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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).

For additional information regarding assistive technology, please contact Special Education Services Department​, Illinois State Board of Education, at (217) 782-5589.

 Assistive Technology Device Loan and Evaluation

​The Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) is the non-profit organization designated as the Statewide AT Program funded under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended.
IATP’s mission is to increase access to and the acquisition of Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services for individuals of all ages with disabilities. IATP provides AT information and services in the areas of education, employment, community living, and IT/telecommunications. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of all Illinoisans with disabilities and enable them through greater access to assistive technology devices to fully participate in all aspects of life. We believe disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes a person’s right to:  
  • enjoy full inclusion and integration in mainstream society; 
  • benefit from an education; 
  • pursue meaningful careers and;  
  • enjoy self-determination and make choices. 
IATP provides the following core programs: AT Demonstrations; AT State Financing, AT Reutilization.  IATP also provides Information and Assistance, Training and Technical Assistance on a variety of AT topics, as well as, collaborates with state agencies and disability organizations statewide to improve and expand policies and practices to include greater access to and funding for AT. 
IATP offers school-based evaluations to school district through the ISBE grant.

IATP provides augmentative and alternative communication assessments along with assistive technology evaluations throughout the state of Illinois. These assessments are FREE to students with an IEP or a 504 plan in place. An SLP and/or an ATS will provide a report upon completion of the assessment. Requests can be made online at

Illinois Assistive Technology Program 
1020 S. Spring St. 
Springfield, IL 62704 
Phone/TTY: (800) 852-5110 
Fax: (217) 522-8067 

 Assistive Technology Grant Projects

The Grants to States Program as described in IDEA part B section 611 provides formula grants to assist states in providing a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities ages three to 21. Grant projects under this program may use funds for state-level activities such as technical assistance, personnel preparation, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and improving the use of technology in the classroom.

Illinois has three grant projects which address the use of assistive technology in schools: AT Technical Assistance and Resources (AT-TA), AT Device Loan and Evaluation (AT-LE), and AT Exchange Network (AT-EN). These projects seek to build capacity and awareness of professionals at all levels of education, students, parents and families, and community members around use of Assistive Technology in education. Additionally, these projects increase availability of quality assistive technology devices, computer systems, durable medical equipment, AAC, and other AT items to support students’ access to curriculum throughout the state.​

 Assistive Technology Guidance Manual

The purpose of the Assistive Technology Guidance ManualPDF Document 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.​​

 Assistive Technology Technical Assistance and Exchange Network

​Infinitec provides state of the art assistive technology, information, training, equipment services and technical assistance. Infinitec is the technology services of the nonprofit United Cerebral Palsy Seguin Services (UCPS).  Our mission is to advance independence and promote inclusive opportunities for individuals with disabilities through technology.


Over the past decade, Infinitec has worked in partnership with ISBE to provide training and technical assistance in the area of assistive technology (AT) at no cost to schools and families reaching the 102 counties of Illinois.
  • ISBE Infinitec Training addresses priority areas such as: AT Consideration and Service Delivery, AT supporting Executive Function, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Reading, Writing, Transition and Access for Students with Significant Disabilities.
  • The menu of training services provided by Infinitec includes webinars, seminars, online courses and blended learning opportunities delivered by national, regional and local trainers.
  • Infinitec is an approved provider of continuing education for ISBE, IDFPR and ASHA.
  • During FY18, Infinitec conducted 177 seminars/webinars serving nearly 6,000 educators, pre-service professionals and family members.

For more information or to request ISBE/Infinitec sponsored training call toll free 833-682-7595.


Assistive Technology Exchange Network (ATEN)
Infinitec provides assistive technology equipment statewide through the Assistive Technology Exchange Network (ATEN) project.

ATEN was established in June 1995 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. This refurbished equipment is donated to Illinois public schools and students with disabilities free of charge.

The program is available to all individuals in our public schools, as well as private and home-schooled students who are referred through their home district. In FY 2018, ATEN distributed more than 5,432 desktop computers and laptops covering all counties statewide. To complete an application request form, please go to ATEN​ and find it located near the bottom of the page. 

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
The Durable Medical Equipment (DME)  program also allows districts to access much-needed items for their students for school or home use. Those with a temporary or permanent disability can secure free motorized and manual wheelchairs, therapy equipment, canes, walkers, portable ramps, shower benches, and many more items to assist with daily activities. In FY 2018, the DME program distributed more than 400 free pieces of durable medical equipment across Illinois.

