hear words spoken by realistic software speech before you write; and hear completed sentences spoken back to you!

A boy fills in the blanks on a Smart Board.

Smart Boards

By Wendy Buckley, Perkins School for the Blind
This webcast offers an overview of various tools that can be used with a Smart Board.  Smart Boards, interactive white boards, are a presentation system consisting of a whiteboard, computer, projector and tools.  These include free web resources, commercially available software and alternative access devices for both a keyboard and a mouse. Extensive resource lists are included.



Working on a SMARTBoard
Perkins School for the Blind


Additional Resources

Focus On Technology for Students with Multiple and Visual Impairments
By Holly Cooper, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Meaningful Technology Goals for MIVI Kids...
By Sharon Nichols, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Spotlight on Assistive Technology
By Jon Harding
Deaf-Blind Perspectives, Vol. 11, Issue 1 (Fall 2003)

National Center on Deaf-Blindness

Using Computers to Teach Literacy Skills
Wendy Buckley

Using Assistive Technology For a Student with Multiple Disabilities
Holly Cooper

Interactive White Boards and Assistive Technology
Perkins School for the Blind