Know Your Rights
Assistive Technology (AT) includes any item, piece of equipment, or product that increases, maintains, or improves the ability of individuals with disabilities to function. Assistive Technology can be useful for people with either physical or cognitive impairments.AT can be useful for people with either physical or cognitive impairments. DRC-NH helps individuals identify and acquire technology necessary to help students access their curriculum, assist individuals who want to work become employable and successful in the job market, and help people with disabilities enjoy life and stay engaged with their communities.
Some examples of assistive technology devices are:
- voice activated computers
- tools to use to reach or pick up things
- speaker phones
- devices that help pull zippers, light switches, turn on/off buttons, etc
- braces, hand splints
- beeping or vibrating prompts and alerts
- personal computers
- augmentative communication devices
- adjustable workstations
- hearing aid, TTY
A variety of federal and state laws have been adopted to ensure that individuals with disabilities have increased access to technology supports. Federal law addressing assistive technology is found in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Assistive Technology Act (ATA), the Rehabilitation Act (Rehab Act) , and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Action (IDEA).
The ADA is designed to protect individuals from employment discrimination based on a disability when the individual can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation can include AT or other technology access. The ATA is designed to provide funding for states to ensure an increase in the availability of AT to improve their quality of life, work, and education. The Rehab Act helps people acquire AT to meet their employment goals and requires that all federal agencies make their electronic and information technology accessible. Under IDEA, AT must be considered for every student with disabilities in assessing what technology might be needed to help the child receive a free, appropriate, public education. Information about AT under the Rehab Act and IDEA can be found on the United States Department of Education website, www.ed.gov.
New Hampshire state law addressing services for the developmentally disabled requires all individuals with developmental disabilities accessing services be comprehensively assessed for assistive technology needs. State education regulations require that children be assessed for and provided with technology necessary to ensure they receive a free, appropriate, public education as required by the IDEA. The provision in state law for persons seeking an assessment and provision of assistive technology under the developmentally disabled laws is in N.H. RSA 171-A:6.
More information about services for individuals with developmental disabilities also can be found on the N.H. Bureau of Developmental Services webpage. The state regulations addressing children with disabilities and the provision of assistive technology in education is found in the Ed 1100 rules. The webpage for N.H. Vocational Rehabilitation Services provides general information about services to assist individuals with securing and maintaining employment, including the assessment for and provision of assistive technology.
How We Can Help
If you have questions about the availability of assistive technology for you or your children, call DRC-NH and ask for an appointment to talk with one of our lawyers.
Examples of how we can help:
- A child needs AT in order to receive a free, appropriate public education, and the school district fails to provide the needed device or services;
- A person needs AT in order to become employable, and Vocational Rehabilitation will not provide it as part of the person’s rehabilitation plan;
- A client of an area agency needs AT and is not receiving it, or has the equipment and it is not being used.
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Bookshare – Ebooks for people with reading barriers
Closing the Gap – Computer Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation
iCanConnect at Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services