Children with disabilities in the public school system often require assistive technology devices to provide them with the opportunity to fully integrate into the learning process and successfully navigate through school, the community and the workplace. Examples of assistive technology devices include tablets which help non-verbal students speak or help visually impaired students access materials, voice activated wheelchairs, voice activated readers, voice-synthesized computer modules, optical scanners, and talking software. These devices are created and programmed to meet the needs of individual students. However, due to a lack of cooperation, collaboration and bureaucratic red tape these life-changing technologies did not follow a student through their educational progress and instead reverted back to the school system.
In 2005 I sponsored and passed legislation ensuring that individuals with disabilities who are provided with assistive technology devices may retain the devices as they transition through the education system, employment and independent living. Upon returning to the Legislature in 2016, I learned that some students were not able to access their individualized devices outside of school, so we filed a bill to correct this. This legislative change makes sure that assistive technology can help students with disabilities fully integrate into the learning process, and successfully navigate through school, the community and the workplace by giving them access to this life-changing technology at school, at home and in the community.