Big Ideas - How is AT Provided?

If a student's IEP team determines that assistive technology is needed, it is the school's responsibility to provide that technology.  Schools have options when looking for funding.

  • Non-profit disability associations, such as the National Easter Seal Society, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way, and United Cerebral Palsy Association
  • Service organizations within the state and community such as the Lions Club, Masons, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Club, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and Knights of Columbus
  • Governmental programs (e.g., instructional materials centers or federal quota funds)
  • Family insurance policies can also be used to pay for AT.

Understanding the Rules Surrounding Assistive Technology When the School Provides it.

  • AT that is purchased by a school is owned by the school. 
  • School-owned AT can and should be used in home settings if it is determined by the IEP team that it is required for the student to receive a FAPE.
  • Should the AT become damaged and, thus, unusable, it is the responsibility of the school system to make arrangements to repair the AT, as the school system has the burden of providing the AT (that has been identified by the IEP team as necessary for the student) for the student to receive a FAPE (34 CFR § 300.6(e)(f)).
  • Schools are not required to insure AT.

Understanding the Rules Surrounding Assistive Technology When the Family Provides it.

  • AT that is purchased by a family's private insurance policy is owned by the family.
  • When this AT has been identified as necessary for the student, arrangements need to be made to ensure that it is available for use by the student during the school day.
  • Should the AT become damaged and, thus, unusable, it is the responsibility of the school system to make arrangements to repair the AT, as the school system has the burden of providing the AT (that has been identified by the IEP team as necessary for the student) for the student to receive a FAPE (34 CFR § 300.6(e)(f)).
  • If the family chooses to purchase technology that has not resulted from an AT consideration process, IEP teams may consider the technology to determine whether or not the technology would qualify as AT for the student but are under no obligation to accept or implement the technology.

Can a student use AT that the school already owns?

If a classroom contains a technology tool that has been identified for a particular student as AT by the student's IEP team, the classroom technology tool may be used by the student as AT. However, the tool must be accessible to the student so that it can be used by the student as AT in accordance with the student's IEP in order to receive a FAPE.
 

Key Concepts for the Provision of Assistive Technology:

AT must be provided at no cost to a student or their family; however, schools have flexibility on how to meet this financial responsibility.

AT is owned by the school but can be used at home by the student if the IEP team determines it is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE).

AT can be paid for by a student's private insurance or other third party funder, however, that cannot be required by the school in order for the student to receive Assistive Technology.