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Funding and How it affects your Teaching Strategy

This week’s topic is based on the following readings:

  1. Funding Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities
  2. http://www.health.ny.gov/community/disability/on_target/target8.htm
  3. Building An Initial Information Base: Assistive Technology Funding Resources for School-Aged Students with Disabilities

Each of the articles above contained a lot of information concerning how to find and secure funding for assistive technology devices for students. They all outlined requirements, required paperwork, pitfalls, and sources of funding. Instead of answers though, it left me with more questions. Why is the objective of funding so difficult, time consuming, and seemingly overwhelming?

The one idea that stuck out the most for me was specified in the first article, “Locate an advisor who can support and guide you through the funding maze. This may be a social worker, therapist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, or virtually anyone who has knowledge and is willing to help you with jargon and paperwork.” This seems to be a huge necessity for anyone trying to secure funding for assistive technology in their classroom for their students. A classroom teacher has such little free time to be able to research and secure funding without help. I can’t imagine trying to do this on my own!

Then I think about the parents and how are they going to be able to make their way through the paperwork without help from an outside source, such as a social worker. Just making my way through the readings and understanding the application process and then the appeal process was overwhelming for myself. It just seems ridiculous that there are so many hoops to jump through when you are just trying to give a student an opportunity to learn with a device that will help them succeed!

How do you develop a teaching strategy for your students who are waiting for funding for a device that is imperative to their learning? Ingenuity and creativity is necessary for you as the teacher to help the student while he or she waits for funding for a piece of assistive technology.

How? Talk to your special education department coordinator. Contact the local social services office and ask about lending or renting possibilities. Local advocacy groups such as the Arc of Monroe, American Association of People with Disabilities, or the local Veteran’s hospital. These groups apply for funding on a daily basis and will have more knowledge about where to go for help.

This website might be helpful: http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/pathfinder/resources/page.aspx?id=1967

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