Schools are responsible for ensuring students, families, and educators know how assistive technology (AT) works. In fact, students’ IEP teams must consider how it will be integrated with other therapies and interventions. If teams determine that a student needs assistive technology services, those supports must be stated in their IEP so teachers and related service providers can comply. To that end, the US Department of Education (USDE) has sent a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) to schools nationwide.

The January 22, 2024 DCL clarifies that AT is not the same as accessible technology. Accessible technology can be used to help many different users or have built-in features for individualized supports. Assistive technology, or AT, is selected to help a student perform a specific task.

The DCL provides examples of AT devices for children with a variety of disabilities and also provides links to the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP), which provides guidance and resources from the Office of Educational Technology (OET) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). That guidance is to support children with disabilities who need AT devices and services for meaningful access and engagement in education.

To view the DCL, click here.
To access the USDE press release with links to guidance and resources, click here.
To access resources from the USDE’s IDEA website, click here.