Accessing and Funding Assistive Technology for Young Children with Disabilities
In the last decade, new assistive technology devices have enabled young children with disabilities to play, learn, communicate, and interact with their environment to a greater degree than ever before. Even with the thou- sands of commercially manufactured and homemade as- sistive technology devices currently available, profes- sionals and parents continue to demand more access to technology. Although the benefits of assistive technol- ogy for young children seem clear, the reality of funding shortages, bureaucratic barriers, and accessibility can be frustrating and discouraging for families and profession- als alike. Early childhood education professionals are now responsible for helping young children and families select and acquire assistive technology devices as well as instruct them in their use. Unfortunately, many pro- fessionals have inadequate training and/or experience with technology, its application, family participation in the selection and use of assistive technology, and knowl- edge about accessing funding sources for assistive tech- nology.