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Digital Assistive Technology Lab


Let’s Explore Assistive Technology


IDEA defines an ‘assistive technology device‘ as 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. (20 U.S.C. 1401(1))

IDEA defines an ‘assistive technology service’ as 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…
  • (B) purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices…
  • (C) selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing…
  • (D) coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices…
  • (E) training or technical assistance for such child, or …the family of such child…
  • (F) training or technical assistance for professionals… (20 U.S.C. 1401(2))IDEA 2004,
  • Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 49.

Watch the following video to explore 5 myths about assistive technology use


Assistive Technology in Education and Disability Law

There are several laws governing the use of assistive technology in our classrooms. The summaries below describe the development of AT in the law (adapted from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center website). 

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) first referred to assistive technology in its initial enactment in 1975, but later amendments defined the terms “assistive technology device” and “assistive technology service” in federal education law. See the language in the current, 2006 Part B regulations under 34CFR§ 300.105 and the current provisions for children from birth to three in 2011 Part C Regulations.
  • The Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-364) “increased access to, availability of, and funding for assistive technology for all individuals with disabilities, including very young children.”
  • “Additionally, children with disabilities, even those who are not eligible for special education under IDEA may have a right to assistive technology under either Title II or Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which protects the rights of individuals with disabilities of all ages in many different aspects of their lives.”
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “supports the effective use of assistive and instructional technology to enhance teaching and learning.”

You can read more about the history of AT in the law using this Summary of Assistive Technology in the ESSA (2016)


Assessing for AT in the Classroom

SETT Framework Webquest: 

  • Part 2- Search the web for examples of the SETT Framework in action.
  • Part 3- Complete an AT case study (ask your professor or see your course assignment)

Georgia Project for AT

AT Evaluation Guidance and Resources


AT Examples and Case Studies

AT App Databases

  • AT Tutorials and Case Studies from Tools for Life
  • Tools for Life AppFinder is a search tool that allows sorting apps by platform and function category. Apps are reviewed by users with disabilities. The database is a project of the Georgia Assistive Technology Act Program.
  • BridgingApps is a resource where users can search for apps reviewed using standards-based assessment tools as well as find resources on how to use mobile devices to effectively target skill development. BridgingApps is a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston.
  • Techmatrix is an online tool for finding assistive and learning technology products for students with special needs. It was created by the National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd).
  • For more databases and resources, please visit the MASS Match website.”

AT Resource Grid for Common Learning Barriers

AT in Everyday TechAT for ReadingAT for Writing and Social StudiesAT for Math and Science
AT Chrome Extensions (PDF)Reading Comprehension and Access- Office 365Graphic Organizers (WEB)Digital Math Writing (WEB)

Power Point (PDF)
Text-to-Speech (WEB)Speech-to-Text (WEB)National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (WEB)
Office 365 and Mac Tools (PDF)Read and Write (WEB)Writing AT Examples (WEB)Math and Science AT Examples (WEB)
Ms Word Document Accessibility (PDF)Early Literacy AT Examples (WEB)

AT Resource Grid for Less Common Barriers to Learning

CommunicationAccessMobility and Positioning
Explore AAC (WEB)Alternate Achievement Adapted Texts (WEB)AT for Positioning, Motor Control, and AAC Access (WEB)
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Examples (WEB)Lexile Leveled Texts on Current Events and Ed. Topics (WEB)2019 AT for Mobility Examples (WEB)
Symbol Board Creation-Boardmaker Online (WEB)

Assistive Technology Case Study Examples

Common AT Solutions

Meet SamMeet JosephTED talk with Jeff Paradee, Disability Technology

Less Common AT Solutions

Meet ElleMeet NickMeet Jared

Want More Examples?

Provided by The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD) and PACER Center


Last updated: 9/25/2020