Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press

 Home > Topics > Assistive Technology


The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Oct 23 - Wilton, CT

Oct 25 - Olympia, WA

Oct 30 - Phoenix, AZ

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

Print this page

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Devices and Services

assistive technology in the classroomMany children with disabilities have difficulties with reading, writing, and math. Some children have problems with vision, hearing, listening and/or communicating. Others have physical, mobility, and motor problems. Assistive technology helps children use their strengths to compensate or "work around" weaknesses caused by the disability. Assistive technology includes "devices" and "services."

IDEA 2004 requires IEP teams to consider the assistive technology needs of all children with disabilities. (20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(3)(B)(v))

The IEP team makes decisions about assistive technology devices and services based on your child’s unique needs so that he can be more confident and independent. The law requires schools to use assistive technology devices and services "to maximize accessibility for children with disabilities." (20 U.S.C. 1400(c)(5)(H))

If the IEP team determines that your child needs assistive technology devices and services, the school district is responsible for providing these and cannot use lack of availability or cost as an excuse.

Note: Assistive technology is not a substitute for teaching your child to read and write.

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 a child with a disability. (20 U.S.C. 1401(1))

IDEA defines an 'assistive technology service' as...

any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Such term includes -

(A) the evaluation...

(B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices...

(C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing...

(D) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices...

(D) training or technical assistance for such child, or ...the family of such child...

(F) training or technical assistance for professionals... (20 U.S.C. 1401(2))

IDEA 2004, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 49.

Assistive Technology Training

IDEA 2004 also requires schools to provide assistive technology training for the teachers, child, and family. (20 U.S.C. 1400(2)(E) & (F))

Your child's teachers may need training so they know how to use a device. Your child and your family may need A.T. services so you can learn to use a device. Assistive technology services, including training, need to be written in your child's IEP.


"Teaching students to read by the end of 3rd grade is the single most important task assigned to elementary schools." - American Federation of Teachers.

After 3rd grade, schools should continue to provide research-based reading instruction, but if a child is still struggling, he will need technology at school and home to access the general curriculum (e.g., social studies and science) in electronic formats.

Wrightslaw: All About IEPsWrightslaw: All About IEPs

Chapter 8
Assistive Technology
p. 73

Assistive Technology Evaluation

If you think your child needs assistive technology, you need to request that the IEP team refer your child for an evaluation by an assistive technology specialist. If the IEP team refers your child, the evaluation is at no cost to you. An assistive technology evaluation may include a functional evaluation of your child in school or at home. Be sure to include the evaluation in the IEP, including the expected date to start and finish the evaluation.

Assistive technology specialists have special knowledge and expertise. If your child's needs are complex or you anticipate resistance, ask the assistive technology specialist to join the IEP team.

Universal Design for Learning

The key concept in Universal Design for Learning is that new curricular materials and learning technologies will be designed to be flexible to accommodate the unique learning styles of a wide range of individuals, including children with disabilities. Examples include accessible websites, electronic versions of textbooks and other materials; captioned and/or narrated videos; word processors with word prediction; and voice recognition. The definition of universal design is in the Assistive Technology Act at 29 U.S.C. 3002 (19).

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals, including those with learning differences, with equal opportunities to learn.

UDL principles call for varied and flexible ways to:

  • Present or access information, concepts, and ideas (the "what" of learning)
  • Plan and execute learning tasks (the "how" of learning)
  • Get engaged - and stay engaged - in learning

Universal Design for Learning and Assistive Technology. Building accessibility into new technologies and curricular materials as they are developed will help to ensure the maximal inclusion of children with disabilities into the full array of learning opportunities that are available to all children.

National Center on Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all.

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology): Transforming Education through UDL. CAST is a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning.

National UDL Task Force. The National UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Task Force, works to educate policymakers and the public about the use of UDL principles as a major tool in improving outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. Member organizations include the Learning Disabilities Association is an active member, the National Down Syndrome Society, the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, more. CAST serves as a major resource to the National UDL Task Force.

Universal Design Online. This site supports educators and students in their teaching and study of universal design.

Accessible Technology - “Dear Colleague” letter (June 2010). The Departments of Education and Justice reaffirm the agencies’ commitment to ensuring students with disabilities have equal access to emerging technologies in colleges and universities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, protect the rights of students with disabilities. These laws bar institutions of higher education from requiring the use of technology that is inaccessible to individuals with disabilities, unless the institutions provide accommodations or modifications that would permit an individual with a disability to use the technology in an equally effective manner. 

