5 IEP CURRICULUMS - #4-Assistive Technology


Today we are focusing on assistive technology and its importance in assisting the student in accessing their education. While everyone considers things like reading and math and the programs that support the struggling learner, we frequently do not consider the many accommodations and modifications which can have a profound effect on the ease of access that they provide to the student. Whether high tech or low tech assistive technology deserves consideration with those students who can benefit from its implementation.

4) Assistive technology devices/ services and curriculum

5) Behavioral curriculum

1) Core curriculum

2) Extracurricular and non-academic activity skills as well as recreation and leisure skills

3) Expanded curriculum / Disability specific curriculums /and independent functional skills across environments



The IEP must, as appropriate, include ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY. This includes:

  • DEVICES and

AT Devices

Assistive technology means 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.

  • It includes high and low tech assistive and adaptive tools including hardware and software
  • instructional services that can enhance communication, mobility, access, and learning
  • It includes the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings as required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive a Free and Appropriate Education - FAPE.
  • It includes Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for designing a curriculum that provides everyone with equal opportunities to learn. This includes:
    • Presentation of information, concepts, and ideas being learned
    • Accessibility to information, concepts, and ideas
    • Planned and applied to learn tasks
    • Engagement and sustained attention to learning tasks
    • Promotion of inclusion
    • Reducing barriers to curriculum
    • Offering personalized options and choices, as well as 
    • Access to required technology in an equally effective way


AT Categories

Assistive technology can include computer software and hardware, environmental modifications, or assistive devices to facilitate tasks related to:

Mobility - wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, orthotic devices

Cognitive - computer or assistive devices for memory, attention, language or organization,

Speechspeech generating devices

Writing - voice recognition, grips, adaptive paper, braille, keyboards, note-takers, word processor, word predictor, spell or grammar checker

Reading - screen readers, screen enlargement applications, magnifiers, book readers

Visionenlargement or magnifiers of all kinds, books on tape, brailler

Fine motor- page-turners, book holders, pencil grips, switches, utensils /handles, eating assistance

Sensory Efficiency  - environmental changes

Hearing - FM systems, closed captioning, narrated videos

Gross Motor - ramps, grab bars, widened doorways, reach extenders, mobility, cooking, dressing, and grooming, playing games

Device modification- phones, lights, computers, desks, chairs

Environmental modification - taping of environmental borders, adapting sound or lights


AT Services

IEP must include ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, as appropriate

Assistive technology service includes any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device. Such as:

  • Assistive technology specialist to do a functional evaluation at home, school and community environments
    • IEP must note the start and finish dates of eval
  • IEP must note the start of services and qualifications related to supports
  • Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices
  • 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 the child, instructor, aide, the family/caregiver, and school professionals on the appropriate curriculum that leads to functional use and outcomes.


Equal Opportunities are provided With Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Services Assure That:

  • Individuals with disabilities receive an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from goods and services because:
    • Individuals with disabilities may not be excluded from participation in nor denied the benefits of the goods, aids, services, programs, or activities of public schools,
    • Individuals with disabilities must have an equal opportunity to achieve the same result or the same level of achievement as others.
  • Separate or different aids, goods, benefits, or services given to peers may occur only if doing so is necessary to ensure that access is as effective as that provided to others.

This is the third of 4 blogs addressing the 5 curriculums within the IEP.  Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to the blog so you do not miss any of them.

Next on the Agenda

#5 Behavior Curriculum

 #1 Core and  #2 Extracurricular

#3 Expanded Curriculum

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Marie Lewis is an author, consultant, and national speaker on best practices in education advocacy. She is a parent of 3 children and a Disability Case Manager, Board Certified Education Advocate, and Behavior Specialist Consultant. She has assisted in the development of thousands of IEPs nationally and consults on developing appropriately individualized IEPs that are outcome based vs legally sufficient. She brings a great depth of expertise, practical experience, and compassion to her work as well as expert insight, vision, and systemic thinking. She is passionate and funny and she always inspires and informs.


MJ Gore has an MEd in counseling and a degree in elementary education and natural sciences. She worked as a life-skills and learning support teacher She has been honored with the receipt of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the Director and on the faculty at the National Special Education Advocacy Institute. Her passion is social justice, especially in the area of education. She is a Board Certified Education Advocate who teaches professional advocates, educators, and clinicians the best practices in education advocacy.

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