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Best Practices in Assistive Technology

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has issued new guidance, expressing expectations and best practices for how to promote more inclusive learning experiences for all children and youth with disabilities. Myths and Facts Surrounding Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Resource to Guide AT Consideration Discussions:  AT Consideration Guide   

The US Department of Education released the document entitled Myths and Facts Surrounding AT Devices and Services. The first myth/fact clearly states that “each time an IEP Team develops, reviews, or revises a child’s IEP, the IEP Team must consider whether the child requires AT devices and services.

MYTH 1: Assistive Technology (AT) should only be considered at some individualized education program (IEP) Team meetings.

FACT: Each time an IEP Team develops, reviews, or revises a child’s IEP, the IEP Team must consider whether the child requires AT devices and services.

“Further, when an IEP Team determines AT devices and services are required to enable the child to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE), the local educational agency (LEA) is responsible for providing and maintaining the AT device and providing any necessary AT service. The IEP Team has discretion in determining the type of AT device and service that the child needs to receive meaningful educational benefit. Specifically, IEPs must include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, which may include AT devices and services, based on
peer-reviewed research, to the extent practicable, that will allow the child to: (i) advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals in a child’s IEP; (ii) be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; (iii) participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and (iv) be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and non-disabled children.”

Assistive Technology (AT) Consideration & Assessment
Does your district have clear procedures for AT Consideration & AT Assessment?
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AT Consideration

Occurs within the IEP meeting.

Completed with existing data from levels of perfomance.

AT Consideration Process
Key question: Does the student require AT to make progress on annual goals and/or to have equitable access to the general education curriculum?

AT Consideration in the IEP
The need for Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services is one of the special considerations that IEP teams MUST address in developing or reviewing the IEP.

AT Assessment

Completed over a span of days, weeks, or months and occurs outside of the IEP meeting.

Involves gathering new data over multiple interactions with the student and team members & it includes trials of assistive technology.

AT Assessment Process
1. Gather Data
2. Determine what AT to trial
3. Trial AT & gather data
4. Decide if AT is required

Definition of AT Assessment:
“The evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the child in the child’s customary environment” that helps with the selection & acquisition of AT. ~IDEA

Special Education Technology Center (SETC)
Supporting Educators & Parents with Technology Tools to Make Learning Accessible

Web Resources for Best Practices in Assistive Technology for Education

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SETC QIAT Book Study Series