Agenda. Purpose. To be able to answer “What is AT?” To understand when AT needs to be considered To learn some new AT tools and strategies. Introduction Overview of AT Presentation Questions & Answers. Introduction to Assistive Technology. Using Technology.
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Why Would Anyone Use Technology?
… to accomplish tasks that would be difficult or impossible to accomplish without assistance where the tasks need to be done in the available time with the available resources
A system of no tech, low tech, and high tech tools, strategies, and services that match a person's needs, abilities, and tasks
Phonemes are the building blocks of language. Represented by letters of the alphabet, they are the component sounds of spoken words. Most people automatically hear, for example, that the word "goat" is made up of three sounds: "guh," "oh," and "tuh." Reading requires the ability to map the phonemes we hear to letters on a page, and vice versa. But what happens when this basic skill, called decoding, doesn't come automatically? Imagine struggling to sound out every word because you can't distinguish among phonemes.
Phoneme translation key:
Read the passage aloud to yourself -- or to a roomful of your peers! (Here's that translation key again.)
When you see
qzpbysa, as in bate, as in pet
d or tmbpere, as in peta, as in bat
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 functional capabilities of children with disabilities.
Assistive Technology Service:
Any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device.
Use a dynamic, ongoing process of information gathering and decision-making.
Trials should be conducted before determining if an AT device is appropriate.
Take into account the required tasks within various instructional areas across all relevant environments
Match device features to student’s capabilities, interests and needs
Evaluate the student’s AT needs including addressing barriers to student’s performance
Team must have knowledge and experience with AT; may consult with other district personnel, use outside agencies or vendors, but the final decision rests with the IEP team
Consideration and training are ongoing processes
Factors which may influence the process:
Change in the environment
Change in the student needs/skills/preferences
There are no guarantees: it is important to realize the solution reached at one point in time may not be appropriate later!
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Assistive Technology Act
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Section 508 of the Rehab Act
Guarantees all children with disabilities the benefit of a free appropriate public education (FAPE)
Services defined in the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
AT must be “considered” for every student during the development of the IEP
AT that is needed must be provided at no cost to the individual or family
LOW TECH: Equipment and other supports readily available in schools, including off-the-shelf items to accommodate the needs of the students, which can be provided by general/special education through the Student Study Team/IEP processes (e.g., calculator, tape recorder, pencil grip, large pencils)
HIGH TECH: Supports and services beyond basic assistive technology, often for students with low incidence and/or significant/severe disabilities, which require more in-depth assessment (e.g., closed circuit television (CCTV), FM systems, sound field systems, augmentative communication devices, alternative computer access, and specialized software)
The Assistive Technology Team is made up of anyone that interacts with the student:
Teachers and paraprofessionals,
Other Specialists – speech, OT, Physical
Other agencies such as the Regional Center, CCS, outside assessors.
However! AT decisions are made by the student’s IEP team.
Team membership is flexible and team members are selected basedon thespecificneedsoftheindividual withdisabilities
“That was wonderful, Leonard, but according to our earlier assessments, you are not able to do that.”
… to help collaborative teams create
that foster the educational success of
students with disabilities
The person who is the central focus of the AT process.
The person for whom everyone involved in any part of the AT service provision is an advocate.
The customary environments in which the student is (or can be) expected to learn and grow
The specific things that the student needs to be able to do to reach expectations and make educational progress
The supports and services needed by the student and others for the student to do in tasks in order to meet expectations
Think goals and TASKS
AT does not have to be expensive or complicated
AT can be anything that assists a person with a disability
Battery Operated Kerosene Pump
Adapted for switch access
Total device cost - under $10
Plant Watering Device
Think Outside the BOX!!!
Books with audio or electronic formats
Text Reading Software
Writing with Symbols
Speech to Text
Two-way Text pagers
Screen Reading Software
Is an emerging area.
Youtube closed captioning
Text to speech
Documentation should support why a specific device or services is being selected, based on established criteria, for the specific needs of the individual child
Document any specific conditions/environments in which the use of the device will be necessary (i.e., home, school, community)
Address whether or not parents will be held liable for loss, theft or damage to a device beyond normal wear and tear, if the device is going home
Does the student require assistive technology devices and/or services? No Yes (specify) ______________________
A: It is the responsibility of the school district to provide the equipment, services, or programs identified in the IEP. However, the district may pay, utilize other resources to provide and/or pay for it, or cooperatively fund the device and/or services. Other resources may include, but are not limited to, Medi-Cal, foundations, church or social groups, charitable organizations, businesses, and individuals.
Q: Are schools required to pay for AT and services?
A: No, the “free” in FAPE is extremely significant regarding students with disabilities; IDEA requires that all special education and related services identified in the IEP must be provided “at no cost to the parent.”
Q: Can schools require parents to pay for AT devices or services identified in the IEP or require parents to use their own private health insurance
A: The student needs to have reasonable access to the device. So, if it is written that a student needs to have text to speech to assist with reading and writing, having access to the classroom computer would meet FAPE.
Q: If a device is written into an IEP, does that mean that it is for the sole use of the student or does the student just have to have access to the device?
Q: Can the student take the AT device owned by the school home?
A: Yes, if the IEP team determines that the student needs access to an AT device at home to implement the educational program. For example, a student with a physical disability may not be able to complete homework assignments without access to a calculator at home.
A: If an assistive device is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the student’s IEP, such a device must be provided in the school the student attends. The same device may not necessarily follow the student from one school to another, but a comparable device that fulfills the IEP requirements will be needed in the new school.
Q: Does the device follow the student when he/she transitions from elementary to middle school and on to high school?
Q: Does the student have access to AT aids and services if they are eligible for extended school year services?
A: Yes, if the IEP team determined that the assistive technology is needed as part of the extended school year services.
Q: Is a school district responsible for providing “state-of-the-art” equipment for the student?
A: No. However, the school must provide appropriate technology for the student’s needs to ensure a FAPE. The decision is an IEP team responsibility and should be based on the AT evaluation. If a less expensive device would accomplish the same goals, the IEP team is under no obligation to choose a more expensive option.
Q: Are schools responsible for customization, maintenance, repair, and replacement of AT devices?
A: AT services are included as considerations in the acquisition of equipment or devices purchased/provided by the school. If family-owned AT is used by the school and listed in the IEP as necessary for providing FAPE, the school might also be responsible for maintenance, repair, and replacement. Responsibilities for these services should be discussed in the IEP notes or the meeting document.
Q: Under what circumstances may AT be considered a related service?
A: AT can be a related service if the service is necessary for the student to benefit from his/her education.
NOTE: Training of staff and parents would be consultation services and must be documented on the student’s IEP.
A: No, IEP teams have the responsibility to determine a student’s need for AT and of specifying the devices and services needed. It is important that IEP teams are informed of this requirement to determine if a student needs an AT device and the need for an AT consultation to assist in making the determination.
Q: Can the IEP team refuse to consider AT devices on the IEP?
AT is a tool for access (e.g., school environment, core curriculum) and for independence (e.g., communication, mobility) and will change as the student’s needs change and as technology continues to change.
The need for AT should be an integral part of a comprehensive assessment for students with disabilities in all areas related to their disabilities, as appropriate, for each student and must be considered by the IEP team or 504 Coordinator, based upon the student's assessed educational needs and strengths.