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Developed by:. 1023 South U.S. 27 • St. Johns, MI • 48879 Phone: 800.274.7426 • Fax: 989.224.0330 TTY: 989.224.0246 • E-mail: Web site: Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource.

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Developed by:

1023 South U.S. 27 • St. Johns, MI •48879

Phone: 800.274.7426•Fax: 989.224.0330

TTY: 989.224.0246•E-mail:

Web site:

michigan s assistive technology resource
Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource
  • The overall purpose of MATR is to provide information services, support materials, technical assistance, and training to local and intermediate school districts in Michigan to increase their capacity to address the assistive technology (AT) needs of students with disabilities.
  • MATR’s Web site
  • Services to schools are FREE and include:
    • Support to IEP team members during the process of considering AT.
    • Equipment loan program to schools for trials of AT.
    • Software loan library for parents and school personnel.
    • Training/inservice - inservice workshops, intensive trainings, and development of training materials.
This document was produced and distributed through an IDEA Mandated Activities Project for Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource awarded by the Michigan Department of Education. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan State Board of Education, or the U.S. Department of Education, and no endorsement is inferred. This document is in the public domain and may be copied for further distribution when proper credit is given. For further information or inquiries about this project, contact the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, P.O. Box 30008, Lansing, Michigan 48909.


The Michigan Department of Education complies with all Federal laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination, and with all requirements of the U.S. Department of Education.

compliance with title ix
Compliance with Title IX

What Title IX is: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the landmark federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools, whether it is in curricular, extra-curricular, or athletic activities.

Title IX states: “No person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal aid.”

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (Title IX), and its implementing regulation, at 34 C.F.R. Part 106, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The MDE, as a recipient of federal financial assistance from the United States Department of Education (USDOE), is subject to the provisions of Title IX. MDE does not discriminate based on gender in employment or in any educational program or activity that it operates.

The designated individual at the Michigan Department of Education for inquiries and complaints regarding Title IX is:

Ms. Roberta E. Stanley


Office of Administrative Law and Federal Relations

Michigan Department of Education

Hannah Building

608 West Allegan

P.O. Box 30008

Lansing, Michigan 48909

Phone: 517.335.0436


keys to success

1023 South U.S. 27

St. Johns, MI 48879

Phone: 800.274.7426

Fax: 989.224.0330

TTY: 989.224.0246

Keys to Success:

Assistive Technology Consideration and Decision Making



  • Define assistive technology.
  • Identify indicators of appropriate assistive technology consideration and documentation.
  • Acquire foundation knowledge of assistive technology team form and function.
  • Gain awareness of a framework for assistive technology consideration.
  • Acquire foundation knowledge of data collection process.
what is assistive technology
What is Assistive Technology?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA ‘97 (Public Law 105-17) mandates the provision of assistive technology and offers clear definitions of assistive technology devices and services.

legal definition
Legal Definition

Assistive Technology Device

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 children with disabilities. (Section 300.5)

legal definition1
Legal Definition
  • Assistive Technology Service
  • Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. (Section 300.5)
  • Evaluating
  • Providing devices
  • Selecting, Designing, Customizing
  • Maintaining, Repairing
  • Coordinating
  • Training/Technical Assistance –student, family and school service providers
idea facts
IDEA Facts
  • Schools are required to provide Assistive Technology at no cost to the student/parents if it is needed for a student to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
  • The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is responsible for determining whether a student requires assistive technology to achieve goals and objectives. This is documented on the IEP.
  • IDEA ‘97 requires IEP teams to consider the assistive technology needs of all students during the development of an IEP.

“Technology is a tool that serves a set of

education goals, and if we don't think about what we want the technology for first, we end up with technology-driven solutions that have very little impact in the lives of children and in our educational system.”

-Linda Roberts

Past Director of Educational Technology

U.S. Department of Education


The use of a decision making framework is helpful in determining a student’s assistive technology needs.

SETTis one example of a framework that assists teams in the consideration process.

critical elements of sett
Critical Elements of SETT
  • Student Centered
  • Shared knowledge and collaboration
  • Multiple perspectives
  • Communication
  • Pertinent information and resources
  • Flexibility
  • Ongoing processes
  • Collaboration
who is on the team
Who is on the team?
  • Student
  • Parents/family
  • District Personnel - Team membership is flexible and based on student need.

Members may include:

      • Assistive Technology Specialist
      • Special Education Teacher
      • General Education Teacher
      • Social Worker
      • Occupational Therapist
      • Speech and Language Pathologist
      • School Administrator
      • Physical Therapist
      • School Psychologist
      • Para-Educator
      • District Technology Coordinator

Why do we need a team approach?

  • Multiple perspectives from a number of disciplines ensure that the needs of the student will be addressed and services provided across all environments.
  • Team members offer differing knowledge, skills, and observations about the student’s areas of strength, needs, and barriers to success.
  • The IEP team is responsible for determining whether a student requires AT to achieve goals and objectives.
team process
Team Process
  • Use questions about the Student, Environment, Tasks, and Tools to facilitate discussion.
  • Discuss collected information, combine ideas, and prioritize items that will be placed into an implementation plan.
  • All participants receive a copy of the implementation plan.


