Effective Collaboration Leads to Approval for Assistive Technology Funding

Provided by: MDA Publications and written by Lisa Quintero

“The problem and the joy of IDEA is that [special education] decisions are made on an individualized basis,” observes Gayl Bowser, an independent AT consultant. Bowser is a retired special education teacher and AT specialist for the Oregon Department of Education.

“IDEA is the law, but the place where districts may hesitate, or be resistant; to provide AT is when there’s a disagreement over whether the technology is needed in the first place.”

To avoid this stalemate, parents first must create an atmosphere of trust and collaboration on the IEP team. Share information, listen, and ask questions that will facilitate the team’s ability to come up with solutions.

A parent who walks into an IEP meeting demanding AT or LD services because they’re required by law isn’t going to get as positive a response as a parent who says, “my child has a neuromuscular disease, and he’s losing his ability to write with a pencil, so how are we going to address this?” says Bowser.

When requesting special services, Freedman advises fellow parents to “view your teachers and members of the IEP team as partners who are there to help your child.”

Many school districts don’t have extensive experience providing accommodations for children with neuromuscular diseases. Share all of your research and information with the IEP team and why you think your request is beneficial for your child. Then ask: What do you know about this?
“It’s a matter of putting your ideas together and seeing what makes the most sense,” Freedman says.

Find Support

Connect with other parents about Assistive Technology.

Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to parents, caregivers, and professionals about their experiences.


Looking for more information on Assistive Technology and Individualized Service Plans?

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA)
(877) 687-2842 (877) 687-2842

Alliance for Technology Access
(707) 778-3011 (707) 778-3011

National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership (NATTAP)
(703) 524-6686 (703) 524-6686

DisabilityInfo.gov (AT resources)