Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is assistive technology?

    The Federal Law known as public law 108-446, entitled the 'Improvement Act of 2004' or the 'Individulas with Disabilities Education Act' (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 the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of that device.

    IDEA defines assistive technology services as any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes:

    (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, maintaining, 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 providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.

    Which students receive assistive technology?

    Any student that has difficulty accessing the curriculum in any way is a candidate to have assistive technology incorporated into his/her day. Whether needing low or high technological support, the Assistive Technology Team can help educators and/or parents determine which tools will be of most benefit to students needing to access the curriculum through an alternate mode. Questions such as those below help to determine the need for incorporating assistive technology into a student’s day.

    • Is my child/student able to meaningfully participate in the curriculum?
    • Is my child/student able to participate in academic and functional activities?
    • Is my child/student able to access print materials?
    • Is my child/student able to access auditory information?
    • Is my child/student able to access written communication and/or the computer
    • Is my child/student able to participate in state and local assessments?

    How do I request assistive technology services?

    A teacher may request an informal classroom observation to discuss how various technologies might be incorporated into classroom procedures and routines. Informal classroom observations can be made by the building’s “expert pool.”
    New strategies can then be implemented and evaluated. If a specific student continues to have difficulties with classroom expectations, the referring teacher begins documentation of interventions for that student. The teacher then discusses the student’s need for support with SST/IEP team/building administrator to identify possible first intervention steps. Should additional support continue to be needed, the building team members will provide the following information to the AT building contact with copies also being submitted to the SPED coordinator.

    • Complete the Referral/Question Identification Guide
    • Attach the District Assistive Technology Referral Guide
    • Copy of student IEP or SST Action Plan