Assistive Technology (AT) “is any device, piece of equipment or system that helps a person with a disability work around his challenges so he can learn, communicate or simply function better.” (Understood). AT does not have to be high tech to be effective. Using highlighters or colored paper or overlays would be considered low tech AT. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requires that the IEP team consider Assistive Technology needs in the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). (IDEA, Section 300.324 (a)(2)(v)) Assistive Technology should also be considered for students with a 504 Plan. The use of appropriate AT devices and services can allow students with disabilities to participate in, benefit from, and maximize accessibility to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities and receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). (IDEA, Section 1411 (e) (2) (C) (v))
The Utah Assistive Technology Team Project oversees 30 Utah Assistive Technology Teams (UATT) throughout the state. These teams support all the public schools in the state by providing high-quality assistive technology assessments for children 3-21, who have an IEP or 504 plan. Parents and teachers can request an Assistive Technology evaluation from UATT in each district. During an IEP or 504 meeting, the team should use the Assistive Technology Consideration Support Document created by the USBE. This form will help guide the UATT team in it’s AT evaluation. Contact information for each team leader is available by clicking on this link.
If an Assistive Technology evaluation is requested, a referral form is completed by the school staff or parent containing the following information:
1. Permission to evaluate for assistive technology, signed by the parent or guardian,
2. Complete UATT referral form
3. Current IEP/504 plan
4. Other information (medical information, etc)
The Utah Center for Assistive Technology (UCAT) will also assist parents and individuals find AT that will be appropriate and useful for them. UCAT will also loan devices for 30-day trials.
There are many different AT options for helping in each area of need, so it is important to choose what works best for the child. Remember, the greatest technology in the world is useless if your child/student doesn't like it and won’t use it. It is also important that parents and teachers become familiar with the AT their child/student is using. AT can be useful to children in elementary school and is not exclusive to secondary students. You can find many demonstrations of AT and apps on the internet, the developers websites, YouTube, etc so you can learn more about how they work.
While Assistive Technology is always changing, the following are some helpful resources.
General Assistive Technology Information
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Assistive Technology
Learning Ally, A national non-profit dedicated to helping students with print disabilities, including blindness, visual impairment and dyslexia. Requires a paid subscription. http://www.learningally.org/
Bookshare, Bookshare offers the world’s largest collection of accessible titles. As a result, people of all ages, as well as schools and many organizations around the globe can access the books they need for school, work, career advancement, skill development and the simple love of reading in formats that work for them. Free for qualified students. https://www.bookshare.org/cms/
Overdrive, Borrow ebooks and audiobooks from your public library. Requires library card. https://www.overdrive.com/
Audible, Audiobooks, require paid subscription https://www.audible.com/
The Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled provides special public library services for people who are blind, visually disabled, physically disabled, and reading disabled. We are part of the Library of Congress network, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which has 56 regional and 93 subregional libraries throughout the United States. https://blindlibrary.utah.gov
To learn about Features built into:
Voice dream reader: A widely acclaimed desktop class app that reads articles,
Documents, and books out loud. With advanced text to speech and a highly configurable visual layout, it can be tailored to suit every reading style.
SnapType: Helps students keep up with peers in class even when penmanship holds them back. Students can take a picture of their worksheet or import worksheets from their device. They can then use an iOS device keyboard to add text to these documents and print or email them to their parents and teachers
Prizmo Go: a universal photo-based scanner app that lets you scan and recognize text documents and images and then export them as a pdf or other file. Text to speech is available with this app. Language translation is also available in this app.
Claro ScanPen Reader: take a photo of your printed text document, letter, test paper and then select the text with your finger and hear it spoken straight back to you, instantly. No internet connection necessary.
Nessy: Uses strategies and games that were first proved to be highly effective in the classroom, especially for students who don’t seem to learn following conventional methods. It has been designed to be language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible.
Dyslexia Toolbox: For older kids with dyslexia. One feature is a type pad with word prediction software that can help kids create messages for text, email and social media. There’s also a digital document reader that takes photos of text and reads them aloud.
Speechify: Can turn any electronic text into an audiobook. Pause, skip, or change the speed anytime you want. Have full control over your readings. Listen with natural voices. Have anything on your computer or device read to you in a human voice. Just press play and listen.
iWordQ: In Writing mode, a simple text editor is used for writing with the support of word prediction, abbreviation-expansion and speech feedback features. Spell-check and dictionary access is included. You can also use speech recognition.
Ginger Page: Proofreading that automatically corrects grammar and spelling mistakes. Also, a computer program, Ginger
SOLO: is a literacy suite of the most popular assistive technology accommodations, including a text reader, graphic organizer, talking word processor, and word prediction.
Grammarly Keyboard: When you type on this keyboard, Grammarly will check your writing and spelling. There is also a Grammarly computer program.
Livescribe Smart Pen: Record everything you write, hear or say using the smart pen and special paper. You can transfer your notes and audio to your computer via USB cable and you can also share your notes.
Google Chrome Apps and Extensions.
Built in tools
Text to Speech
Voice Note II