How will I know what kind of assistive technology my child needs?

Parent Question
Sep. 15, 2022

The IEP team will request an AT assessment if it decides one is necessary. This can be conducted by the school, an independent agency, or an individual consultant. The evaluation will help figure out which type of technology is best for your child. Dr. Elizabeth Pearly recommends that families start by getting their child assessed for services such as OT, PT, and speech-language pathology to identify areas of need and then requesting an assistive technology assessment to help fill in the gaps.

You should:

  • Involve your child in the process and see if they can “test drive” the technology first. Dr. Pearly recommends taking advantage of “any opportunity to trial things. A lot of software companies will let you do a 30-day trial, which can be helpful in making sure it’s a right fit in everyday life.”
  • Do your own research. If you feel the school isn’t up to date on what’s available, share what you know. Open Access, an open-source project created by a California SELPA, offers a fantastic (and frequently updated) database of resources for teachers and is intended to help IEP teams provide the assistive tech supports that students need.
  • Ask:
    • Does this tool address my child’s specific needs and challenges?
    • Is my child able and willing to use it?
    • How easy is it to use? Is there a simpler option?
    • Does it play to my child’s strengths?
    • Is it reliable?

For more information, check out our article Assistive Technology (AT) 101.

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