As defined by the Regulations of the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education Governing the Special Education of Students with Disabilities, January 2019:
Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted or the replacement of such device.
AT devices can be as low tech as a pencil grip. Other times, AT solutions, can be more complex. Examples of AT can be found here.
Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes --
(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment;
(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.
What is Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)?
AAC is considered assistive technology. It is defined as “An act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that person’s needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states” (ASHA,1992).
Who makes decisions regarding AT?
Any classroom teacher can make suggestions. Requests for Assistive Technology consulting should be made to the district AT Coordinators, Lisa Sestito and Tracey Slye. Once appropriate AT tools have been identified, the IEP or 504 Plan should be modified to include the new accommodations and reviewed annually as part of the IEP or 504 processes. An IEP or 504 team meeting can always be arranged at any time throughout the year in order to include any assistive technology that was not previously identified. Teams should also identify if any training is needed for the staff/family who will support the use of the technology and write that into the IEP or 504 Plan as well.
How is AT funded?
When the costs or the system becomes more complex than items or classroom strategies that are immediately at hand, then the students’ IEP/504 team is called to discuss the options. Federal funds through IDEA as well as local funds and/or Medicaid can be used to purchase AT devices. If a device is paid by Medicaid, it belongs to the student; if purchased by the family the AT belongs to the student; if funds are provided by IDEA the AT belongs to the LEA; if purchased by the LEA the AT belongs to the school.