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Computer Access Patti Drescher CESA 7 pdrescher@cesa7.k12.wi Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative wati - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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ASNAT Assessing Student’s Needs for Assistive Technology. Computer Access Patti Drescher CESA 7 Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative Objectives.

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Assessing Student’s Needs for

Assistive Technology

Computer AccessPatti DrescherCESA 7pdrescher@cesa7.k12.wi.usWisconsin Assistive Technology


Participants will understand the SETT process as it relates to identifying appropriate AT for students who need to access the computer.

Participants will have basic knowledge of the AT continuum for Computer Access as identified in the ASNAT Computer Access Chapter.

Participants will be able to access resources and tools for trial with students who need AT computer access supports.


  • 2009 ASNAT revision(Assessing Students’ Need for Assistive Technology)

  • Uses the SETT framework for AT assessments



    • Framework developed by Joy Zabala 2002


    • Implementation Plan & Follow-up added by WATI

      • Revised version has added Sensory Considerations

Using the SETT framework

  • “Traditional” SETT

    • The Student

      • Identify the functional area(s) of concern?

      • Special needs (related to area of concern)

      • Current abilities (related to area of concern)

      • What does the student need to communicate that is difficult or impossible to do independently at this time?

Using the SETT framework

  • The Environment(s)

    • Arrangement (instructional, physical)

    • Support (available to both the student and the staff)

    • Materials and Equipment (commonly used by others in the environments)

    • Access Issues (technological, physical, instructional)

    • Attitudes and Expectations (staff, family, others)

Using the SETT framework

  • The Tasks

    • What SPECIFIC tasks occur in the student’s natural environments that enable progress toward mastery of IEP goals and objectives?

    • What SPECIFIC tasks are required for active involvement in identified environments? (related to communication, instruction, participation, productivity, environmental control)

Using the SETT framework

  • The Tools

    • Tools include devices, services and strategies… everything that is needed to help the student succeed.

    • Describe what a useful system of assistive technology devices and services for the student would be like.

    • Brainstorm Tools that could be included in a system that addresses student needs.

    • Select the most promising Tools for trials in the natural environments.

    • Plan the specifics of the trial (expected changes, when/how tools will be used, cues, etc.)

    • Collect data on effectiveness. (Zabala 2002)

Using the SETT process Decision Making Guide

WATI’s version

of the SETT

Framework for Computer Access.

Guide will be

Different for

every area of

AT assessment

Using the Student Information Guide in the SETT Process

  • The Guide is intended to help the team discuss key issues when assessing the need for AT for a specific student.

  • It helps teams consider whole child & environment & not “jump” to a device!

  • It is a group (sped, reg. ed, support staff, admin., parent, student) process in which everyone contributes.

  • Important to write on a large format so that everyone can see, edit, remember (shared group memory), stay focused, and be informed!

  • Team members take roles of: Facilitator, Recorder, Time Keeper

Assistive Technology for Computer Access

The Student


List the functional areas of concern

What are the student’s special needs related to the area of concern.

What are the student’s abilities….

What motivates the student?

Other questions you might ask?

Assistive Technology for Computer Access

The Environment

Environmental Considerations

What specific environmental considerations need to be addressed?



Attitudes of others?

What are other the environments that need to be taken into account?

Sensory Considerations (new)

New section as a subset of Student & Environment

  • Does this student have sensory deficits or sensitivities that will impact his/her ability to access the computer?

  • Do the learning environment(s) impact the sensory issues of the student?

Sensory Considerations

  • Visual clutter

  • Fluorescent lighting versus full spectrum lighting

  • Classroom and background noise

  • Tactile stimulation

  • Awareness of physical space

  • Other individual specific sensitivities

Assistive Technology for Computer Access

The Task

Tasks to Consider

  • What does the student need to do to achieve educational goals from their IEP and be an active participant in their environment?

  • What are other students doing in the same environments?

As a team, identify by circling or other means those few tasks the student needs to do that will have the most impact.

Narrowing the Focus

Solution Generation: Tools/Strategies

As a team, brainstorm and write on chart paper any assistive technologies &/or strategies you think will assist the student in successfully completing those tasks you identified.

  • Brainstorm possible AT

  • Don’t evaluate (yet)!

