A blind instructor once told her class that we were all “ temporarily able-bodied .” We would all experience disability in one form or fashion within our lifetime. Assistive technology would therefore help all of us function at some point in our lives.
“ AT makes it possible for a person with a disability to perform tasks and participate in everyday activities in different ways. It is any item or piece of equipment, that helps a person do something that his or her age appropriate peers can do without the assistance.”
“ An assistive technology device is 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 children with disabilities.”
There are four main laws that provide direction and mandates on AT for use with young children with disabilities and their families.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act ( IDEA ) 2004
The AT Act (ATA)
Rehabilitation Act-Section 504
Sec 300.308 Assistive Technology
a) Each public agency shall ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in secs. 300.5-33.6, are made available to a child with a disability if required as part of the child’s
1) Special education under sec 300.26
2) Related services under sec 300.24
3) Supplementary aids and services under secs 33.28 and 300.550 (b) (2)
On a case by case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412 (a)(12)(B)(I).
Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices…;
Training or technical assistance for a child with disabilities or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing early intervention services), or other individuals who provide services to, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.