Assistive Technology: Introduction
Funded by a Massachusetts Department of Education Assistive Technology Grant.
Welcome to the Arlington Public Schools Assistive Technology site. This site is resource for teachers and staff to evaluate, test, and learn about the many low-, mid-, and high-tech tools available for assisting students and differentiating instruction.
Assistive technology for students with learning or physical disabilities has the potential for developing effective learning strategies and study skills that can create a foundation for independent learning. Technology is not a cure for all the learning difficulties that students with disabilities experience. However, when used in conjunction with direct instruction, research has shown that it can make a difference in a student's academic outcomes as well as improve self-image and attitude towards learning. Assistive technology has been classified on these pages as being low-, mid-, or high-tech.
Low-tech assistive technology options are usually easy to use, have a low cost, and typically do not require a power source.
Mid-tech assistive devices are also easy to operate but typically require a power source.
High-tech assistive devices are usually complex and programmable and include items that require computers, and/or electronics, to perform a function.
The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1998 (PL 100-407) gave the U.S. the first legal definition of assistive technology devices and services. An assistive technology device was defined as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities." An assistive technology service was described as "any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology service."
The Arlington Public Schools is dedicated to using assistive technology as a vehicle to improve academic outcomes for students with disabilities. Our goal is to provide students with opportunities to be successful in learning and in life.