NIMAS - National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard

The requirements about access to instructional materials and accessibility standards are new in IDEA 2004. Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 83.

20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(23) Access to Instructional Materials

(A) In General. The State adopts the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) for the purposed of providing instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities, in a timely manner after the publication of National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard in the Federal Register.

Questions and Answers on the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). (Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Revised August 2010). Q&A document provides information to facilitate adoption of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and coordination with the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), a national repository for NIMAS files received from publishers, SEAs, and LEAs.

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

The Right of Students Who Need AIM. The Right of Students with Disabilities Who Need Accessible Instructional Materials to Receive These Materials in a Timely Manner. A Brief for Families and Educators from The National Center on AIM. (January 2012)

What is Your State Doing? The AIM State Pages provide the name and contact information for each state's AIM coordinator as well as a host of information about the acquisition of accessible instructional materials, the production of materials, including textbook adoption/purchasing, state statutes and policies, SEA special education responsibilities, assistive technology, state-specific information and resources.

AIM for Families

The AIM Navigator is an interactive online tool designed to be used by IEP teams to facilitate decision-making around accessible instructional materials for an individual student. The four major decision points in the process include 1) determination of need, 2) selection of format(s), 3) acquisition of format(s), and 4) selection of supports for use.

NIMAS Technical Assistance Center at CAST. What Is NIMAS? NIMAS is a technical standard used by publishers to produce source files (in XML) that may be used to develop multiple specialized formats (such as Braille or audio books) for students with print disabilities.

NICHCY IDEA 2004 Training Module 8 - NIMAS. NIMAS training module now hosted by the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR).

NIMAS Conversion Tool.

N

American Federation for the Blind - NIMAS. In this section of www.afb.org you may access presentations and handout materials about the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) and the central repository for publishers' source files or National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC).

Accessible Instructional Materials: Ensuring Access for Students with Learning Disabilities - Policy Brief: National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).

Determination and Acquisition of Specialized AIM. Does a student have difficulty deriving meaning from print materials? Flow Chart on determination and acquisition of AIM. The Chafee Amendment and NIMAS.

NIMAS & NIMAC: A Discussion of the Legal Issues by Joanne Karger, J.D., Ed.D. A summary of some of the challenges faced by educators, families, and learners on timely provision of AIM for K–12 students who may benefit from the use of specialized formats.

Articles

Assistive Technology for the Struggling Notetaker. Using a recording pen is similar to a digital recorder - it’s an Assistive Technology device. If your child is eligible for special education services under IDEA, ask the school to provide an AT evaluation and appropriate AT devices and services.

Advocating for a Child with Communication Problems. IDEA includes a section about developing IEPs for children with “special factors” including special factors for children with communication needs. For example, the IEP team shallconsider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.”

Testing Written Expression. Occupational therapy and assistive technology evaluations may be needed for children with poor handwriting.

Related Services-A Closer Look

Adolescent Literacy: What's Technology Got to Do With It? by the National Center for Technology Innovation and Center for Implementing Technology in Education (2010).

LD Online Technology - excellent source of information about technology and “low tech” and “high tech” tools. can open doors and break down barriers for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. Whether in the classroom or workplace, assistive technology (including devices, software, recordings, and much more) can increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

A Checklist for IEP Teams: Considering Assistive Technology. IEP team members need to consider carefully what they want the student to be able to do within the educational program, that he or she isn’t able to do because of the identified disability. Then ask the question, “Would assistive technology of some kind enable the student to meet the goal?"

Demystify the Assistive Technology Assessment Process from the VA DOE Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU, identifies the seven indicators for a quality AT Assessment.

Tools for Evaluation: Assistive Technology Tools Kits. When an individual is identified with a disability and assistive technology is recommended, where do you begin?

The Effect of Assistive Technology in a Public School Setting. Report on the results of a study that shows assistive technology employed by a team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and educators has a significant impact on helping students with disabilities achieve their academic goals.

Assistive Technology and the IEP. As their child’s strongest advocate, it is important that families insist that assistive technology devices and services be included in the written IEP.

Considering Your Child's Need for Assistive Technology. Each IEP team in every school district is specifically required to focus on - "Does this child need assistive technology in order to accomplish the educational goals we have set?"

Assistive Technology Solutions. AT Fact Sheet from the Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) includes basic questions to consider when trying to identify AT devices that will best suit your child and illustrates examples of some of the AT options available.

