Assistive Technology

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Assistive Technology Services are defined as "any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an AT device."

Assistive Technology (AT) is legally defined as "any piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (20 U.S.C., Chapter 33 Section 1401(25).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology or AT is legally defined as " any piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities"(20 U.S.C., Chapter 33 Section 1401(25).

What are AT services?

Assistive Technology Services are defined as "any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an AT device". This includes: consultation; purchase or rental of AT device; selection, design, adaptation, implementation, maintenance, repair or replacement; training for student, teacher, parent and other support staff.

When will AT services begin and end?

AT services will start once a referral has been made. Part of the consultation process will be to determine how often each student or classroom will need services.

Where can teacher's, staff and parents receive training on AT?

NNPS is proud to have developed an Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) located at 12511 Warwick Boulevard, Suite F. Teachers, staff and parents can come to learn about assistive technology or work on projects by appointment. The ATRC also offers training throughout the school year. Watch for the flyers, emails or contact ATRC.

Who is eligible for AT Services in NNPS?

Any student with an IEP or a 504 plan.

When is a student considered for AT?

A student is considered for AT once an IEP or 504 plan has been developed. All children who are eligible for special education services must be considered for AT. The consideration is an IEP/504Team Decision and is based on the student's IEP goals and objectives. The IEP/504 team must consider whether the strategies and tools currently in place to accomplish tasks are meeting the students needs or if the student might benefit from other supports. Look under Accommodation/Supports for assistance in considering all alternatives from least restrictive to more restrictive supports.

Who provides AT services and training?

NNPS has Assistive Technology Service Providers (ATSP) who are knowledgeable about AT, technology and curriculum integration. ATSP are available by appointment and will also be conducting training throughout the year at the ATRC. The AT team consists of multidisciplinary teachers and an SLP that assist with curriculum integration of AT; communication support; workshops; training teachers and therapists; and supporting the ATRC by developing best practice policies for NNPS.

When is it appropriate to make a classroom referral?

A classroom referral should be used to engineer a classroom to give access to AT to all students (e.g. students who have similar AT needs). Support is provided to students, teachers, other school personnel and parents. Each year a teacher must re-refer the classroom for ATSP support.

When is it appropriate to make a student referral?

An individual student referral is used when a student has unique educational needs and is not succeeding with current standard classroom tools or accommodations within a standard/engineered classroom (e.g., access issues and augmentative communication issues). If a student(s) has access to AT and it is not working, an AT Consideration must be done at an IEP meeting to determine what tasks/goals are not being met or achieved. The AT Consideration Form + the IEP is sent to the ATRC. The parent and the IEP team must sign the AT Consideration Form. Assistive Technology services for a student will be re-evaluated every IEP meeting. Download AT Consideration Form

How do I make a referral?

  1. Complete AT Consideration Form at the IEP or IEP Addendum Meeting.
  2. Attach current IEP/504 Plan, AT Consideration Form and other student work examples.
  3. Send packet to the Assistive Technology Coordinator at the ATRC-Consideration Form; Referral Form; IEP/504 Plan; Work Samples.

Does parental permission need to be obtained?

AT Consideration is an IEP/504 team decision and parents are members of the IEP team, so they should be present during consideration, thus giving informed consent by signing the AT Consideration Form.

Can AT Consideration be done at an eligibility meeting?

No. Assistive Technology Consideration is an IEP decision and does not belong at Eligibility for several reasons:

  • Special Education Services make you eligible for AT.
  • AT consult does not provide information which would assist in determining eligibility for special education services.
  • It is not just another assessment it is based on need for FAPE.
  • FAPE has not been determined.

What is an Engineered Classroom?

An Engineered Classroom is one that is equipped with a variety of tools used to support the students academic or functional progress. This includes a regular education class with school based,least restrictive supports that are available to all students.

How does AT fit into the IEP/504 process?

Consideration for AT is an IEP/504 team decision. Once an IEP/504 Plan has been developed then the team may consider if a student requires AT to accomplish his/her goals and objectives. AT cannot be considered if a students needs are not known. If a student has extensive AT needs, (e.g. augmentative communication and access issues) or is not progressing within an engineered classroom then an individual student referral should be filled out. Thus,AT is the result of the IEP/504 process.

What is Assistive Technology Consideration?

