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Assistive Technology: Legislation and Legal Issues

Assistive technology encompasses a wide range of services that are had a need to ensure students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate education whatsoever restrictive environment. Although assistive technology is mandated for legal reasons and requires school districts to provide appropriate services and devices to students with disabilities, teachers still face up to the challenges of providing effective assistive technology services. Unfortunately, these difficulties sometimes result in disputes between school employees and the parents of impaired students. Remaining unresolved, these disputes are settled in court. The goal of this paper is to identify assistive technology, point out the federal laws and regulations and litigation regarding assistive technology, and discuss the implications for institution districts.

Assistive Technology: Legislation and Legal Issues

Technology is becoming an essential factor in every facet of our day to day lives. Technology hasn't only impacted the lives of nondisabled individuals but also individuals coping with disabilities who are now able live more profitable lives through the use of technology. Students with disabilities are employing technology to aid them with being more successful in their regular classrooms options. Technology is assisting to reduce their isolation and offer a way for them to receive a free and appropriate education (Cavanaugh, ). The progress of technology provides a huge market of available technological resources making educators, specific with disabilities, and their own families more ready to consider the utilization of technology for increasing independence. However, the mass of available technology brings not only accessibility issues but also difficulty in deciding the right fit between the technical device and the person.

This problem persists even although 1997 reauthorization of the People with Disabilities Education Work (PL 105-17) acknowledges the importance of technology for students with disabilities, by needing the committees that develop the average person Education Programs (IEPs) to consider assistive technology as a way to provide appropriate education for those in need (Lahm & Sizemore, 2002). However, disputes between your public institution districts and students and their families occur of course, if unresolved, subsequently, may lead to litigation. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of assistive technology by discussing its benefits and costs. A review of the legislation, laws and regulations, and litigation pertaining to assistive technology and implications for institution districts will also be presented.

Defining Assistive Technology

Assistive technology generally known as AT, are tools and services used to aid individual students to increase, maintain or enhance their functional capacities. AT makes certain jobs easier for individuals with disabilities. AT tools range between low technology devices to high technology devices depending on student's impairment. Low technology devices include designed furniture, tools, or utensils, raised line, colored, or grid newspaper, highlighter tapes, pens, magnifiers or pencil grips. Most of the high technology devices are relatively expensive and could include talking calculators or term processors, specialized software applications, or other communication devices. AT is more broadly defined in the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Take action of 1988

Federal Legislation and Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Act of 1988

The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Action of 1988 also known as the Tech Function, was passed by Congress in 1988 as a 10-time program to permit states to generate systems for increasing usage of AT devices through open public awareness, public insurance plan initiatives, and training and specialized assistance. The Tech Act provided federal government funds to says and territories to develop training and delivery systems for assistive technology devices and services. It required claims and territories to build up statewide, consumer-responsive programs of technology-related services for individuals with disabilities of all ages. This action promoted the availableness and quality of AT devices and services to all or any individuals, including children.

The Tech Work also made a variation between assistive systems devices and assistive technology services (Edyburn, 2004). The Technical Act first described AT device & service. As the device, AT includes any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether received commercially off the shelf, improved, or customize, that can be used to increase, maintain, or improve practical capabilities of a child with a disability. AT service is defined as any service that straight assists a child with a impairment in the choice, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Assistive technology services also include the next:

The analysis of the needs of a kid with a impairment, including a functional evaluation of the kid in the child's customary environment.

Purchasing, leasing, or elsewhere providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities.

Selecting, designing, installing, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, mending, or replacing of assistive technology.

Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation strategies and programs.

Training or technical assistance for a child with a impairment or, if appropriate, that child's family; and

Training or technological assistance for specialists who provide services for, or are normally substantially mixed up in major life functions of children with disabilities (20 U. S. C. 1401(2)).

Assistive Technology Act of 1998

The Assistive Technology Take action of 1998, agreed upon into regulation by Chief executive Clinton, develops on its forerunner, the Tech Function, and reaffirms that technology is a valuable tool you can use to enhance the lives of People in the usa with disabilities. It also affirms the federal role of promoting access to assistive technology devices and services for folks with disabilities. The Tech Act lengthened the financing of the 50 areas and six territories to build up permanent, complete, statewide programs of technology-related assistance. The purposes of the Assistive Technology Act are the following:

Support claims in sustaining and building up their capacity to address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities.

Support the investment in technology across federal government agencies and departments which could benefit individuals with disabilities.

Support micro-loan programs to individuals wishing to purchase assistive technology devices or services.

Assistive Technology and IDEA

The Notion of 1990 first layed out the school district's responsibility to provide AT to students with disabilities. IDEA also included a specific statement about the institution district's role. The assertion keeps that "each general public firm shall ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services or both, as those terms are described in 300. 5 - 300. 6 are made available to a kid with a impairment if required within the child's

(a) Special education under 300. 17;

(b) Related services under 300. 16; or

(c) Supplementary assists and services under 300. 550(b)(2). "

The Notion of 2004 makes a legal interconnection between AT and open public schools since it mandates that students with an individualized education program (IEP) must be looked at for assistive technology devices or services.

