An assistive technology (AT) device helps a person with a disability complete an everyday task (like communicating), increase independence, and can enhance his or her quality of life.
An assistive technology service helps a person with their AT device, which can include evaluating, acquiring, fitting and customizing, and training both the individual and professionals to use the device.
Assistive technology should be considered every year during your student’s annual review to see if it can increase his or her independence. Could some of the services your student receives from a person be replaced by AT? (For example, voice- activated typing vs. an assistant to type things out.)
Not already using AT? Ask for an AT assessment in writing. Even the trial of AT services and products can be added to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504. Be sure you know who at the school to follow up with.
Make sure your student is included in decision making and encourage them to try AT to fnd out which items might be a good ft. Self-advocacy also plays an important role: Your student should know when to ask to use their AT device, and to discuss how it is/is not working.
Trial and error help your student figure out which AT devices and services work best. Does the device make the task easier or more complex?
RESOURCES IN NEW YORK STATE
- TRAID: Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID)
- ACCES-VR: Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation
- Center on Technology and Disability
- Rehabilitative Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
FOR PRODUCT INFORMATION
- Computer Access Alternative mouse or keyboard, text to speech or speech recognition software
- Lecture Digital recorder, FM listening device, computer for taking notes
- Personal Organization Talking watch, print or picture schedule, voice output reminders for tasks and assignments
- Studying/Learning Personal data assistants, graphic organizer software, digital recorder, software for organization of ideas, computer files provided by professor
- Test-taking Use of computer in class
- Math Talking calculator, accessible math software, calculation chart, visual graphing software
- Reading Audio book, large-print, braille material or computer braille display, text-to-speech applications, scan-and-read software and pen, screen magnifier
- Writing Computer or portable word processor, electronic spellchecker and dictionary, speech recognition software
- Worksite Modification Wall partitions around workstation to minimize distractions, adjustable desks and seating, ramps, lifts, mobile arm supports and wrist rests, monitor risers, glare guards, modification of worksite temperatures, anti-fatigue mats
- Assistive Devices Adapted computer setup, amplified phone or text telephone, augmentative communication device, electronic alarms and reminders, vibrating pager, assistive software such as voice recognition and word prediction
- Flexible Job Schedules Flexible job schedules, flexible work hours and flexible use of leave time, part time hours, more frequent breaks, telecommuting or working from home
- Human Supports Readers, scribes, interpreters, job coach or mentor
- Home Living Accessible control devices for TV, telephone, computer, lights, and other electronic appliances, remote paging system to call for assistance, home computer with adapted set-up, adapted self-care aids (such as a shower chair or dressing stick), accessible home design (such as wider doorways, railings, and ramps), emergency alert devices in bathroom and bedroom, personal attendant services
- Recreation and Leisure Accessible arts programs, adapted clothing for indoor and outdoor activities, assistive listening and audio description systems in theaters, motorized shopping carts, adapted recreation activities and classes, accessible game controllers and TV remotes, adapted camping gear
- Transportation and Travel Wheelchair accessible buses, vans, and taxis; vehicles with adapted driver controls (such as hand controls or pedal extenders); accessible parking; global positioning systems (GPS)