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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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  • 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
using technology
Using Technology

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

what is assistive technology
What is Assistive Technology?

A system of no tech, low tech, and high tech tools, strategies, and services that match a person's needs, abilities, and tasks

reading fact
Reading Fact
  • Roughly 85% of children diagnosed with learning difficulties have a primary problem with reading and related language skills.
  • Reading difficulties are neurodevelopmental in nature.
  • Neurodevelopmental problems don't go away, but they do not mean that a student (or an adult) cannot learn or progress in school and life.
  • Most children with reading difficulties can be taught reading and strategies for success in school.
  • When children's reading problems are identified early, they are more likely to learn strategies that will raise their reading to grade level.
decoding activity recognizing phonemes
Decoding Activity: Recognizing Phonemes

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.

Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with this phoneme translation key. Then use it to read the passage on the next page.

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

Pronounce as

qzpbysa, as in bate, as in pet

d or tmbpere, as in peta, as in bat

what is assistive technology idea 20 u s c section 1401 includes the following definitions
What is Assistive Technology?IDEA (20 U.S.C. Section 1401) includes the following definitions:

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

considerations cont
Considerations (cont.)

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

New technology

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

the individuals with disabilities education act idea 2004
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004)

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

at concepts
AT Concepts
  • Assistive Technology is essentially a legal term related to use and need, not to specific items
  • Includes a broad range of possible devices and services
  • Not always something to be acquired
at concepts1
AT Concepts
  • Categories of tools that can be AT if required by a student for FAPE
    • Assistive Technology
    • Instructional Technology
    • Universally Designed Technology
    • Universally Designed Instruction (UDL)
functional capabilities
Functional Capabilities
  • Reading
  • Written Expression
  • Math
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Recreation
  • Daily organization
  • Seating/Positioning
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Self-Care
  • Mobility
  • Behavior
  • Specific task-related skills
continuum from low to high tech
Continuum from Low to High Tech



Low Tech

Mid Tech

High Tech


*Some Maintenance

*Complex Electronics

*Little Maintenance

*Some training

*More training

*Limited/No Electronics

*More Electronics

*More Maintenance

low and high tech
Low and High Tech

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)


low and high tech cont
Low and High Tech (cont.)

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.

the most important team membership issue
TheMOST IMPORTANT Team Membership Issue

Team membership is flexible and team members are selected basedon thespecificneedsoftheindividual withdisabilities

gather data from a variety of sources
Gather data from a variety of sources...

“That was wonderful, Leonard, but according to our earlier assessments, you are not able to do that.”

the sett framework
The SETT Framework





the goal of sett framework
The Goal of SETT Framework

… to help collaborative teams create

Student-centered (Self),

Environmentally-useful, and


Tool systems

that foster the educational success of

students with disabilities

the student self
The Student/Self

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

critical elements of the sett framework
Critical Elements of the SETT Framework



Multiple Perspectives

Pertinent information

Shared Knowledge


On-going Processes

feature matching
Feature Matching
  • Individual
    • Needs
    • Abilities
    • Expectations
    • Environments
    • Future Plans
  • Technology
    • Features
    • Input/User Interface
    • Processing
    • Output
quality indicators for eight areas
Quality Indicators for Eight Areas
  • Administrative Support
  • Consideration
  • Assessment
  • IEP Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation of Effectiveness
  • Transition
  • Professional Development
major categories of assistive technology devices
Major Categories of Assistive Technology Devices
  • Computer Access
  • AAC
  • AT for People with Learning Disabilities
  • AT for People with Sensory Impairments
  • Low Tech Solutions Creative Thinking
  • Seating/Positioning
  • Mobility Aids
  • ADL / EADL
  • Recreation

For whom? Think STUDENT or SELF

For where?


For what?

Think goals and TASKS

Thinking about


at is everywhere
AT is Everywhere!!

AT does not have to be expensive or complicated

AT can be anything that assists a person with a disability

example of creative thinking
Example of Creative Thinking

Battery Operated Kerosene Pump

Adapted for switch access

Total device cost - under $10

Plant Watering Device


Think Outside the BOX!!!



output modalities
Output Modalities
  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Combination
  • Interface
  • Tactile

Reading Support

Writing Assistants

Organizational Assistants

Math/Spelling Supports

at reading support
AT – Reading Support

Color Highlighting

Books with audio or electronic formats

Reading Pen

Text Reading Software

at low tech writing assistants
AT Low Tech - Writing Assistants

Slant Board

Magnetic Words



Pencil Grips

Raised Paper


at mid tech writing assistants
ATMid Tech – Writing Assistants
  • Writing Correction
    • Franklin Dictionary
  • Portable Word Processors
      • Neo/Alphasmart
      • Fusion
      • DreamWriter
at high tech writing assistants
AT High Tech - Writing Assistants


Classroom Suite

Clicker 5

Writing with Symbols

Speech to Text

at high tech writing assistants1
AT - High Tech Writing Assistants


Draft Builder

at organizational assistants
AT Organizational Assistants

Color Coding

Object Calendars


Voice Diaries

Two-way Text pagers

Electronic Calendars

at math supports
AT Math Supports

Portable Calculators

Money Calculator

Graphing Calculator

Spell Checkers

Graphing Software

access to multimedia materials
Access to Multimedia Materials

CD Player

Audio Description


Cassette Tapes

access to computers speech output
Access to ComputersSpeech Output

Voice synthesis

Screen Reading Software

internet accessibility
Internet Accessibility

Is an emerging area.

Youtube closed captioning

Text to speech


documenting at in the iep
Documenting AT in the IEP

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

documenting in iep
Make sure and consider AT for every student with an IEP!Documenting in IEP


Does the student require assistive technology devices and/or services? 􀂆 No 􀂆 Yes (specify) ______________________


common questions about at
Common Questions about AT

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?

common questions about at cont
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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

common questions about at cont1
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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?

common questions about at cont2
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

common questions about at cont3
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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?

common questions about at cont4
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

common questions about at cont5
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

common questions about at cont6
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

common questions about at cont7
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

common questions about at cont8
Common Questions about AT (cont.)

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.

summary cont
Summary (cont.)

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.