What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technologies (AT) are the tools and strategies that act to liberate the use of technology for all students as well as to provide new ways to “assist” interactions and learning. They act to “augment abilities and bypass or compensate for a disability” (Lewis, 1994). AT is anything that makes it easier for a student to read, write, speak, see, get around, or move and play. Educational and assistive technology give students with disabilities greater possibilities to master content, organize, and control behavior. Recent technology innovations are changing the ways teachers teach and children learn. Students with disabilities are capable of participating in the general education curriculum to varying degrees with some adaptation and modifications that AT can provide.

VDOE. (n.d.). Assistive technology. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from The Virginia Department of Education

What is the Assistive Technology Continuum?

Many people think of assistive technology as dynamic and sophisticated devices that are expensive and hard to acquire. However, assistive technology is a continuum of tools that range from no/low-tech tools to high-tech tools. When a team begins the decision-making process, a solid approach is to consider no/low-tech solutions first and then move up to mid-tech and high-tech tools as needed.   

A wide range of assistive technology devices are available in our lending library.

Consideration of Assistive Technology

In November 2008, the Virginia Department of Education released materials for school divisions to use when developing operating guidelines and service delivery models for assistive technology. Included in the document ("Assistive Technology: A Framework for Consideration and Assessment") are definitions, laws, consideration guidelines, and a process for assistive technology assessment. Sample forms are also provided.

To learn more about the process for consideration and assessment of assistive technology visit the Virginia Assistive Technology Network.

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Explore our AT Library Above!


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. Fee based certificate and credit options are coming soon.

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