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By GreatSchools Staff , Marshall Raskind, Ph.D.
Before you select an AT tool, learn all you can about the products available. Have your child try out any AT tool or device you're considering purchasing. She's the one who will use - or not use - the technology. The "perfect" item can't help her if she refuses to use it! Here is a list of resources to assist you in the selection process:
Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) can help you find the nearest place in your area to preview software. To keep AT costs down, use readily available resources such as those listed below to access the technology or just try it out.
Community Technology Center's Network (CTCNet) is composed of independent, not-for-profit community-based technology centers providing free or low-cost access to computers and related technology.
Some community colleges have assistive technology centers where you and your child may be able to try out different types of AT tools (often geared for older students).
Your child's school may have AT tools available to try out. Even if your child's school does not provide and pay for your child's AT, don't hesitate to use it as a resource before you purchase AT tools for your child.
Some software publishers have Web sites that offer demonstration versions. Other publishers offer fully operable programs for a 30-day trial. Check if free-trial offers are available for the products you're interested in.
Several assistive technology groups sponsor conferences where attendees can learn about and try out various AT tools: Technology, Reading and Learning Difficulties
California State University, Northridge Center on Disabilities' Annual International Technology and Persons With Disabilities Conference (for all disabilities)
Closing the Gap (for all disabilities)
You may also meet with representatives from AT manufacturers when they exhibit at conferences hosted by learning disability organizations (such as the Learning Disabilities Association of America and the International Dyslexia Association).
Reviewed February 2010
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