AT Consideration is a process that occurs at an IEP meeting. The IEP team reviews the goals and objectives, discusses student performance and what strategies/accommodations/modifications/tools have been used by the student to achieve goals or academic success. Four general conclusions are as follows:

  1. No AT is needed at this time: School based/least restrictive accommodations/modifications need to be implemented; Student is achieving; Academic performance indicates progress.
  2. Current Interventions/Accommodations/Modifications are working = FAPE: Student has access to school based AT; Does not need AT to achieve IEP/504 goals but may require access to school based technology as an accommodation/modification. AT is already being used (or there has been a trial with AT). AT becomes part of the IEP under the Accommodations section to continue its use.
  3. Conclude that new AT should be tried: It is then described in the IEP, including the features of the AT (using generic terms). The IEP Team needs to refer the student because it has been determined based on the goals and objectives that the student would benefit from AT to receive FAPE. The student is not achieving toward IEP goals, failing.
  4. Student has changed schools, classroom or placement: Have new teacher call ATRC to set-up appointment. No Referral is needed.

Are there any Guidelines for AT Consideration?

NNPS utilizes the SETT Framework (developed by: Zabala, Joy, The SETT Framework). SETT stands for Student, Environment, Tasks and Tools.

S = The Student

  • What does the student need to do?
  • What are the student's special needs?
  • What are the student's current abilities?

E = The Environment

  • Arrangement
  • Support
  • Materials and Equipment
  • Attitudes

T = The Tasks

  • What tasks does the student need to accomplish?
  • What is everybody else doing?
  • What are the critical elements of the activities?

T = The Tools

  • Tools are both services and devices.
  • What tools/strategies does the student currently use to complete tasks?
  • Working/not working - Why?
  • Ideas for new or additional tools and strategies.
  • Across Environments

Where are AT and AT services listed in the IEP/504 Plan?

AT and services should be listed in the modifications section of the IEP/504 Plan. Generic terms and features are used because of the multitude of similar software that is available. For example; you would write that the student needs a portable word process and what features are needed; you would NOT list the specific word processor (Fusion, Forte, etc.).

Should I write goals and objectives for AT?

NO. AT should be embedded within the IEP/504. Remember AT are tools that are used by students to maximize learning potential.

Example: Johnny will learn to spell 5 new vocabulary words per week. The goal is learning to spell. How he accomplishes it is an accommodation - portable word processor; expanded keyboard,computer, etc.

EXCEPTION: If a student has received a new device and needs to learn how to use the device, then goals and benchmarks should be written. The device should be referred to in generic terms under modifications.

Example: Judy will improve receptive/expressive language skills to a level commensurate with her functional skills.

Where in the IEP can I talk about how the student is using the AT?

State in the Present Level of Performance how the student is using the device and what services are being provided. Actual names of software and devices can be used in the present level of-performance.

Example: Tom uses Inspiration software to assist him in organizing his thoughts before writing a research paper. He is able to create a web and an outline in Inspiration and use all the formatting tools. Tom can then copy information from his web in Inspiration to Microsoft Word. He completes his research paper in Word.

Example: Judy was introduced to a Cheap Talk 8 augmentative communication device. She has difficulty scanning all 8 choices. Judy will point to pictures on the communication device with a physical prompt.

Can a student take AT home?

If the student requires AT to meet the goals set, and to complete homework, then YES, an AT Home Use Agreement must be signed before the student can be allowed to take AT home.

Who will be responsible for implementation?

The IEP/504 team and the ATSP will be responsible for making sure the AT is used appropriately and according to the plan set for the student. The ATSP will be responsible for the initial training of staff, student and parents. The Direct Service Providers will be responsible for learning how to use and maintain the AT.

What is the process for Assistive Technology?

  1. Develop IEP/504 goals and objectives.
  2. Consider the need for AT - Fill out the AT Consideration Form- One of the last IEP/504 issues is to discuss what services and accommodations the student is going to need for the next year to determine FAPE.
  3. The first time that a referral is needed the IEP Committee places the recommendation for an AT referral in the Accommodations section.
  4. If the team determines "Yes for AT referral," send the Consideration Form, IEP, writing samples, etc. to AT Coordinator. If the team determines "No for AT referral," no further action is needed.
  5. Once the AT Consultation is completed an addendum will be done and AT added, if required. The teacher/case manager schedules the addendum meeting.
  6. If the student is already using AT and it has been "Considered" to be appropriate, list the AT in generic terms under the Accommodations section.
  7. List the duration, frequency and location of services for Assistive Technology on the services page, AS PROVIDED BY THE ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SERVICE PROVIDER e.g. Frequency - 2 times/month for the first 2 months, then monitor 1 time/month. Duration - Access to the computer in all classes for the school year, Location - Services will be provided at the school.

When is the ATRC opened for Open Access?

There is no longer open access time at ATRC. All training is by appointment only. Teachers/staff can come to the ATRC to work but must call ahead to make sure the lab and ATRC staff are available. Trainings and workshops can be scheduled at the ATRC or at a school.

What do I do when the student already has AT written on the IEP and it is not available at my school?

Call the ATRC and explain the situation. No referral is needed.