Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kapperman, Gaylen, 1943-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Students with visual disabilities--United States; Assistive computer technology--United States


Research in the field of visual impairment has yet to provide precise and reliable estimates of the level of assistive technology use by U.S. students who are visually impaired. This study investigated the assistive technology use of students who are visually impaired in the U.S. through a secondary analysis of the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS). Providing visually impaired students with some degree of autonomy and independent decision-making has been shown to be necessary for the healthy development of the child. Without the use of assistive technology in learning experiences, students without vision struggle to be independent. The aim of this study, then, was to estimate the level of assistive technology experience with text-to-speech devices and screen reading software nationwide and investigate some of the contextual circumstances that may contribute to the use of this special technology for the blind. The population of study was visually impaired students in the U.S. The sample for this study came from the SEELS, a nationally representative longitudinal data base of elementary and middle school students with disabilities. Data analysis methods included descriptive analyses of assistive technology use and binary logistic multilevel longitudinal modeling of assistive technology use and rate of change in assistive technology use as a function of mathematics ability, parent involvement, school placement, and school environment support. Data analysis strategies accounted for the attributes of a binary outcome with the binary logistic application of multilevel modeling. Analysis of the data showed that the vast majority of students with visual impairments in the U.S. were not using assistive technology during each of the three measured time periods. It was determined that any change in assistive technology use as the three years of the survey progressed was not statistically significant. Children who had parents that attended any parent meeting, programs, or trainings for families of students with disabilities were significantly more likely to use assistive technology. Students attending residential schools were significantly more likely to use assistive technology than students not attending residential schools. The findings were discussed in terms of implications for interventions and potential changes in policy or practice.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 97-101)


viii, 101 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type