Assistive technology (AT) is an invaluable tool for helping students with disabilities reach their learning goals. Evaluating the need for AT and determining the best type of technology for a student is a team process that requires careful consideration. This comprehensive guide will provide 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. The SETT procedure (Students, Environments, Tasks, and Tools) developed by Joy Zabala is a widely used approach to assessing the need for AT.
This process involves evaluating the student's current levels of performance, the list of special education and related services, the list of complementary aids and services, the list of accommodations and modifications required, and the list of adaptations and modifications needed to participate in district and state evaluations. Additionally, the WATI Consideration Guide, the John Hopkins University Consideration Process, the GPAT (Georgia Assistive Technology Project) consideration checklist, and QIAT (Quality Indicators for Considering AT Needs) are all useful resources for assessing AT needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of AT in providing access to FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). When developing, reviewing, or revising a child's IEP, it is essential to consider if the child needs assistive technology devices and services.
Parents may also have questions about technology they may have seen or heard of and about how their children can use or benefit from that technology. Assistive technology assessment is a complex process that requires careful consideration. By following this guide and utilizing the available resources, special education teams or AT team coordinators can ensure that students with disabilities receive the support they need to reach their learning goals.