Thirty-five teachers provided detailed information about 66 students with vision or motor disabilities from 11 states, all of whom participated in the Kansas field tests or in the item tryouts in other states. While this is not a large sample, it is a detailed snapshot of this population in terms of disability descriptions, assistive technology use, and computer access capability.
Thirty-seven (56%) of the students were male and five (7.6%) were of Hispanic origin. Forty-eight (73%) students were white, 17 (25.6%) were black, two (3%) were Native American, one (1.5%) was Asian, and one student (1.5%) was marked as “other.” Students represented every grade from 3 through 12, with the largest numbers in grades 3–8. Students came from predominantly large towns (30.3%) and urban environments (31.8%). The majority of students (59.1%) attended regular classes, and the second largest percentage (21.2%) attended state residential schools for the blind.
The majority of students (89.4%) experienced blindness or low vision with additional primary and secondary disabilities distributed among 11 categories. The most common additional disability categories included autism (6.1%), orthopedic impairment (4.5%), other health impairment (6.1%), and speech language impairment (4.5%).
Sixty-three (95.5%) students were reported to have vision loss. Of the students with blindness or low vision, 38 (57.6%) wore glasses or contact lenses, 34 (51.5%) required enlarged print, 14 (21.2%) required tactile graphics and symbols, and 25 (37.9%) required braille. Students used a variety of assistive technologies, including magnifiers (37.9%), screen magnification software (39.4%), CCTVs (31.8%), screen readers (31.8%), manual and electronic braille writers (51.5%), and refreshable braille displays (27.3%).
Three students (5%) were reported to have hearing loss in addition to blindness or low vision. Of these three, one student (1.5%) used a unilateral hearing aid and two students (3.0%) used bilateral hearing aids. One of these three (1.5%) also used a personal or classroom amplification device.
Six students (9.1%) were reported as having a physical or orthopedic disability or motor skill problems. Of these six, two also had vision disabilities, and a third student was categorized as deaf-blind. One of these six students (1.5%) walked with a cane. One student (1.5%) used a wheelchair without assistance, while another three students (4.5%) used a wheelchair with assistance. Four students (6.1%) required specialized positioning equipment, such as a standing frame. Two (3.0%) of the six students with physical impairments had restricted range of head motion, and four (6.1%) required consistent head support throughout the day.
In terms of arm and hand control that may affect computer access, one student (1.5%) used only one hand to perform tasks, and two students (3.0%) required assistance to perform tasks with their hands. These three students (4.5%) used standard computer keyboards,, and one of these students (1.5%) also used a touch screen and voice-recognition software.
Three additional students with motor disabilities (4.5%) could not use their hands to complete tasks. Of these three, one student (1.5%) could not access a computer while the other two (3.0%) used switch systems.