Assistive technology grant for students with disabilities
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology helps students with a disability who have difficulty communicating through speech and writing to fully participate in education.
Some examples of assistive technology include laptops or tablets with modified software, joysticks, keyboards, touch pads, tapes, braille equipment and audiology equipment.
Schools can get an Assistive Technology Grant from the Department of Education to buy computers and specialist equipment for students with a disability.
Help to buy assistive technology
Schools can get an Assistive Technology Grant from the Department of Education
To get a grant, a student must have a physical disability or a general learning disability that makes ordinary communication through speech and writing impossible.
The assistive technology grant is for equipment that is essential for the student to access the school curriculum.
Some examples of assistive technology used include laptop or tablet computers with modified software, joysticks, keyboards, touch pads, tapes, braille equipment and audiology equipment.
Not covered by the grant are telephones, smart phones, iphones, ipods, televisions, plasma screen TV’s, internet access or phone connectivity charges.
Schools must wait for approval before buying equipment. When the equipment has been bought, the school should send the full receipts and invoices with claims for payment. Copies of these should be kept in the school accounts. Applications can also be made for approved equipment repair.
Can I take my assistive technology home from school?
Usually the equipment provided under the grant is kept in the school. However, the Board of Management can give permission for a student to use the equipment at home.
The equipment remains the property of the school and will usually be passed on to another student or to another school, when the school no longer needs it.
The Board of Management of the school is responsible for insurance, maintenance, repair and service charges. One teacher should be given the responsibility for managing the equipment and making sure that it is used effectively in the school.
What amount can I get with the Assistive Technology Grant?
The rate of the grant will be the cost of the equipment. There is no upper limit.
How to apply for the Assistive Technology Grant
Your school should apply for special equipment to the Special Needs Education Organiser (SENO) with responsibility for that school. The SENO will apply to the Department of Education for the Assistive Technology Grant. Medical reports and assessments may be required.
Applications for students with visual or hearing impairment should be made to the Visiting Teacher Service for Children with Sensory Impairment. The Visiting Teacher Service will then advise the SENO.
You can get more information on ICT for Special Education Needs on the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) website and the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).
You can read more about the Assistive Technology Grant.
How to appeal if you are refused the Assistive Technology Grant
A school can appeal the decision where:
- Assistive technology has not been granted, or
- Assistive technology has been granted but the school wants to appeal the amount of the grant, or the specific equipment provided.
A school must complete and submit the appeal form.
When submitting the appeal form the school should not re-submit the original application or professional reports supplied to the SENO.
If there are new or updated reports – different to the original application – then these can be submitted to the SENO in support of a new application.