What is Assistive Technology on an IEP?

The term “assistive technology device” refers to any item, equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional abilities of a child with a disability. Assistive technology can range from low-tech items such as pencil grips, markers, or paper stabilizers to high-tech items such as voice synthesizers, Braille readers, or voice-activated computers. 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. This includes maintenance and repair of the device.Assistive technology may be necessary to ensure the maintenance of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), even if it does not directly affect the reception of the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

If after a reevaluation there is still disagreement about the needs for assistive technology and the student's parents believe that the school evaluation was inadequate or did not address the student's assistive technology needs, parents have the right to request an independent evaluation of the student.The school must provide in-home assistive technology if the student needs the use of home assistive technology to receive the FAPE. If the IEP team determines that assistive technology is not needed, the student's parents or teachers can request a reevaluation of the student. For example, if the student needs an assistive technology device to complete homework, they should be allowed to take the assistive technology device home.Northwest Access Fund (formerly known as Washington Access Fund) provides loans for assistive technology and accessibility modifications for homes and vehicles. WATAP provides information and referrals to family members, employers, employment service providers, educators, healthcare providers, social service providers, and others seeking services and knowledge about assistive technology.

This publication provides a definition of assistive technology, a brief description of the basic special education requirements related to assistive technology, and answers the most frequently asked questions about assistive technology for students in special education programs. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is responsible for creating agreements between it and non-educational public agencies to ensure that students receive special education or related services, complementary aids and services, and transition services that are necessary to provide FAPE including assistive technology devices and services.Provides resources and experience in assistive technology to help people make decisions and obtain the technology and related services needed for work, education and independent living. An example of an assistive technology service that is provided as a related service to help a child benefit from special education includes speech and language services related to the use of a voice-activated computer. In this case, the assistive technology is considered a complementary aid or service and must be included in the IEP and provided to the person.

Violet Martin
Violet Martin

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