The proposed research will examine the use of assistive technology in elementary schools, seeking to establish the merits and demerits of such use. Through the research, policymakers, individuals, and the community as a whole will be empowered to make informed decisions on whether to use assistive technology. The expected findings are that the advantages of using assistive technology are more than the disadvantages, and the paper recommends the review of education policies and curriculum to enable more children with disabilities to use assistive devices in learning institutions.
Assistive technology is any product, equipment, or technology that is adapted or specially designed to improve the function of an individual with disability. The use of such technology in the education sector has been on the increase in the recent past, particularly due to the regular advancements in technology experienced in the 21st century. Learners with disabilities are enabled to access curriculum material using the help of assistive technology in reading, hearing, and walking, and as such, their participation in learning is greatly enhanced. However, several barriers to the use of assistive technology in classroom settings have been identified over time, as well as challenges hampering the effectiveness of the technology in learning. These barriers include inadequate funding, lack of knowledge and skills to promote the use of assistive technology, and negative attitudes among learners with disabilities and caregivers towards the use of assistive equipment. Although challenges and limitations to widespread use of assistive technology among learners with disabilities abound, assistive technology has many benefits, both to individual users and to the community as a whole. It is therefore necessary to sensitize people on the advantages surrounding the use of assistive technology, and to make them aware of the disadvantages associated with such use, both in the short term and in the long term. Increasing community awareness on the advantages and disadvantages of assistive technology would enable policymakers, individuals, and the larger community to make informed decisions related to assistive technology. Statement of the problem Over time, there has been increasing use of assistive technology to enhance learning among people with disabilities. Studies related to this use have largely focused on the barriers, challenges, and limitations of the practice in the community, with very few examining the advantages and disadvantages of assistive technology. As such, there is need for research to be undertaken with the aim of establishing the merits and demerits of using assistive technology. This paper seeks to propose a study of the advantages and disadvantages of assistive technology, aimed at providing information to individuals, policymakers, and interested individuals in the community on the use of the technology. The study will enable people to make decisions on the use of assistive technology with accurate and reliable information on the advantages and disadvantages of such usage, and will provide both short term and long-term effects of assistive technology. In addition, the study will consider the impacts of assistive technology on the individual user, the caregivers, and the community in which this technology is used, thus providing exhaustive information on the advantages and disadvantages of the technology to all affected parties in the community. Literature review Stumbo, Martin, and Hedrick (2009) observe that assistive technol