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Office of ESE

Assistive Technology

student requesting a snack using a speech generating deviceWhat is Assistive Technology?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that all children identified as needing exceptional education services must be considered for assistive technology (AT). The same law defines assistive technology as:

"…any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially , modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (20 U.S.C., Chapter 33, Section 1401(25).

child walking using a walkerThis includes any device used by a child (or adult) with a disability that enhances learning, independence, communication, mobility, environmental control, choice, play/recreation, hearing/vision, seating/positioning, access to computers and more. It also refers to direct services that assist in selecting and using these devices.

What Does This Mean for a Prekindergarten SPED Student?

AT devices commonly used for young learners include, but are not limited to, the truck toy adapted with switchesfollowing:

star Adapted toys, books and educational materials
star Adapted tools for writing, eating, painting, etc.
star Adaptive positioning equipment
star Low to high tech augmentative communication including speech generating devices, picture communication systems, eye gaze boards

individual student schedule with objects and pictures


star Positive behavioral supports such as individual picture schedules, task cards, timers, seat cushions, individual work systems and specialized classroom strategies/instruction (Conscious Discipline, Social Skills)
star Switch access to toys, electronic devices and computers
star Adaptive positioning and mobility devices

For more information on assistive technology devices and strategies, be sure to visit The Adaptation Station.

a children's story book adapted with a cheap talk 8 speech generating device positive behavior support materials stored in a container

What Needs To Be Considered by the Child's Family and School Team?

The first and most important question to answer is "What do we want this student to be able to do that he/she is not currently able to do because of his/her disability?" Other things to consider include:

What has been tried to meet this need? Is it working? Why or why not?

What devices or strategies can be utilized to meet this need?

How can these devices/strategies be integrated into the classroom curriculum?

What training and/or follow up will be required?

The Assistive Technology Implementation Plan (A.T.I.P.) is the core document used in our program to choose, implement and document results of assistive technology for a student. Download the document and see examples in the side bar to the right.

teacher with a specially adapted cause and effect toy                                         Hi Diane!


The Pre-K Assistive Technology Team:

Deanna Decario, M.S. Ed., Assistive Technology Specialist, LATS*

Dearta Smith, CCC-SLP, Speech/ Language Pathologist, LATS*

Laura Seminario, M.S. Ed., Multiply-Impaired Specialist, LATS*

Kathy Velazquez, Autism Support Teacher

Claudia Monsalve, Autism Support Teacher

*LATS = State of Florida Local Assistive Technology Specialist

Services Include:

° support of the Assistive Technology Implementation Plan (ATIP) process
° classroom technical assistance
° AT screenings, assessments and follow up
° AT training

AT Resources

"What is Assistive Technology?" brochure for parents in English and Spanish pdf document

Pre-K Guide for Considering Assistive Technology pdf document

Procedures for Assistive Technology in Pre-K pdf document

Assistive Technology Resources - (Printable document that includes general information about the S.W.A.T. program as well as information about assistive technology devices, software and materials) pdf document

Pre-K Assistive Technology Implementation Plan (ATIP) word document
Sample #1 (communication, social interaction)
Sample #2 (communication, organization, attention, play skills)
Sample #3 (positive behavior support -> FAB/PBSP)
Sample #4 (physical access/ seating/mobility)
Sample #5 (positive behavior support -> FAB/PBSP)