Assistive Technology

Assistive technology needs must be considered as a part of all individualized education program (IEP) plans. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines assistive technology devices as “any 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 children with disabilities.” Assistive technology can be low/no, mid, or high technology and is identified by using a Student Environment Task Tool (SETT). This framework for discussion assists teams in their consideration of the student, the environments, and the tasks required for active participation in the activities of the environments.

The term “assistive technology” refers to an array of devices and services used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of a student with a disability. Assistive technology may include equipment and/or instructional strategies needed to assist communication (spoken and written), mobility, self-care and other needs arising from sensory, motor, cognitive or social impairments. Assistive technology devices may range from simple modifications to sophisticated technical equipment.

“Assistive Technology Services” involve evaluation, selection, acquisition, coordination and instruction necessary for a student’s successful participation in their learning environments. Assistive technology can eliminate barriers and enable individuals with disabilities to be participating and contributing members of society.

Parent and Educator Guide for Assistive Technology (Michigan Alliance for Families) opens in a new window


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