The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 mandates that to ensure students receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams must consider the need for assistive technology when developing the IEP. Federal regulations for implementation of the provisions of IDEA 2004 state that schools must ensure assistive technology (AT) devices and/or services need to be made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's special education; related services; or supplementary aids and services. When considering the need for assistive technology, it is important to understand the following terms.
Assistive Technology Device is defined in IDEA 2004 as 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 cap- abilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
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.
The term includes:
- the evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
- purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of a device;
- selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing AT devices;
- coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with AT devices;
- training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child's family; and
- training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.
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