Know your Rights to K-12 Education-Based AT & Accommodations

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If you are a student with a disability who needs specialized educational services, are under the age of 22 and have not yet graduated from high school with a typical diploma, you are eligible for an Individualized Education Plan or IEP.

A young girl with Down syndrome stands in an outdoor grassy area populated with sitting people. She is wearing a backpack and is looking at the camera while holding up her hands in the air. Under the Where it's AT logo, the text reads K-12 Education-Based AT & Accommodations -

You can request Assistive Technology (AT) or AT assessments through your IEP. Eligibility will depend on whether the AT will positively impact the education plan outlined in your IEP. If determined to be beneficial, you can build AT into your special education goals and objectives.

If AT was deemed appropriate and added to your IEP and the school does not provide the device, you can file a compliance complaint. If the AT was not deemed appropriate, you have the right to disagree, and can file for a due process hearing.

Once the AT has been obtained, school districts must provide training on the proper use of the AT.

Please keep in mind that AT can be utilized at home in order to support the goals of their IEP’s, but if it is purchased by the school district, it is the property of the school district and as such, will need to be returned to the district if you cease to be enrolled in that district.

Remember that your IEP travels with you, so if you move to a new district, that district must make every best attempt to meet the parameters of your established IEP. This is one of the reasons that it is critical to have a detailed IEP and to never relinquish services/goals unless you absolutely have no other option, as they could become needed later down the road, and reestablishing them could be more difficult than simply maintaining them.

The school district is responsible for repairing and maintaining their AT. Know that if a device is damaged or lost, the district can’t expect a family to be liable for costs associated with the damage or loss of the device for any of the following reasons:

• The damage or loss was not the fault of the family

• The damage or loss was through the normal use of the AT

• The damage or loss was a predictable result of the student’s disability

If the device was damaged or lost for any of the above reasons, the district can’t force the family to be financially responsible for the AT.

Please keep in mind though, families can be accountable if the damage or loss occurred when the AT was being used in ways not in line with the established pattern of use. If you do not qualify for special education services, but would benefit from AT through the school district, you may be covered under the anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If that is the case, you can request AT as a reasonable accommodation.