What is Assistive Technology?
“Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help to overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance their quality of life and lead more independent lives.
Assistive technology can be anything from a simple (low-tech) device such as a magnifying glass, to a complex (high-tech) device, such as a computerized communication system. It can be big — an automated van lift for a wheelchair — or small — a grip attached to a pen or fork by Velcro. Assistive technology can also be a substitute — such as an augmentative communication device that provides vocal output for a child who cannot communicate with her voice.”
“Accessible instructional materials, or AIM, are materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphic, audio, video). IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) specifically focuses on accessible formats of print instructional materials. In relation to IDEA the term AIM refers to print instructional materials that have been transformed into the specialized formats of braille, large print, audio, or digital text.”
Assistive Technology Resources
- The Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
- FCTD Guides to Assistive Technology and Transition Planning
- FCTD Fact Sheets – Information about AT and the law, AT and IEP’s and more.
- FCTD Resources – A catalog of over 1200 resources on the FCTD website. Be sure to use the Search Tools on the right-hand side of this page to find exactly what you are looking for.
What Does the Law Say About AIMs
National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)
Accessible Instructional Materials Resources
National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)
National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)
Assistive Technology Resources in Spanish
From the Center on Technology and Disability
Introducción a la Tecnología de Asistencia Infórmese sobre la tecnología de asistencia y cómo puede ayudar a superar los desafíos y permitir que las personas con discapacidades mejoren su calidad de vida y lleven una vida más independiente.
Glosario de Tecnología de Asistencia Aprende sobre los tipos de tecnologías de asistencia que están disponibles y cómo se pueden usar.
Tecnologia de Asistencia y el IEP Los padres son los abogados más eficaces de los niños. Es crucial que estén preparados e informados cuando reuniéndose con al equipo de IEP. Aprenda sobre las opciones.
Tecnologia de asistencia: Vista de un professor
En este video de 15 minutos, que se puede ver en segmentos, los maestros de estudiantes con una variedad de necesidades de aprendizaje discuten las formas en que la tecnología de asistencia puede ayudar. Los maestros brindan ejemplos de herramientas de baja a alta tecnología que se integran fácilmente en un entorno de clase.
This publication is designed to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with the information needed to identify students who are eligible for Psychological Counseling as a Related Service, to implement these services, and to monitor students’ progress as they receive the services. This guide includes:
- Promotion of Mental Wellness for all Students
- — Academic Support
- — Behavioral Support
- — Data-based Decision-Making and Accountability
- — Family-School Collaboration
- — Culturally Responsive Practices
- Legal Basis
- — Counseling Services are defined in IDEA as: Counseling services means services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.
- Assessment Process
- — Guidance for IEP Teams
- — Implementation in Schools
- — Determining Counseling Effectiveness and Continuing Need for Services
- — Fidelity of Service Delivery
- — Monitoring Continued Need for Services
- — Partnering with Community Providers
In Pennsylvania, individuals with disabilities have access to a wide range of alternative transportation options, including shared-ride services, paratransit and discount programs.
- — Senior Free Transit
- — ADA Complementary Paratransit Service: Paratransit or other special service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a complement to fixed route service that is comparable to the level of fixed route service provided to individuals with disabilities. Eligible individuals are functionally unable to use fixed route transportation because of their disability.
- — Persons with Disabilities Half-Fare Program: Individuals with disabilities, presenting a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Reduced Transit Fare Identification Card or a Medicare Card at the time of fare payment, ride for half-fare on fixed route transit services during non-peak periods.
- — Persons with Disabilities Discount Program: Persons with disabilities pay a portion (approx. 15%) of the general public fare for advance reservation, shared-ride transportation services.
- — Senior Discount Program
- — Welfare to Work Program: The Welfare to Work Program funds transportation to work and to child care for members of families whose incomes are lower than the 235th percentile of the Federal Family Poverty Income Guidelines and who are therefore eligible for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
- — Public Transportation for Persons with Disabilities, PennDot
- — Rural Transportation Program
- — Welfare to Work Program
- — Accessibility and Public Transportation
- — Person with Disabilities Parking Place cards and Registration Plate, PennDot
- — FACT SHEET: Person with Disability/Severely Disabled Veteran Parking Placecard, PennDot
- — Coordination and Integration of Rural Public Transportation Services in PA, The Center for Rural Pennsylvania
Access to General Curriculum
Families to the MAX: Presuming Competence and Raising Expectations
Equal opportunity means maximizing high expectations, academic access, and learning for all students. Presuming competence means that all children have the ability and right to learn grade level, general education curriculum in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
Pennsylvania Statewide Assessment (PASA)
The PASA is an alternate statewide assessment designed for students described as having the “most significant cognitive disabilities.” Students who take the PASA should be those who are unable to participate meaningfully in the PSSA or Keystone Exams, even with accommodations.
Pennsylvania Alternative System of Assessment (PASA), Department of Education
PEAL Newsletter article that highlights the most important information for families regarding the PASA.
The PASA Eligibility Criteria: Decision Making Companion Tool is a resource provided to individualized education program (IEP) teams in Pennsylvania to assist in determining eligibility for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).
A 2014 ELC Fact Sheet providing legal guidance and resource links for questions about opting out of PSSA and Keystone Exams.
International Dyslexia Association Definition: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Let’s Play: Building Language and Literacy into Every Day Toolkit
is a Language/Literacy Resource Guide that will help parents know what to look for so they can see the beginning stages of language and literacy development in their young children, both with or without disabilities. Parents will learn how to balance an interest in the young child’s speech with opportunities to develop, use and strengthen the other language systems to support the expansion of early speech efforts.
An overwhelming amount of research now demonstrates that all language systems develop together (“Concurrent Model of Language/Literacy Development”). We cannot separate the literacy community from the social community. This packet of information shows how language, symbols and thinking or cognition develop in interaction. We regret that hard copies of the packet are no longer available however, all of the resources, in Spanish and in English, can be downloaded for free, by clicking on the links provided.
If you are interested in a copy, email [email protected].
Meaningful Participation in Literacy Instruction Across the Curriculum: How to Make it Happen
All students can and do benefit from literacy instruction when the instruction is appropriate for their learning needs and when they are provided the supports they require to learn. Participants at this conference learned to differentiate the basic components of effective literacy instruction across the curriculum to meet the individual needs of students. Strategies for learners with the full range of disabilities, including those with extensive needs for support, were addressed through discussion, demonstration, and hands-on learning activities.
Handouts from the conference included:
DVDs of Tiny Fingers to Tiny Voices: Sign Language for Beginners
Building Blocks for Literacy and Language by Christopher Kliewer, Ph.D., University of Northern Iowa
Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology, Sections 1 & 2: Family Center on Technology and Disability
Family Information Guide to Assistive Technology (Spanish version)
Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL): Spanish Practice Guides
Samples of CELL Practice guides: