Assistive technology (AT) is a powerful tool that can help children with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life, from home to school and community. It also helps them access their right to adequate and free public education in the least restrictive environment. To ensure that students with disabilities get the most out of AT, it is important to evaluate their needs and choose the right tool for them. This article provides an overview of the evaluation and referral steps that special education teams or AT team coordinators can use to plan, implement, and track AT needs and student progress.In accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, it is important to be aware of the accessibility of technology.
The Student, Environments, Tasks and Tools (SETT) framework was developed to help school teams gather the information needed to make decisions about the assistive technology needs of their students. This framework can be used to perform an evaluation, as well as to choose the right assistive technology tool for the student.The SETT framework consists of four components: student, environment, tasks, and tools. The student component includes information about the student's abilities, interests, and learning style. The environment component includes information about the physical environment in which the student will use the AT device or service.
The tasks component includes information about what tasks the student needs to be able to do with the AT device or service. Finally, the tools component includes information about what type of AT device or service is needed to meet the student's needs.Once all of this information has been gathered, it is important to analyze it and develop an action plan. This plan should be incorporated into the IEP as consideration documentation for the assistive technology that will be used to meet the appropriate educational needs of the student in the least restrictive environment (LRE).It is also important to remember that considering assistive technology and evaluating its role in a student's educational program are an ongoing process. Ike Presley provides guidance on how often students should be reevaluated and resources to keep up to date with assistive technologies.In addition to evaluating a student's needs and choosing an appropriate AT device or service, it is also important to consider other interventions that may be needed.
This can include a variety of interventions achieved through strategies or modifications that are not normally considered to be assistive technology.Finally, decisions about the use of an AT device or service in other environments outside of school should be made on an individual basis. It is important for IEP teams to consider all aspects of a student's life when making decisions about AT.