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Assistive Technology and the IEP Process. Jim Stachowiak, ATP Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research. Assistive Technology Definition. Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988

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Assistive Technology and the IEP Process

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assistive technology and the iep process

Assistive Technology and the IEP Process

Jim Stachowiak, ATP

Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research

assistive technology definition
Assistive Technology Definition
  • Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988
  • Assistive Technology - any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off-the-shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities
assistive technology definition1
Assistive Technology Definition
  • Assistive Technology – any item, device or system that utilizes one’s strengths and abilities to bypass one’s inabilities to complete a task
assistive technology services definition
Assistive Technology Services Definition
  • AT service refers to any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an AT device, including

- Evaluation - Coordinating with other therapies

- Purchasing or leasing - Training user

- Selecting - Training user’s family

- Designing - Technical assistance

- Fitting

- Adapting

- Customizing

debunking anti at myths
Debunking Anti-AT Myths
  • AT provides a substitute for classroom instruction
  • AT teaches a basic skill
  • AT provides an unfair advantage
  • AT does all of the work for the student
  • All AT is expensive
debunking pro at myths
Debunking Pro-AT Myths
  • AT use is the goal
  • The newest AT is always the best
  • AT can be chosen based strictly on disability
  • Once AT is chosen, the student is all set
  • Student will always use AT
assistive technology in ieps
Assistive Technology in IEPs
  • AT must be considered on every IEP
  • When AT is written into an IEP, the district must provide:
    • An AT evaluation
    • Proper AT devices (other than personal devices)
      • Purchase
      • Lease
    • Coordination of technology and therapies
    • Proper training for individual, necessary staff, and family
    • Necessary modification or repair of device
  • Lack of funding or local service are not sufficient reason not to provide AT
  • Any device purchased by a district belongs to that district
at consideration
AT Consideration
  • Consideration is required
  • Consider both AT devices and services
  • Should involve some thought not just glossing over
  • Discussion should only last 3-5 minutes
at consideration1
AT Consideration
  • Must address need for AT use to access the curriculum and specially design goals
  • Does NOT apply a mandate for an evaluation or services
  • Should occur after goals and objectives have been identified
    • AT is not a goal
    • AT supports goals
consideration vs assessment
Consideration vs Assessment
  • Assessment longer than consideration
  • Consideration occurs during the IEP meeting
  • Assessment is more detailed and results in acquisition of new information.
assistive technology consideration
Assistive Technology Consideration
  • Assistive Technology should be included in an IEP when:
    • It enables students to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means
    • It enables students to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards--a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means
    • It provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to the individual
    • It increases endurance or ability to persevere and complete tasks that otherwise are too laborious to be attempted on a routine basis
    • It enables students to concentrate on learning tasks, rather than mechanical tasks
    • It provides greater access to information
    • It supports normal social interactions with peers and adults
    • It supports participation in the least restrictive educational environment
possible consideration conclusions
Possible Consideration Conclusions
  • Current interventions are working, no AT is needed.
possible consideration conclusions1
Possible Consideration Conclusions
  • Assistive Technology is already being used or trialed. IEP team should write the AT into the IEP so it continues.
consideration conclusions
Consideration Conclusions
  • New Assistive Technology should be tried. Describe the features of the AT in the IEP so various specifics can be tried.
identifying at in the iep
Identifying AT in the IEP

AT Brand Name

How to Cite in the IEP

Visual Strategies

  • Boardmaker
  • IntelliTools
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • Fusion
  • Big Key Keyboard

Multimedia Interactive Software

Text Reading Software

Portable Word Processor

Alternative Keyboard

consideration conclusions1
Consideration Conclusions
  • The IEP team does not have enough information to make a decision and need to request assistance to gather the proper information.
assistive technology consideration guide

Assistive Technology Consideration Guide

Adapted from GPAT, WATI, Kentucky AT Guidelines, and SETT


Extended time

Focus still on mechanics,

not legible

Port. word processor

with word prediction


A portable word processor will allow the student to

focus on content and produce work in a reasonable

amount of time, thus it will be trialed.


