According to the United States Assistive Technology Act of 1998, assistive technology refers to “any product, device, or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”
From an educational standpoint, Assistive Technology is any item, piece of equipment, software program, app, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability.
Assistive Technology (AT) can be low-tech or high-tech. In some instances, AT may be an item that other students use as well. However, this item becomes AT when it is necessary for a specific student to access the same environment or curriculum as their peers.
Assistive Technology is a powerful tool for students who struggle with reading in a traditional format. With the increasing popularity of audio books, alternate methods of reading are becoming more mainstream. Audio books, text-to-speech programs, highlighting, reading guides and more can help students with the physical act of reading as well as fluency and comprehension.
Assistive technology (AT) can help many students who struggle with a variety of writing challenges. Some AT tools help make the physical act of writing easier. AT can also help with grammar, spelling, and organizing thoughts.
Mobility and motor issues can decrease a student’s ability to access their educational environment and participate in social activities with peers. There are a wide variety of tools to help with access depending on students’ specific needs.