Assistive Technology

Jennifer Veenendall, ATP, OTD, OTR/L
Assistive Technology Consultant
651-403-8516 |

Stacy Dreelan, SLP
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Specialist
651-403-8515 |


Assistive technology is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities when other modifications or accommodations do not sufficiently allow the student to perform to their true ability and/or equally access the curriculum.

The term Assistive Technology encompasses a large range of devices from low tech to high tech learning tools. AT ranges from simple adaptive tools (like highlighters and organizers) to high-tech tools (like text-to-speech software).

Assistive technology must be considered for every student receiving special education services. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), educators are required to consider assistive technology (§34 C.F.R300.346.2.(v)), and to provide assistive technology for students who require it for Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) (§34 C.F.R.300.6 (b))

Parents, and the student, if appropriate, should be invited to participate in all aspects of the process. They can provide valuable information regarding fitting, customizing, and adapting the technology to their child. Consideration discussions at IEP Meetings are guided by the SETT Process developed by Joy Zabala. 

SETT stands for:

Student: Student's strengths, weaknesses, interests
Environment: How the student functions in different environments at school
Task: What the student needs to be able to do
Tools: How best to meet the student's needs, considered in the Student, Environment and Task sections.

Consideration leads to one of the following outcomes:

  1. The student independently accomplishes tasks in instructional areas with standard classroom tools, accommodations or modifications. No assistive technology is required.
  2. The student accomplishes tasks in all instructional areas with currently available assistive technology. Assistive technology is required.
  3. The student does not accomplish tasks in the instructional areas. Required assistive technology is known and potential need was addressed in the last evaluation. Trials with potential devices or technology are written in the IEP.
  4. The student does not accomplish tasks in all instructional areas. Appropriate assistive technology solutions are not known to the IEP team and a more in-depth assessment is needed.

Assistive Technology Resources