IPAT staff regularly field calls from parents of school-aged children who use assistive technology for educational purposes. One question that often arises, is whether or not school purchased assistive technology (AT) can be taken home. The simple answer is yes – but AT home use needs to be documented on the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
According to a representative from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, it is the child’s IEP team that determines and documents the need for AT, to include the settings in which it will be used. All IEP teams are required to take into account the need for AT across settings to fulfill the mandate of providing every child a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Therefore, AT home use needs to be part of the IEP discussion for every child using school purchased AT. Following discussion, the IEP team determines and documents the need for AT use outside of the classroom to guarantee FAPE.
Common examples of AT that might be used at school and home are:
- iPads with software applications that enable a child to communicate, or complete homework assignments;
- iPods with textbooks downloaded;
- Kindles or Nooks with novels downloaded;
- Augmentative communication devices;
- Flash drives with software to assist with reading or writing tasks; or
- Laptops with software for reading and writing loaded.
To read a pertinent section of a policy letter addressing this question as answered by the Office of Special Education Programs, check this out. If you have a story to share that relates to school purchased AT being used at home we would love to hear it; or if you have an example of an IEP documenting AT home use we would love to see it.