The use of assistive technology (AT) is an important support for students when looking at providing alternative forms of access and/or engagement in curriculum. With the use of computer and tablets wide spread in most schools, as well as Google classroom and other internet based options to access curriculum, many students have access to a variety of programs and applications that already are available through the school-wide established supports and tools.
Many students with disabilities have challenges with reading, writing and math. Others may have difficulties with vision, hearing, listening and/or communication. There are students who face physical, mobility and/or motor problems. Assistive technology includes devices and/or services that allow students to access interactions, activities and curriculum by providing a universal design of learning approach.
AT can be as simple as a popsicle stick used as a spacer, and as complex as specialized computers and software. Students who have challenges communicating, reading at grade level, organizing their thoughts when writing, identifying contextual cues, resistance to fine motor tasks, have physical limitations and/or hearing and vision challenges, among other challenges may be a good candidate for AT supports. If an educator or parent feels that a student may benefit, they can request that an assistive technology assessment be completed to determine if AT may be needed to support their education.
For more information on IDEA requirements for student access to please go to https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/b/300.105. Other sites you may find helpful include our California Department of Education’s Assistive Technology Check list at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/sr/atexmpl.asp, Wrights Law’s comprehensive description of AT, IDEA requirements and a listing of resources go to https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/atech.index.htm, or go to our local Parent Training Information Center, TASK, and learn more about their Assistive Technology Center’s resources at https://taskca.org/tech-center/.