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Assistive Technology

Access + Communication = Successful Learning

What is assistive technology (AT)?

Assistive technology (AT) is defined by federal special education law as "any device or service that directly assists an individual who has a disability to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities in the classroom, home, and/or community."

picture supports for communication         Student with specialized pen and paper    Student with Braille writer    Middle School Student with communication device   Early Childhood Students with computers

  • Students with disabilities may require AT in order to access textbooks, art activities, writing requirements, or math assignments.
  • Students who struggle with speech may require AT as Augmentative Alternative Communication such as picture supports or voice output devices.
  • Tools can be low-tech, mid-tech, or high-tech. Generally, the simplest accommodations are the best and most effective!
  • AT is considered for all students with disabilities no matter how mild or severe the disability is.
  • The type of disability does not matter. Students with the following can all benefit from the consideration of assistive technology:
    • Learning disabilities
    • Cognitive delays
    • Problems with speech
    • Sensory impairments in vision or hearing
    • Movement difficulties
    • Behavioral concerns

What does this mean for my child?

If your child qualifies for special education services (has an IEP), then your child's team must consider tools (items, equipment, software, etc.) or services that may be required for the student to achieve the individualized goals that have been developed for the year.

If your child has a disability and qualifies for a 504 Plan, your child's team should consider any tools or services that will help the student access materials required for the general curriculum.

Are there any resources for use at home?

One tool that is available to all students in the district is Read & Write for Google Chrome.

  • Read & Write  helps students with reading, writing, math, and studying.
  • Read & Write  can be accessed on any device running the latest Chrome browser so that a student using it at school can also have access at home.
  • Any struggling learner, even those without identified disabilities, can benefit from a tool like Read & Write.

Students with disabilities who have difficulty reading textbooks and other materials may require accessible educational materials, or AEM.

  • AEM eligibility is determined by the IEP or 504 team for students with disabilities in grade 3 or higher.
  • Students who qualify for AEM can also have access to reading materials in an alternate format at home.

Assistive technology helps students compensate for impairments in order to engage more fully in learning experiences at school and at home. 

The MPS Assistive Technology team includes teachers, therapists, and specialists. Team members are available to assist schools, students, and families to determine the appropriate tools to use. This is often done through onsite school visits with the student’s team – parents are always welcome!

If you are interested in learning more about assistive technology solutions for your child, please contact your child’s special education teacher.

AT Quick Facts

  • Considered for all students with IEPs or 504 Plans
  • Provided in any area of disability
  • Range of interventions (low-tech to high-tech)
  • Can also benefit students without disabilities

Contacts

Supervisor 

Lisa Barczyk, PT
Email: atteam@milwaukee.k12.wi.us
Phone: 414-438-3415
Fax: 414-438-3432

Manager of Psychological and Allied Health Services

Jeffrey Molter, Ph.D.
Email: molterjw@milwaukee.k12.wi.us
Phone: 414-438-3677

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2017
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