Assistive Technology

“For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.” - Mary Pat Radabaugh

What is Assistive Technology?

AT can be many things! According to state and federal law, Assistive Technology is “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.” The definition covers a broad range of devices, software, apps, and strategies that may be very simple or quite “high-tech”. AT may also take the form of services needed to support the team or the student in the process of AT selection, acquisition and use.

What makes something  AT?

What makes the broad range of supports (described above)  AT is what they do for the student - increase, maintain, or improve function. AT, when carefully selected and supported, assists students in doing the things they need to do – read, write, listen, see, communicate, and many other tasks that they might otherwise be unable to do or to do effectively. Technology - including everyday devices or instructional technology - becomes AT for a student when it makes doing these things possible.

PaTTAN Publication: Teachers’ Desk Reference: Assistive Technology


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