What is "Assistive Technology?"

Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a student with a disability. An assistive technology service is any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device in the student’s customary environment.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) requires a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) team to consider whether assistive technology devices and services are needed to meet a student’s educational goals. If the IEP team determines that a student needs assistive technology devices or services to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), it is the district’s responsibility to ensure that they are available for the student.

Choosing the best technology for a student requires some time and patience. The right product depends upon the individual student, the setting in which it will be used and the tasks to be accomplished. Assistive technology cannot fix or eliminate learning difficulties, however, by learning to capitalize on strengths and bypass weaknesses, individuals with learning differences can experience success in their educational settings.