Assistive Technologies: A Comprehensive Guide for People with Special Needs

Sip-and-Puff systems are a type of switching device, which refers to the technology used to replace a computer's keyboard or mouse. Other switching devices include buttons or other objects that the student can touch, push, pull, kick, or perform some other simple action that can then be controlled by the device. The maintenance and repair of assistive technology devices are included in the definition of assistive technology service. At the meeting, the IEP team will determine if the assistive technology would allow the student to benefit from educational instruction or meet the goals and objectives of the IEP.

As you can imagine, all of the complexes mentioned above usually offer human assistance with customer service agents in public transport or shopping malls, tour guides in museums, or special assistance staff at airports. This is not a technological tool, but rather a kind of short “course” that offers an overview of assistive technology (AT) and explores ways to expand students' access to it in the classroom. It 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. First, if the person needs an assistive technology service or device such as special education or a related service needed to receive the FAPE, then that service or device must be available.

The combination of both elements is how assistive technology for people with disabilities takes on all its meaning. 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. An example of an assistive technology device and an assistive technology service that are provided as complementary aids and services is a wheelchair that allows the child to access classrooms and physical therapy to use the wheelchair. Assistive technology is a dynamic and growing field, ranging from “low” technologies, such as a graphic organizing spreadsheet, to “advanced” technologies, including state-of-the-art software and smartphone applications.

In any classroom, you can find several areas of assistive technology and sample products, making a difference in the way students at all skill levels learn. When moving or finding your way around, assistive technology can often replace human assistance. In this case, assistive technology is considered a complementary aid or service and must be included in the IEP and provided to the person. 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.

Assistive technologies are designed to help people with disabilities live more independent lives by providing them with tools that enable them to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do on their own. These technologies range from low-tech solutions such as adapted utensils for eating to high-tech solutions such as voice recognition software for communication. Northwest Access Fund, formerly known as the Washington Access Fund, provides loans for assistive technology and accessibility modifications for homes and vehicles. 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.

Violet Martin
Violet Martin

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