Our work as educators requires us to be flexible in order to meet many students' learning needs. Our goal is to make sure every student receives the information we present in a way that mobilizes their best strategy for learning and applying it.

As we include more students with special needs in our classrooms—students with sensory, cognitive, or physical disabilities—we need access to a larger set of skills and tools to meet their diverse learning requirements. Fortunately, there are many technology-based resources available to help us. Here are some to get you started and a few ways to use them.

A useful first step is to explore the many comprehensive and easy-to-use Web sites on the Internet. An excellent starting point is the Alliance for Technology Access Web site: http://www.ataccess.org/ Use the "vendors" link to scan through a comprehensive listing of all the vendors associated with special needs.

Another good site features a directory organized by The National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP): www2.edc.org/NCIP/ The organization promotes the effective use of technology to add to the educational outcomes possible for students with sensory, cognitive, physical, and social/emotional disabilities.

You can also adapt your existing software and hardware for your special-needs students. Both Apple and Microsoft make it easy to adapt their products to meet these students' needs. For Mac computers, go to the Apple.com/disability Web page. If you use a PC, be sure to visit http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/microsoft.aspx for links to accessibility aids for individuals with disabilities.

Many mainstream software companies provide tools that help ease the process of reaching students with different learning styles. For example, Reading for Meaning (Tom Snyder Productions) uses audio recordings along with on-screen text to help boost students' reading comprehension skills.