Assistive Technology Training at the Pre-Service Level: A National Snapshot of Teacher Preparation Programs

Feb. 20, 2009

Source: Teacher Education and Special Education, Volume 32 Number I, (February 2009). p. 33-44

The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act mandates that every student with an Individualized Education Program be considered for assistive technology (AT). As a result, future special educators need to have the knowledge and skills regarding AT. In this article, the authors carried out a national study of 160 special education teacher preparation programs using archival document analysis on the current practice of AT course delivery for the preparation of special educators.

Research Questions

Three research questions guided this descriptive study: (a) To what extent do special education teacher preparation programs require an AT course for initial certification and degrees in special education? (b) Are there differences in type of certification programs that require an AT course? and (c) Are there differences between the types of programs (undergraduate, graduate, and initial license) that require an AT course?

The findings indicate that AT training at the pre-service level may not be adequately addressed. Approximately one third of undergraduate special teacher licensure programs, 28% of initial post-baccalaureate licensure programs, and less than 25% of master's degree programs require AT coursework. In addition, licensure in severe and moderate disabilities requires an AT course more frequently than other types of certification programs. The findings have important implications for future practices in special education teacher preparation.

Updated: May. 11, 2009