4 Technology Skills to Teach Kids with Special Needs

It’s no secret that technology is a huge part of any classroom these days. Computers, laptop carts, smart boards, tablets… our kids have access to so much information at the tips of their fingers.

But in my experience, some of our students can work an iPad better than I can… to play games or watch YouTube… not to follow instruction, enter passwords, or do anything past that… especially now that iPads have apps that will read to you! (Find that list here.)

4 technology skills to teach special needs students

As a teacher, it is important that we are teaching our students these important technology skills.

Today I am going to share with you 4 of the top technology skills that our students need to learn to be successful throughout their lives.

1. How to turn the device or computer on/off and what/where the buttons are.

Every morning, I have one student turn all of the classroom computers on. This is that student’s job for the week.

This student makes sure that all of the classroom computers are on and ready to go for our computer time later in the day (see our class schedule here).

At the end of the day, another student’s job is to turn off the computers and make sure that all of our classroom tablets are plugged in and charging.

But what about class duties?

Every student in your classroom needs to know how to turn a device on and off. The first couple weeks of the school year (and typically after breaks, ie. regression), we will have class lessons on how to do this. We also talk about what buttons to touch and not to touch.

Students are responsible for X-ing out of all apps open on a tablet when they are finished with the tablet. Students are also responsible for X-ing out of all programs on a computer when they are finished.

  • For some students, this is an independent task with verbal reminders or a checklist back by the computer station.
  • For some students, this may be a hand-over-hand task or a heavily prompted task.

Use stickers or velcro to visually label the left and right click on a computer's mouse. Tip at Mrs. D's Corner.

2. Right click VS left click

Use a sticker to label the left and right click on a computer’s mouse. Green for “Yes, you can click this side,” and Red for “No, don’t click this side”.

I’ve also found it helpful to label a mouse using a hard velcro coin on the right click. This serves as a rough sensory reminder to the student to not right click.

3. Using a keyboard to type

There are a lot of different keyboards to choose from when it comes to finding the right one for your classroom, or for an individual student.

Most of my students use the traditional keyboard with no accommodations or modifications.

Keyboard for Visually Impaired. Blog Post at Mrs. D's Corner.

I have had a few students who have been very successful with the EZsee keyboard. The letters are larger, which helps students who have visual impairments.

Keyboard Stickers for Visual Impairments. Blog post at Mrs. D's Corner.

There’s always the option of using stickers on the keyboard if your district/school will not purchase a separate keyboard, or if it’s taking too long to go through the appropriate channels, or some other reason.

Stickers are great for keyboards. They can make a simple change to an existing keyboard, so it doesn’t visually look too different than the others.

Typing programs, like Keyboarding Without Tears, are fantastic for helping students learn how to type. We, also, use this typing center that doubles in use for ELA and technology. By using this center, students will learn where the letter keys are and learn how to type, all while practicing sight words.

{ Sight Word Keyboard Typing Resources }

4. Remembering passwords

You may have seen the binder ring cards with student log in info and passwords on them, and they work… when students don’t lose them.

When it comes to having students put in their username and password, I use a labelmaker or will tape a piece of paper on the computer or desk, and that’s the student’s login for that classroom computer.

  • In the classroom, students do not have individual logins. Each computer has a login.
  • For computer class, students have an individual login and we use index cards with their username and password on it. #nothingfancy And I keep student login info in my teacher binder for when the notecard is lost.

Do you teach these technology skills to your students? Are there any others you’d add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!

4 Technology skills to teach students with special needs. From log ins, to keyboarding tricks. Learn more at Mrs. D's Corner.


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