Assistive Technology Decision-Making Overview

people at meeting

Both IDEA 1997 and IDEA 2004 defined assistive technology devices and services.

§ 300.5 Assistive technology device. 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.

Assistive technology service.  Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

IDEA 1997 and as ammended in 2004 also identify the responsibility of schools in the provision of assistive technology, both at school and at home (provided the IEP team determines the assistive technology is needed to ensure FAPE):

§ 300.105 Assistive technology.

(a) Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those
terms are defined in §§ 300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's—
(1) Special education under § 300.36;
(2) Related services under § 300.34; or
(3) Supplementary aids and services under §§ 300.38 and

(b) On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child's home or in other settings is required if the child's IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE.

An important consideration of the IDEA 1997 regulations indicated that "every child must be considered for assistive technology" as part of the development of the IEP.

(a) Development of IEP—(1) General. In developing each child's IEP, the IEP Team must consider—

(v) Consider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.

This section provides resources to facilitate the Assistive Technology decision-making process. Additional video resources may be found in the Online Classroom section under AT Decision Making.