Assistive Technology

The term assistive technology is defined in the federal law that provides the foundation for all special education services - the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004). This law's definition of assistive technology consists of two parts: assistive technology devices and assistive technology services.

Assistive Technology Device

The term 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.

This broad definition includes a wide variety of items that might be considered assistive technology devices. Consideration of devices should include, but not be limited to the following areas of need:

  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Reading
  • Math
  • Study/Organizational Skills
  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Recreation, Leisure, and Adaptive Play
  • Positioning, Seating, and Mobility
  • Computer Access

Assistive Technology Service

The term 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. Such term includes -

  • the evaluation of the needs of such child including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environments;
  • purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by such child;
  • 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 such child, or, where appropriate, the family of such child; and
  • training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services, employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of such child.

For information about AT laws, visit

Assistive Technology and the IEP

AT Tutorials and Resources


Geoffrey Weber, M.Ed.,
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Office: 703-993-4496