There is a considerable lack of intervention studies regarding the effect of implementation and use of technology among children and young people in real-life settings. Difficulties at school can be due to different types of disabilities, e g ADHD or dyslexia. Adaptations in the form of technology support such as computers, computer-based aids, mobile phones and applications have a considerable potential to compensate for reduced function in the ability to plan, structure, communicate, absorb information and acquire knowledge, yet many young people with some form of disability still lack access to adaptations in the form of computer aids and technology support in school. Research shows that in addition to technology support, pupils’ surroundings – in the form of support and acceptance – are significant in terms of ensuring that support measures such as adaptations and aids get used and thus benefit pupils.
Follow-up and deepening
The ongoing research is a follow-up and deepening of a project that the Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology carried out between 2011 and 2013, on commission from the government. The aim of that project was to test whether technology adaptation and adequate help can facilitate and support schooling and the transition from school to working life for pupils with cognitive difficulties. Around 600 pupils from five different municipalities took part. The need for adaptations and support in school was identified using the BAS instrument (the English version is called SSI, the School Setting Interview), and an individual plan for measures was developed in close collaboration with each pupil.
Technology adaptation for pupils needing special support
In addition to technology support, pupils received individual support from occupational therapists and special teachers to draw up strategies and structures for implementing the technology support and minimise each pupil’s individual difficulties. A large amount of data was collected in the initial assessment and the follow-up of the measures, and this now forms the basis of the research being done in the project. Further data will be collected as part of the third-cycle project Technology adaptation for pupils needing special support (link to Moa Yngve’s employee presentation), in which pupils will be followed up with the aim of evaluating whether the measures applied during upper secondary school had an effect on the transition to work or further studies.
The result will provide new knowledge in the field, at the individual as well as the community level, which will hopefully contribute to creating supportive school environments that maximise the opportunities for children and young people with special needs to achieve their education goals, and to participate actively in school.