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Assistive technology:

giving students voices literally and figuratively

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 28, 2019) -- Lee-Ann Mertzlufft believes human beings are hard-wired for language.

 

As the assistive technology specialist for the City School District of Albany, it’s her job to link students who have language and physical limitations with technologies that can help.

 

She works one-to-one with students and their teachers, helping students find their literal and figurative voices through a variety of technologies.

 

The goal, she says, is to match the disability with the technology. The purpose is to advance students academically and allow them to unlock all their potential.

 

Mertzlufft herself is dyslexic and dysgraphic, disabilities in the domains of reading and writing. (She dictates many of her reports and emails and uses a screen reader to edit her work) She tries each form of technology before passing it along to her students throughout the district.

 

Some of her students cannot speak. Others are blind or visually impaired. Still, others have sensory or developmental issues that make the physical act of writing impossible. Enter the world of technology to fill in the gaps: language-giving gadgets ranging from 24-inch machines with photos to I-pads with words (both activated by touch) to technology that responds to eye motions by its user to Google Chromebooks with everyday technologies.

 

Click here to see Facebook photos of Mertzlufft and some of her students.(You don't need a Facebook account to view the pictures. A window may display the text, “To see more from Albany City Schools on Facebook, log in or create an account,” but you can dismiss the message by clicking “not now.”)  

 

The mission of the City School District of Albany is to educate and prepare all students for college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our diverse community. The district serves approximately 9,500 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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