What is Assistive Technology (AT)?
Some students with disabilities require AT to communicate or participate in curriculum, programs or activities that would otherwise be inaccessible due to the disability.
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." In the educational setting, AT is implemented throughout the school day as needed and is the responsibility of all of the staff that support your child.
You can find more information in the AT Family Guide.
How Can I Make a Referral?
If you think your child requires AT, make a referral by submitting a written request for evaluation.
- Preschool, charter, non-public school, or home-schooled- Give your request to your Committee on Special Education (CSE).
- District 1-32 or a District 75 school- Give your request to the school IEP team. The school will then submit the referral to a team of AT specialists.
- Home Instruction- Give your request to the Office of Home Instruction.
Review the instructions for requesting an AT evaluation for more information.
What is the Evaluation Process for AT
- The CSE or IEP team submits the AT evaluation referral to the Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) or Technology Solutions.
- The student is evaluated. The student and their teachers are trained on the AT device. 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 Technology
- Works to ensure that IEP teams consider current AT 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 AT assessment, training, resources, and implementation support to students, families, teachers, and other DOE staff.
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.