Pandemic + Assistive Technology
Scanning Pens understands the gap in educational performance created due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in students with learning disabilities or neurodiversity characteristics. One unexpected positive of COVID-19 was that it highlighted the unmet needs for assistive technology assessments, devices, training, and support.
Those working in the US education system will likely know about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER III or ARP ESSER). Still, for those who may not know, the act was passed in March 2021 and pledged $122.7 billion for educational support. These funds are sent to State Education Agencies (SEA), with each state receiving its allocation. Funds then continue to a Local Education Authority (LEA), with school districts bidding plans for the support. Schools are then given a tentative deadline of 2024 for all funds to be spent.
Assistive Technologies are specifically eligible for ESSER III funds. They will be accepted as a reasonable expense in funding plans submitted by SEAs and LEAs.
Your school district will ultimately have ESSER III funding to cover the purchase of assistive technologies. A school’s role in accessing this is to justify and showcase the need among those students who may be struggling with literacy comprehension and need further assistance. We advise contacting your school and district administrators to access this support.