Assistive Technology (AT)
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Assistive Technology (AT) can help students with disabilities be fully included in the general education classroom or be a powerful intervention tool for young children before entering school. AT helps students who have disabilities learn the material in a way that they can understand it. AT helps eliminate barriers students may face that prevent them from being at the same level as their classmates. AT can be anything from a simple device, such as a magnifying glass, to a complex device, such as a computerized communication system.
AT benefits children of all ages, with all types and severities of disabilities. It is key for success in school and future work.
Simply put, AT is any device that allows a person with a disability to do what they need or want to do. It can be bought in a store or on-line, in can be home-made or especially designed for a specific person. It can be part of a system of devices. And in some cases, it might be an "off the shelf" device. This would be something like a garage door opener, easily available for persons who are not disabled, but for the person with a disability it is considered AT because it allows them to do something they otherwise would not be able to do.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 and subsequent revisions, the team that develops an individual education program (IEP) for a child must consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services. IDEA defines assistive technology in the following ways: "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 'assistive technology service' means any services that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistance technology device." Such term includes:
- The evaluation of the needs of such child, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
- Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by such child;
- Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing of assistive technology devices;
- Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
- Training or technical assistance for such child, or where appropriate, the family of such child; and
- 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.
281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.5(256B,34CFR300) Assistive technology device. “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 the 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.
281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.6(256B,34CFR300) Assistive technology service. "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. The term includes the following:
1. The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the
child in the child’s customary environment;
2. Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices
by children with disabilities;
3. Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or
replacing assistive technology devices;
4. Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology
devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
5. Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
6. Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or
rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.
QIAT is a nationwide grassroots group that includes hundreds of individuals who provide input into the ongoing process of identifying, disseminating, and implementing a set of widely-applicable Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services in School Settings that can be used as a tool to support:
- school districts as they strive to develop and provide quality assistive technology services aligned to federal, state and local mandates
- assistive technology service providers as they evaluate and constantly improve their services
- consumers of assistive technology services as they seek adequate assistive technology services which meet their needs
- universities and professional developers as they conduct research and deliver programs that promote the development of the competencies needed to provide quality assistive technology services
- policy makers as they attempt to develop judicious and equitable policies related to assistive technology services.
State AT Liaisons
The State Assistive Technology Liaisons Team is a group of Assistive Technology professionals representing each of the state's 9 AEAs, large LEAs, the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology, and several of the state's colleges and universities across the state. This team collaborates to address and advise the Department of Education on systemic assistive technology issues and initiatives in Iowa's K-12 schools.
AEA AT Contacts
|AEA||Contact||Phone||AEA AT Website|
Assistive Technology Consideration
The following documents are provided to assist IEP teams in the documentation of the consideration process and to provide local teams information about AT considerations. The use of these documents is optional.
AT Consideration SETT -Electronic Version - Use this version to fill out using Microsoft Word.
AT Consideration SETT -Print Version - Use this version to print and fill out with a pen or pencil.
Areas of Assistive Technology
Activities for Daily Living (ADL) - An example is eating from a scoop dish or drinking from a cut-out cup.
Communication Adaptations (CMA) - An example is Picture Exchange Communication Symbols (PECS) or a communication device.
Computer Access (CAC) - An example is an adapted mouse or a switch.
Environmental Controls/Access (ECA) - An example is an adapted remote or software to control lights, fans, etc.
Hearing (HRG) - An example is an amplified classroom or a written copy of the directions.
Learning and Studying Adaptations (LSA) - An example is content materials in an alternate format or highlighters.
Math (MAT) - An example is software or a talking calculator.
Mobility Adaptations (MOA) - An example is a wheelchair or a walker.
Reading (RDG)- An example is text to speech software or a talking dictionary.
- Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) are specialized formats of curricular content that can be used by and with print-disabled learners. They include formats such as Braille, audio, large print, and electronic text. While AIM themselves, the actual specialized formats, are not AT; the use of AIM by a student, with the exception of paper-based, embossed Braille, and large print, must have AT to "ride on," including refreshable Braille and enlarged text. Visit the True AIM webpages for more information.
Seating Adaptations (SEA) - An example is supported seating or a seat belt.
Technologies for Vision (TVA) - An example is screen modification or audio books.
Written Language Adaptations (WLA) - An example is a pencil grip or word prediction software.
Assistive Technology activities are funded by Federal Part B grant dollars provided to the State of Iowa.
Iowa COMPASS is Iowa's leading source of information on assistive technology and disability services. There are organizations that will pay for or provide for free assistive technology and home accessibility modifications. Visit the Iowa COMPASS website to find them.
Assistive Technology FAQs - This document has questions and answers about Assistive Technology.
Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT)
IPAT is a statewide program of the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa. IPAT's goal is to increase access to assistive technology devices and services across all environments: home, school, work and community. IPAT collaborates with the Iowa Department of Education; Bureau of Children, Family and Community and the Area Education Agencies to improve student access to assistive technology and services. To learn about IPAT go to http://www.iowaat.org . To find out about assistive technology devices and services in Iowa, call Iowa COMPASS at 800-779-2001 or TTY 877-686-0032. You can also access Iowa COMPASS on-line at: www.iowacompass.org
The Iowa Educators Consortium (IEC)
IEC, is an initiative of the Iowa Area Education Agencies. IEC purchases allow schools to take advantage of aggressive pricing based on the purchasing volume of many Iowa schools. In addition to aggressive pricing, the IEC frees valuable LEA staff time in researching and procuring products. Advisory committees work with vendors, manufacturers, product reviews and product literature to determine the best product/cost value for schools.
The IEC offers discounted pricing on a wide variety of products. For information specific to Assistive Technology go to http://www.iec-ia.org/ . Click on “Media & Technology” in the left column and then on “Assistive Technology and Special Needs.” Audio Visual and computer equipment are located by clicking on “AV & Computer.” For more information contact:
Jerry Cochrane, Coordinator
Iowa Educators Consortium
1120 33rd Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Phone: 319-399-6741, 800-798-9771x6741
IEC Website: www.iec-ia.org
Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research (ICATER)
ICATER is an assistive technology resource center located within the University of Iowa College of Education that serves the university, as well as communities throughout the state. The Center provides students with disabilities, parents, College of Education students, and education professionals hands-on assistive technology training, information, and materials. ICATER also conducts and collaborates on research projects, resulting in innovative methods and best practices of assistive technology usage. Through these training programs and research projects, ICATER impacts all students with disabilities by providing access to a variety of assistive technology devices, helping them accomplish their educational goals. Please contact us at www.education.uiowa.edu/icater.