Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Device definition

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. (IDEA, Part A, Definitions, Sec. 602)

Assistive Technology encompasses the areas of:
  • Communication 
  • Computer Access
  • Hearing
  • Math
  • Positioning, Seating, Mobility
  • Reading
  • Vision
  • Writing

Assistive Technology Service Definition

As defined by the IDEA, an assistive technology service is any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, and use of an assistive technology device. The terms include-

(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment;

(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;

(c) Selecting designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;

(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;

(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and

(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities.

(Section 300.6)

Assistive Technology Consideration

Since the re-authorization of IDEA in 1997, IEP teams have been required to “consider” the need for assistive technology devices and/or services for each student with a disability during the IEP development process.
AT Consideration is: 
  • To think carefully about
  • Discussion of potential assistaive technology necessary to receive FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)
  • Not ignored or skipped over
  • Not just for sutents with severe disabilities
  • more than 15 minutes
Consideration can only take place after goals and objectives have been developed. 
Questions for IEP teams to ask during AT consideration: 
  • If the student is currently using AT, is the tool adequte to address the new goals and objectives:
  • Does the student need AT to access the curriculum?
  • Does the student need AT to access the technology used by other students?
  • Does the student need AT to access instructional materials?
  • Could AT help the student work more independently? 

AT Material Resource Center

State Support Team Region 2 offers an Assistive Technology Materials Resource Center for its districts which contains many low, medium, and high technology supports.  Items can be borrowed free of charge for a minimum of 6 weeks to trial with individual students at school.  Click here to download the listing:

AT External Links

For assistance regarding Assistive Technology

Contact Jennifer Heim at [email protected] or 440-324-5777 ext 1148