Assistive Tech for Professionals
AT for the IEP
Why should all educators learn about AT and the IEP?
- Meet obligations in serving students with disabilities, including transition
- Serve as an informed advocate for the provision of appropriate AT devices AND services for students with disabilities
- Understand IDEA legal/administrative requirements
- Use the IEP as a tool to support the provision of appropriate AT devices AND services for students with disabilities
Consideration of Special Factors
- Positive Behavioral Interventions
- Language needs of a child with IEP
- Braille instruction as appropriate
- Communication needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
- Whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services
AT in Education
When do we consider Assistive Technology?
Consideration for Assistive technology should occur as part of the IEP meeting and should be included in the initial comprehension evaluation.
In addition, Assistive tech needs to be a part of:
- three-year evaluations
- planning accommodations for "high stakes testing"
- transition planning for considering post-school like (and summer break!)
Integrating Assistive Technology into the Classroom
- Trial Implementation Plans: Decide if AT will improve independence over a 2-6 week time period
- Full Implementation Plans:
- Tasks Supported by Technology
- Frequency of Use
- Location of Use
- Training/Supports Needed
- Staff Responsible/Implementation Team
- How will data be collected?
- Professional Development and Universal Design for Learning!!!
The SETT Framework
- S = Student
- This process should be student-centered.
- What are the needs of the student?
- What has been already working for the student?
- What are the student's strengths and challenges?
- Where could the student use assistance?
- E = Environment(s)
- Who or what structures are in place to support the students learning in school?
- Who or what structures are in place to support the students learning at home?
- T = Tasks
- What specific learning tasks are challenging for the student?
- In the task, what aspects of the task present challenges?
- T = Tools
- This is the fun part... THE TECH!
- First, deduce from the first three steps some possible tools/devices that could feasibly work.
- Test, test, and test. It is paramount that the technologies are tested out and feedback from the student about the technology is very important. If the device does not work, then the student should not continue trying to use it.
Critical elements include collaboration, communication, multiple perspectives, pertinent information, shared knowledge, flexibility, on-going process
AT for All
AT is expensive and sometimes it is overwhelming finding the correct technology to purchase without ever testing it.
Luckily, there are 2 resources available to educators in Pennsylvania that we recommend that you consider.
TechOWL's Assistive Technology Lending Library - This is a resource available to all Pennsylvanians in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. You can loan up to 5 devices for 3 weeks at a time. The item(s) are shipped to your door and picked up by UPS for free. Someone just needs to be there to receive the package.
PATTAN - This is the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network which also has an assistive technology library just for teachers and educators in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PATTAN allows teachers to bottow up to 5 items for 6 weeks at a time.
Transition into independence
A big issue that we have seen is that many students receive technologies and help in school, but post-school transitions sometimes leave out the technologies that helped those students become so independent. We always recommend finding a way to allow student access to those technologies in post-school life. Some questions to consider:
- What AT do I use now that I will continue to need?
- Who will pay?
- Where will I find services?
- What AT will I need for independent living, work, or college?