Written by Gretchen Knauff, Director, Office of Services for Persons with Disabilities, City of New Haven
When children and young adults with disabilities leave a school system there is often a gap in services, especially when they transition from school to the adult service system or higher education opportunities. This gap is really evident for students who receive and use Assistive Technology (AT) devices as tools to assist them in their school programs. Generally, AT devices are returned to the school and the student must wait for a device from the adult service system. This can take months, leaving the student without the AT needed to accommodate their disability.
Did you know that this doesn’t have to happen?
Connecticut General Statute §10-76y, Assistive Devices, addresses this issue by allowing school districts, regional educational service centers, the Department of Education, and all other state and local governmental agencies concerned with education to loan, lease, or transfer an assistive device to the student, the student’s family or to a profit or nonprofit entity that serves people with disabilities.
What if the school purchased the device less than a year ago?
It’s okay. The school can loan, lease, or transfer the assistive device at any time. It does not have to be a surplus item. If the device is sold or leased, the cost would be determined by the depreciated value of the device. The school district may also transfer the device without a cost to student or family. Any sale, lease or transfer is recorded in a written agreement between the school district and the student, family or organization receiving the device.
Is there a benefit for the school district?
Yes, there are multiple benefits. School districts were reluctant to sell the devices because the money would go back to the municipality and not the school district. CGS §10-76y(b) directs the funds from the sale or lease of an assistive device to remain with the local or regional board of education serving the student. The money can be used to buy updated equipment rather than having an obsolete piece of equipment sit in a closet collecting dust. Everybody wins, especially the student with the disability!