What is the JHU AT Cycle?

The idea for the JHU AT Cycle began with the monograph Considering the Need for Assistive Technology Within the Individualized Education Program (2005). The monograph details a systematic process to help IEP teams carefully consider if a student needs assistive technology devices and services to access the general education curriculum.

While consideration of assistive technology is a critical part of the AT Cycle, practitioners realize there is more to effective implementation of assistive technology than just considering a student’s need. Teachers need help knowing what technology and services to use, how to use them, and how to track a student’s progress as a result of using AT. With that broader context in mind, the five-step Consideration Process evolved into a four phase AT Cycle.

For specialists in the field of assistive technology and special education, the JHU AT Cycle guides IEP teams through four phases of examining, trialling, implementing, and monitoring AT. To learn more about what IEP teams know about assistive technology, explore the four phases of the Cycle in depth.

For general educators, the JHU AT Cycle offers an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of assistive technology and ways it can help students. General educators play an important role in decisions about assistive technology for students. Since AT is intended to “level the playing field” and allow students with disabilities to participate more actively and independently in general education settings, informed general educators have an opportunity to play an active role in supporting IEP teams to make decisions about assistive technology. In the process, general educators may discover tools that benefit many students in their classrooms.

JHU AT Cycle: An Evolution toward UDL


No longer is AT an area of expertise among a few specialists thinly scattered throughout school systems. The world of technology provides new opportunities and opens new doors every day – a fact appreciated and celebrated by many in education. The JHU AT Cycle continues to evolve and move in the direction of Universal Design for Learning, which aims to provide options and opportunities for all students while serving the widest possible range of learners. Like UDL, the world of assistive technology strives to reach all students who might benefit from available tools and services. The JHU AT Cycle Interactive provides an opportunity to explore technology tools for anyone – special educators, general educators, parents  –  interested in finding solutions for students who struggle in school.