East Williamson County Cooperative
Assistive Technology Services Quick Guide
Assistive Technology (AT) consideration should be directly related to a specific goal(s) that a student is having difficulty achieving. The process begins with a collaboration between the instructor and the AT provider in the form of a consultation. Should consultation prove ineffective, a formal AT Evaluation should be performed.
There is a difference between a consultation and an evaluation. The consult is an informal brainstorming session that identifies existing tools and strategies that can and should be used. The evaluation is a formal, comprehensive assessment, that is conducted by a team that will usually include related services specialists, therapy providers, teachers and assistive technology staff, as well as the student and family. The team will use the SETT process for the evaluation: addressing factors regarding the Student, Environment, Task(s) to enable a best match to a Tool(s). Tasks might include positioning, accessibility, mobility, vision, hearing, activities of daily living, and of course reading, writing, math, study skills, etc.
The ARDC/IEP Team will identify present levels of performance, strengths and challenges that will determine the need for assistive technology. AT Services begin with a consultation first to determine if there is technology already available that may work. A consultation is any communication that results in strategies to assist the student or that generates the need to identify AT sources available.
A classroom consultation can address the general availability of AT support for one or all students. These supports could be a list of interventions or tools that the teacher could implement in the classroom, again, for one or multiple/all students. A student consultation requires information on present levels of performance and the targeted goal. If the consultation will result in direct observations of and contact with a specific student, permissions must be obtained from the parents.
Consultation Considerations List
- A student is struggling with an educational goal as documented by collected data, or a member of the ARDC/IEP team believes additional technology may support a student.
- The educator/specialist contacts AT.
- Consult meeting is scheduled with educators/specialists. All can be included.
- Discuss student strengths, areas of concern, and tools and strategies already available or previously tried. Generate recommendations. Plan for classroom or student observation, as needed.
- The educator decides which strategies to try and in what order. Training will be provided as needed for devices or programs.
- Data is collected on student progress toward achieving the educational goals.
- The AT provider will provide a summary report of activities.
Assistive Technology Evaluation
The ARDC/IEP team members will collect specific data that will be used to create a baseline or PLAAFP for the targeted deficits. The teacher will evaluate educational performance, OT/PT will evaluate motor and positioning, SLP communication, etc. Data will be collected using observations, trial success and anecdotal information for each device or strategy that is tried. The ARDC/IEP team members will be part of the Assistive Technology Evaluation Team.
AT Evaluation Request Guidelines
- Data shows that the student is not making sufficient progress and every tool and strategy available in the student’s customary environment has been exhausted as a possible intervention.
- The educator has implemented known interventions.
- ARDC/IEP team recommends an evaluation.
- The student or parent indicates that there is technology that they think would help.
- The consultation recommends that more information is needed and suggests an evaluation.
AT Evaluation Request Required Information
- Has an AT consultation been conducted?
- Which goal(s) has the student demonstrated difficulty in achieving?
- Describe the tools and strategies already used to address the goal(s) targeted for assistive technology support.
- Are there any additional factors affecting student progress?
- What are the best times to observe the student working on the targeted goals?
The use of Assistive Technology is an Accommodation and not a Goal. AT is not the latest or coolest gadget. AT is a tool that gives a student access to FAPE. Consideration of AT is an ongoing process and remains centered on a student’s individual needs.
The AT Evaluation will be conducted within the framework of the Dynamic Assistive Technology Evaluation (DATE) developed by Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN) at ESC 4. The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (W.A.T.I.) will be used as the evaluation guide. The team will meet to evaluate the data and make recommendations. The assistive technology provider will compile the information and generate the final evaluation.
Instructions for an AT evaluation are available on the TATN website in the form of slideshows and speaker notes. Additional resources are available from the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (W.A.T.I.), the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology and ISTE (Christopher R. Bugaj, Sally Norton-Darr).