Tools & Technologies

   Page Index:    Hardware: Time Management Tools, and General Tools
                              Software: Math, Early reading, Reading, Writing, Reading Videos, and Typing
                              Mass. Organizations, Links, and Articles


Laptops and Desktop Computers
Laptops, Portable Personal Computers (PCs), desktop computers have a full-screen display.  Laptops can run any programs that run on a regular desktop PC. Word® (word processing), Excel® (spreadsheet), and Calculator® have been helpful for students with handwriting and decimal point problems.  Our members have found that the cost of a used Laptop/Desk Top Computer can be the same as a new Alpha Smart.  Your student does not need the latest multimedia (DVD, graphic card , etc.) enhanced computer or laptop. 
Some student need a durable, light weight (under 3 lbs.) laptop, one with a removable drive (that does not need to carry with around), a durable hard drive (that is shock mounted) and at least a 12 in. screen.  Here two durable and light weight laptops that were parent recommended: Lenovo Think Pad X30 or X40 Notebook, and HP Compaq nc4200 Business Notebook.


A tablet computer, or tablet, is a mobile computer with a touchscreen display, which is usually in color, processing circuitry, and a rechargeable battery in a single thin, flat package. Most tablets also have sensors, including digital cameras, a microphone, and an accelerometer so images on screens are always displayed upright. The touchscreen display uses gestures by finger or stylus to replace the mouse, trackpad and keyboard used in laptops. Tablets are perfect for light use on the go, so if you’re not worried about extra processing power or having to perform multiple tasks at once, you can pick up some great tablets at an affordable price.

Smart boards, by Mimio Technology
A white board that teacher writes on in class, what is written on the white board (Smart board), can be printed out for the students.   Teachers class notes are available to students, without someone having to manually copying them from the board.  Thanks to Concord Ed Fund and our PTG's as of Sept. 2004 we have 8 of these boards at the high school and 2 at our middle school.

AlphaSmart, by AlphaSmart, Inc.
An easiest-to-use portable writing tool.  The screen displays only four lines, but when used to create documents, it has a fast scrolling ability.  It's durable and lightweight.  Turn it on and start typing. Turn it off, everything's saved.  No menus, no commands, no warm-up, no cord, but also no drag-and-drop, no font choice, no email, and no backlit screen.

