The Department of Education’s goal is to ensure that all students have meaningful access to the curriculum.
Depending upon the impact of a disability, your child may require Assistive Technology (AT) or Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) in order to participate in his or her educational program and achieve his or her academic goals.
Both AT and AEM help students with disabilities meaningfully access their curriculum and meet their full academic potential. The AT Family Guide can help to inform you about available AT and AEM resources that can be used to achieve the best possible educational outcomes for all students.
What is Assistive Technology (AT)?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) classifies AT as both a device and a service.
AT devices are defined as "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."
AT service is defined as "any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device."classifies assistive technology as, “...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 functional capabilities of a person with a disability.”
How Can I Make a Referral?
A referral should be made if AT might provide access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the student due to their disability. If you think your child requires AT, submit a referral to your Committee on Special Education (CSE), if your child attends a preschool, charter or non-public school, or to the IEP team if you child attends a district 1-32 or district 75 school. The school will then submit the referral to a team of AT specialists.
- Center for Assistive Technology- Is your child in preschool, a charter, non-public, or a District 1-32 school? You can receive support from the CAT.
- D75 Tech Solutions- Is your child a in a District 75 school? You can receive evaluations and support from D75 Tech Solutions.
What is the Evaluation Process for AT?
The CSE or IEP team submits the AT evaluation referral to the CAT or Tech Solutions.
The student is evaluated. The student and their teachers are trained on the AT device, corresponding goals are developed and strategies are implemented
Evaluation may include a student trial. Student performance is reviewed and, if appropriate, IEP goals are refined.
Where the CSE determines it is appropriate, AT is added to the student's IEP.
The AT device/service is provided to the student.
The DOE and Assistive TechnologyThe DOE:
- Works to ensure that IEP teams consider current AT and AEM when determining the needs of a student.
- Works to ensure that assistive technology mandates are provided on a complete and timely basis and consistently used and supported to enable the student to achieve their academic goals.
- Promotes understanding among school, field and central office staff regarding effective use of instructional technology to support access to the general education curriculum for all students.
- Provides high quality assistive technology assessment, training, resources, and implementation support to students, families, teachers, and other DOE staff in fulfilling this mission.
Assistive Technology Family Guide
For more information read the Assistive Technology Guide for Families on the Guides and Documents page. Staff may visit the Provider Resources page for other guidance.