Assistive technology as an emerging policy and practice: Processes, challenges and future directions
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This paper aims to describe the policies and procedures of the use of assistive technology (AT) to support education and social inclusion of children with disabilities in Cyprus, through the investigation of four case studies. The paper initially presents the setting of the use of technology in inclusive and special education, as very recently developed and shaped in the last five years in the Cyprus educational system. Then, each one of the four case studies of pupils, from different educational settings (primary-inclusive education, primary education-special unit, secondary-inclusive education and special school) is discussed. The case studies are presented aligned in the following axes: demographical characteristics, educational setting, type of difficulties and characteristics of disability, procedures of referral and assessment for AT, development and implementation of AT for communication, present and future threats, ethical considerations and challenges. Findings highlighted six areas related to AT in Cyprus, that need further research and development: teacher training and support for system use; consistency of and between people involved (especially educators and therapists); ongoing assessment and follow-up procedures; multidisciplinarity of support teams in and out of school; home use of systems and devices (related to funding); technical support, development and maintenance.