Infinitec Coalitions
Infinitec provides intensive AT services and extensive online professional learning through Infinitec Coalition membership services. For information on these services, please contact or visit

Infinitec Services 
7550 W. 183rd St.
Tinley Park, IL 60477

ISBE/Infinitec Statewide AT Services 
Infinitec Training and Technical Assistance ext. 244 
Infinitec ATEN and DME ext. 231 

Visit ​​
Call Toll Free: 833.682.7595​​​​

 Illinois Instruction Materials Center

​The Illinois Instructional Materials Center (IIMC) at the Chicago Lighthouse is a statewide resource center for students with visual disabilities enrolled in formal educational programs in Illinois public and private schools. We work with local school systems, textbook publishers and other agencies to procure and produce alternative-format educational materials, such as Braille and large-print textbooks. We strive to ensure that all students in Illinois are able to access the information they need to succeed in school, in formats they can read. There is no charge for services offered by the IIMC.

 Learning Ally

​Learning Ally provides access to audiobooks for students with a learning disability, dyslexia, blindness, vision impairment, and/or physical disability.

Visit the Learning Ally Illinois Webpage​ for more information.

 NIMAS-NIMAC and AEM Information

​​​Obtaining Accessible Instructional Materials via NIMAC for Eligible Students with an IEP and Qualifying Disabilities

Important Note: The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) have issued new interpretations or guidance related to the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (MTIA, which is a copyright law) that dictate the use of the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). IDEA 2004 has not yet been updated to align with the language of MTIA, but states are instructed to begin using the new terminology and definitions. OSEP has stated that “until such time as Congress makes technical amendments to the IDEA statute and the department is able to make conforming technical amendments to the IDEA Part B regulations, states should rely on, and utilize, the terms and definitions as updated and implemented by the Marrakesh Treaty and found in the Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C. § 121.” Please note updated content, based on the MTIA and other recent information from NIMAC, that is incorporated and linked below. Further clarification about these recent developments is found in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Program’s National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) document linked below. 

NIMAS is a provision of the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 (also known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, or IDEIA) at 34 CFR 300.172. NIMAS requires that one standard be used for translating K-12 instructional materials into accessible formats for students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a NIMAC-qualifying disability as determined by a competent authority. Materials in accessible formats are referred to as Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) or Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM).  AIM is the term mostly used by NIMAC.

The federally funded NIMAC is a central repository for K-12 instructional materials in the NIMAS standard. These NIMAS files are submitted by publishers to the NIMAC when requested by school districts purchasing educational materials. Each state coordinating with the NIMAC may assign up to five authorized users who are able to access these NIMAS files in the NIMAC system and, sometimes with the assistance of a NIMAC-registered accessible media producer, convert these files into accessible formats for eligible students. The authorized users serve as a point of contact for school districts seeking instructional materials in accessible formats.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Special Education Department has chosen to coordinate with NIMAC to ensure Illinois’ school districts are able to obtain materials in accessible formats for eligible students. ISBE determines authorized users to work directly with Illinois’ districts to obtain these materials. More in-depth information about the process of obtaining AEM through NIMAC and other sources is contained in the content, documents, and resources below.​