Using Assistive Technology to Support Writing. Technology—and especially the subset of technology tools known as assistive technology—can be an effective, if not necessary, element of the writing curriculum for students with disabilities. In this article,the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) looks at how technology can support students’ writing.

Assistive Technology Tools - Reading. There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) tools available to help individuals who struggle with reading that will facilitate decoding, reading fluency, and comprehension.

High-Tech Help for Reading and Writing. When matched appropriately to a student’s needs, AT enables access to grade-level content corresponding to a child’s oral language skills and cognitive abilities, thereby leveling the playing field with classroom peers.

Could Technology Be the Key to Your Child's Success? For students struggling with learning disabilities, software might be the answer.

Access to Class Content by Self-Accommodating. Demonstrating to students that they have the ability to comprehend grade-level work despite their visual reading difficulties.

Resources

If you are negotiating with the school for AT services and

the schools says:
your response might be:
We can’t afford that... ...Cost cannot be considered a factor in AT consideration.
We are not authorized to make a decision about AT... ...I am disappointed to hear that. I guess we will need to adjourn the meeting until an appropriate administrator is here. Read more...

Strategies for Assistive Technology Negotiations. Find resources for supporting these strategies adapted from an Advocacy Institute presentation on Assistive Technology by Dave Edyburn, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

The Essential Guide to Assistive Technology. Marshall Raskind, Ph.D. provides an overview of assistive technologies and advice about selecting appropriate tools for children with learning problems. Free download (21 pages).

Accessible Textbooks: A Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities by the Center for Applied Special Technology and LD OnLine (2007).

VI Technology Assessments: Forms & Checklists. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired has a developed a series of checklists for assessing the AT needs of students. They are specific to certain technologies so that the child (and his teachers/parents) can be trained in the necessary skills to operate the equipment.

Glossary of Assistive Technology Terms from the Family Center on Technology and Disability. The glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.

Family Guide to Assistive Technology. In the home, classroom, workplace, and community, assistive technology is enabling individuals with disabilities to be more independent, self-confident, productive, and better integrated into the mainstream.

Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) AT Tools and Forms.

Assistive Technology Assessment Checklist from the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative.

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC): Assistive Technology Overview. Children with disabilities, even those who are not eligible for special education under IDEA, may also be entitled to the provision of assistive technology under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

National Center for Technology Innovation: Assistive Technology. With NCTI's special focus on students with disabilities, you'll find more about assistive technology devices, resources and research by innovators in the field.

Assistive Technology and IDEA from NCTI. What does the IDEA say about Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities? The IEP Team shall…consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services.

(OSEP) Policy Letters. The U.S. DOE Office of Special Education Programs have clarified the school districts' responsibilities in providing assistive technology to students with disabilities.

"I Can Soar" Video Information Kit from NCTI. The objective of the video and its collateral materials is to reach out to multiple audiences with useful information and tips concerning the appropriate selection and use of assistive technology. Users Guide.To order a copy of the kit, please email ncti@air.org

Assistive Technology Act. The Tech Act is intended to promote people's awareness of, and access to, assistive technology  (AT) devices and services. The Act seeks to provide AT to persons with disabilities, so they can more fully participate in education, employment, and daily activities on a level playing field with other members of their communities.

Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment by Ike Presley, M.Ed., Frances Mary D'Andrea, M.Ed. A book on assessing the needs of kids who are blind that creates a "tech toolbox" for kids. All school districts should have this guide as a resource.

Free Pubs

Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology and Transition Planning. Parent friendly guide to facilitating the transition process for children who use AT services and devices from FCTD. Includes information about transition and AT from Part C (IFSP) to Part B (IEP), elementary to middle school, and high school to postsecondary education, employment and independent living. Spanish

Accessible Instructional Materials: Ensuring Access for Students with Learning Disabilities - Policy Brief: National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). (PDF,22 pages)

Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) 5th Edition - complete version.

WATI Assessment Package. Assessing a Child's Need for Assistive Technology: Where to Start? This WATI Assessment process provides an overview of the assistive technology consideration,
assessment and planning process that has been implemented throughout Wisconsin. The package includes

  • The WATI Student Information Guide
  • The WATI Environmental Observation Guide
  • The WATI Assistive Technology Decision Making Guide
  • The WATI Assistive Technology Checklist

Accessibility: A Guide for Educators - Empowering students with accessible technology that enables personalized learning. This guide from Microsoft provides information about accessibility and accessible technology to help educators worldwide ensure that all students have equal access to learning with technology. In English and Spanish.

