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What is Assistive Technology?

Definition of Assistive Technology

The federal definition of assistive technology (AT) is:

...any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities [20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (25)].

Assistive technology can be anything that helps a person with a disability perform a task. Watch the Minnesota STAR Program's "Simply Said" videos to learn more at

If you need help paying for assistive technology, finding funding sources will depend upon a variety of factors. Taking time to develop a funding strategy will help you determine who can help and how based upon available resources such as:

  • Insurance companies
  • Government programs
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Employers
  • Schools
  • Service Clubs

Definition of Assistive Technology Services

Federal Definition of Assistive Technology Service

... any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Such term includes--

(A) the evaluation of the assistive technology needs of an individual with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the impact of the provision of appropriate assistive technology and appropriate services to the individual in the customary environment of the individual;

(B) a service consisting of purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by individuals with disabilities;

(C) a service consisting of selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, replacing, or donating assistive technology devices;

(D) coordination and use of necessary therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as therapies, interventions, or services associated with education and rehabilitation plans and programs;

(E) training or technical assistance for an individual with a disability or, where appropriate, the family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of such an individual;

(F) training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education and rehabilitation services and entities that manufacture or sell assistive technology devices), employers, providers of employment and training services, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities; and,

(G) a service consisting of expanding the availability of access to technology, including electronic and information technology, to individuals with disabilities.

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