Assistive Technology and the Individual Education Program

Each child acquiring special education services is required to own an IEP or a 504 plan. The IEP is a written plan for educating a kid with a impairment. The IEP describes the student's specific special education needs as well as any related services, including assistive technology. A multidisciplinary team including college staff, providers, and the students' parents develop the IEP. This collaborative process can be used to ensure students with disabilities have the services that they need to be successful in university. The students' parents should be encouraged to take part in the IEP process. Once students is deemed qualified to receive special education, he or she needs to be looked at for AT devices or devices in order to receive a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.

When considering students for AT, the multidisciplinary team needs to consider the student's needs, environment, and duties that the student needs to accomplish. The team must consider the tools/strategies that the college student currently uses to complete tasks and ideas for new or additional tools and strategies. The team can also determine that an analysis is required to determine what assistive technology is essential. Once assistive technology is available to be necessary for a student, the services are contained in the IEP and provided free to the parents.

Benefits and Costs of Assistive Technology


AT affords benefits to students with disabilities. When disabled students get AT services or devices their self-reliance and self-esteem increase. They can be finally able to perform difficult jobs in university that they were not able to complete before which also improves their sense of independence. AT permits students with disabilities to execute functions that can be attained by no other means. With At disabled students have the ability to take part in programs or activities which otherwise would be unavailable to them. When assistive technology is effectively integrated into the class curriculum, students become successful, impartial, and successful. AT isn't only good for students but also to educators. Educators can better instruct students with different learning styles through computer-based instructions, which gives immediate reviews and can increase inspiration.


AT costs differ with regards to the type of devices or services that the students might need. Low technology devices are less costly than the high technology devices.

Assistive Technology Litigation

When parents do not have the analysis, device, or service is satisfactory, they are entitled to pursue an impartial reading to appeal the school's decisions. If parents aren't content with the ruling(s) in the impartial ability to hear, they can follow the truth further in the courtroom system. Assistive technology litigation has included lots of issues including medical, flexibility, or health-related devices and assistive technology for instructional purposes. The next summation of assistive technology litigation includes three conditions that resulted in decisions that were and only the student and school region. The first of the three circumstances is the East Penn. Institution Area v. Scott B. (1999). The school district challenged the administrative panel's decision that the IEP that the Plaintiff possessed developed violated the expectations established under the theory. The Plaintiff was a nearly 21 year old learner residing at the East Penn. University District. He previously multiple disabilities including mental retardation and other physical disabilities.

The dispute centered on whether the transition and AT sections of the IEP were appropriate. In regard to AT, the court decided with the Appeals Panel's examination that the change plan was insufficient because it did not meet Scott's specific needs. The Appeals Panel further looked after that the AT part was unacceptable and wouldn't normally confer an important educational gain to Scott. The Panel discovered that the AT was inappropriate because: (1) it was made to permeate Scott's complete university day; (2) the keyboarding training that Scott received was inadequately modified to his physical needs; (3) the district postponed obtaining and establishing the assistive device; and (4) the school district failed to offer an educational justification for the utilization of the Telepathic program.

The parent's expert witness testimony regarding the educational benefits of the Co-Writer which is a word prediction program was very persuasive. The expert testified that Scott needed to use the laptop computer and expression prediction program in an operating manner as a tool for language. Alternatively, the district's case for the Telepathic program didn't present any facts exhibiting the Telepathic program would confer a similar educational benefit to Scott. The courtroom affirmed the administrative panel's decision positioning that the IEP was insufficient as stipulated in the theory. The Panel honored 675 time of compensatory education based on the dedication IEPs from three past school years. However, the court reduced the amount of compensatory education honored to reflect a reasonable timeframe for the plaintiff to reformulate its IEP.

The second case is Barber v. Bogalusa City University Plank (2001). Ericka Barber was a special education student at the Bogalusa City SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. However is not completely blind, Ericka has serious diminished eyesight. Ericka's parents challenged whether an IEP was moderately calculated to allow her to receive educational profit. The Plaintiff received an AT device, a reading machine, and occupational and physical remedy. Also, she received numerous changes in the regular education classroom such as a tape recorder, auditory helps, and large print/Braille. Although Ericka's mom signed and approved the IEP, she later via an attorney, requested a due process hearing. At the hearing, the Individual Hearing Official (IHO) ruled that the IEP was limited because it failed to provide occupational remedy, physical remedy, and adaptive physical education. The IHO also ruled that an adult aide, your computer, and other actions could assist Ericka's education.

The Bogalusa School Mother board appealed the IHO's decision to the Louisiana Point out Level Review Panel (SLRP). THE SLRP discovered that "there is some testimony regarding the issues of both physical therapy and occupational remedy but none of this testimony indicated the services provided weren't adequate. For the AT, the SLRP arranged with the IHO an IEP assembly was immediately needed to address the advised the AT services, like the availability of some type of computer. Ericka's current instructor testified that she'd take advantage of the use of your computer in a manner similar to a reading machine even though her prior teacher didn't believe that she'd. The court declined the Plaintiff's discussion that the IEP was deficient for failing to require the utilization of a computer and ruled in favor of the school area stating the university student was obtaining sufficient AT services.

Implications for University Staff

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