Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions

What is Assistive Technology?
Simply put Assistive Technology (AT) is any form of technology that assists students in their learning. It can range from low-tech solutions like pencil grips or a highlighter to a high tech solution like speech recognition software or iPads/iPods.

Isn't assistive technology just a crutch?
Assistive technology should be used as support for access, learning and performing daily tasks. In general, assistive technology is appropriate when it compensates for disabilities so that the individual can function as normally as possible. If assistive technology is necessary for a student to have access to educational opportunities or to benefit from education, then it is not a "crutch" but a legitimate support. Some skills are too laborious or taxing to accomplish at a rate or with degree of proficiency to allow for participation in the least restrictive environment. With assistive technology, the student can participate more fully and more closely approximate the levels of achievement and interaction of his or her peers. In general, the use of assistive technology enhances function and increases skills and opportunities.

When is assistive technology appropriate?
Assistive technology may be considered appropriate when it does any or all of the following things:

 

  • Enables students to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means
  • Enables students to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards--a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means.
  • Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual
  • Increases endurance or ability to persevere and complete tasks that otherwise are too laborious to be attempted on a routine basis
  • Enables students to concentrate on learning tasks, rather than mechanical tasks
  • Provides greater access to information
  • Supports normal social interactions with peers and adults
  • Supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment.