Assistive Technology Resource (ATR) provides consultation to assist the student's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP) team or 504 team in the area of assistive technology.
ATR provides the following services:
- assists with the assistive technology evaluation as recommended through IFSP/IEP/504 process
- assists with the selection of assistive technology equipment
- assists with the acquisition of appropriate assistive technology
- provides training in the use of assistive technology to professionals, students and families
- assists in obtaining repairs/updates for CCPS assistive technology equipment, as needed
- assists with assistive technology equipment management during transitions
Physical Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional
F.B. Gwynn Educational Center
5998 Radio Station Road
La Plata, Maryland 20646
301-934-3884 / 301-753-1745
- Examples of Assistive Technology
- Assistive Technology Definitions
- Consideration, Trials, Support and Training
- Communication Tools
- Fine Motor – Dexterity Tools
- Gross Motor – Mobility – Seating & Positioning Tools
- Hearing Tools
- Math Learning Tools
- News & Publications
- Organizations for Information, Training and Discount Pricing
- Organization Tools
- Reading Tools
- Vision Tools
- Writing Tools
What is an assistive technology device?
An assistive technology device is "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability."
EXCEPTION: The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
(Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, PL 108-446, Section 602, 1)
What is an assistive technology service?
Assistive technology service means "any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device."
Considering: The IEP team must consider the need for Assistive Technology device(s) and service(s) that are needed to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of a student with a disability. Maryland Online IEP page
Requires AT Device(s)
Requires AT Service(s)
The Student does not require AT device(s) or AT service(s)
The Student does not require AT device(s) but does require AT service(s)
The Student does require AT device(s) and requires AT service(s)
The Student does require AT device(s) but does not require AT service(s)
Document basis for decision(s) on AT device(s) including description of device(s):
Enter your response...
Document basis for decision(s) on AT service(s) including implementation of trials:
Enter your response...
Use of the Student, Environments, Tasks and Tools (SETT) Framework, created by Joy Zabala, is recommended. The student, environments, and tasks should be fully explored before tools are considered or selected.
The graphic posted below provides visual explanations regarding the SETT Framework. Click to view.
Prior to making a decision about the device(s)/tool(s) needed, the chosen device(s)/tool(s) will be used in the student's natural environment for a trial period. The IEP Team will determine the duration of the trial period, instructional activities for using the device(s)/tool(s), responsible personnel who will implement use of the device(s)/tool(s) & criteria for evaluating effectiveness of the device(s)/tool(s) based on the student's IEP goals. Support from the Assistive Technology Professional is available upon request.
The IEP Team will identify needed device(s)/tool(s) with support by the Assistive Technology Professional, as needed. If the device(s)/tool(s) are not currently available at the student's school, the Assistive Technology Professional will request needed device(s)/tool(s) through Special Education.
The IEP Team will identify needed training. The Assistive Technology Professional will identify resources for obtaining needed training.
Augmentative and alternative communication is a term used to describe items that are used to help a person communicate when their spoken communication is not effective. There are many items and devices that can be used to help increase or "augment" a person's ability to communicate. These include pictures, symbols, and printed words. They may simply be printed on pieces of paper or cardboard or used on a computer or special dedicated device.
The Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) is typically the most knowledgeable service provider in the area of Augmentative/Alternative Communication.
Assistive technology devices that may help a student with communication
Core Communication Boards
Picture Communication Symbol
Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)
- BIGmack and BIG Step-by-Step communicators, LITTLEmack and LITTLE Step-by-Step communicators, etc.
- Dynamic Display Augmentative Communication Devices and Software
- TobiiDynovox products
- Attainment products
- Prentke Romich products
- Saltillo products
- Tablet/iPad/iPod touch with communication app
The Occupational Therapist is the most knowledgeable person in the areas of fine motor and dexterity.
Assistive technology devices that may help student with fine motor and dexterity:
Activities of Daily Living
The many devices that help us with routine daily activities such as eating, cooking, and dressing
- Adaptive eating utensils
- Adaptive drinking devices – cut out cup, weighted cup, cup with handles, lid, straw/spout
- Switch access for appliances using the PowerLink Control Unit
Alternative Computer Keyboard
- Onscreen keyboard
Alternative Computer Mouse
- Monitor with built in touch screen
- SAM trackball
- Track pad
Devices that allow an individual to operate a computer who cannot use a standard keyboard or mouse
- Microsoft Windows Accessibility Features – (StickyKeys, FilterKeys, MouseKeys, ToggleKeys, Scalable User Interface Elements, Pointer Schemes, Pointer Speed & Acceleration, Pointer Visibility, SnapTo, Configure mouse for right- or left-handed use, Click speed, Click Lock, On-Screen Keyboard, Windows Hello, Cursor Width Control)
Tools that allow a person to turn on/off electronic devices in their environment
- Light switch extension
- Switch Adapted Fan
- Use of interface and switch to turn on electrical appliances (radio, blender, fan, etc.)