Important Updates, Clarifications, and New Definitions as of Spring 2021

  • Types of Works and Instructional Materials
    • As per the OSEP Notice of Interpretation, the term “print instructional materials” means printed textbooks and related printed core materials that are written and published primarily for use in elementary school and secondary school instruction and are required by a State Education Agency or Local Education Agency for use by students in the classroom.
    • The term “specialized formats,” which was limited to specific technologies, has been changed to “accessible formats,” which is defined more broadly as an “alternative manner or format” that allows an eligible person to have access to a work that is equivalent to a person without a disability.
    • While NIMAS/NIMAC previously addressed only hard copy printed materials and materials of specific categories, the scope of works and instructional materials now available for conversion to accessible materials via NIMAS/NIMAC has been expanded to include a variety of literary works, musical works fixed in the form of text or notation, materials in digital format with no printed equivalent, etc.
    • When eligible students are not able to use materials in the digital format distributed to other students, NIMAS can be a starting point for producing Braille and other accessible formats.
    • The NIMAS 1.1 format, based on the DAISY Standard, has not changed. It is designed to capture the content, structure, and linear reading order of printed books. Digital materials must meet the requirements of NIMAS specifications -- including metadata requirements -- to be submitted to the NIMAC. At this time, this includes having an International Standard Book Number.
    • Note that not all instructional materials are compatible with NIMAS. For example, digitized materials with static displays and text may be compatible with NIMAS; however, interactive instructional materials (e.g., educational games, software, or apps) and multimedia audio or video files cannot be converted to NIMAS files. Standardized tests, whether print or digital, also remain outside the scope for NIMAS.
    • Digital materials that are “born accessible,” meeting WCAG 2.0 AA requirements, are exempted from the requirement of being supplied to NIMAC.
    • Though there is a NIMAS exemption for digital instructional materials that meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standard, some students may still need hard copy Braille materials and it may be necessary for publishers to provide a source file for Braille conversion.
  • Eligible Students (Note: Students must have a current IEP to be eligible for NIMAC services.)
    • The term “blind or other persons with disabilities” has been updated to “eligible person,” which is defined as someone who is either blind, has a “visual impairment or perceptual or reading disability” rendering them unable to read printed works “to substantially the same degree as a person without an impairment or disability,” or has a physical disability making them unable to hold or manipulate a book or focus or move their eyes to read. As per 17 U.S.C. 121 and the NLS, sources for the NIMAC definition, an “eligible person is an individual who, regardless of any other disability, meets the following criteria:
      • Is blind;
      • Has a visual impairment or perceptual or reading disability that cannot be improved to give visual function substantially equivalent to that of a person who has no such impairment or disability and so is unable to read printed works to substantially the same degree as a person without an impairment or disability; or
      • Is otherwise unable, through physical disability, to hold or manipulate a book or to focus or move the eyes to the extent that would be normally acceptable for reading.”
    • The list of professionals (“competent authorities”) who can determine eligibility for NIMAC services has expanded.
      • Eligibility must be certified by one of the following: doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, ophthalmologist, optometrist, psychologist, registered nurse, therapist, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (such as an educator, a social worker, case worker, counselor, rehabilitation teacher, certified reading specialist, school psychologist, superintendent, or librarian).
      • The new guidelines remove the requirement for certification by a medical doctor for those with reading disabilities. These individuals may now be certified by the same persons who are authorized to certify other print-disabled individuals for participation in the program.
    • Note: Only students with IEPs and qualifying disabilities, as determined by a competent authority, can access and use NIMAS/NIMAC-sourced materials. These materials, whether in hardcopy/concrete, virtual, digitized, or any other accessible format, must not be made available to students who are not eligible for NIMAS/NIMAC-sourced materials nor distributed broadly.  Consumers who do not have an IEP and NIMAC-qualifying disability can find information about other pathways for obtaining materials in accessible formats in the documents and resources that follow.


Click on the document links, Illinois’ Authorized Users (AUs) tab, and Other Resources tab below for more in-depth information about the processes for obtaining AEM or AIM through NIMAC and other sources.

Illinois' A​uthorized Users (AUs)

The entities below have an individual registered and authorized to access NIMAS files through the NIMAC repository. It is important to contact the individual listed below for assistance in obtaining the needed materials in accessible formats.​

Other Resources

Please contact Illinois’ NIMAC State Coordinator, Lori Clampitt, at​, if you have further question about the process of obtaining K-12 printed instructional materials in accessible formats produced from NIMAS files.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Campus Box 5910, Fairchild Hall 324
Normal, IL 61790-5910
Phone: (309) 438-7811
Fax: (309) 438-2211

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 SEAT website.

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 multidisciplinary team of licensed professionals in the areas of occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation engineering and special education. Clinicians are also RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs).

For more information, visit or e-mail us at​

Graduate-level Professional Development
The University of Illinois Chicago offers online assistive technology courses for working professionals. Individual courses can be taken for continuing education. Apply to earn the 13-credit certificate. Learn more at​

Courses Offered
  • Introduction to assistive technology (required for certificate)
  • Assistive technology in early childhood settings
  • Assistive technology tools for education
  • Assistive technology for individuals who are blind or visually impaired
  • Augmentative communication (AAC) assessment
  • AT consideration, assessment and documentation in PreK-12 education
  • Seating and positioning for wheelchair mobility
  • Manual and powered wheelchair technologies
  • Ergonomics and safety for workers with disabilities
  • Mobile technology and computers: Built-in accessibility features
  • Introduction to microcontrollers in assistive technology
  • Augmentative communication (AAC) for individuals with autism spectrum disorder
  • Supporting augmentative communication (AAC) in educational settings
  • Environmental modification
  • Technology to support universal design for learning
  • 3D printing in assistive technology
  • Assistive technology and transportation
  • Adaptive equipment design and fabrication (in-person)
  • Field experience in assistive technology (certificate students only)
Enroll for courses through the UIC’s Extended Campus​ program. An application is not necessary for individual courses but is required for the 13-credit certificate. Apply here​.

Instructors are clinical faculty members of the UIC Assistive Technology Unit, a source for AT service, training, and research.

For more information, visit the program website or request info at

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