Assistive technology is any item, equipment, or product system used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of a person with a disability. It can be commercially purchased, modified, or customized to meet the individual's needs. WATAP provides information and referrals to those seeking services and knowledge about assistive technology. Despite its potential to make a difference in the classroom, it is not a cure-all.
The need for assistive technology should be included in the individual's IEP (Individualized Education Program). Decisions about its use in other environments outside of school should be made on an individual basis. An example of an assistive technology device and an assistive technology service that are provided as complementary aids and services is a wheelchair and physical therapy to use the wheelchair. Information technology can help the development of literacy in young people with reading and writing difficulties.
An assistive technology service is any direct assistance to a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of the assistive technology device. Researchers have observed that there is still a gap between the potential of assistive technology and how much it actually helps (Burne, Knafelc, Melonis, & Heyn, 201). Low-tech devices such as pencil grips (molded plastic grips that slide over a pen) are also considered assistive technology. It may be necessary to ensure the maintenance of the LRE (Least Restrictive Environment), even if it does not directly affect the reception of the FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education).
Assisted technologies such as reading pens can effectively address different forms of learning problems such as dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, APD (Auditory Processing Disorder), etc. They can also be useful for users, parents and other members of the public who have learned the basics of assistive technology and want to learn more.