Services and Support

Services and Support

Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Definition

The term assistive technology device means 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. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

The term assistive technology service means 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 of the needs of such child, 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 such child;

(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 such child, or, where appropriate, the family of such child; and

(F) training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of such child.

AT Categories

There are many categories of assistive technology. When considering assistive technology for a student, it is important to look at each of these categories.

  • Aids for Daily Living
  • Communication
  • Computer Access
  • Hearing
  • Mathematics
  • Organization
  • Positioning, Seating, Mobility
  • Reading
  • Recreation/Leisure
  • Vision
  • Writing

Assistive Technology Considerations

Per IDEA 2004, assistive technology needs to be considered for every student with an IEP, regardless of their disability. It is the responsibility of every IEP team to consider the student's need for assistive technology. Although consideration can occur at many stages of a student's educational journey, it must always be done as part of a team's discussion of special factors at a student's annual review and three-year reevaluation. Consideration is based on the unique IEP goals, IEP benchmarks or objectives, and curricular goals of a student. In addition, a range of assistive technology should be considered, including low/light, mid, and high tech. An IEP team may find that a student requires a system of tools. For example, a student who struggles with the motor aspects of writing may require the following system of tools: adapted pencil for short answers, a word processor for note taking and paragraph writing of one to three paragraphs, and speech recognition software for writing over three paragraphs. Below are some resources that can help guide IEP teams as they work through the consideration process. It is not mandatory to complete this paperwork and attach it to the IEP, but these are recommended resources that team should reference. The IEP team should document the AT Consideration conversation in the Additional Notes page of a student's IEP.

WATI AT Consideration Guide
This guide was developed by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) and is highly recommended for IEP teams as they work through the consideration process.

QIAT AT Consideration Guide
This guide was developed by the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) Leadership Team. It is another recommended resource for IEP teams as they work through the assistive technology consideration process.

English Language Learners (ELL)

D181 English Language Learners Board of Education Policy

Illinois State Board of Education Resources for Families of English Learners

WIDA Website: WIDA advances academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators.

ACCESS 2.0 Test Information

Response to Intervention (RtI)

Response to Intervention (RtI) Overview

Florida Center for Reading Research: This site lists age specific strategies parents can use in their home to help progress their child’s reading abilities. The website has a link to interventions for struggling readers, as well as information on RtI.

Intervention Central: This link has extensive resources surrounding research-supported interventions for academic and behavioral services.

What Works Clearinghouse: This site houses empirically supported interventions and teaching strategies that range from early childhood education to adolescent literacy and math services.

Special Education Resources

Transition to Middle School: This is a presentation from March 2017 on the transition to middle school.

Involving Parents in the IEP Process: This publication covers ways in which parents can serve as advocates for their child’s special education. Topics such as barriers to effective participation, the IEP process and strategies for beneficial collaboration.

NICHCY – National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: This is a link to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. The site provides information on research-supported educational strategies, No Child Left Behind as well as information on IDEA and how it affects children from birth through age 21.

Community Resources

Parent Training Centers in Illinois: This link provides information on parent training centers in Illinois, which serve to assist parents which explains special education services as well as effective collaboration with the school.

Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers: This site is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Special Education (OSEP) to provide information for parents on parent training sessions in their area.

Procedural Safeguards

Parents' Rights Guide: A link to the Illinois State Board of Education’s guide for parents in understanding special education services in Illinois.

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