Assistive technology (AT) devices as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA '04) are any item,piece of equipment, or product system... that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities.
Assistive Technology services are further defined as services that directly assist a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The functional capabilities of students with disabilities are dictated by the environments in which the students need to function.
For school-age students, AT devices and services are those that provide access to the general education curriculum, and may include hi-tech and low-tech solutions. Such devices and services may be needed for alternative augmentative communication (AAC), computer access, written communication, environmental control, or for sensory (auditory or visual)access. They allow many students with disabilities to function effectively in the general education curriculum and to meet their educational goals.
Local educational agencies (LEAs) with students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) identifies the need for AT devices or services may turn to the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) for AT training and support. A broad range of assistive devices can be borrowed from the Short Term Loan program in order to assess the appropriateness of a particular device.
An Assistive Technology Expo takes place in November/December each year at multiple locations across the state. Staff and families can try AT devices and ask questions of manufacturers and vendors at the expo. An Assistive Technology Purchasing Program (ATPP bid) is available to provide AT device bid prices to LEAs.
In addition, PaTTAN's assistive technology consultants and IU Assistive Technology Consultants are available to answer questions and direct school staff and families to appropriate AT resources. Finally,the Professional Development section points to available assistive technology training opportunities.
For more information please contact:
Candice Hite, MA, CCC-SLP
Assistive Technology Coordinator