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Developed by:. 1023 South U.S. 27 • St. Johns, MI • 48879 Phone: 800.274.7426 • Fax: 989.224.0330 TTY: 989.224.0246 • E-mail: . Web site: Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource.

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Developed by:

1023 South U.S. 27 • St. Johns, MI • 48879

Phone: 800.274.7426 • Fax: 989.224.0330

TTY: 989.224.0246 • E-mail:


Web site:

michigan s assistive technology resource
Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource
  • The overall purpose of MATR is to provide information services, support materials, technical assistance, and training to local and intermediate school districts in Michigan to increase their capacity to address the assistive technology (AT) needs of students with disabilities.
  • MATR’s Web site is:
  • Services to schools are FREE and include:
    • Support to IEP team members during the process of considering AT.
    • Equipment loan program to schools for trials of AT.
    • Software loan library for parents and school personnel.
    • Training/inservice—inservice workshops, intensive trainings, and development of training materials.
This document was produced and distributed through an IDEA Mandated Activities Project for Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource awarded by the Michigan Department of Education. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan State Board of Education, or the U.S. Department of Education, and no endorsement is inferred. This document is in the public domain and may be copied for further distribution when proper credit is given. For further information or inquiries about this project, contact the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, P.O. Box 30008, Lansing, Michigan 48909.


The Michigan Department of Education complies with all Federal laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination, and with all requirements of the U.S. Department of Education.

compliance with title ix
Compliance with Title IX

What Title IX is: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the landmark federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, whether it is in curricular, extra-curricular, or athletic activities.

Title IX states: “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid.”

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX), and its implementing regulation, at 34 C.F.R. Part 106, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The MDE, as a recipient of federal financial assistance from the United States Department of Education (USDOE), is subject to the provisions of Title IX. MDE does not discriminate based on gender in employment or in any educational program or activity that it operates.

The designated individual at the Michigan Department of Education for inquiries and complaints regarding Title IX is:

Ms. Roberta E. Stanley, Director

Office of Administrative Law and Federal Relations

Michigan Department of Education

Hannah Building

608 West Allegan

P.O. Box 30008

Lansing, Michigan 48909

Phone: 517.335.0436


assistive technology access to play and literacy

1023 South U.S. 27

St. Johns, MI 48879

Phone: 800.274.7426

Fax: 989.224.0330

Assistive TechnologyAccess to Play and Literacy



  • Define assistive technology
  • Identify indicators of appropriate assistive technology
  • consideration and documentation
  • Gain awareness of assistive technology continuum and
  • tools as it relates to early childhood
  • Discuss available local, state and, national resources
idea 97 assistive technology
IDEA ‘97 & Assistive Technology

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA ‘97 (Public Law 105-17) mandates the provision of assistive technology and offers clear definitions of assistive technology devices and services.

legal definition
Legal Definition

Assistive Technology Device

Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized—that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. (Section 300.5)

legal definition10
Legal Definition

Assistive Technology Service

  • (a) 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, retaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
  • (d) Coordinating and use of 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 or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of children with disabilities. (Section 300.6)

Idea Facts

  • IDEA ’97, Part B (Children and Youth age 3 and older) requires IEP teams to considerthe assistive technology needs of students during the development of an IEP.
  • IDEA ’97, Part C (Infants and Toddlers Up to Age 3)
  • “The individualized family service plan shall… contain…a statement of specific early intervention services necessary to meet the unique needs of the infant or toddler and the family…” The term ‘early intervention services’ means developmental services that…include…assistive technology devices and assistive technology services…”.

–IDEA 1997 (20 U.S.C.) 1400§ 636,632


Team Approach

Multiple perspectives from a number of disciplines will ensure that the needs of the child are addressed and supports are provided across all environments.


The use of a process and framework can assist teams in considering a child’s assistive technology needs.

The Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools(SETT) is one example of a framework that assists teams in the consideration process.

SETT, Zabala, Joy, (1996)



  • Student Environment Tasks Tools
  • by
  • Joy Zabala
  • Student:Describe the child in detail and include how a disability affects his or her ability to participate.
  • Environment:Describe all environments in which the child participates and the supports available.
  • Task:Identify the specific tasks and activities that the child needs to participate in.
  • Tools:Consider a wide range of strategies to support and extend the abilities of the child.

SETT Framework Joy Zabala


Identify tasks in the child's daily routine and explore solutions required to increase independence and participation in these naturalenvironments.

  • Home
  • Preschool
  • Daycare setting
  • Playground
  • Community
  • Hospital or doctor’s office
  • Therapy

Also include:

      • Child’s ability to transition between activities.
      • Child’s ability tochoose and begin new activities independently.
      • Child’s ability to independently access play materials and participate in clean up.
      • Opportunities for social interaction.

How does assistive technology supporta child’s independence and participation in play?


Stabilize or increase ability to manipulate and interact with toys or books.

  • Provide seating or positioning support for play and peer interaction.
  • Increase participation in self care activities.
  • Increase communication.
  • Increase a child's ability to move.
  • Accommodate sensory limitations such as visual or tactile.

Supports active participation which reinforces and improves learning.

  • Access provides a sense of control and impact on the environment (cause and effect).
  • Access provides opportunities for success and independence which increase self esteem.
  • Supports increase opportunity to interact with peers.
  • Supports allow the child and family to explore the child’s strengths and to play and interact together.

