What is Assistive Technology?
According to state and federal law, Assistive Technology 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 the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” The definition covers a broad range of devices, software, apps, and strategies that may be very simple or quite “high-tech”. AT may also take the form of services needed to support the team or the student in the process of AT selection, acquisition and use.
AT is functionality of a tool to - increase, maintain, or improve function of a task completed by a student. AT, when carefully selected and supported, assists students in doing the things they need to do – read, write, listen, see, communicate, and many other tasks that they might otherwise be unable to do or to do effectively. Technology - including everyday devices or instructional technology - becomes AT for a student when it makes doing these things possible.
The SETT Framework, developed by Joy Zabala, utilizes a systematic process to determine the appropriate technologies and tools for an individual with a disability. SETT is an acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks and Tools.