Special Education Services
Children with disabilities sometimes need and are entitled to special equipment and services to ensure that they have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Learn more about equipment, funding, consultation and evaluation resources, implementation strategies, best practices and other services available.
Assistive technology includes both devices and services. As defined in IDEA:
- an 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. (34 CFR 300.5)
- an assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. (34 CFR 300.6)
During the IEP process, assistive technology must be considered for every child and then provided by districts if required in a child's IEP to access a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) now offers school-based evaluations in addition to device loans to school districts through the ISBE grant: http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/pdfs/iatp_flyer.pdf.
For additional information regarding assistive technology, please contact Special Education Services Division, Illinois State Board of Education, at (217) 782-5589.
The following entities provide additional resources regarding assistive technology.
The purpose of the Assistive Technology Guidance Manual is to provide guidance to school systems regarding the processes associated with effective AT use by students with disabilities. The manual is intended to inform the practices of schools systems to promote successful outcomes related to AT use by students with disabilities and to serve as a point of reference for school administrators, teachers, related service personnel, students, and parents of students with disabilities.
Infinite Potential Through Technology (Infinitec)
The Illinois State Board of Education works closely with the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago and its Infinitec program. Infinitec, Inc. is the assistive technology program of United Cerebral Palsy. It is the joint effort of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago and United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc., Washington, D.C. Services provided through Infinitec include information services, access to assistive technology equipment, training and education programs, and access to specialists.
Infinitec provides assistive technology information services through three websites:
- Assistive technology: www.infinitec.org
- Access to the Durable Medical Equipment exchange network: www.infinitecdme.org
- Coalition members and their educational and equipment services: www.coalitionconnection.org.
Infinitec provides assistive technology equipment through the Assistive Technology Exchange Network (ATEN). ATEN was established in June 1995 as a program of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Chicago in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education. The exchange network recycles computers and other technology by collecting and refurbishing equipment donated by corporations and individuals, then donating the recycled equipment to public schools in Illinois free of charge.
The Assistive Technology Rental/Loan Library houses over $2.5 million of assistive technology equipment and software available to Infinitec Coalition members. An additional "light tech" library is available to all educational professionals. (Click here for additional information regarding ATEN and the Library.)
The Durable Medical Equipment website offers people with temporary or permanent disabilities the opportunity to search for and secure durable medical equipment for free. (See www.infinitecdme.org for more information)
Infinitec provides assistive technology training and education throughout the state of Illinois. These seminars support professionals and caregivers in their work with assistive technology. Infinitec receives grant funds from the Illinois State Board of Education to provide these trainings at no charge to the participants. More information and a calendar of events is available at myinfinitec.org/calendar.
Illinois Assistive Technology Project (IATP)
1 West Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 100
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone/TTY: (800) 852-5110
Fax: (217) 522-8067
Web address: http://www.iltech.org
The Illinois Assistive Technology Project provides inservice training and materials on a variety of topics related to assistive technology.
Device Loan Program
The purpose of IATP's device loan program is to let potential Assistive Technology (AT) users try-out devices prior to purchase, have access to a backup system when their device is in for repairs and/or have access to a device while waiting for their device to be delivered. IATP's device loan program is FREE and easy to use for school-based purposes (ages 6-21). All device loans are for 5 weeks unless otherwise specified. The only cost the borrower may incur is the return shipment. For more information about device loans visit their website.
School Based AT/AAC Assessments
The purpose of IATP's Speech Pathologist is to coordinate, plan and perform AT/AAC assessments for school districts throughout the entire state of Illinois free of charge. IATP’s Speech Pathologist will help guide school districts through the process of obtaining AT/AAC for students.
To request an AT/AAC assessment or information, please call Katie Roe at 217-522-7985
Use the Online Request Form
Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center at Illinois State University
Campus Box 5910, Fairchild Hall 324
Normal, IL 61790-5910
Phone: (309) 438-7811
Fax: (309) 438-2211
Web address: http://education.illinoisstate.edu/seat/
The SEAT Center at Illinois State University (ISU) primarily focuses on teaching pre-service and practicing professionals the skills they need to meet the technology needs of people with disabilities through practical, hands-on, performance-based instruction. Instruction provided at the Center focuses on developing competencies in assistive technology as well as other types of technology (e.g., instructional technology, adaptive equipment) that can improve the education and quality of life of persons with special needs.SEAT offers many services to both ISU and the Illinois Community.
Services offered at ISU include:
- Providing resources and support for integrating instruction about assistive technology into the teacher education curriculum.
- Providing onsite access to equipment and staff expertise for ISU students and faculty to learn about assistive technology.
- Providing direct instruction via classes and workshops about assistive technology.
Services offered to the Illinois Community include:
- Providing customized workshops to individuals and groups regarding topics such as assistive technology tools, assistive technology consideration, and assistive technology implementation and integration.
- Providing onsite access to the community to learn about various assistive technology tools.
- Providing support to school districts to facilitate assistive technology decision making.
- Providing program evaluations to districts regarding assistive technology service delivery.
- Plus many more!
For more information about services and trainings, or to schedule visits, please contact the SEAT Center at (309) 438-7811 or visit the website.
Assistive Technology Unit, University Of Illinois at Chicago
Mobile Clinical Services
The UIC Assistive Technology Unit offers mobile AT services in the following areas:
- Alternative & Augmentative Communication
- Adaptive Equipment (custom designs via Rehabilitation Engineering)
- Computer Access
- Environmental Control
- Home Modification
- Seating & Wheeled Mobility
- Worksite Modification
Services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Rehabilitation Engineers. All clinicians are licensed professionals, and RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs).
Assistive Technology Certificate Program, University Of Illinois at Chicago
Distance Learning In Assistive Technology
The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a distance learning-based Assistive Technology Certificate, earned via students or working professionals taking 12 credit hours of online and blended coursework.
Required courses include the following:
- Introduction to Assistive Technology
- Computers, Communication, and Controls
Elective courses include the following:
- Augmentative Communication Assessment
- AAC Intervention for Beginning Communicators
- AAC and AT for Inclusion in K-12 Settings
- AAC Intervention to Promote Language and Literacy
- Assistive Technology for Writing
- Assistive Technology Assessment for Schools
- Adaptive Equipment Design & Fabrication
- Assistive Technology for Individuals with Low Vision or Blindness
- Seating & Wheeled Mobility
- Ergonomics & Safety for Workers with Disabilities
- Home Modification Basics
- Clinical Internship
Working professionals enroll for courses via their co-listing with the UIC Office of Continuing Education. Instructors are clinical faculty members of the UIC Assistive Technology Unit, a source for AT service, training, and research.
Students may apply the AT Certificate credits toward Master of Science graduate study in the Department of Disability & Human Development.
Students and working professionals must apply to enter the UIC Assistive Technology Certificate Program.