- Universal Cuff holder – holds eating utensil, marker, crayon, etc.
- Arm supports
Recreation and Leisure
- Accessible Game Software
- Adaptive sporting equipment (lighted/beeping ball, bowling ramp, etc.)
- Switch Adapted Bubble Blower
- Switch Activated CD Player
- Switch Adapted Toys
- Switch Adapted Vibrator
- TV remote – large buttons or voice activated
- Toys adapted with Velcro/magnets/handle
- Dycem or anti-slip carpet padding
- Letter/Number stamps
- Name stamps
Switches and Mounts
Assistive technology for seating and positioning can be as simple as having the correct size chair and correct height table. It can also be more complex, custom made items that address a student’s very unique needs. The most important thing to remember is that no one can use their arms and hands effectively if they are not well positioned. Proper positioning minimizes the effect of abnormal muscle tone, accommodates for deformities, and provides sufficient postural support to allow the student to use his or her arms and hands. So seating and positioning are very important. Mobility relates to tools that can help a student to move within the school environment.
Concerns about mobility, seating, and positioning should be addressed with the student’s Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist.
Assistive technology devices that may help student with gross motor activities, mobility, seating and positioning:
- Forearm crutches
Emergency Evacuation Down Stairs
Mobility Standers & Gait Trainers
- Power wheelchair
Seating and Positioning
- Block for feet
- Kaye Products adapted chair
- Non-slip surface on chair to prevents slipping (Dycem)
- Rifton activity chair
- Prone/Upright/Supine stander
- Rifton Mobile Standers
- Audio graphing calculator
- Big Display Calculator
- Calculator with print out
- Calculator with special features (e.g. fraction translation)
- Talking calculator
- Talking calculator with oversize LCD display
- Talking Scientific calculator
- Office 365 Math Assistant in One Note
- On-screen/scanning calculator
- Software with cuing for math computation (may use adapted input methods)
- Software for manipulation of objects
- Abacus/ Math Line
- Low tech alternatives for answering
- Math “Smart Chart”
- Tactile/voice output measuring devices
- Talking watches/clocks
Closing the Gap
A paid subscription print/digital newspaper or paid subscription digital newspaper reporting assistive technology resources for children and adults with special needs published six times a year.
National Center for Technology Innovation
Free digital articles featuring assistive technology information and resources.
Center on Technology and Disability
A free assistive technology digital library.
Center on Technology and Disability (CTD) – a resource for Assistive and Instructional Technology Supporting Learners with Disabilities. CTD offers a range of information and personal and professional development on the subject of assistive and instructional technologies.
Maryland Assistive Technology Network (MATN) – provides assistive technology specialists information on the most up-to-date AT policies, practices, and devices. The Center for Technology in Education (CTE) offers professional development opportunities to MATN members through its semi-annual institutes with nationally acclaimed leaders in assistive technology, regional meetings, and the MATN Online website. MATN membership is free and open to all Maryland educators, including: special educators, general educators, speech language pathologists, assistive technology specialists, occupational therapists, vision specialists, state administrators, district administrators, physical therapists, and hearing specialists.
Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MD TAP) – provides information on available products, devices, services and other resources to assist individuals with disabilities and senior citizens.
Mid-Atlantic ADA Center – provides training, information, and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to businesses, consumers, schools, and government agencies within the Mid-Atlantic Region (PA, DE, MD, VA, WV, and DC).
AT Discount Sales & Services – offers discounts on assistive technology products and training opportunities to Maryland schools and families.
National Association for the Deaf – works to promote, protect, and preserve the rights and quality of life of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
National Federation of the Blind – a national membership organization of blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the United States for the blind led by the blind.
Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) – a group of individuals who provide input into the ongoing process of identifying, disseminating, and implementing a set of widely-applicable Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services in school settings.
Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children (TAM) – a national membership organization working to promote the availability and effective use of technology and media for children, birth to 21, with disabilities and/or who are gifted.
V-LINC Providing Independence Through Technology – V-LINC creates technological solutions to improve the independence and quality of life for individuals of all ages with disabilities in Maryland. We do this through a mix of off-the-shelf computer software and equipment, and one-of-a-kind, customized assistive technology.
