Assistive Technology 101

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology (AT) services are any service that directly assists with the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device (Cook & Hussey, 2002). This law includes several specific examples including:

  • Evaluating needs and skills for AT
  • Acquiring AT
  • Selecting, designing, and repairing
  • Coordinating services with other therapies
  • Training for individual and support staff

Assistive Technology Practitioners

It is imperative to ensure that the assistive technology practitioner (ATP) has experience in the type of supports necessary. Assistive technology practitioners often have a professional background in one of several areas:

  • Engineering
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Special Education
  • Speech Pathology
  • Vocational Rehabilitation

Based on the needs of the patient, the chosen ATP may vary. It is important to remember that every ATP must be able and willing to work collaboratively. A transdisciplinary approach is best when implementing technology. The more information that can be shared among the team, the better supports the individual will receive. Thus, lower the likelihood of technology abandonment and increasing independence and success.


Assistive Technology in Schools

The goals of assistive technology in many schools are often access to grade-level curriculum, communication, mobility, mental health, and more. Tools that are recommended may require individual and staff training, along with home support for maximum impact. Assistive technology practitioners that are willing to train the student and staff, rather than to only provide an evaluation, may be beneficial for a district with little technology experience or limited child study team staff. School districts may also discover that the technology recommended for one student can benefit others with minimal modifications.

Next Steps

Providing assistive technology for learners can be the tool that truly ensures a life of independence and success. Feel free to contact Learning for Tomorrow NJ for evaluation and training opportunities.
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