“For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.”… Dr. Katherine Seelman

Searching for the Right Product

Searching for the right educational or assistive technology product?

Tip: Try before you buy an A.T. device. Find out what to ask about a product's reliability, usability and quality.

Consumer Tips for Evaluating Assistive Technology Products by Marshall Raskind, Ph.D. Learn how to select the most effective assistive technology tools for your child's specific needs.

TechMatrix - Assistive Technology Tools and Resources for Learning. The new and improved TechMatrix allows you to use targeted searches and keywords to find the right tool, research, online resource or expert advice to integrate technology into education.

The Well-Stocked VI Classroom. A list of equipment that a classroom needs to have to serve the needs of children who are blind and mainstreamed from assistive technology specialists at The California School for the Blind.

Funding Information and Resources

Purchase Accessible Learning Materials - The PALM Initiative. Find out what you can do to increase the number of educators who are seeking and purchasing materials that are useable by all students from the start.

Funding Assistive Technology for Children with Disabilities. From the ASNAT Manual, 5th Edition. "In an effort to make assistive technology more available to individuals with disabilities, the federal government has created several specific entitlements."

Sources of Funding Information and Assistance. A range of public, private and non-profit organizations assists people seeking funding to purchase AT, though most do not offer financial assistance themselves.

Finding Alternative Sources of Funding for Assistive Technology. What if your LEA's AT budget is exhausted, or was never there to begin with? What if the LEA provides AT for the classroom, but not for use at home, even though it's supposed to?

Quick Start Guide to Where the Money is and How to Get it. This Quick Start Guide and companion eBook from Tech and Learning.com will focus on new federal funds and sometimes overlooked funding sources.

Funding Sources from NECTAC. Research shows that funding continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to the acquisition of assistive technology for children with disabilities.

Find Funding for AT from AT Network.

Focus on programs that help families get educational AT for their children with disabilities in learning.

Assistive Technology can be highly effective, but incredibly expensive. We would like to develop a list of funding resources or loan programs for assistive technology.

Arkansas Equipment Loan and Giveaway

Georgia's Assistive Technology Act Program, Tools for Life.Funding Options and Education

Monterey County CA - Curriculum & Assistive Technology (CAT Resource Center). The center includes an AT Training Lab with a loan library of adapted toys and educational materials, AAC & AT assessments and consultation services, and short and long term loan of AAC & AT Equipment.

Oklahoma's Assistive Technology Program: Device Demonstration and Short Term Loan

If you are aware of any resources that would help parents in obtaining AT devices or services, please let us know. Send us an email that includes the website link or contact name and number of the resource to atech | at | wrightslaw.com.

Other Assistive Technology Resources

ABLEDATA

AccessIT

Alliance for Technology Access

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA)

Assistivetech.net

Assistive Technology Partnership

Assistive Technology Training Online Project (ATTO). Provides information on AT applications that help students with disabilities learn in elementary classrooms.

Bookshare.org

Center on Technology and Disability (CTD). OSEP's new Center on Technology and Disability for Assistive and Instructional Technology Supporting Learners with Disabilities.

Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd)

Closing the Gap

Family Center on Technology and Disability

National Assistive Technology Research Institute (NATRI)

National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership (NATTAP)

National AT Advocacy Project

Pass It On Center. The National Assistive Technology Device Reutilization Coordination and Technical Assistance Center fosters improvements in AT reuse practices and networks among AT Reuse programs.

Protection and Advocacy for Assistive Technology (PAAT) Program. Provides protection and advocacy services to help individuals with disabilities of all ages acquire, utilize, and maintain AT services or devices.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. Learn about accessible materials and resources. Free access (with individual certification) to the nation's largest audiobook library of textbooks and literature titles.

SOAR Searchable Online Accommodation Resource from JAN Job Accommodation Network.

Standards.gov

Tots-n-Tech

 

More Topics

Created: 06/30/10
Last Revised: 09/18/14

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright © 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map

What's New!

Now Shipping!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Check it out!

Wrightslaw Store

The Advocate's Store

Get Help!

Blog the Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

Wrightslaw Books

Student Discounts

Military Discounts


Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book
To Order


About the Book

To Order


Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the DVD Video
To Order


To Order


Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

About the Book
To Order

Wrightslaw Multimedia Training


Understanding Your Child's
Test Scores (1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $
24.95
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)


Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)


Learn More
To Order
Retail Price: $99.95
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95