Assistive technologies in smart phones and tablets such as text-to-speech should be considered for funding support for students with special educational needs (SEN), according to industry experts (24th April 2012).

This was one of the major outcomes from the recent Assess 2012 conference, which brought together education industry experts, disability support allowance (DSA) assessors and technology product suppliers to share best practice in assistive technology and discuss the latest trends and issues to support disabled students in higher education.

As more consumer devices such as mobile phones and tablets incorporate applications such as text-to-speech, it has inadvertently blurred the boundaries that once distinguished assistive technologies as specialised communications aids. For this reason, the versatility of smart phones and tablets have increasingly become the device of choice among higher education students with SEN.

For DSA assessors, this movement toward the integration of assistive technologies in smart phones and tablets as an alternative to laptops and desktop computers means that this technology should ideally be considered for funding support.