AT Funding Issues Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the school district have to pay for assistive technology?
The school district is required to provide (and in some cases purchase) assistive technology, if it is required for the student to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). They may borrow or rent a device or seek donated funds to purchase it, in addition to school district funds. Some children receive Medical Assistance (MA) and MA may approve the purchase of some assistive technology. When MA purchases the technology, it is the property of the family.
According to the law…
Each public agency shall ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in §§300.5–300.6, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's:
- Special education;
- Related services; or
- Supplementary aids and services.
2. Who decides if assistive technology is required?
The IEP team decides if assistive technology is required for the student to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
3. How does the IEP team know if assistive technology is "needed" or "required"?
The only way to truly know whether assistive technology will make a significant difference for a student is try it out. For instance if a student is struggling with getting meaning from printed text, the IEP team may think that the student will benefit from having text scanned into a computer and spoken. The only way to determine if this will work is to try it. If the student has never tried the assistive technology, the IEP team should write the trial use of the technology into the IEP, rather than the purchase or permanent acquisition of the assistive technology.
4. What are the primary sources of funding for assistive technology?
- The school district
- Medical Assistance or Medicaid
- Private insurance
- Service organizations
- Private donations
5. If the parent provides the assistive technology and it breaks, who is responsible for repairing it?
The school is responsible for repairing or replacing the assistive technology, as they are required by law to provide it.
6. Does the school have to send the assistive technology home?
The IEP team must decide if the assistive technology is needed at home. The law states:
On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child's home or in other settings is required if the child's IEP team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(12)(B)(i))
AT Funding Issues Websites
- Washington Assistive Technology Alliance - Paying for the Assistive Technology You Need
A Consumer Guide to Funding sources of Assistive Technology. Information specific to Washington State.
- Financing Assistive Technology - Handbook for Funding
AT funding through the State School System, Social Security Administration, etc.
- ABLEDATA - Informed Users Guide to Funding Assistive Technology
A users' guide to receiving funding for Assistive Technology
- Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. - Funding of AT for people with disabilities
The availability of AT through medicaid, public school special education programs and state vocational rehabilitation agencies
- Grant Opportunities
- Foundation Sites
- Closing the Gap
- Apple Computers
- Software & Information Industry