In 1988, the United States Congress passed the Technology-Related Assistance Act for People with Disabilities (P. L. 100-407). This law was amended in 1994 (P.
103-218) and further reinforced in 1998 with the Assistive Technology Act (P. 105-394).The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 also provides protection for people with disabilities of all ages, including children who may not be eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 supports the effective use of assistive and instructional technology to improve teaching and learning.The terms 'assistive technology device' and 'assistive technology service' were first used in education legislation in 1991 when the IDEA was amended. Since then, assistive technology (AT) has been included as part of free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
With the reauthorization of the IDEA in 1997 and the adoption of new regulations in 1999, school districts must consider the need for assistive technology every time an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for a child.