Assistive Technology Overview

  • Assistive Technology Services provide educationally relevant technologies to support a free and appropriate education. Assistive Technology provides students with disabilities access to the curriculum.  Assistive technology is defined as “any items, 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 children with disabilities.”(IDEA, 2004, Section 602) 

    IEP teams consider the need for Assistive Technology during the IEP process. Once the IEP team reviews the need for AT, the Assistive Technology Specialist provides training, follow up, repair, and coordination, of services to help the student in the classroom and in conjunction with other related services outside the classroom.  Assistive technology can and may include electronic speaking devices or software to assist students with communication and academics.

Occupational and Physical Therapy Overview

  • There are often questions regarding what school-based therapy includes.  As members of the educational team, Occupational and Physical therapists assist in the development of delayed skills with the intent of strengthening the child's ability to function independently and meet his/her educational goals within the school setting.
    School-based therapists provide educationally relevant services in school settings.  Therapists are trained to provide many types of developmental and rehabilitative services.  The federal guidelines require the school-based therapist to provide only those services that are necessary to enable students to benefit from their special education programs.  This is the primary difference between school-based therapies and those that are provided in medical, rehab or private settings (e.g. outpatient clinics and home health agencies).  In the school setting, the therapist must assure that services directly support the goals agreed upon by the educational team. 
    Federal and state guidelines mandate that the appropriateness and extent of therapy services must be related to the educational needs, rather than the medical needs of the student with a disability.  If a student has an identifiable therapy need that does not affect the student's ability to learn and benefit from the educational experience, then that need should be addressed outside the public school setting.
    The Role of Physical & Occupational Therapists in the School
    • Plan treatment programs for students who qualify for services
    • Make recommendations for elimination or modifications of architectural barriers or accommodations
    • Coordinate integrated therapy with the classroom teacher, to be incorporated into the educational program
    • Monitor and maintain therapy equipment and recommend purchase of necessary therapy equipment or assistive devices
    • Complete necessary reports and paperwork pertaining to therapy services