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The Assistive Technology Act of 2004: What Does It Say and What Does It Mean?

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PDERS Volume 23, Number 2,


On October 25, 2004, President Bush signed into law the reauthorization of the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act). The new law provides a far more optimistic future for assistive technology (AT) and modifies the primary purpose of the previous law. The new AT Act provides "birth to death" legislation and is fundamentally different from other special education legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which focuses only on children, or the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, which focuses on adults. The AT Act is intended to impact anyone, child or adult, who has a disability as defined under any federal law. Further, the AT Act defines eligibility as anyone who has a disability that can be "enabled" by an AT device or service to "minimize deterioration in functioning, to maintain a level of functioning, or to achieve a greater level of functioning in any major life activity." With this broad definition of eligibility, the AT Act can be assumed to assist many of the 54 million individuals currently identified with a disability. This paper provides information about the AT Act, including its history, funding, national and state activities it supported, and its implications for students. (Contains 9 online resources.)


Bausch, M.E., Mittler, J.E., Hasselbring, T.S. & Cross, D.P. (2005). The Assistive Technology Act of 2004: What Does It Say and What Does It Mean?. Physical Disabilities: Education and Related Services, 23(2), 59-67. Retrieved September 27, 2020 from .

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