Assistive Technology

For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.
— International Business Machines (IBM) 1991 training manual

What is Assistive Technology?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997, the team that develops an individual education program (IEP) for a child must consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services.  Assistive technology services directly assist a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device. Assistive technology device is any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a student with disability.


Using assistive technology is an adaptive process. It is best accomplished by the team on site working with the student.
  1. Identifying expectations for student, based on available data.
  2. Be very clear about tasks student will perform – Plan to collect data! *
    • Define the need – be specific.
    • Need must be tied to goals, objectives, curriculum, standards.
  3. Add to - don't replace - what is already working.
    • Define what is currently in place – show data to demonstrate effectiveness.
  4. Don’t look for global or quick fix – solutions are task focused.
  5. Describe features that are needed to assist the student to complete required tasks & meet expectations. *
    • Don’t name a specific tool.
    • Explore low tech first.
  6. When you are ready to try some assistive technology...
    • Develop a plan for implementing. *
    • Be very specific about how you will measure the effectiveness of the intervention. (assess or collect data)


  1. Referral – Staff completes referral form * (gray mail to Diana Clarke at JHHS)
    • Who to refer? Students who are struggling despite interventions & accommodations. Students with complex circumstances or low incidence disabilities.
  2. IEP Team Meeting – Data review – Complete SETT Framework -- Assessment (if needed) *
  3. Ongoing assessment – Data review

Services for students with:

reading deficits
writing difficulties
math deficite
organizational deficits
difficulty speaking or expressing themselves
vision impairments
hearing impairments
mobility disabilities

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