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ATEN Fact Sheet #2:
Candidates for Assistive Technology

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[This information is distributed with permission of Assistive Technology Educational Network (ATEN), Orlando, Florida. Phone: (800) 328-3678. ATEN's Web site is located at]

The Need for Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is crucial for individuals with disabilities. It serves as a vehicle for participating in the educational setting or other daily activities as well as fostering independence in mobility, the work environment, or leisure time activities.

For example, for many individuals with neuromuscular problems such as cerebral palsy or limited cognitive or physical disabilities, speech alone may not be a viable means of communication. The degree to which the speech mechanism is affected may limit the amount and quality of their communication skills. These individuals need to supplement their minimal intelligible speech with another communication system in order to successfully interact with others.


There is no prerequisite for candidates of assistive technology. An individual's need for assistive technology must be determined on a case-by-case basis and could be special education, related services, or supplementary aids and services for children with handicaps who are educated in regular classes. The following list includes persons who may benefit from assistive technology devices and services.

Congenital Conditions

Cerebral palsy
Mental retardation
Severe/profound hearing impairment
Deaf/blindness (can be degenerative or acquired)
Developmental apraxia
Developmental aphasia
Congenital limb deficiencies
Syndromes (i.e. Down Syndrome, Angleman Syndrome)

Degenerative Conditions

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Muscular dystrophy (MD)
Parkinson's disease
Huntington's chorea
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Systemic disease (heart, kidney, liver, lungs)
Fredrich's Ataxia

Acquired Disabilities

Closed head injury/traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Cerebral vascular accident
Spinal cord injury Asphyxia
Near drowning

Temporary Conditions

Reyes Syndrome
Vocal abuse

[The information on this ATEN Fact Sheet was compiled from the RESNA Technical Assistance Project.]

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998.

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