Student Environment Tasks Tools

By Joy Zabala (1994)


s tudent
  • What are the student’s current abilities?
  • What are the student’s special needs?
  • What are the functional areas of concern?
  • What are the other students doing that this student needs to be able to do?
  • What does the student need to be able to do that is difficult or impossible to accomplish independently at this time?


Student Environment Tasks Tools

By Joy Zabala (1994)



e nvironments
  • What activities take place in the environment?
  • Where will the student participate—classroom, home, community, therapy?
  • What is the physical arrangement?
  • What activities do other students do that this student cannot currently participate in?
  • What assistive technology does the student have access to or currently use?


Student Environment Tasks Tools

By Joy Zabala (1994)




t asks
  • What specific tasks occur in the environments that enable progress toward mastery of IEP goals and objectives?
  • What activities is the student expected to do?
  • What does success look like?


Student Environment Tasks Tools

By Joy Zabala (1994)





t ools
  • Tools are devices and services—anything that is needed to help the student participate and benefit from.
  • Tools are on a continuum from no/low-, mid-, high-tech.
  • Tools must be student centered and task oriented and reflect current student needs.
  • Describe tool features that are needed rather than brand names.
  • Identify skills the student needs to use the tool.

Assistive Technology Continuum

Assistive Technology is a continuum of tools, strategies, and services that match a student’s needs, abilities, and tasks.

Explore possible solutions needed to meet goals

High-Tech Tools

Text readers

Voice recognition

Environmental control devices

Augmentative communication device

Software for manipulation of objects

Electronic books

Low-Tech Tools

Pencil grips

Color coding


Slanted surfaces

Reading and writing guides

Enlarged worksheets

Mid-Tech Tools

Books on tape

Talking spell checker, dictionary

Word processor

Tape recorder

Adaptive eating utensils

Switch controlled toy, light, blender

tool selection
Tool Selection
  • Identify what tools may address the tasks the student is experiencing difficulty with.
  • Begin with no-/low tech strategies
    • Reinforces least restrictive options
    • Simple to use and acquire
    • More readily accepted by student, family, and peers.
  • Student may require a range of strategies for an individual task.
  • Consider no/low-tech options as a back up for mid- or high-tech options.
  • Consider student and family preferences.
sett forms
SETT Forms
  • A place to organize and document meeting information.
  • Team members can reference information discussed.
  • Tracks roles and responsibilities of each team member.
elements of an implementation plan should include
Elements of an Implementation Plan should include:
  • Prioritized tasks and tool strategies to be addressed
  • Acquisition of tool
  • Training
  • Data collection plan to document outcomes of strategy/tool use (trial periods)
acquisition of tools
Acquisition of Tools
  • Identify who will locate materials/device?
  • Borrow, rent, purchase?
    • Locate lending libraries (local, county, State [MATR], etc.)
  • Cost of device and who will purchase?
  • Possible funding sources?
  • Who is going to need training (student, teacher, parents, para-pro)?
  • Who will do the training?
  • How much time will it take to train?
  • When will the training be scheduled?
  • What is the cost? Is training provided free by manufacturer or vendor?

Data Collection and Documentation

Data collection and documentation is an ongoing

process that is used to review and revise a

student’s plan. This includes:

  • Formal or informal assessment data identify baseline performance, specific needs, and initial assistive technology implementation.
  • Performance data support or disprove solutions tried (tool trials).
  • Performance data evaluate outcomes and measure student performance toward goals.
elements of a data collection plan
Elements of a Data Collection Plan
  • Select a functional, frequently-occurring activity from identified tasks and collect baseline data on the activity.
  • Identify present level of performance for the task and what change is expected with tool/strategy use.
  • Specify when and how the student will use the device(s) in the activity and what variable to observe (frequency, speed, accuracy).
elements of a data collection plan1
Elements of a Data Collection Plan
  • Identify times, places, and duration of the trial.
  • Specify how and who will collect data.
  • Analyze/discuss results and evaluate effectiveness.
  • Plan for further intervention or data collection.

Documenting Assistive Technology

  • IDEA regulations do not identify how or where to address assistive technology in the IEP; however, they do specify that “consideration” is documented somewhere in the IEP.
  • AT should be identified in the part or parts of the IEP that best fit with the type of assistive technology provided and correspond to the areas addressed by IEP goals and objectives.
  • Describe the type of assistive technology, include enough detail of features, and device categories without specifying the brand name.
  • A SETT Framework is ONGOING.
  • Re-SETTing is not starting over…
    • It is a matter of keeping decision-guiding information accurate, up to date, and clearly inclusive of the shared knowledge of all involved.




  • AT Contact



  • CTG
  • ATA
  • CSUN
  • WATI
  • UCP
  • AER
  • ASHA
  • AOTA
  • MATR


MATR (Michigan’s Assistive Technology Resource)

TAM/CEC (Technology & Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children)

MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning)

Closing The Gap

ATA (Alliance for Technology Access)

CSUN (California State University Northridge)

RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America)

WATI (Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative)

ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association)

AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association)

UCP (United Cerebral Palsy Association)

AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation for Blind and Visually Impaired)

Joy Zabala, Assistive Technology Consultant –

team process1
Team Process
  • The team should “brainstorm” to generate and document a variety of ideas, strategies, and information about the student.
  • Brainstorming rules:
    • Write down all ideas.
    • Accept all suggestions without comment.
    • Generate as many ideas as possible.