Considering Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology?

"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 functional capabilities of children with disabilities." (20 U.S.C. §1401(a)(25)).

Though federal laws are written to address the needs of students that may require the use of assistive technology, AT is not just for children. As we age, assistive technology makes everyday functioning a bit easier, as well as providing a degree of independence that might otherwise be hampered. Watch this video for a good overview of the role of assistive technology.

Assistive Technology for all learners

Student uses of computer assisted learning

How do you begin considering Assistive Technology?
All IEP teams must consider whether a student with a disability requires assistive technology devices and services (34 CFR§ 300.324(a)(2)(v) and Rule 6A 6.03028(3)(g)10., F.A.C.). Questions that will assist the IEP team in addressing the requirement of consideration for assistive technology include:
What is it we want the student to be able to do within the student’s education program (writing, reading, communicating, seeing, hearing) that the student is not able to do because of the disability?
Is the student currently able to complete tasks with special strategies or accommodations?
Is there assistive technology (e.g. Devices, tools, hardware or software) currently being used to address this task?
Would assistive technology help the student perform this skill more easily or efficiently, perform it in the least restrictive environment or perform it successfully with less personal assistance

SETT Framework
Developed by Dr. Joy Zabala
The SETT Framework is a tool used to assist school-based teams in the gathering and organization of information that can be used to guide collaborative decisions about services that foster the educational success of students with disabilities.

SETT Framework

SETT Scaffold Consideration worksheet

Assistive Tech with SETT consideration (ppt)

Start Low Tech
Here are a few low tech resource ideas to get you thinking about accommodations for your students. These items, and many more, could be found in various LoTTIE Kits, (referenced below this table).

Highlighters Tape

Reading Guides


Ergonomics -Twist & Write

Bright Lines Paper

to identify vocabulary words,
highlight directions, important
facts, math symbols, main idea


help the student track words and keep
their place while reading.


designed to facilitate the correct
positioning and holding of a writing tool.


ergonomically designed to assist
smaller hands or those whose
hands may fatigue while writing.


emphasized on the lower half of the
line with bright yellow or blue to
indicate where the lower case
letters should be placed.

Pencil Grips

Grip Graphite Pencil

Writing/Signature Guides

Kids Ruler

Math Chart

encourage proper hand-pencil
positioning during writing.


The patented Soft-GRIP zone
prevents fingers from slipping.


helps students to guide their writing on the
lines and produce legible writing.


colorful ruler that helps to
introduce students to measurement

an easy-to-understand grid system
which illustrates facts

A few examples of tool consideration related to purpose or area of need.

Reading Tools

Writing Tools

Math Tools

Organizational Tools

Color transparencies

Rubber stamps

Math grids


Highlighter tape

Homework Wiz

Number stamps

Voice recorder

Arrow tags

Various color pens

Finger pinch ruler

Post-it notes

Various color pens

Pencil grips

Talking calculator

Highlighter markers

Post-it notes

Gripper pens

Colored dots

Removable arrows

Reading guide

Raised line paper

Highlighter markers


Writing guide

Laminated times tables

Graphic organizers

Highlighter marker

Writing guides

Devices for AT Consideration by school teams

LoTTIE Kit Developed by Judith Sweeney (no longer available for purchase)
LoTTIE is an acronym for Low Tech Tools for Inclusive Education. The LoTTIE kit was "designed to help students in reading, writing, math, and organizational skills," and provides teachers with the means "to informally evaluate and try out simple devices before automatically requiring more sophisticated and expensive technologies." LoTTIE Kits are basically boxes full of low-tech assistive technology tools, with tools varying per kit. Having the various items available as a collection provided an easy resource to trial an item to determine, through the process of elimination, the need for more complex technology tools. Sometimes, the simplest tool provided the support a student needed to succeed!

Despite a number of kits still in use, the company has closed and their website is no longer accessible. The information is included here as a resource to those schools that continue to maintain LoTTIE Kits for resource trials.

Lottie Kit Instructional Powerpoint
An Assistive Technology Continuum

The Least Dangerous Assumption

Screen_shot_2011-11-18_at_10.22.32_AM.png The TECH Matrix is a tool to assist in considering assistive technology resources.

Log on to access an interactive matrix:

Assistive Technology Resource Guide
The Assistive Technology Resource Guide is provided to assist educational teams in considering assistive technology in the development, review, and/or revision of a student’s Individual Educational Plan. This document provides a framework for identifying relevant tasks within instructional areas as well as appropriate accommodations, modifications, and technology solutions.

Understanding Assistive Technology - Simply Said

Assistive Technology Loan Libraries

AT and UDL Loan Library - Florida's AT Loan Library
Assistive Technology & Universal Design for Learning Loan Library. Funding is provided by the Bureau of Exceptional Education & Student Services.

Using Assistive Technology in math and science.

AT through Co-Writer and the Smartpen

Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology
Free material funded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, this large pdf document is a resource to guide IEP teams in considering Assistive Technology that supports a free appropriate public education for all students. WATI

AbleData provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment.
AbleData does not sell products, but can help locate companies that do through both domestic and international sources. AbleData

The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

AbleNet (Assistive Technology Products)
AbleNet is an international company and industry leader in providing educational and technical solutions to help children and adults with disabilities lead productive and fulfilled lives.
Free webinars from AbleNet on a variety of topics related to AT

Karen's Resource Directory
A resource directory of Assistive Technology resources.

Learning Ally
A national non-profit dedicated to helping blind, visually impaired and dyslexic students succeed in education, offering the world’s largest collection of human-narrated audio textbooks and literature as well as solutions, support and community for parents, teachers and students.

Point2View by IPEVO
An inexpensive document camera to use as an AT device, as demonstrated by Sharon Bittle from FDLRS Action

The RTI Action Network
All about RTI implementation.

Assistive Technology Teaching Resources

Assisted Technology Blog (Virginia Department of Education's Training and Technical Assistance Center) AT Blog at VDoE
Assisted Technology on Livebinder AT on Livebinder
Assistive Tech:Physically Disabled Internet4classrooms
AT in ED/Physically Handicapped AT_Physically Handicapped
Natural Reader (free screen reading software)
Tux Paint
Vozme text to speech reader

eLearn site provided by the Local Assistive Technology Specialists (LATS) of the Pinellas County Schools.