ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING IS AS IMPORTANT AS ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVICES, SPECIAL EDUCATION HEARING OFFICER DECIDES

December, 2003

DRC attorney Wendy Paget represented a student and his parents at a due process hearing in an important assistive technology case. The student is a sophomore in high school with a learning disability. He has always received good grades, but is eligible for special education services to assist him in increasing his ability to read and write so they are commensurate with his high intelligence. Last spring the Manchester School District agreed to evaluate the student to assess whether assistive technology (AT) would be helpful to assist him in reaching the goals outlined in his individualized educational plan (IEP). The educational team decided he did need AT for that purpose and the school purchased several pieces of software for his use at school and home. However, the school provided minimal training in using the software. The issue for the hearing was whether the training he received was sufficient so that he could use the AT to help meet his IEP goals.

The hearing officer found that the minimal training was NOT sufficient to help him meet his IEP goals. Specifically, the hearing officer found, “the School District’s failure to provide the adequate instruction to Student in the use of this equipment constitutes a denial of FAPE [free appropriate public education].” This case is the first in New Hampshire where a failure to provide assistive technology training has been found to be a denial of a free appropriate public education.

For more information, contact Disability Rights Center - NH.

 

updated September 8, 2015