Related Services & Therapies

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology                                         

The NYC Department of Education, Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) at the Office of Related Services, Division of Students with Disabilities conducts assistive technology (AT) evaluations and trainings for students with disabilities (school age and preschool) in our Children First Network (CFN) Clusters, Charter Schools and Approved Non-public Schools (NPS).  The Center for Assistive Technology also provides support and guidance regarding assistive technology to public school staff, teachers and administrators.

Assistive Technology is defined as both a device and a service.
Assistive Technology Devices are defined by IDEA 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." (34CFR § 300.5)
Assistive Technology Service is defined by IDEA as:
"any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device."

Assistive Technology Evaluation:
An assistive technology evaluation is an AT service.  AT evaluation requests submitted to CAT are completed and provide the IEP team with::

  1. A suggested AT or AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) recommendation for the IEP team to consider or
  2. The student has been found to be making adequate progress and can access his curriculum through modification, remediations and other types of intervention. No AT/AAC recommendation is suggested at this time.

Conclusions of the evaluation are documented in a written report given to the School Assessment Team/IEP Team. The report may include suggested light tech, mid-tech or high tech assistive technology recommendations, or no assistive technology is needed at the time of the evaluation.  If no assistive technology is recommended, the evaluators may suggest programmatic implementations, accommodations and instructional strategies.  If technology is suggested, the School Assessment Team will conduct a meeting to make a recommendation regarding assistive technology needs on the student's IEP. 

                                Assistive Technology Considerations

You are considering assistive technology because…

IEP mandated assistive technology  is not appropriate. Consider UDL options 


Student may need assistive technology

IEP team can consider needs independently or complete referral for further assistance

The student needs to be motivated


The student wants to access the internet or likes computers


The student cannot communicate via typical voice and alternative methods have not been effective

The student can not access the curriculum via typical modes comparable to his peers and alternative methods have not been effective

The student has reading deficit that is addressed programmatically 


Students' handwriting is illegible due to lack of practice and or instruction in penmanship

Frequently Asked Questions

When and how should the IEP team make a request for evaluation for assistive technology?
The IEP team may refer to the AT Consideration Process in order to make the appropriate decision for the student. 
What is the difference between IEP driven Assistive Technology and Instructional Technology?

What can I do in the classroom to help my student with his difficulties?
Sometimes programmatic interventions such as use of buddy notes and giving handouts for note taking, placing the student in front of the class for attention and vision challenges, use of pencil grips and slant boards to assist in writing legibility and efficiency may address students ability to access the curriculum.   

My student/child has difficulty with writing tasks. What can I do?
There are multiple ways to address writing difficulties. Least restrictive and programmatic interventions should be trialed first.  The school occupational therapist may also offer pre-referral strategies for the struggling writer.  For more information on programmatic recommendations, click here. 

What is UDL?
Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunity to learn. For examples of UDL implementation in the classroom, click here. For Teacher Friendly UDL Tools, click here


Assistive Technology Referrals - Non D75 in SESIS
   SESIS Directions
    Video Tutorial

How to Write Assistive Technology on an IEP
    Video Tutorial

Center for Assistive Technology Forms 
    AT Evaluation Request Form (For CPSE non turning 5 cases ONLY. For School Age Students, please follow SESIS Process)   
    AT Training Request Form
    AT Weekly Loaner Logs
School Assessment Team   
    Testing Accommodations
    Equipment Maintenance
    Assistive Technology Referral in SESIS
    Log on to SESIS
    Free Membership Application to
    How do I write assistive technology goals on the IEP  (from Quality Indicators for AT Services®)   
    Assistive Technology Famis Portal List (updated 11/30/11)

Parent Resources
    NYC Learning Standards and Programs to help students with varying needs succeed

Teachers and Service Providers
    How can I implement the recommended AT in school?
    References for Mid to High Tech AT
    Administrators Guide to Effective Technology Leadership 
    CSE Contact Information
    CPSE Contact Information
    Occupational and Physical Therapy Cluster Supervisors
    Log on to FAMIS    
    Instructions on Acquiring Accessible Instructional Materials

Professional Development 
    Free trial software
    Register for a workshop 
    Video Tutorials 
Resources for CAT Evaluators (enter your network ID and password, navigate to >Assistive Technology)
Web Resources
District 75 Evaluations
Contact Us