PrAACtical Thinking PrAACtical Questions: Can Students Take Their AAC Devices Home?

Published on July 2nd, 2013 | by Carole Zangari

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PrAACtical Questions: Can Students Take Their AAC Devices Home?


PrAACtical Questions: Can Students Take Their AAC Devices Home?

Although this question was settled definitively in 1991 by US Special Education Programs former director Judith Schrag, there are still some misinformed professionals saying otherwise. In most cases, administrators cannot limit AAC device use to school grounds only. As long as the team agrees that the student needs to be able to communicate throughout the day, then the AAC device can go home in the afternoon, on weekends, on holiday breaks, and during the summer.

The “Schrag Letter” (OSEP, November 27, 1991) asserted that “if the IEP team determines that a particular assistive technology item is required for home use in order for a particular child to be provided Free Appropriate Public Education, the technology must be provided to implement the IEP.”

There may be an IEP team out there somewhere who feels that a student only needs to communicate during the 6-hour school day, but we haven’t met them. And hope we never do.


Copies of the Schrag letter and related documents are available from the Boston Children’s Hospital. Thanks to John Costello for sharing the link to this packet.

And, just in case you need it, here is the IDEA verbiage.

From IDEA, Section 300.105 (Assistive Technology)

A. Each public agency must ensure that assistive technology devices or assistive technology services, or both, as those terms are defined in Sec. Sec. 300.5 and 300.6, respectively, are made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child’s–

1. Special education under Sec. 300.36;

2. Related services under Sec. 300.34; or

3. Supplementary aids and services under Sec. Sec. 300.38 and 300.114(a)(2)(ii).

B. On a case-by-case basis, the use of school-purchased assistive technology devices in a child’s home or in other settings is required if the child’s IEP Team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE.

[Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1), 1412(a)(12)(B)(i)]


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About the Author

Carole Zangari

Carole Zangari has been involved in the practice and teaching of AAC for over 20 years. She is a professor of speech-language pathology and has been fortunate to have been able to introduce many children and adults to the world of AAC. "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Theodore Roosevelt

4 Responses to PrAACtical Questions: Can Students Take Their AAC Devices Home?

  1. Thank you Carole! This post is so informative and answers such a common question. What a wonderful resource for parents and professionals.

    • Carole Zangari Carole Zangari says:

      Glad it is helpful. We see this question pop up on different forums from time to time, so I thought it would be a good idea to address it here. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Rebecca!

  2. Adrienne says:

    When school staff would ask ‘does he need to take his device there (eg, playground, gym, art class, etc. as they moved around the school), a speech therapist we worked with early on would typically respond ‘Only if the other kids are going to take their voices.’.

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