Assistive Technology and the IEP/IFSP
Including Assistive Technology (AT) in the IEP/IFSP is important to student success. It should be a collaborative team effort to determine which types of AT would be most beneficial. Including AT wherever appropriate will ensure access to the assistive technology devices and services the student needs to access a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
In which sections of the IEP should assistive technology be documented?
- Special Considerations
- Present Levels
- Participation in State and Local Assessments
- Transition Services
- Annual Goals
- Program Modifications and Specially Designed Instruction
- Related Services
Know that it is your right as a parent to advocate for your child’s needs.
Requests for Assistive Technology evaluations should be in writing, dated, and sent to the entire school IEP team.
Who is on the IEP team?
The IEP team includes the parent(s) or legal guardians, a special education liaison (SEL special education teacher(s), general education teacher(s), and any related service providers who work with your child. Related service providers may include an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist, and others. A school psychologist may also be part of this team during an initial IEP meeting and during a re-evaluation. The student may also be a part of the IEP process and present at IEP meetings, particularly after age 14 when transition planning begins in Pennsylvania.
How long does the school have to respond to your request?
According to Pennsylvania state laws, the school must respond to written requests for evaluations within 60 days. Check out more tipsfo requesting in evaluation here
Connect the goals and objectives of the IEP/IFSP to the technology.
When assistive technology is a part of the child’s special education program, it will be indicated in the goals and objectives.
How should goals be written for assistive technology?
When writing annual goals, both academic and non-academic, it is important to include three components. First, the area of need. Second, the direction of change. And finally, the level of attainment. Also, it is critical to relate goals to the functional task that the child needs to complete. In some cases, the child will need training and instruction on the use of the assistive technology. In other cases, it will be a material that the child is using to achieve a specific objective. An augmentative communication device might be used under either of these conditions.
Get guidance before the meeting (from TechOWL, an SLP, OT, PT, Special Educator, an Advocate, etc.)
Going into an IEP/IFSP meeting can be an overwhelming task for a parent or guardian. You may not be sure how or when to ask for specific requests. You may also be fearful that the school team will oppose your request.
When should someone use an advocate?
In some cases, you may want to bring an advocate to speak on your behalf or provide support. A special education advocate can help parents write appropriate IEP / IFSP goals and objectives. They can suggest appropriate supports and accommodations. A special education advocate can go with parents to meetings and help in the negotiation process between parents and the school.
How can TechOWL help?
Before a meeting, families can reach out to our TechOWL team to ask questions and get clarification. They can also schedule device demonstrations or schedule 1:1 consults with our team of AT Experts.