Assistive technology can ensure that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) by allowing access to the general education curriculum and settings, providing opportunities for active participation with same age peers, and facilitating progress toward their educational goals. In addition, AT can significantly impact independence, self-expression, self-esteem, and overall quality of life.
"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. 34 CFR §300.5
"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:
- 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 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. 34 CFR §300.6
Virginia’s State Technology Plan
The Board of Education maintains a six-year plan to integrate educational technology into the Standards of Learning and the curricula of the public schools in Virginia. Incorporation of assistive technologies are addressed in the 2018-2023 Educational Technology Plan for Virginia to support all students and addressed specifically to address learning, teaching, and infrastructure required to support such technologies.
- Assistive Technology Network – The Assistive Technology Network of Virginia addresses priorities of VDOE with coordination, implementation, and dissemination of information about the laws which define AT devices and services, the process of AT Consideration by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams, AT assessment, Augmentative and Augmentative Communication (AAC), and AT resources.
In support of these priorities, the network has several initiatives which include:
- Developing resources and documents for AT Considerations and Assessment
- Developing and supporting local and regional AT teams with information, resources and training, including the annual Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference
- Integrating AT solutions across the curriculum
- Virginia Assistive Technology Consideration Guide-This is a Word document. – The AT Consideration Guide is a tool for IEP teams to use in determining areas where a student may benefit or require assistive technology devices and/or services. The AT Considerations Guide prompts teams to discuss whether the student's current assistive technology meets his/her needs and select additional AT needed for trials.
- Virginia Assistive Technology Resource Guide-This is a PDF document. - This document provides potential AT solutions to address areas of need identified through the AT Considerations Process. These sample solutions can help IEP teams determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and technology solutions.
- Accessible Instructional Materials Center of Virginia (AIM-VA)