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Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology (AT)?


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004, provides a legal  definition of AT. The definition at 34 C.F.R. § 300.5 reads as follows:


Assistive technology device means 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 the functional capabilities of a child with a disability…(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401 (1)).


What does this mean?


This basically means anything that you can purchase, modify or create that allows students to access the curriculum. There is assistive technology for all academic areas including: reading, math, organization, writing, communication, computer access, access to materials, and aids for daily living. It can be anything from a simple, low tech device such as a pencil grip, to a complex, high tech device, such as a dynamic display communication system.


Who Can Benefit from AT?

AT is considered at least annually for students who have IEP or 504 plans. However, any student can benefit from AT depending on their learning needs.


District 95 has AT tools that are available for all students to support reading and writing skills. Co:Writer Universal and Snap&Read Universal are programs that any student can access both at school and at home. Co:Writer Universal provides word prediction support, including topic dictionaries that provide vocabulary support on specific topics. This program is available on iPads, Chromebooks and laptops. Snap&Read Universal is a text reader and text leveler that enables students to listen to text on laptops and Chromebooks. Links to more information about these tools, as well as video tutorials, can be found under Resources on this page.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

In an effort to support the communication skills of our students in the Early Childhood and Social Communication classrooms, we have adopted a universal approach to AAC (augmentative and alternative communication). AAC includes all forms of communication other than verbal speech, including gesture, facial expression, pictures, symbols, and writing. For students with complex communication needs, use of communication boards/books or devices that produce voice output can be used to enhance communication.

Each classroom in the Early Childhood program and the Social Communication program has low tech core vocabulary boards accessible for all students. In addition, iPads are available with the TouchChat HD AAC with WordPower communication application. Teachers and staff use these iPads to provide language modeling for students. If teachers observe a positive change in communication from a student when AAC is being utilized, parents will be contacted, and an informed consent form will be sent home to parents to initiate a trial. An intervention planning form will be completed by the student's team, data will be gathered regarding response to aided language input provided with TouchChat, and results will be reviewed with parents and the team. If 1:1 AAC is indicated, the team will hold a domains, eligibility, and IEP meeting that incorporates the AAC trial results. AAC will then be implemented across school and home environments per the student's IEP.

If you have any questions about AAC for your student, please contact Liz Atkinson, AT Facilitator, at elizabeth.atkinson@lz95.org. 

Special Education News

Preschool Screening for Children 3-5 Years Old Child Find screening will be held for children between the ages of 3 years to 5 years who reside within the Lake Zurich CUSD 95 boundaries.

Who to Contact About Assistive Technology:

Liz Atkinson, Assistive Technology Facilitator



AT Team Members:

Kristen Boden (IF)

Emily Hummel (SA)

Kathi Keirans (MSS, MSN, HS)

Nancy Lafayette (MW)

Shannon Mix (HS)

Tina Papadopoulos (SA)

Leigh Saegebrecht (HS)

Beth Smith (SA)


Learn More about the Process:

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