What is Assistive Technology?

As special education teachers, we all use assistive technology on a daily basis to meet our student's needs.  But do we really know what Assistive Technology is?  I just completed my certificate program on Assistive Technology and I would love to share my wealth of knowledge with you!!!  So let me ask the important question…

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology is...
“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 individuals with disabilities.”

Assistive Technology Act of 1998

When we think about assistive technology in the classroom, we need to ask ourselves these questions…"What  can the student do?" vs. "What is the curriculum/task asking the student to do?"  From here, we must decide if there there is a gap in between the two questions.  If the answer is yes…. is assistive technology necessary for the student to make progress?  Assistive technology is most often defined incorrectly.  Assistive technology does not have to be something that is plugged in or charged.  Assistive technology can be an accommodation, a support and sometimes even a service.  An assistive technology service is “any services that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection,
acquisition or use of an assistive technology device.” -Assistive Technology Act of 1998

I will be talking about assistive technology over the entire week.  The topics I will address include:
1. What is Assistive Technology?
2.  Low Tech, Mid Tech and High Tech Assistive technologies
3. Assistive Technology Assessments- What is right?
4. Assistive Technology Resources

I want to end on a quote I find quite beautiful…
"Regardless of how good a swim instructor you are, you can't teach a person to swim in the parking lot of a swimming pool." -Anonymous

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