Assistive Technology Overview

What is Assistive Technology?

The purpose of this page is to help Educators increase your understanding of Assistive Technology (AT), and how AT can help students in their academic and functional performance. As part of IDEA Assistive Technology is a Special Factor to be considered for each student with a disability.

The information below is designed to help you and your IEP team to be more effective in considering AT needs.

These definitions also appear in the Tech Act Legislation (P.L.100-407) which has been used in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Decisions regarding the need for AT devices and services are the responsibility of the IEP Team. These decisions are based on the need for assistive technology to help the student access the general curriculum and to meet the student’s IEP goals and objectives.

IDEA defines an assistive technology device as:

…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. [20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (25)]. This definition is broad and includes a range of devices from no technology to high technology items as well as software. (e.g. OT services, pencil grip, word predictive software, etc.)

Under IDEA the legal definition of assistive technology services is:

…any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. [20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (26)] Specifically, assistive technology services include:

  • The evaluation of the needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the individual in the individuals customary environment;
  • Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by individuals with disabilities;
  • Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology services;
  • Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
  • Training or technical assistance for an individual with disabilities, or, where appropriate, the family of an individual with disabilities; and
  • Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.

How do you refer someone for an Assistive Technology Evaluation, Follow up or Support.