Auditory Reminders – for assignments, steps of task, etc.
Digital Supportive Text – searchable text with embedded word identification, definitions, summaries, explanations with visual & auditory supports
- Microsoft OneDrive – free file and photo storage in the cloud. Ability to access files and photos from any device with internet access. Files can be organized into folders.
Highlighted Text – markers, highlight tape, ruler, etc.
Low Tech Aids – index tabs, color coded folders
Mobile Computing Devices
Print or Picture Schedule
Software for Organization of Ideas and Studying
- Inspiration (Inspiration Software, Inc.) - skills for grades 6-12
- Kidspiration skills for grades K-5
- Making a graphic organizer in Microsoft Word
- Making a graphic organizer in Microsoft PowerPoint
Visual Reminders – for rules, assignments, steps of task, etc.
Digital Supportive Text
Searchable with embedded word identification, definitions, summaries, explanations with visual & auditory supports.
Digital Text Readers for Computers
Digital text readers for computers include software that can be used with a scanner to scan, read & highlight text. Also provides digital dictionary and synonym support.
- Using Bookshare with Student with Print Disability
- Quick Guide
- Parent Letter
- Don Johnston Start-to-Finish electronic books
- CCPS Elementary Electronic Library
- Internet Archive
- Living books
- Project Gutenberg – free electronic books
- CCPS Middle & High School Electronic Library
Page turning adaptations
- Page fluffers
- 3 ring binder
Physical presentation adaptations
- Changes in text size, spacing, color, background color
Pictures with text
Portable Scanner with Audible Text Reader
Screen Reader Software – converts text to speech
- Aaron – a 13 year old boy with multiple disabilities uses a power wheelchair, an alternative keyboard with keyguard, computer software with large text and speech capabilities and large print materials.
- Angie – a 5 year old with mild cerebral palsy uses a voice output communication aid.
- Sean – a junior in high school who has lost his sight uses text to speech software, Braille printed materials, and a Braille scientific calculator.
- Stacey – a 6th grader with significant hearing loss sues an FM amplification system and a portable word-processing device.
A student with visual impairment may need large print or magnification or contrast between background and text. A student who is blind and cannot use print materials may need auditory or Braille translations of printed materials.
The Vision Specialist is very knowledgeable about assistive technology in this area.
Assistive technology devices that may help a student with visual impairment:
Adapted or Alternative Computer Keyboards
- Enlarged labels for keyboard
- Braille/tactile labels for keyboard
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
- Microsoft Windows accessibility features – color filters, Tell Me, Soundscape, screen readers, display & vision settings, Narrator, Accessibility Checker, Magnifier, shortcuts, curser & pointer adjustments, high contrast themes, Artificial Intelligence AI narration, Windows Hello
Digital Text Readers for Computers
- Kurzweil 1000 – software that can be used with a scanner to scan & read for people who are blind or severely visually impaired.
- Kurzweil 3000 – software that can be used with a scanner to scan & read for struggling readers or people with less severe visual impairment.
- textHELP Read & Write Gold
- Adobe Acrobat accessibility to online texts
- Learning Ally (Previously Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) – audio books
Screen Magnification for Computers
Screen Readers for Computers
Writing involves the physical ability to produce written language (mechanics) and the cognitive ability to put words together to create written expression (composing).
The Occupational Therapist is often the most knowledgeable service provider for the mechanics of writing. The Special Education Teacher and Speech/Language Pathologist may be the most helpful in the area of composition.
- AutoText – create reusable text snippets
- Raised line paper
- Highlighted line paper
- Microsoft Windows accessibility features – cursor & pointer adjustments, Dictate, text suggestions, Editor, on-screen keyboard, Researcher, shortcuts, speech recognition
Electronic (talking) dictionary/thesaurus/spell checker
- iPad with onscreen keyboard with built in word prediction Quick Guide
- Microsoft Windows On-Screen Keyboard
Organization and Planning
- Inspiration (Inspiration Software, Inc.) – for 6th-12th grade skills
- Kidspiration – for K-5th grade skills
- Making a graphic organizer in Microsoft Word
- Making a graphic organizer in Microsoft PowerPoint
Text-to-Speech (Read aloud auditory feedback)
Voice Recognition (Speech-to-text)
- iPad with built in speech-to-text | Quick Guide
- Dictate in Microsoft Word (Office 365) | Quick Guide
- Voice Recognition (Speech-to-text) in Windows 10