Teacher with students using laptops in a classroom

Assistive technology can help students participate in class and complete academic and everyday reading and writing tasks.

What Is Assistive Technology?

Word prediction, voice commands, eReaders, and other convenient features built into our devices make daily tasks easier. These tools are similar to some widely used forms of assistive technology.

In the context of literacy, assistive technology (AT) includes all devices, applications, and software that have been designed to help individuals with disabilities complete everyday and academic tasks involving reading and writing. 

AT may be critical for students with language-based learning disabilities like dyslexia to participate in school. Using it may allow them to access class content and demonstrate what they have learned. 

AT can be part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)—the plan that outlines the instruction, supports, and services that students eligible for special education need to be successful in school. In fact, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that the team responsible for developing a student’s IEP considers whether students require AT and provide it if necessary.

We have compiled some resources to help caregivers identify and use AT to support their child’s reading and writing.

Assistive Technology Resources

ASK Resource Center

If you have questions about assistive technology for your child, you can reach out to ASK Resource Center (ASK). The center provides advocacy and support services for families of children with disabilities across Iowa. The staff includes family support specialists and other professionals who can help caregivers access what their child needs to be successful both in and out of the classroom. 

Some services ASK provides include:

  • Helping families understand their civil rights regarding early intervention services and special education supports, including AT
  • Preparing families for meetings with their child’s IEP team
  • Attending IEP meetings with families to help convey concerns, requests, and expectations regarding their child’s education


Assistive Technology eLearning Module

Our free Getting Started With Assistive Technology eLearning module contains a collection of resources to help caregivers learn about AT options for their children. It includes screencast video demos and step-by-step instructional guides for various apps and browser extensions that support reading and writing. 

Blogs on Assistive Technology

These blog posts by IRRC staff can help caregivers and teachers make the most of AT. 

Boy using tablet as AT

Using Assistive Technology to Address Students’ Individualized Education Program Accommodations

Assistive technology can meet specific literacy learning needs for children and teens struggling with reading or writing.

Girl reading on tablet

Supporting Your Children’s and Teens’ Home Learning: Use of Assistive Technology

Apps and extensions can help children who are struggling at home with reading and writing tasks.

A father and his daughter read something on a tablet

Getting Ready for a New School Year with Assistive Technology

Follow this four-step guide to successfully implement assistive technology into your children's toolbox.

Girl reading on a tablet in class

Responsibly Incorporating Technology into Literacy Instruction

Be aware of the limitations and important considerations when utilizing digital tools as part of literacy instruction.

Two women sitting together reading something on tablets

Breaking Assistive Technology Myths

Assistive technology can allow students to fully realize their academic potential, but there are many misconceptions about it. Let’s review some common myths about AT!