It is important for parents to understand the “language” of assistive technology so they can be informed advocates for their child’s technology needs. The following glossary of terms can help parents learn about the kinds of assistive technologies that are currently available and how they can be used.
Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help to overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance their quality of life and lead more independent lives.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs.
There is a wide range of assistive technology (AT) services and devices to which a child may be entitled. It is important for families to understand how Federal laws affect their child’s right to AT. Provided below are brief summaries of laws that impact the provision of assistive technology and special education services.
This resource provides visual examples of a range of AT products to help parents who are beginning their search for assistive technology.This fact sheet includes basic questions to be considered when trying to identify assistive technology devices that will best suit your child and illustrated examples of some of the AT options available. Each AT example has an icons indicating whether it is high-tech, mid-tech or low-tech. Product vendors are also listed. Please note that vendors listed may not be the sole supplier for a particular product.