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USING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE LITERACY SKILLS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

RESPONSIBILITIES OF EDUCATORS

Education teams must consider the need for assistive technology in the development of every student’s IEP. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 stated that assistive technology should be considered; the IDEA Amendments (IDEA, 1997) state that assistive technology must be considered. Today, all students requiring special education services must be considered for assistive technology; there are no exceptions or prerequisites, and the determination must be made on an individual basis (Chambers, 1997).

Golden (1999) projected that assistive technology could be used with up to 35 percent of students with a health impairment or a learning or cognitive disability; up to 75 percent of students with autism or traumatic brain injury; and up to 100 percent of students with physical or multiple disabilities, students who are deaf or hearing impaired, and students who are blind or visually impaired. 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 functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (IDEA, 1997). An assistive-technology service is “any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive-technology device” (IDEA, 1997). This includes but is not limited to evaluation, training, technical assistance, maintenance, or repair. In addition to the consideration requirement for assistive technologies, the IDEA Amendments of 1997 require that any instruction, adaptation, accommodation, or related serviceincluding assistive-technology devices and servicesmust be provided at no cost to the student or family if such devices or services are needed to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

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Learning Point Associates

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