Assistive Technology

DESE Assistive Technology and Accessibility

IDEA 2004

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) mandates that school systems address assistive technology when it is required as part of a student’s special education services, related services, or supplementary aids and services. IDEA defines assistive technology as both a device and service.

The term `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 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

Assistive technology service is any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term includes:

  • The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment;
  • Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
  • Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
  • Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
  • Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and
  • 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 that child.

The use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE (Authority: 20 USC 1412(a)(12)(B)(I)).

IDEA requires that if assistive technology is required for the student to participate in district-wide or statewide testing, the need for technology must be documented in the IEP on the State or District Wide Assessment table.