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By definition from the Tech Act in 1988(opens in a new window), the term assistive technology (AT) can be “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”. Based on this definition, technology does not have to be “dedicated AT” to receive considered as a valuable device or funded. Often mainstream, consumer educational technology is better or better suited for the individual students needs. For example, iPads are in now a common piece of technology in the classroom and are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for students with disabilities. iPads(opens in a new window) allow for teachers to differentiate and personalize instruction through selecting apps that meet the individual student’s needs.

(Contributor: Caroline Martin, Research Assistant, American Institutes for Research)

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