cooperative educational service agency 8

Assistive Technology

JoAnne Laurich, Assitive Technology Coordinator, jlaurich@cesa8.org 
Susan Schuettpelz, Program Assistant, susans@cesa8.org


As of July 1,1998, all special education students must have the consideration of Assistive Technology (AT) documented in their IEP. In order to help school districts provide these needed services, an Assistive Technology Coordinator and Lending Library are available through CESA 8. These services are offered for all Special Education and Regular Education staff working with students with disabilities. By purchasing services, you will benefit from having certified professionals who provide needs-based services to help educators implement assistive technology.

What is assistive technology?
Devices and services which enable students to achieve their potential. Assistive Technology helps students write, communicate, read, study, play, and achieve independence.

Assistive Technology is any tool or device that a student with a disability uses to do a task that he or she could not otherwise do without or any tool the student uses to do a task more easily, faster, or in a better way. It can be a commercial product or something someone makes. It can be a simple "low tech" devices such as a pencil grip or an expensive "high tech" device such as a computer.

The legal definition of assistive technology is, " ...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." (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(1)) Brown Arrow

Why is it important for all educators to be aware of assistive technology? Assistive technology has the powerful potential of impacting significantly upon a student with disabilities by contributing to his or her learning, independence, self esteem, and quality of life Brown Arrow

Who benefits from assistive technology?
Any student with a disability from mild to severe may benefit from the use of assistive technology. There is assistive technology to help an individual with reading, writing, remembering, walking, sitting, seeing, hearing and communicating, Any student who needs help with any of these life functions may benefit significantly from the use of assistive technology