Grant Proposal

Grant Proposal

Part 1: Funding Needs in Context

The four main learning disabilities among children are listening, reading, writing and mathematics. First, the listening disability affects the way a child interprets the sounds in words. This disability hinders effective verbal communication with teachers, parents and peers. It has adverse effects on the child’s ability to participate in learning and social activities and development of effective verbal communication skills. Secondly, the reading disability has adverse effects on the learning of children because it introduces barriers to the attainment of knowledge about various subjects. Reading is a fundamental skill for academic and life success. However, it is a grueling and frustrating activity for children with learning disabilities. Thirdly, a child with a writing disability has difficulties combining various physical and cognitive processes to render legible, logical and organized letters consistently. Writing also requires a decent knowledge of grammar and syntax. Children with writing disabilities face significant limitations with what they can achieve in school and life (Perras, 2014). Fourthly, a child with a math disability faces challenges such as the inability to recall basic mathematical facts, rules and procedures, difficulties with remembering patterns and sequences, and difficulties interpreting and manipulating mathematical problems. The effects of dyscalculia are cumulative because mathematical subjects are interconnected. Therefore, a child who has difficulties with basic computation skills cannot learn advanced-level mathematics. The alignment of the teaching practices and procedures with the needs of children with learning disabilities is a major concern in early childhood education. According to Atherton and Crickmore (2011), an inclusive curriculum should focus on preparing both normal children and children with learning disabilities to live fulfilling lives, make positive contributions to society and achieve economic independence. However, many schools face challenges in promoting a desirable future for children with learning disabilities. This failure makes the transition from school for children with learning disabilities uncertain and traumatic (Allen & Cowdery, 2014). The instruction of children with learning disabilities requires teachers to develop responsive programs.

According to Pedrotty and Bryant (2012), one of the ways to eliminate the barriers to the effective instruction and learning of children with learning disabilities is the use of assistive technology (AT). Assistive technology for children with learning disabilities is an appropriate early childhood program. It encompasses various device and tools designed to improve the capabilities of students with learning disabilities. Assistive technology includes the use of low-tech tools such as pencil grips and number line and high-tech tools such as instructional software and writing and translational tools to enhance a child’s ability to participate actively in different learning environments (ECTA Center, n.d.). The program will help the targeted students in two major ways. First, it will help the students to learn how complete various classroom tasks. Secondly, it will help the students to bypass particular areas of the learning difficulties. With the AT program, students with learning disabilities will have access to classroom materials and lectures. Students with listening difficulties will use audio recorders and players, and audio books during classroom sessions. Afterward, the students can listen to the recordings repetitively at the desired speed and pitch so that they can process and use them to complete their assignments (Stanberry, 2015). The listening devices will support the writing tasks in each classroom session. Therefore, in addition to the audio recorders and players, the students will use speech-to-text software, word prediction tools and spell-checking and grammar software. These tools will ease their struggle with the physical task of writing and poor grammar, spelling, punctuation and other writing difficulties (Morin, n.d.). Advanced speech-to-text software highlights and helps in decoding words and sentences in speeches/lectures. The students will combine the audio recorders and players with text-to-speech (TTS) tools during classroom activities that involve listening and reading. The teachers will provide talking calculators, mathematics notation tools, text-to-speech (TTS) tools, drawing and graphing tools, electronic math worksheets and manipulative tools such as abacus to students during arithmetic lessons (Stanberry & Raskind, n.d.). The devices will help them to overcome various difficulties with numbers, computation, mathematical language and spatial organization.

The proposed devices for the AT project are high technology devices, which are expensive to acquire using personal funds. The grant will contribute to the attainment of the AT project goals in three major ways. First, the grant will enable the early childhood center to purchase and install the required AT hardware and software. For example, the projected cost for computers with touchscreens exceeds $10,000. The computers, which will help the institution to establish various workstations, will need additional software such as TTS and STT and hardware such scanners to deliver the desired level of assistance to the students. Additional funds will go to paying external IT experts to install and integrate the AT hardware and software and purchase of the audio recorders and players, calculators, data managers and abacus. Secondly, the selected teachers and IT staff will undergo training to enhance their ability to use the AT tools effectively in instructing the children. The early childhood center will hire experienced AT specialists to train the selected AT instructors. About 10 and teachers and 5 members of the IT department will participate in the AT training program. The program will run for 5 days. The estimated cost for this training, which includes the training materials and payments to the professional instructors, exceeds $3,000. The teachers will learn how to integrate the classroom materials and lectures with various AT devices so that the students with learning disabilities can access these materials with ease.

Part II: Sources of Grant funding

Targeted Population

North Falls Early Childhood Center has a population of about 230 students. About 75 students in this Center have various learning disabilities. This population is at risk of poor academic performance goals due to poor listening, reading, writing, arithmetic and organization and memory skills. The failure to give the affected children the opportunity to work around their disabilities introduces the risk that they will become depressed, traumatized and drop out of school.

Goals and objectives:The main goal of the Assistive Technology (AT) for Children with Learning Disabilities is to provide a way for the students with learning disabilities to improve their listening, reading, writing and math skills to enable them to attain a grea………………

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