The Department for Education has been criticised for its assertion that “the great majority of disabled children who need auxiliary aids and services” are already receiving them through statements of SEN.
Ian Litterick, of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA), has questioned the Department’s statement, which was issued as part of its recent consultation on Auxiliary Aids for Children with Disabilities, claiming that it is “hugely optimistic”. He argued that many schools do not have sufficient knowledge of appropriate assistive technology (AT) to be able to cater effectively for individual needs. While mainstream schools often do not have the know-how to manage even visible difficulties, some special schools are also falling short and do not have sufficient AT expertise.
Mr Litterick claims that for less visible difficulties, such as dyslexia, schools often rely on teaching assistants to support pupils, rather than encouraging independent learning with AT.
BATA has called for a “much more proactive approach to the use of assistive technology in schools”, including better assessments and AT specific teacher training. BATA’s five point plan for AT use in schools can be found at: