What does this mean for students & schools?
School districts are required under law to provide appropriate
AT to students with disabilities when it supports their acquisition
of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). In order to support
the inclusion and participation of students with disabilities in
regular education classrooms, all IEP's developed for children identified
as needing special education services, must indicate that AT has
been considered to "to provide meaningful access to the general
curriculum" (IDEA, 1997). More specifically, IDEA indicates that
AT devices and services must be made available to a child with a
disability if required as a part of the child's-
- Special education;
- Related services; or
- Supplementary aids and services.
There have been several clarifications from the Office of Special
Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) on the use of AT by
students with disabilities. These include:
- AT must be provided by the school district at no cost to the
- AT must be determined on a case-by-case basis; it is required
if needed to ensure access to free and appropriate public education
- If the IEP team determines that AT is needed for home use to
ensure FAPE, it must be provided
- The student's IEP must reflect the nature of the AT and amount
of supportive AT services required.
- A parent is accorded an extensive set of procedural safeguards,
including the provision of AT to the child.
Keep in mind that AT is any item that is used to increase, maintain,
or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.
For some students with disabilities, AT may be the only
way that access to the general curriculum can