The private non-profit Hope Technology School (HTS) offers a WASC accredited K-8 school program, a licensed Preschool Program, as well as an NPA certified Therapy Department and Vocational Education Program. Located in Palo Alto, CA, HTS has been serving Bay Area families since 2001, with a mission to provide a fully inclusive education for both typically developing and special needs students.
In their efforts to educate non-verbal and semi-verbal students, THTS utilizes Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) techniques, which entails learning to communicate by typing on a keyboard or pointing at letters, images, or other symbols to represent messages.
Hope Technology School’s Assistive Technology Lab – Taking AAC a Step Farther
Hope Technology School hosts an after school program, HTS Assistive Technology Lab, to support students through the use of Assistive Technology devices to help them accomplish their goals.
Assistive Technology (AT) includes any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, off-the-shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Various technologies target specific skill areas commonly associated with children with autism, including:
- “Low” Technology: visual support strategies which do not involve any type of electronic or battery operated device. Example: picture icons, picture communication boards, schedules.
- “Mid” Technology: Battery operated devices or “simple” electronic devices requiring limited advancements in technology. Example: tape recorders, simple voice output devices.
- “High” Technology: Complex technological support strategies. For example: video cameras, computers and adaptive hardware, complex voice output devices.
The HTS AT Lab Manual provides a comprehensive look at Assistive Technology, who can benefit from it, and the platforms AT training is built on. For more information, see the Hope Technology School AT Lab Manual. (opens in new window)
“Achieving inclusion through the use of technology is central to Hope Technology School’s philosophy. Through the use of various tools and methods we are striving to accomplish the goal of independent learning.”
Benefits of Inclusion at The Hope Technology School
HTS firmly believes that the inclusion of its all students in its curriculum benefits all of them in a variety of ways:
- Both neurotypical children and children with special needs grow in social interaction
- Students with disabilities are accepted by their peers
- Students with disabilities gain confidence in their ability to handle academics
- They maintain a 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Studies show that class size impacts learning positively when the ratio is less than 15:1.
All students benefit from the additional support in the classroom
- Educators can adapt curriculum to meet the needs of each individual student
- Students consistently excel academically. On the CAT/6 standardized test, HTS students score above grade level nearly twice as often as students in public schools throughout neighboring counties.
For more information about The Hope Technology School, where innovative technology meets inclusive education, visit their website, http://www.hopetechschool.org/.