More families to benefit from Assistive Technology

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Families with children who have complex educational needs can now apply for a Home Access package tailored specifically to their needs as part of the Government’s Home Access programme.

New software for those with profound needs will provide the support learners need to get online. It includes

  • Screen reader software to ensures that learners with no vision at all can still use a computer.
  • Impaired hearing hardware which provides a direct connection between a learner’s hearing aid and a computer.
  • Switch access hardware: useful for learners unable to use a mouse or a keyboard because of physical motor difficulties
  • Touch screen hardware for learners that can’t use a standard keyboard, mouse or trackball.
  • Symbol software for children with poor literacy or learning difficulties.
  • Special access methods: such as mouth-controlled joysticks, a head-controlled mouse or even light-operated mouse and keyboard combinations.

It is anticipated that around 12,000 children in total with more comprehensive needs, such as those with significant visual impairments, poor literacy or learning difficulties, could eventually benefit from this extended offering.

Home Access gives low-income families, without access to a computer or the internet at home, the opportunity to apply for a grant to buy a device and/or one year’s internet access.

Niel McLean, Executive Director for Schools and Families at Becta said: “I’m pleased to see those responsible for children with complex educational needs applying for the grant, but there are many more families still to apply. The programme operates on a first come, first served basis and we hope to reach everyone who is eligible by the close of the scheme.”

Eligibility for the Home Access Grant is based on the national Free School Meal criteria. Families wanting to learn more about the Home Access programme should visit www.