Title

Knowledge and skills of postsecondary disability service providers related to assistive technology tools and services for students with learning disabilities

Date of Completion

January 2006

Keywords

Education, Special|Education, Technology of

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study focused on three primary premises: (1) that assistive technology tools and services may assist postsecondary students with learning disabilities to compensate for their learning disabilities, (2) that postsecondary disability service providers who are members of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) have a set of Professional Standards that suggest that these personnel may be instrumental in the process of facilitating the use of appropriate assistive technology by postsecondary students with learning disabilities within higher education institutions, and (3) that postsecondary disability service providers' knowledge of assistive technology tools and skills in providing assistive technology services have not yet been fully identified and measured. Information on this knowledge and skill base is critical in order to determine the needs of the postsecondary disability service provider for professional development, services, and support that may in turn lead to an increase in the provision of assistive technology tools and services to postsecondary students with learning disabilities.^ The web-based electronic survey instrument, designed by the researcher, was validated by two sets of content expert validity and a pilot study prior to the revision of the final survey. The sample for the pilot and the final survey were postsecondary disability service providers who were members of the Association on Higher Education and Disability and who provided services to postsecondary students with learning disabilities.^ Findings of the research demonstrated a statistically significant difference among respondents on self-perceived levels of knowledge of some assistive technology tools, and self-perceived levels of skills in providing assistive technology services on the levels of years of experience and number of students with learning disabilities served. Thus, experience appeared to have an impact on the service provider's self-perceived levels of knowledge and skills in assistive technology.^ The findings of this research suggest that professional development opportunities that focus on methods of disseminating information and providing support for postsecondary disability service providers based upon experience may increase levels of knowledge and skills in the provision of assistive technology for students with learning disabilities.^