Assistive technology is defined as any type of device, software, or equipment that a child can use to work around his or her challenges with learning. Some common examples include text to speech software or typing instead of providing hand written work. AT can be low tech and include something like a special pencil grip, or it can be as high tech as a computer with eye gaze software.
On the special factors page of your child’s IEP is a section that asks if your child requires any sort of assistive technology in order to be able to access his or her curriculum. Especially with the growth of distance-learning this past year, many assistive technology options are now available to all students. Some school teams like to leave that section blank on the IEP if assistive technology that is used is available to all students. But, I try to encourage teams to always include a detailed list of what the student requires to be able to access their general education curriculum, regardless of what is available to the whole school population. Different school districts have different technologies available to students. If your child were to move, or if the administration at your current school changed around your school’s technology options, your child could be out of luck without an explicit description of what he or she needs.
Some school districts will provide assistive technology without a formal evaluation, but even if that box is already checked “yes” on the special factors page, I highly encourage you to request an assistive technology evaluation from your school district. District AT specialists have a great deal of knowledge about a wide range of technologies. They also know how to train students and teachers to use the different technologies, and can help your child find what works the best for them. Reach out today if you need help navigating your child’s assistive technology options!
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