Assistive technology: Questions to ask the school

By Amanda Morin

Expert reviewed by Shira Moskovitz, MA

Updated June 13, 2023

Kids who have an (IEP) or a sometimes need assistive technology (AT) to help them learn or show what they know. You and the school can work together to choose the best tool for your child.

Asking questions along the way can help. Here are some questions to consider asking.

Assistive technology and your child’s needs

  • How will AT help my child learn more successfully? Will it help my child become a more independent learner?
  • Which of my child’s challenges will this tool address? How will it help my child work around challenges?
  • How successful is my child with current technologies and/or strategies in place?
  • Which of my child’s strengths will work well with certain tools or devices? (For example, a child who has trouble reading but who has good listening skills might do well with audiobooks.)
  • What will be done to make sure the AT is included in my child’s regular lessons instead of being part of a separate activity?
  • How will we know if AT is helping my child at school?
  • My child’s needs may change, and new or upgraded AT may be available. Will my child’s AT be reevaluated every year?

Assessment of assistive technology

  • What professionals are qualified to assess the tool or device and have enough understanding of technology to pick the right one?
  • Does the school have such a professional on staff?
  • If not, with whom do they contract?
  • What are the evaluator’s credentials?
  • What happens during an assessment?
  • What is considered when evaluating AT?
  • Will my child be able to try out various tools and devices?
  • What will be included in the evaluation report?
  • What happens if the selected device or tool isn’t meeting my child’s needs?
  • What happens after the assessment is complete?
  • How long does it take to get the tools after they’re agreed on?

Assistive technology settings and situations

  • Who will receive training on how to use the tool? Who does the training? Is it in person or remote?
  • Who will train my child how to use the tool or device?
  • When and how often will my child use AT during the school day?
  • Can my child use the tool at home (for homework) and during breaks?
  • Can my child use AT when taking standardized tests? If so, will all the apps/functions be accessible?
  • What other services will my child need in order to use the tool effectively? Does the tool need to work with other technologies?
  • If the tool will be used in more than one place, how portable is it?
  • How reliable is the tool?
  • What technical support is available?
  • Who’s responsible for maintaining, repairing, or replacing the device?
  • If a device is broken, will the school supply a replacement while it’s being repaired?
  • What happens to my child’s device if we change schools? What about when my child moves up to middle school or high school?
  • What happens to the device when my child graduates?

By asking these questions, you’ll get information and position yourself as a partner with the school. Your questions might even help you get a more helpful AT tool for your child.

About the author

About the author

Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Shira Moskovitz, MA teaches in the New York City public school system. She focuses on using assistive technology to create inclusive learning environments.


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