Toys and play materials

are a child’s tools for learning


How children play…

  • Exploring
  • Looking
  • Touching
  • Listening
  • Manipulating
  • Pretending
  • Building
  • Organizing
  • Creating
  • Imitating

General Supports

  • Encourage independence, provide support and adaptations as needed.
  • Encourage and model cooperative play situations.
  • Explore toys and modifications that support the child’s sensory preferences and current abilities.
  • Accept different levels of participation.
  • Provide supports to facilitate developmental milestones.
  • Model use of toys and play materials.

Continuum for adapting play

    • Adapt commercially available toys.
    • Make your own toys and supports with recycled or inexpensive materials.
    • Explore toys with universal design features. These toys are designed to allow flexibility and easy access.
    • Explore toys designed to address specialized needs.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Position, stabilize and mobilize the child, using:
  • Non skid rug material to prevent sliding on a chair.
  • Pillows, rolled towels, or foam wedges to provide positioning support for floor activities.
  • Beanbag chairs or inflatable furniture.
  • Booster chair used as a floor sitter.
  • Laundry baskets or boxes.
  • Boppy, Bumbo, or other commercial infant sitter.
  • Explore options for independent mobility

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Keep toys within reach and stabilize
  • Use non-skid rug material on a table top to prevent sliding.
  • Secure toy or materials to a base - plywood, clip board, 3 ring binder, slant board, carpet, lap trays, boxes, cookie sheet, carpet square.
  • Secure toys to a base with Velcro, cable ties, C clamps, magnetic strips, hot glue, suction cups, elastic.
  • Use Velcro bracelet to attach small toys.
  • Suspend toys or attach toys from ceiling, tray or table with links or elastic webbing.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Keep toys within reach and stabilize
  • Keep rolling toys like balls, battery powered toys, cars from rolling too far by confining with a hoola hoop, cafeteria trays, shallow box lids.
  • Trays can also be used for table top activities to keep toys within reach .

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Communication supports to enhance play and participation in early literacy activities
  • Create activity choice boards with symbols or pictures to encourage initiation of play and making choices.
  • Create topic-oriented communication boards to encourage participation, turn taking and social interaction.
  • Use single or sequential message communication devices to allow opportunity to request help or follow directions.

Adaptations and Modifications

Communication supports to enhance play and participation in early literacy activities

The following examples can be found at

Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Student Education Program

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Home > Resources > Teacher Resource Room


Adaptations and Modifications

Communication supports to enhance play and participation in early literacy activities


Adaptations and Modifications

  • Improve ability to hold and manipulate
    • Enlarge handles or writing utensils with wooden dowels, foam hair curlers, pipe insulation, film canister, tennis or plastic golf ball.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Improve ability to hold and manipulate
    • Create handles using wood dowels or knobs, large hair bands, scotch tape “flaps,” sturdy page tabs, thread spools, plastic shower curtain hooks.
    • Attach Velcro to the palm of a mitten or glove.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Improve ability to hold and manipulate
    • Battery operated toys that are activated with a single switch promote independent interaction with toys and develop the concept of cause and effect.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Improve ability to see toys, highlight, andenlarge materials
    • Enlarge game boards using poster board and laminate.
    • Define/outline boundaries or pictures using yarn, string, colored tape, puffy fabric paint, colored markers, Wikki Stix (books, toys with buttons, games).
    • Photo copy and enlarge game pieces and laminate or attach to cardboard.
    • Visually simplify play materials, use black or white backgrounds around toys, or cover “busy areas” with tape or paper.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Physically adapt a book:
    • Make page fluffers for books with foam scraps, chip clips, or hot glue “dots”.
    • Adapt the format: laminate, enlarge, or insert a binder.
    • Adapt text—reduce size or simplify, add symbols.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Stabilize books-carpet squares, adapted book holders, or lap trays.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Use story-specific symbols, pictures, or objects to allow the child to retell or answer questions about the story.
  • Use a recorded version of the story to be shared with peers or listen alone with headphones.
  • Use commercially available books on tape or CDs, which can be controlled by the child by using a single-switch-adapted cassette or CD player to start and stop the story.

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Record sounds or repeated lines in stories using a single-switch message device to allow participation in the reading of the story.
  • Use a sequencing digital voice message device to “tell the story.”


Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Create your own stories using “talking photo albums” available from a variety of sources.
  • The Book Worm by AbleNet and the Book Talker by Enabling Devices allows you to create talking books with alternate access options.

Book Talker

Photo Credit:Enabling Devices


Photo Credit:Ablenet


Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Create talking single-switch or mouse-click access stories using Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • ACE Centre tutorial-

Adaptations and Modifications

  • Access to books
  • Create your own books usinga multimedia authoring program (Intellipics, Clicker4, My Own Bookshelf, Buildability).
  • Look for commercially available multimedia story books for your computer (Living Books from Broderbund, UKanDo Little Books from DonJohnston, or Mightybooks).
  • Look for free books available to play and view online (,,

MATR (Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource)

  • Let's Play! Projects
  • Fisher Price special needs
  • Dragonfly Toys
  • Adaptivation
  • Books Made Easy! By Pati King-Debaun
  • Creative Communicating—801-645-7737

Boston Public Schools Access Technology Center-Recipe for Adapting Books

NCIP National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education

Lakeshore Learning Materials—800 421-5354



Joy Zabala, Assistive Technology Consultant