Psychology (PSYC) 476

Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs (Revision 3)

PSYC 476 Course website

Temporarily closed, effective June 2, 2016.

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with eTextbook

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: EDPY 351, or PSYC 389/EDPY 389, or equivalent.

Precluded Course: PSYC 476 is a cross-listed course—a course available in two different disciplines—with EDPY 476. PSYC 476 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for EDPY 476 or PSYC 576.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

PSYC 476 is not available for challenge.

Course website

**Note: Given that students must participate in four discussion forums (a new forum topic appears once per month), students should expect to spend at least four months in the course. If you need to complete the course on a shorter timeline, please contact the course coordinator.


This course introduces teachers and other educational professionals to assistive technology tools, strategies, and support services. Assistive technology (AT) refers to equipment that improves the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. It includes hardware such as augmentative communication devices, adaptive tools, and software designed to support the participation of individuals with disabilities in the school or larger community setting. With the support of assistive technology, individuals with disabilities discover they can have control over their environment, allowing them to develop a sense of competence and independence. In this course, you will learn about assistive technology, develop the necessary skills and knowledge to implement assistive technology, and gain an understanding of how the appropriate use of assistive technologies can act as a potential equalizer for all participants in a learning environment.


Part 1: The Fundamentals of Assistive Technology

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Assistive Technology
  • Unit 2: Issues in Assistive Technology
  • Unit 3: Assessment Strategies for Assistive Technology
  • Unit 4: Planning and Implementing Assistive Technology
  • Unit 5: Building a Team and Working with Families

Part 2: Assistive Technology Tools in the Curriculum

  • Unit 6: Assistive Technology for Reading
  • Unit 7: Assistive Technology for Writing
  • Unit 8: Assistive Technology for Manipulation and Mathematics

Part 3: Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs

  • Unit 9: Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • Unit 10: Assistive Technology for Students with Special Communication Needs
  • Unit 11: Assistive Technology for Students with Severe Disabilities
  • Unit 12: Assistive Technology for Students with Sensory Disabilities

Part 4: Special Topics

  • Unit 13: Computer Access
  • Unit 14: Internet Access and Online Learning
  • Unit 15: Technology for Early Childhood and Transition to the Adult World


To receive credit for Psychology 476: Assistive Technology for Students with Special Needs you must participate in online discussions, complete an AT Tool Review, complete a personal competencies summary paper, and complete a course project. To receive credit for this course, you must achieve an overall grade of 50 percent or better on all activities.

Participation in Online Discussions 22%
AT Tool Review 22%
Personal Competencies Summary Essay 26%
Course Project 30%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Beard, L. A. Carpenter, L. B., & Johnston, L. B. (2011). Assistive technology: Access for all students (2nd ed.). Toronto: Pearson Education.

A print version of the eText can sometimes be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, December 13, 2013.

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Updated December 19 2016 by Student & Academic Services