* Regulations by Section and Attachment 1 (Analysis of Comments and Changes)
As used in this part, Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
The term includes-
(a) The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
(b) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
(c) Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
(d) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;
(e) Training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child's family; and
(f) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(2))
of Comments, Discussions and Changes from Attachment 1
Comment: Some commenters recommended that assistive technology devices and services be listed as a related service under §300.22, as well as defined separately under §§300.5 and 300.6. Some commenters also recommended changes that would alter the statutory definitions of these terms. A few commenters requested that §§300.5 and 300.6 be amended to add language clarifying that assistive technology devices and services are only required for a disabled child if necessary for the child to benefit from special education. A few commenters stated that the regulations should clarify public agency responsibility for providing personal devices, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, braces and medication, while other commenters recommended that the regulations make explicit that public agencies are not responsible for providing personally-prescribed devices under these regulations. Commenters also requested that the regulations include examples of assistive technology devices for children, including a range of high to low technology devices, such as postural supports, mobility aids, and positioning equipment. Commenters also requested clarification on how school districts draw distinctions between a child's need for an assistive technology device and a parent's desire for the child to have the newest and best device on the market.
Discussion: As stated in the note following §300.6 of the NPRM, the definitions of "Assistive technology device" and "Assistive technology service" in sections 602(1) and 602(2) of the Act are substantially identical to the definitions of those terms used in the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, as amended (Tech Act). Since §§300.5-300.6 essentially adopt the statutory definitions of these terms, no changes to these statutory definitions should be made in these final regulations. However, consistent with Part B, the words "child with a disability" were substituted for the statutory reference to individual with a disability found in the definitions contained in the Tech Act. In addition, in light of the general decision not to use notes in these final regulations, the note to §300.6 of the NPRM should be removed.
Section 300.308 of these regulations specifies that an assistive technology device or service is only required if it is determined, through the IEP process, to be (1) special education, as defined in §300.26, (2) related services, as defined in §300.24, or (3) supplementary aids and services, as defined in §300.28. No further clarification should be provided, and references to §300.308 should not be included in the definitions of "related services" under §300.24 or "special education" under §300.26. Section 300.308 is sufficient to explain how a determination about a child's need for an assistive technology device or service is made.
As a general matter, public agencies are not responsible for providing personal devices, such as eyeglasses or hearing aids or braces, that a disabled child requires regardless of whether he or she is attending school. However, if a child's IEP team specifies that a child requires a personal device in order to receive FAPE, the public agency must provide the device at no cost to the child's parents. Consistent with section 612(a)(12) of the Act, public agencies that are otherwise obligated under Federal or State law or assigned responsibility under State policy or interagency agreement or other mechanisms to provide or pay for any services that are also considered special education or related services, including devices that are necessary for ensuring FAPE, must fulfill that obligation or responsibility, either directly or through contract or other arrangement.
Regarding responsibilities relative to medication under §300.5, medication is an excluded "medical service," and is not the responsibility of a public agency under these regulations; therefore, the change suggested by commenters is not warranted.
Further examples of assistive technology are not necessary within these regulations. Because the definitions of assistive technology devices and services have been included in these regulations for over five years and have been included in the Tech Act since 1988, most public agencies should be informed about those devices and services for purposes of implementing these regulations. Examples of assistive technology devices and services and other relevant information may be available through one of the technical assistance providers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) or other technical assistance providers funded by OSERS.
Changes: The note following §300.6 has been removed.
Comment: Some commenters asked for clarification that (1) the statutory provision encompasses both a child's own assistive technology needs (e.g., electronic note takers, cassette recorders, and speech synthesizers), as well as access to general technology used by all students, (2) a child with a disability may take assistive technology devices home for use on homework and other assignments, as well as for use in the community, and (3) school districts have continuing responsibility for installation, repair, and maintenance of devices. These commenters added that in order to fully benefit from assistive technology, children with disabilities must be able to use it on all school-work assignments, whether done in the classroom or at home or in the community; and LEAs must ensure that children, their teachers, and other personnel receive the necessary in-service instruction on the operation and maintenance of technology. Other commenters requested that the final regulations specify in the text of the regulations or in a note (1) the right of children with disabilities to take devices home or to other settings, as needed, and (2) the issue of ownership and responsibility.
Discussion: The provision of assistive technology devices and services is limited to those situations in which they are required in order for a disabled child to receive FAPE. However, subject to this limitation, commenters are correct that (1) "assistive technology" encompasses both a disabled child's own personal needs for assistive technology devices (e.g., electronic note-takers, cassette recorders, etc), as well as access to general technology devices used by all students, and (2) if an eligible child is unable, without a specific accommodation, to use a technology device used by all students, the agency must ensure that the necessary accommodation is provided. Further, commenters are correct that LEAs must ensure that students, their teachers, and other personnel receive the necessary in-service instruction on the operation and maintenance of technology.
Finally, §300.308 of these final regulations should be amended to clarify that, on a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child's home or in other settings is required if the child's IEP team determines that the child needs to have access to those devices in order to receive FAPE. The assistive technology devices that are necessary to ensure FAPE must be provided at no cost to the parents, and the parents cannot be charged for normal use, and wear and tear. However, while ownership of the device in these circumstances would remain with the public agency, State law, rather than Part B, generally would govern whether parents are liable for loss, theft, or damage due to negligence or misuse of publicly owned equipment used at home or in other settings in accordance with a child's IEP.
Changes: No change has been made to this section in response to these comments. However, §300.308 has been amended, consistent with the above discussion.
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