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Learning Disabilities

Assistive Technology

magnifierAssistive technology is any device that helps a person with a disability complete an everyday task. If you break your leg, a remote control for the TV can be assistive technology. If someone has poor eyesight, a pair of glasses or a magnifier is assistive technology.

Assistive technology includes many specialized devices as well, like typing telephones for people who are deaf and motorized wheelchairs for people who cannot walk. Assistive technology can be “low-tech” (something very simple and low-cost, like a pencil grip), or “high-tech” (something sophisticated, like a computer). Assistive technology can be critical for the person using it – if you wear glasses, think how hard it would be to get through the day without them!

The federal government recognized the importance of assistive technology for students when it revised the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1997 and again in 2004. IDEA states that school districts must consider assistive technology for any child in special education. That means that for any child receiving special education services, the educational team must ask if there is a device that will “increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities” of that child. If the answer is yes, the school district must provide certain services:

  • a qualified evaluator must complete an assistive technology evaluation;
  • if the evaluator recommends a device, it must be acquired;
  • and if you, your child or the staff in your child’s school need training to use the device, that training must be provided, too.
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    • Pingback: Hurdles 101: Special Education Funding in the 21st Century | Nona Barker's EDTECH Learning Log

    • Joan Brennan

      Dear PBS Parents & Associates,

      Great article here! Thank you for taking the time to write about both low-tech and high-tech AT solutions for children with learning differences and disabilities.

      Some of your good readers might also be interested in knowing about 2 more creative yet inexpensive tech solutions for the estimated 1 in 5 children challenged with dyslexia and the nearly 11% of school-age children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with some type of attention disorder.

      The physical, low-tech Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) are multi-sensory solutions that help promote more FOCUS and VISUAL COMFORT for challenged readers. For additional information about the low-tech Reading Focus Cards for physical books and documents, please visit

      Their companion tool, the Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs & Win PCs, is very helpful when reading digital media—whether online or offline.

      High-tech Reading Focus Card desktop app:
      1. Macs:
      2. PCs:

      For more information about this innovative desktop app, please visit the “Teachers With
      Apps” website:

      Both of these teacher-created and customizable tools are helpful for children, teens and adults, too, with a variety of reading challenges.

      Thanks again for the wonderful article here—AND for ALL you do daily to help teachers, parents and their families!

      Happy Reading!

      Joan M. Brennan
      Reading Specialist
      Brennan Innovators, LLC

    • Julei Hunter is the best choice for you. Here, you will get almost every topic of matter on assignment writing help.

    • Paul

      There is a good website for people with disabilities that converts voice to text:

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