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Time Management Tools:
    Personal Timer, by Time Timer LLC
This company makes several versions of a timer that is making the concept of elapsed time easier to understand for people of all ages and ability levels. Time Timer has a visual depiction of elapsed time, that helps solve time perception problems. They are very easy to use that even young children and those with learning disabilities can monitor their own timed activities.  They now have two version of the timer.  One that beeps and that does not and now they have software timer, students can not close the window, once set.
    The Time Tracker, by Learning Resources
A visual timer and clock, has 3 timers in one, the colors indicates that you are getting close to end of the time.  Each level is a different color coded (green, yellow, red).  You can program each section manually, or you can set automatically (i.e.: 80% green, 15% yellow, 5% red).
It's also a clock (can program time in 12 hour or 24 hour ), it can flashing lights that let you know when your time is running out.  You can o choose one of six fun sounds (such as a siren or a buzzer) to go off when the lights switch to the next level.
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Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic
Books on tape for ages 9 and up. 
20 Roszel Road, Princeton, NJ  08540
(800) 221-4792 or 
(609) 452-0606
Talking Tapes
Books on tape for all grade levels. 
16 Sunnen Drive, Suite 162, St. Louis, MO 63143-3800
(314) 646-0500 or
(314) 646-0555
Kurzweil 1000 & 3000 by Kurzweil Educational Systems
Software for a personal computer that works in conjunction with a flatbed scanner and synthetic speech. This software lets you scan and read, for people who are blind, visually impaired, learning disabilities or reading difficulties.  Reading software that reads any text book that is scanned.  Printed documents are scanned into your computer and then converted into speech using L&H RealSpeak™ and displays text on screen. Words can then be broken down into syllables.  This program is available at the Concord Public Library and Concord Carlisle High School.
Handheld Text Readers
Text Reading pens or Pen Scanners provides users with reading difficultties, learning disabilities or dyslexia with a protable discreet device that offers immediate word support to the reader.  It allows the user to achieve a smoother more continuous reading flow and can be used with headphone.  Made by several companies: Scanmarker, TaoTronics, PenPower, Ectaco C-Pen, IrisPenWizcom, etc.
Easy Reader by Really Good Stuff
Is a card about the size of an index card, which had a yellow strip of plastic or stiff cellophane material on one edge. Available in yellow or blue.
BoardMaker by Mayer-Johnson
Picture Communication Symbols software. Allows you to make worksheets, picture instruction sheets, reading books, journals, or posters.  Its graphics database contains over 3,000 Picture Communication Symbols.  This program is available at the Minuteman ARC for use by parents.
Naturally Speaking, by Dragon Systems
Voice recognition software that can recognize phrases rather than individual words.
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Math Pad by IntelliTools
MathPad allows students to do math directly on the computer.  The program functions as an electronic numbers processor that allows students to solve basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems directly on the computer. Students do all their own calculations. MathPad is the perfect tool for students who have difficulty doing math with pencil and paper or who need help organizing or navigating through math problems. Suggested skill level: first grade through adult.
IntelliTooks has a series of software programs developed under a grant from the National Science Foundation. Designed to reinforce essential math skills for all students, for students in grades K-8.
FASTT Math by Tom Snyder Productions
Fast Math is an intervention software program uses research-validated methods to help struggling students develop math fluency with basic math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  FASTT = Fluency and Automaticity through Systematic Teaching with Technology.  The software provides a continuously adaptive program that efficiently increases math fact fluency in customized, 10-minute daily sessions. Developing automatic recall of basic math facts enables students to focus on higher-order math skills such as advanced computation, problem solving, and algebra.
SkillsBank4™: Computation Practice Series by Learning Company
 A software program that will help LD students with mastering  fractions, whole numbers, decimals and mixed numbers.
Cross-TrainerTM: Visual-Spatial by Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.
A software program for students who have underdeveloped visual-spatial abilities or who could benefit from enhancing these skills. The software can be effective for students who need to improve in subjects that emphasize visual and conceptual learning, such as mathematics and science.
Time Telling by Edmark
Designed for students not yet able to tell time, Edmark Time Telling  teaches the basics required to read an analog or digital clock and to say and write the correct time.
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Early Reading
Skills Software:
Earobics (Phonemic Awareness program) by Cognitive Concepts, Inc.
Children learn how to think about the sound structure of language and are given strategies to both process and manipulate the sound structure to learn reading and spelling.
Lexia Early Reading by Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.
Phonological awareness (PA -- the ability to reflect on and manipulate the sound system of one's language) program.  Systematically addresses core phonological awareness skills: rhyming, first and last sound identification, segmentation, and blending.  (PA has been found to be correlated to the acquisition of reading skills.)
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Phonics-Based Reading Software by Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.
Designed to facilitate the acquisition of decoding skills and to lay the foundation for the development of more advanced comprehension, fluency, and critical analysis skills for readers of all ages.
Reading SOS (grades 4 - adult) by Lexia Learning Systems, Inc.
(Strategies for the Older Student)
Teaches basic reading skills at a more sophisticated level with harder material, more involved graphics, and a faster pace.
Language Tune-Up Kit® Phonics by JWor Enterprises, Inc.
Remedial reading multimedia phonics software program for children 7 and older, teenagers and adults.
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Inspiration (grades 4 - 6) & Kidspiration (grades K - 3) by Inspiration Software, Inc.®
Helps students read and write by providing a visual tool to help organize information, understand concepts, and express their ideas.
Write:Outloud by Don Johnston
An easy-to-use talking word processor that guarantees writing success. Simplifies the writing process by reading each word out loud as students write.  Consistent auditory feedback reduces the physical effort of writing and lets students use a minimum of keystrokes.  The program also reads any electronic text, so students can research and present reports in class.
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Reading Videos:
Dyslexia Training by SoftDesign International, Inc.
SoftDesign has instructional videotape series, and provides a range of unique books and cassette tapes, along with computer-based software, to help children and families overcome dyslexia.
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Type to Learn by Sunburst
Concord Public schools students, use this computer software program in grade 3 for a single quarter (3-4 weeks).  For many of our  students this is not enough time to learn the skill of typing.

