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Assistive Technology
• Categories of Assistive Technology •
• Computers for People with Disabilities •


What is Assistive Technology?

"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. AT service is directly assisting an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device."

Source
: The US technology-related assistance for individuals with disabilities act of 1988, Section 3.1. Public Law 100-407, August 9, 1988 (renewed in 1998 in the Clinton Assistive Technology Act) - http://section508.gov/docs/AT1998.html#3

AT Cycle

Bridging skills with goals is what Assistive Technology and related services provide. There also needs to be an on-going cycle of evaluating and recommending, maintenance of the technology, reviews of emerging needs, and upgrading of the equipment when necessary.

 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 included AT services in its definition, as well as AT itself.

 

 

Assistive technologies enable people to communicate, receive instruction, learn, play, move about, achieve, and be independent (Blackstone, 1990). These technologies have been used to enhance the abilities of people as part of early intervention services, in educational and recreational programs, for employment, rehabilitation, and for independent living (Solarz, 1990)

According to the Technology-related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Tech Act), an Assistive technology device 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 the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." Assistive technology services are defined in the Act as "any services that directly assist an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device" (P.L. 100-407, Sec.3 1988). According to the Act, these services include;

  1. evaluation of needs, providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by individuals with disabilities;
  2. selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing, such assistive devices;
  3. coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology;
  4. training or providing technical assistance for an individual with disabilities; and,
  5. training or providing technical assistance for professionals, employers, or other individuals who provide services to or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.
References
Blackstone, S. (1990). Assistive technology in the classroom: issues and guidelines. Augmentative Communication News, 3(6).

Public Law 100-407. Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988.

Solarz A.L. (1990) Rehabilitation psychologists: A place in the policy process? American Psychologist, 45(6), 776-770.

(Note: this description has been taken directly from grant proposal prepared by the Institute on Disabilities, the University Affiliated Program at Temple University.)

 

 

 


NIMAC National Instructional Materials Access Center National Instructional Materials Access Center
Alternative text formats required under IDEA 2004

AAC Intervention.com
Tips and tutorials for Augmentative/Alternative Communication Intervention Products & Presentations

 

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Last modified: 06/29/10

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