Writer Fusion

This student struggles with writing due to his disability. He cannot write at the

Same pace as other students and when he does produce written work, it is often

not legible. The student is frustrated with his poor handwriting and providing

extra time does not seem to help as the student is still behind. It is recommended

that we try using a portable word processor. The Writer Fusion will be trialed

and tracked to determine its effectiveness.

assistive technology in ieps1
Assistive Technology in IEPs
  • SETT Framework
    • Student
      • Abilities
      • Disabilities
    • Environment
      • Setting
      • People
    • Task
    • Tools
  • Designed to facilitate gathering student centered information

Developed by Joy Zabala

sett framework1
SETT Framework
  • Student
    • What does the student need to be able to do?
    • What are the student’s current abilities?
    • What are the student’s limitations?
    • What are the student’s special needs?
sett framework2
SETT Framework
  • Environment
    • What materials and equipment are currently available in the environment?
    • What is the physical arrangement? Are there special concerns?
    • What is the instructional arrangement? Are there likely to be changes?
    • What supports are available to the student?
    • What resources are available to the people supporting the student?
sett framework3
SETT Framework
  • Tasks
    • What activities take place in the environment?
    • What activities support the student’s curriculum?
    • How might these activities be modified to meet the student’s needs
    • How might technology support the student’s active participation in this activity?
  • Tools
    • What tools might be used to invite increased student performance?
    • What tools might be considered when developing a system with special needs to carry out tasks?
    • How might these tools be tried in the customary environment?

Student can produce original

thoughts and convey them

articulately through speech.

Student struggles with

mechanical task writing due

to physical disability. Also,

a learning disability causes

problems with spelling.

The student will need

help with producing

written work in

several classes

including English,

History, and Science.

These classes are

standard classrooms

with moderate

amounts of noise.

He will also need

help writing at home

which is much


This student needs to be able

to complete many written

assignments in several

different classes. These

assignments very in length

from short to large research

papers. The student should

be able to complete them in

the same time as his peers

This student will benefit from

attempting word prediction

software as well as speech

recognition software


We will be trialing

WordQ and Dragon

Naturally Speaking

The initial trial will

be done in history

class as the teacher

works well with


One Month

  • Effectiveness indicators include:
  • Completing full assignments in
  • timely manner
  • Improving upon grades on written
  • work in class.
  • Limited spelling errors
  • Clarity in writing
assistive technology in ieps2
Assistive Technology in IEPs
  • Where can AT be included in an IEP?
    • As part of an annual or short term goal
      • Ex: Using an adapted computer keyboard, Rachel will type 12 words per minute with no errors over 10 or more consecutive trials
    • In the enumeration of supplementary aids and services necessary to maintain the student in the “least restrictive environment”
      • Can be listed if AT device maintains LRE and lack of AT device causes removal to a more restrictive setting
      • Ex: A student with multiple physical disabilities can make progress with a computer, but not without
    • In the list of related services necessary for the student to benefit from education
      • Training on AT can be considered here if the device aids the student in educational success
accommodations vs modifications
Accommodations vs Modifications
  • Accommodations
    • “leveling the playing field”
    • Providing access to a a test or an assignment
    • Examples
      • Reading a test question for a non-reading test
      • Using a calculator on non-basic math
  • Modifications
    • “lowering the standards”
    • Fundamentally changing a test or an assignment
    • Examples
      • Change length of assignments
      • Change expectations
assistive technology in ieps3
Assistive Technology in IEPs
  • Who should be on an IEP team?
    • Student
    • Teacher
    • Parent
    • Physical Therapist
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Speech and Language Pathologist
    • Special Education Professional
    • AT Expert
    • Counselor
    • Medical Professional
    • Psychologist
    • Paraprofessional
    • IT Professional
why do users abandon at
Why Do Users Abandon AT?
  • Change in users need
  • Easy attainment of the device
  • Poor performance of the device
  • Lack of consideration of the users opinion in the selection process
why do users abandon at1
Why Do Users Abandon AT?
  • For children, use and abandonment often tied to other people in their environment
    • Parents
    • Teachers
    • Therapists
what to consider
What to Consider
  • What factors should be considered when recommending AT devices?
    • Performance
    • Elegance/Simplicity
    • Reliability
    • Safety
    • Practicality
    • Aesthetics
    • Ease of use for adults
    • Cost Effectiveness
    • Personal Acceptance
    • Normalization
    • Family Acceptance
    • Culture
continuous evaluation
Continuous Evaluation
  • Assessment is never finished
    • User needs change
    • Settings change
  • Continuous assessment/evaluation ensures students needs are met