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Assistive Technology Professionals

Assistive technology (AT) professionals are vital leaders within education systems. By using best practices for acquiring and using AT and accessible educational materials (AEM), they play a crucial role in ensuring that all learners, including those with disabilities, have access to the appropriate tools and materials they need to succeed academically and socially.

Looking to hire a new AT Professional? Check out the Selection Considerations Guide for AT Professionals.

Below are specific ways that AT professionals support an inclusive technology system.


Line drawing of a rocket ship

AT professionals work collaboratively to establish effective technology leadership that promotes the development of a balanced and inclusive technology plan that considers AT, educational technology (EdTech), and information technology (IT) as critical parts of an inclusive technology ecosystem.

AT professionals help to:

  • Create a community-wide vision by sharing AT knowledge and insights regarding how technology supports a broad range of learner needs, particularly for children and youth with disabilities, to enhance student learning and participation in the classroom. 
  • Develop a strategic technology plan by sharing ideas for how all educators can support the implementation of inclusive technology by identifying accessibility and AT policy under IDEA, Section 504, and Section 508. 
  • Measure progress for continuous improvement by identifying ways to monitor the availability and use of accessible materials and assistive technologies, as well as various types of evidence of change that will illustrate growth toward an inclusive technology ecosystem.
  • Develop a professional learning system by bringing accessibility and AT insights to collaboratively identify inclusive technology strategies the district can promote across various roles and responsibilities as part of a robust professional learning system. 
  • Partner and communicate with families by working with communications team members and other district leaders to design and share accessible communications through various means (e.g. audio, written, video).


Line drawing of a laptop computer with a settings symbol and a security symbol

AT professionals contribute to an inclusive technology infrastructure by ensuring safe and equitable access to assistive technologies and accessible content to support all learners, including those with disabilities. 

AT professionals help to:

  • Personalize learning devices by collaboratively identifying and implementing customizable accessibility features and assistive technologies.
  • Unify inclusive technology decision-making by providing insights on the accessibility and interoperability of proposed purchases. .
  • Provide accessible educational materials (AEM) by providing insights on proposed learning management systems and curricular materials regarding the accessibility and interoperability of the products with AT.
  • Ensure student privacy and secure inclusive practices by adhering to student privacy and security policies and procedures when setting up and maintaining AT devices and accessibility features, and informing educators, students, and their families about the privacy and security of AT devices. 
  • Provide families access by ensuring special educators supporting AT are aware of ways families can obtain access to digital tools and the necessary information to support their child to access their learning.
  • Provide technical support to families by providing training and support to IT help desk staff so they are able to provide technical support on the most common assistive technologies being used. And identify a procedure for requests that involve less common assistive technologies.


Line drawing of a light bulb

By helping educators take a proactive approach to broadening personal technology skills, AT professionals can more effectively offer support to help educators identify and remove barriers to learning with technology. 

AT professionals help to:

  • Develop technology competencies by collaboratively identifying inclusive technology knowledge and skills across various roles and responsibilities in the district, including paraprofessionals and direct service providers. This also includes refined competencies for special educators and paraprofessionals supporting students with complex learning support needs, including complex communicators.
  • Facilitate the design of learner-centered experiences by equipping educators with insights on how to incorporate inclusive technologies, and modeling strategies for effective integration and use of AT and AEM throughout the learning experience.
  • Enhance technology skills by providing options for coaching, networking, and collaborative learning experiences for staff to extend their knowledge and skills regarding inclusive technology.
  • Engage families in the learning community by regularly communicating with them regarding the coordination and collaboration of the learner’s AT in the classroom, as well as seeking their input on the usefulness of those accommodations. 
  • Support families’ shifting role by providing them with tools and resources to support the transition from sole advocate to parent support with regards to the availability and use of accessible materials and assistive technologies required.


Line drawing of a brain

AT professionals support established expectations that encourage learners to use technology to develop agency and autonomy.

AT professionals help to:

  • Empower learners to actively engage with learning by offering individualized training and support to children and youth with disabilities on the use of their assistive technologies toward operational competencies.
  • Empower learners to make independent choices about technology by  working with children and youth with disabilities to identify AT resources and use AT skills appropriately in a variety of situations and for a variety of tasks.
  • Empower families to support student learning by hosting learning experiences where families learn about their child or youth’s AT, perhaps even  from the children and youth themselves.


Line drawing of a bar graph with a line graph above

AT professionals identify accessibility and AT interoperability requirements for assessments to support all learners. 

AT professionals help to:

  • Procure accessible assessments by educating leaders about assessment accessibility standards and AT compatibility, and training educators, students, and their families about assessment technology accommodations and the alignment, or lack of alignment, to instructional accommodations.
  • Design accessible formative assessments by helping district leaders develop guidance for educators to select formative assessment tools that are accessible, and training educators to create accessible content and incorporate AT when developing formative assessment instruments.
  • Collaborate with state testing officials by partnering with district assessment coordinator to ensure assessment accommodations policy and procedure are appropriately supported. Additionally, gather input from district learners, families, and educators to inform state testing accessibility coordinators about  the accessibility of state assessments, including AT accommodations.
  • Analyze data for decision-making by using data to inform improvements of:
    • Instructional design through the collaborative analysis of various forms of individual learner data, that include data on AT assessment, evidence of availability, and evidence of use.
    • Programmatic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data, including AT data, to determine appropriate shifts in program design and delivery.
    • Systemic design through collaborative analysis of various forms of group data, including AT data, to determine appropriate shifts in service delivery and resource allocation.
  • Include families in assessment accommodation decisions by developing and implementing procedures for collaboratively identifying appropriate assessment accommodations during IEP meetings.
  • Include families in large-scale assessment administration by coordinating with assessment coordinators to deploy information to educators and families on assessment expectations and practice opportunities.
  • Include families in data-based decisions by helping to create a culture of inclusive decision-making that honors the concept of “shared data” or “our data” when making decisions that will lead to instructional shifts, programmatic shifts, and systemic shifts. 
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