TypeRight by Unique Minds
Does not use the traditional home-row instruction.  This program teaches typing in a sequential, alphabetic approach. This approach, combined with an easy to learn poem as a memory devise, helps students remember each key location without looking at the keyboard. Once the keys are memorized, a special cover shields the keys so that students learn to let their fingers – not their eyes – find the keys.  This is a multi-sensory program that involves teaching each new information using several senses at once (sight, sound, touch or kinaesthetic movement). This increases the likelihood that the memory of new information will be improved. Students are taught to look at the monitor, say the letters out loud and feel different key surfaces.

    FREE online typing programs:  and
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Assistive Technology Evaluations 

Sample of Assistive Technology Writing Evaluation Report with list of areas assessed and the assessments used (34 pages) 

Massachusetts Organizations

The Collaborative Center for Assistive Technology and Training (CCATT Center) - Northhampton, MA (link updated 5/07)
Conducts Assistive Technology Evaluations by a multidisciplinary team of specialists with extensive experience in alternative and augmentative communication and adapted curriculum solutions. Students ages PreK-22 have the opportunity to evaluate devices, software, and hardware. Consultation services are available.  There mission is to helps individuals with disabilities gain control over their lives by helping them find ways to communicate and to control their environments. Training in assistive technology is available for parents and professionals through a series of day-long workshops, free sessions, and weekly open hours.   The Center for Assistive Technology (CCATT) is nationally known as a leader in the field of assistive technology, and its staff has been working with individuals, families, and professionals since 1995.
The Easter Seals Assistive Technology Center - Worcester, MA
A hands-on resource that offers access to hardware, software, and adaptive devices. Technology specialists who are up-to-the-minute on the latest developments in technology that aid children and adults with disabilities staff the center.
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) - Peabody, MA
Founded in 1984, CAST is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to expand educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities through the development and innovative uses of technology. "We believe that the most effective strategy for expanding educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities is through Universal Design for Learning. Our work now focuses on the development of learning models, approaches, and tools that are usable by a wide range of learners. CAST's impact is seen locally, nationally, and internationally."
Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA) - Marlborough, MA
In response to current special education mandates, this organization took major steps toward formalizing the use of assistive technology for including learners with disabilities in general education. This includes support from both the Instructional Technology and Special Education Departments.


Most of the software and organizations listed on this page were obtained from the "Assistive Technology and Autism Workshops" given by Accept and CASE Collaboratives (2001), thanks to a grant from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Thank you CETT (Consultation, Education, and Training for Technology) team.
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Assistive Technology Link

  • site is wonderful resource for parents, you can get assistive technology programs for free, and you can read other people feed back about the programs. The site also has a helpful search, option to help you find programs.

  •  AbilityHub - Assistive Technology for people with a disability who find operating a computer difficult, or even impossible
  • Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) - Providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies (with centers in Maine and Rhode Island)

  • Apple Computer's Disability Connection - Accessibility Technologies in Mac OS X and Product Accessibility Template
  • Communication Aids for Children and Adult Products - Their products are based on need, starting with what the person can do.  There is a wide variety of practical products to meet individual needs.  Company located in Milwaukee, WI.  It was founded by a speech-language pathologist.
  • Laureate Learning Systems - Special Needs & Language Development Software
  • RJ Cooper & Associates - Special Education and Resources (For people and children of all ages with Special Needs)  
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Assistive Technology Articles:
LD On-line Assistive Technology Information
Assistive Technology Question & Answer Guide, by Richard Wanderman
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This webpage was created September 10, 2002, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on April 20, 2017 - V13, by  Melody Orfei