Assistive Technology Network

Tool Selection and Funding

Upon completion of the AAC device trial period(s), the team should convene to review all data collected and determine the appropriateness/effectiveness of the AAC tool(s). In addition to evaluating objective data regarding targeted skills, the team should consider other potential indicators of success including:

  • Increased initiation of communication and participation
  • Student taking ownership (carries device, wants the device close by)
  • Increased independence
  • Reduced frustration, increased enjoyment
  • Increased verbalizations and/or intelligibility (for those who may develop verbal speech)

Once the team has agreed upon the most appropriate AAC tool for the student, they should explore the different avenues for acquiring the device.

There are a variety of potential funding sources for obtaining AAC devices and deciding which one is an individualized process. The main funding sources are generally the Public Schools and Health Benefits Programs (i.e., private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare). Additional funding sources may be Vocational Rehabilitation, Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Programs, or community based organizations such as the Virginia Assistive Technology System (VATS), the Children’s Assistive Technology Center (CATS) and Easter Seals. There are also charitable foundations that offer grants such as this one from the First Hand Foundation. Oftentimes, more than one funding source is utilized or a portion is paid out of pocket.

The IEP team should work closely with the family to explore these options and determine which funding source(s) the student qualifies for and best meets his/her needs.