State Support Team Region 9 Serving Schools in Holmes, Stark, and Wayne Counties

Stark State Advanced Technology Center ~ 6057 Strip Ave. N.W., North Canton, OH 44720  
Telephone: 330-492-8136  ~  Toll Free: 1-800-733-7732

Assistive Technology


What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology devices and services were first defined in federal law in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-476). These definitions remained unchanged until 2004 with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (Public Law 108-446) when an exemption to the definition of an assistive technology device was added to clarify a school system’s responsibility to provide surgically implanted technology such as cochlear implants.  

Assistive Technology Device

Assistive technology devices are identified in the IDEA 2004 as:

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 children with disabilities.

The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
(Authority 20 U.S.C. 1401(1))

Although the IDEA uses the term “device”, it is important to recognize that assistive technology devices required by students with disabilities include hardware and software as well as stand-alone devices. Almost any tool can be considered to be an assistive technology device except for those assistive technology devices that are surgically implanted and have been excluded from the definition of an assistive technology device as defined in IDEA.

The definition of an assistive technology device is very broad and gives IEP teams the flexibility that they need to make decisions about appropriate assistive technology devices for individual students. Assistive technology includes technology solutions that are generally considered instructional technology tools, if they have been identified as educationally necessary and documented in the student’s IEP.

Assistive Technology Service

As defined in IDEA, an assistive technology service is:
Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, and 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, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
  4. Coordinating and use 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 or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities.

(Authority 20 U.S.C. 1401(2)) 

As stated in the IDEA, assistive technology services are provided to assist in the selection, acquisition, and use of an assistive technology device.


State Support Team Region 9 - Assistive Technology

Student Inventory for Technology Supports,

What is SIFTS?  The SIFTS is a quick and easy web-based survey tool developed primarily to support IEP teams who need assistance in matching student needs and strengths to AT features. It has embedded text, picture and video supports to assist teams in building their knowledge of assistive technologies as well as their capacity to implement AT assessments.  Information on the website is secure. Student results can be retained for future use, and multiple AT domains can be collected and stored for the same student.  While the SIFTS is primarily intended for school teams; parents, students, consumers and others can also use it due to the limited use of jargon and the survey's focus on observable functional performance outcomes easily identified by most. It is not intended to take the place of a full AT assessment, but to provide support for the portion of the assessment that requires teams to match student needs to AT features before making final device selections. There Is no cost for SIFTS but you are required to log on and create a password.


OCALI, Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM)

ATIM is designed to provide high-quality information and professional development on assistive technology (AT) for educators, professionals, families, persons with disabilities, and others. Each module guides you through case studies, instructional videos, pre- and post-assessments, a glossary, and much more. ATIM modules are available at no cost. You will need to establish a log on and password.

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT)

The Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology include the specific quality indicators that were developed by focus groups and validated through research, intent statements that further explain each indicator, and a list of common errors for each of the eight areas. The eight areas are all important to the development and delivery of assistive technology services and include: Consideration of AT Needs, Assessment of AT Needs, AT in the IEP, AT Implementation, Evaluation of Effectiveness of AT, AT in Transition, Administrative Support for AT, and AT Professional Development . In addition, a set of self-assessment matrices have been developed for all of the Quality Indicators. These Matrices are designed to allow individual service providers and school districts to assess their current practices and plan for improvement.

Assistive Technology of Ohio

AT Ohio's mission is to help Ohioans with disabilities learn about or acquire assistive technology. Assistive Technology refers to devices, equipment or services that assist individuals with disabilities to function independently in the areas of work, home or school. We offer several programs and services to achieve that goal. We also keep up with current legislative activity that affects persons with disabilities, and educate legislators about the needs and concerns of citizens with disabilities.

10 Best Free Assistive Technology Tools - by Jim Earnhart (Parent/Educator Conference April 2, 2011)