Assistive Technology (AT)

The Bottom Line

AT consideration is federally required and must: 

Go-To Tools

These are your day-to-day useful tools containing many examples. The rest of this page (below this section) is guidance.

Trying Out AT

Visit the SCRED website to browse a menu of AT tools that students can try out ("trial").

You can borrow AT tools from the SCRED Lending Library.

Documenting AT in the IEP

The templates included in this document are exactly the same as the options included in the dropdown menu in SpEd Forms

This document simply exists to make them easier to browse.

Assistive Technology (AT) Dropdown Menu Items in SpEd Forms - Master Copy


IDEA 2004 specifies that schools must consider Assistive Technology (AT) needs when developing IEPs for all students with disabilities. In the law, AT is defined as both a "device and a "service":

AT Consideration

Our AT Consideration Handout is a quick one-pager that explains what to consider, how to identify AT tools for trial, and how trialing devices and adding them to the IEP works.

Consideration of AT doesn't begin and end at the annual IEP meeting, and it should be an ongoing process as the IEP is implemented. Consider each area of functioning by itself — a student's reading needs will necessitate different supports than their math needs.

Access vs. Progress

Students need to access the general curriculum/environment and their special education program, but a student's disability can have an adverse effect on their ability to do so successfully. The most common reason that students receive AT support is to support access (e.g., their ability to access a general education text book, participation in classroom activities, communicate with others, etc.). 

Accommodations, modifications, and paraprofessionals can also be used to support access, but AT tools have the advantage of allowing students to function with relative independence from adult aid.

It is less common, but students may also need AT in order to make progress toward their IEP goals. For example, an Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) tool might be a key component of making progress toward a functional communication goal for a student with a low incidence disability.

SETT Framework

SETT helps the team to identify what, if any, AT tools match the student's needs. It's very similar to the mental process that IEP teams use to identify appropriate accommodations, modifications, or applications of paraprofessional support.

Begin by considering attributes of the Student, then the Environments the student participates in, and then the Tasks required for active participation. Finally, use this info. to identify the AT Tool features that will support the student in completing the identified tasks.

AT Trials

AT trials can begin at any time and do not need to be incorporated into an evaluation or preceded by a PWN. That said, if you plan to trial an expensive tool or a tool that is physically placed on the body (e.g., weighted blanket, compression vest, FM system, etc.), it is best practice to communicate with the parent in advance and to document this contact.

In most cases, AT trials are a simple, informal process. The student tries out the AT tool during their normal routines. To determine if the tool increases the student's access and/or supports progress toward IEP goals, the IEP team typically considers data that is either already available or easy to collect, such as: anecdotal reports, informal observations, progress monitoring data, or student work. You may find this optional resource helpful when planning a trial.

After the case manager reviews trial-relevant data with members of the IEP team and determines that the tool is necessary to provide the student with FAPE, the tool is added to the IEP via a PWN.


Documentation of AT consideration must occur annually as part of the IEP development process. The AT Consideration Form is an optional tool that teams can choose to use to help guide this process. It is not required, but can be helpful in making a thorough consideration. 

In SpEd Forms, AT should be documented in the Assistive Technology section of the IEP. (You do not need to put it in the accommodations/modifications section, goal section, etc.):

If AT is a new accommodation or tool in the IEP, the consideration of AT should be documented on the PWN under either question (1) Actions proposed or refused (if adding AT or refusing an AT request) or question (4) Other options considered (if AT was considered, but determined unnecessary). *Note: there are SpEd Forms drop-downs available to assist you in this task.

✋ Frequently Asked Questions

If technology is available to all students, when do you have to document it in the IEP? 

Even if the technology is available to all students, it becomes “Assistive Technology” and must go in the IEP if the team has determined that the student needs it in order to receive FAPE.  Otherwise, the student might move out of the district, to a district that does not have the technology available to all students and it would not be clear from the IEP that the receiving district must provide the (assistive) technology to the student.