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Section 15

ak dept education

special ed handbook

An assistive technology device means 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 term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

An assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes:
  1. The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment;
  2. Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
  3. Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
  4. Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
  5. Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
  6. Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.
Assessment Process

The assessment process for a child referred for special education may include the consideration of whether or not assistive technology is necessary for the child to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The evaluation team should be multidisciplinary and may involve occupational therapists, physical therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, assistive technology specialists, special and regular education teachers, adapted physical education teachers, rehabilitation counselors, parents and caregivers. At least one member of the evaluation team should be knowledgeable in assistive technology.

Assistive Technology Devices And/Or Services Designated in the IEP

Each district shall ensure that assistive technology devices and assistive technology services are made available to a child with a disability who needs devices or services for supplementary aids and services in regular classes or in the child’s home or other setting in order to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). The child’s IEP Team shall determine the necessity of those devices and services on a case-by-case basis.

Assistive technology devices and/or services designated in the child’s IEP must be provided at no cost to the parents. According to OSEP, an assistive technology device may be special education, a related service or a supplementary aid and services. The IEP Team decides what device to provide, and, to the extent it matters, categorizes it as an item of special education, related services or supplementary aids and services. In this regard, recognize that acquisition and maintenance of an assistive technology device is the responsibility of the school district, not the parents.As a general matter, public agencies, such as an LEA, are not responsible for providing personal devices, such as eyeglasses or hearing aids or braces, that a disabled child requires regardless of whether he or she is attending school. However, if a child’s IEP Team specifies that a child requires a personal device in order to receive a FAPE, the public agency must provide the device at no cost to the child’s parents. Cost, may be considered, although it should not be the determining factor. The main issue is whether a particular device will provide a student with FAPE.

Ownership of Equipment

When a district is required to provide an assistive technology device for at-home use, the AT device remains the property of the school district; its use is allowed in the form of a restricted loan. It is consistent with the IDEA that the school district be responsible for at least reasonable repairs. However, under the IDEA, a school district may choose to make parents responsible for damage due to unauthorized use or unwarranted damage.

The decision of whether to provide assistive technology device(s) and which devices to provide to a student must be made on an individual basis, considering the particular nature of the student’s needs. If a student is identified as needing special education and related services, then, he is entitled to an individual evaluation for possible assistive technology devices.


The State and the LEA will adopt the National Instructional Materials Accessibility standard for providing instructional materials to blind and other persons with print disabilities.

Not later than 2 years after enactment of IDEA 2004, an LEA must acquire the print material in the same manner and condition as the SEA. LEA must assure the SEA that they will provide instructional material in a timely manner.


Additional information is located in Appendix H and the Resources section of this handbook.

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