  • Remember to include AT that the student already uses

  • Use all resources including people

Assistive Technology for Computer Access

The Tools

AT Continuum

  • Follow the progression of low tech, through mid tech to high tech when selecting assistive technology tools

Assistive Technology: past and present

  • Part of the Student’s past & current environment

AT for Computer Access

  • Positioning of student and equipment

    • Adjustable table/chair

    • Position of keyboard

    • Wrist rest/support

AT for Computer Access

  • Operating System Built in Accessibility Features

    • StickyKeys

    • FilterKeys

    • MouseKeys

    • Visual Display Options

AT for Computer Access

  • Standard Keyboard Adaptations

    • Repeat Rate

    • Keyguards

    • Labels

    • Moisture Guard

    • Pointing Tools

    • Keyboard Mask

AT for Computer Access

  • Standard Mouse Adaptations

    • Customizable Mouse Options

    • Button Reassignment

AT for Computer Access

  • Rate Enhancement

    • Abbreviation Expansion

    • Word Prediction/Completion

    • Macros

    • Auto Correction

AT for Computer Access

  • Alternative Keyboard

    • ABC

    • Dvorak

    • Ergonomic

    • One Handed

    • Wireless

    • Miniature/Compact

    • Programmable

    • OnScreen

AT for Computer Access

  • Mouse Alternatives

    • Keyboard Shortcuts

    • Mouse Keys

    • Left Handed/Ergonomic

    • Wireless

    • One Button

    • Touchpad/trackpad

    • Trackball

    • Joystick

AT for Computer Access

  • Mouse Alternatives (cont.)

    • Touchscreen

    • Foot-controlled

    • Head Controlled

    • Dwell Selection

AT for Computer Access

  • Speech Recognition

    • Considerations

      • Speech

      • Cognitive abilities

      • Dictation skills

      • Literacy/Editing

      • Motivation

      • Support

AT for Computer Access

  • Speech Recognition (cont.)

    • Built into PC and Mac Operating Systems

    • Dragon NaturallySpeaking (

    • SpeakQ (

AT for Computer Access

  • Eye Gaze

  • Morse Code

AT for Computer Access

  • Switch Access

    • Last alternative

    • Determine switch site

    • Use motivating activity

AT for Computer Access

  • Modes of Scanning

    • Automatic

    • Single Switch Step

    • Two Switch Step

    • Inverse

AT for Computer Access

  • Characteristics of Switches

    • Size

    • Sensitivity

    • Texture

    • Pressure

    • Feedback

    • Mounting

AT for Computer Access

  • Types of Switches

    • Mechanical

      • Push

      • Light Touch Switch

      • Lever

      • Motoric-Specific Movement

      • Pneumatic

      • Dual

      • Wireless

AT for Computer Access

  • Types of Switches (cont.)

    • Electrical

      • Proximity

      • Fiber Optic

      • Infrared

      • Sensor

      • Wheelchair Integration

AT for Computer Access

  • Switch Interface

  • Mounting

  • Switch Accessible Software

Solution Selection: Tools & Strategies

  • Review the list of potential tools

    • Now is the time to evaluate for a match with:

      • Student (abilities, difficulties, likes/dislikes)

      • Environment (supports, obstacles)

      • Tasks (what 1-2 things do you want the student

        to do?)

    • Prioritize selections

Implementation Plan

  • Very Important! This is often where it breaks down!

    • Write down on the group chart (for top priorities)

      • Who is going to do… (get specific)

      • What (ditto)

      • When (do I need to say it again?)

      • For how long?

    • Write down your expectations (objectives) so you know if the AT is working or not!

    • Give everyone a job

Follow-up Plan

  • Before the meeting is over, plan the follow-up

    • For accountability

    • We are all busy, so plan it now!

    • Bring list from original meeting so group can review who, what, when, & expectations

Tools Resources

Vendors for Computer Access Tools

Enabling Devices

Don Johnston, Inc.



RJ Cooper




  • It’s not about the technology/device- it’s about matching the Student, the Environment and the Task with the best Tool

  • Finally some research about using technology…….

    • …using technology for compensatory intervention actually also provides remedial benefits (Silver-Pacuilla, H., Ruedel K. & Mistrett, S. p. 8).

References Resources

  • Silver-Pascuilla, H., Ruedel, K. & Mistrett, S. (2004). A review of technology based approaches for reading instruction: Tools for researchers and vendors. In National Center for Technology Integration: Reading Matrix. Retrieved March 30, 2007 from

  • WATI (2009). Assessing Students’ Needs for Assistive Technology Chapter 4: Computer Access. Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative.

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