Assistive Technology, (hereinafter "AT") is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT can be an important asset to your child's success and should be included in your child's IEP. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
For example, a child who struggles or is slow with writing down their thoughts and ideas because they have weakened fine-motor strength would be permitted to use a computer in the classroom to type their notes or papers. This accommodation would be detailed in the child's IEP.
Assistive Technology and the IEP
1. Needs for technology must be identified on an individual basis.
2. Assistive technology needs must be considered along with the child's other educational needs.
3. Identification of technology needs must involve family members and a multidisciplinary team.
4. Parents or IEP members can ask for additional evaluation or an independent evaluation to determine assistive technology needs.
5. When an evaluation is being conducted, consider: fine-motor skills, communication, and alternatives to traditional learning approaches.
6. Lack of availability of equipment or cost alone cannot be used as an excuse for denying an assistive technology service.
7. If included in the IEP, assistive technology services and devices must be provided at no cost to the family and, if so indicated, devices must be allowed to go home with the student.
8. Parents always have the right to appeal if assistive technology services are denied.
NOTE: The National Council on Disability has issued a report on the availability of assistive technology to persons with disabilities. The report contains a specific section on education and emphasizes the major role technology now plays in education. To see the report go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11418/