Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is a service under IDEA to make available assistive technology devices and services, when needed by a student with disabilities, to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

Kids at Desk


Services include:
1) Evaluations
2) Providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices
3) Training for staff, students, and parents



Assistive technology devices are items, pieces of equipment, or product systems, whether acquired commercially off-the-shelf, modified, or customized, that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability.


Abledata -  provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources. Although ABLEDATA does not sell any products, they can help you locate the companies that do.

Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) - a network of community-based Resource Centers, Developers, Vendors and Associates dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies. ATA Members can be found all across the country.

Assistive Technology Training On Line (ATTO) -Assistive Technology Training Online (ATTO) offers free, online training in assistive technology solutions to help students with disabilities. The site consists of "virtual workshops" targeted to teachers, parents, and assistive technology service providers who serve elementary-level students and consists of tools and strategies to help give students with disabilities access to the general curriculum.

Closing the Gap Closing the Gap is an organization that focuses on 3 pic header of people computer technology for people with special needs through its bi-monthly newspaper, annual conference and extensive web site. A collection of digital books designed for use by people with disabilities. Many books can be downloaded for free and used with Kurzweil.

LD in Depth Explores new developments in technology and practical insights into the promise and realities of making technology work for people with learning disabilities.

WIKISPACES A wikispace created by our assistive technology specialist Wynne Maksimovic and Debra Shratowsky, OT, as a resource for classroom teachers.  There you will find pages for assistive technology, augmentative communication, pages with links for interactive white board lessons and activities and so much.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING (UDL) This is a great site for research and learning opportunities through Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Maryland Assistive Technology Co-op The co-op negotiates discounts on devices and software. Email for a catalog. We purchase lots of software and hardware from them and have saved a bundle.

MD Assistive Technology NetworkThis is the home page of the Maryland Assistive Technology Network.  Lots of information about Assistive technology and trainings happening in Maryland.

MD TAP - The mission of the Maryland Technology Assistance Program is to establish a statewide, consumer responsive system for the delivery of technology related assistance to individuals with disabilities, under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.

NCSS Faculty Kidspiration collection A collection of activities using Kidspiration.

Trace Research & Development Center - This site contains a Cooperative Electronic Library of selected disability documents and resources. They also offer Designing an Accessible World with suggested guidelines for designing a wide variety of technologies for use by individuals with disabilities. There are also online searchable databases of assistive technology products as well as  freeware and shareware to download.


Hardware, Software for Writing, Software for Reading,
Software for Accessing the Curriculum/Communication


AlphaSmart NEO - A simple, portable word processor. The NEO runs on 3 AA alkaline batteries. You can enter and edit text, then send it to any computer for further editing/formatting or directly to a printer. Text is saved automatically in one of eight folders. With mini-applications, or applets, keyboarding instruction and word prediction are available.

Intellikeys - An alternative keyboard by Intellitools that allows students Image of IntelliKeys Keyboard with physical, visual, or cognitive disabilities to easily type, enter numbers, navigate on-screen displays, and execute menu commands. Using the software tools, Intellikeys allows teachers to adapt curriculum to meet the diverse needs of individual students.


Software for Writing

Co:Writer - A talking word-prediction program. Co-Writer adds word prediction, grammar and vocabulary support capabilities to any word processor or email program. Generates predictions by combining knowledge of spelling (phonetic and dictionary), grammar rules, context clues, student history and letter cues. Helps students overcome mechanical barriers which then allows them to focus on conveying ideas. Has topic dictionaries for curriculum-specific vocabulary. It also translates phonetic spelling with FlexSpell. Helps students that write slowly. By helping students write faster, sometimes they will write lengthier paragraphs.

Write: Outloud - A talking word processor which gives immediate speech feedback as students type words, sentences and paragraphs. Writers experience the connection between spoken and written words. Franklin Electronics tools are built in which offer speech-supported spelling, word usage and correct convention utilities. It includes a 100,00-word Franklin Spell Checker and provides definitions for 40,000 words. The Homonym Checker recognizes homonyms and offers concise definitions to clarify choices. Text can also be scanned and read back to students. Also includes 250 graphics. Helps students with difficulties in spelling and reading. Can also be used with students with visual impairments.

Draft:Builder - A writing organizer that helps students through the three key steps in creating a first draft: organizing ideas, taking notes and writing the draft. Students add concepts and ideas and a visual map is automatically created in a linear style. Included are more than 30 ready-to-go templates that support common reports. Speech feedback helps students who are auditory learners. It speaks and highlights any word or phrase, shows how to write bibliographic entries, supports word prediction with Co:Writer, and students can edit, revise draft with Write:Outloud.

Inspiration - Visual learning tool used by students grades 3 to adult to brainstorm, plan, organize, outline, diagram, and write. Can be used for whole group discussions and independent work. Has internet capabilities. Helps students with organizational problems.

Kidspiration - Based on Inspiration, but easier to use. Integrated picture Kidspiration and writing views help develop visual concept and connect and expand those ideas into written expression. All menus, buttons and other text are audio supported as well, helping children read and navigate. For younger students (K-3) and helps with visual organizing of ideas.

IntelliTalk II - Interactive talking word processor that allows you to combine graphics, text, and speech to enhance writing and communication skills. Accessible to keyboard, mouse, Intellikeys, and switch users. Built-in scanning and automatic overlay generation. Locked text and answer fields for creating worksheets. Includes sample templates that can easily be modified, renamed, and saved as new templates. Also includes a host of authoring features to design writing activities, quizzes, and learning activities. Good for students that need alternative ways to access the regular curriculum.

Software for Reading

Kurzweil 3000 - Scans and reads aloud any book, test, or handout, Kurzweil Educational Systems Logo link to home page highlighting each word as it is spoken. Included are phonics, word recognition, audio dictionary and thesaurus, spelling and other word de-coding and vocabulary tools. Study tools include highlighting, note-taking, voice notes, and outlining. Will also read the internet and e-mail. Helps students with learning disabilities in reading and writing. Students can independently complete classroom assignments and tests.

Writing with Symbols - A picture (or text) word processing program that Writing with Symbols Example can display symbols or other graphics for each word you type. Includes over 3,800 Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) and over 4,000 Rebus symbols. WWS makes it easy to create visual aids for emerging readers, picture strips to adapt reading books and class curriculum, picture schedules and directions, and picture based spell checker for student use. Good for students who need visual aids for reading and following directions.


Software for Accessing the Curriculum/Communication

Boardmaker - A graphic database containing over 3,500 Picture

Communication Symbols (PCS) in both color and black & white. The drawing program allows you to quickly create communication boards, worksheets, schedules, calendars, etc. The symbols can be made any size and displayed with text in multiple languages. Also included are 250 templates that can be customized. Good to use for students using augmentative or alternative communication systems. Also good for students needing visual aids for understanding language.



Intellipics Studio - A multimedia drawing, painting, presentation, and authoring program. Allows you to create animations, navigate with buttons, add video and sound, and conceal and show toolbars and palettes. Students can use pre-made activities to learn curriculum and practice concepts and create presentations to communicate learning. Good for students needing alternative methods to access the regular curriculum. Universal access allows for use with the keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, Intellikeys, or switches.

JAWS A very popular screen reader, JAWS® for Windows works with your PC to provide access to today's software applications and the Internet. With its internal software speech synthesizer and the computer's sound card, information from the screen is read aloud, providing technology to access a wide variety of information, education and job related applications. JAWS also outputs to refreshable Braille displays, providing Braille support. A training tutorial is included.