AFC's Guide to Assistive Technology
Sustainable Development Goals: 3
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
WHAT IS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT)?
Assistive Technology (AT) is any device or support for using that device that helps a student with a disability to learn. AT Devices are defined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system . . . that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” (34 CFR § 300.5)
It is the responsibility of the Department of Education (DOE) to provide these devices and services at no cost to the student or parent if the need for A T is indicated on a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF AT?
Some common AT devices include:
- Computers and iPads
- Computer adaptations for access, keyboarding devices such as switches, and keyboard overlays to customize computer settings
- Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices, like communication boards that help students who have trouble communicating
- Writing aids such as pencil grips and smart pens
- Technology for students who are Blind, have Low-Vision or are Hearing Impaired Environmental Control Units (ECUs), which include things like switches, joysticks, buttons, and voice commands to control lights, televisions, and telephones.
AT Devices are generally divided into three categories:
- NO-TECH: Does not require any specialized equipment Examples include breaking information into steps, large print materials, and extended time
- LOW-TECH: These devices are only minimally complex Examples include taped instructions, adapted scissors, and calculators
- MID- TO HIGH-TECH: A more complex, specialized system or device Examples include: reading pens, iPads, and voice recognition software