Who Qualifies to Conduct an Assistive Technology Assessment?

Assistive technology evaluations are typically conducted by school staff, such as special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. But what qualifications should this person have? Evaluating assistive technology is a team process that involves assessing students' learning needs and the benefits of assistive technology (AT) to support those needs. This article 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. It is important to discard any assistive technology that the student is not comfortable with, that does not meet the designated need, or that is not well suited to the environment.

When conducting an assistive technology evaluation, it is important to consider the state licensing or certification standards for assistive technology specialists or other qualified professionals in related fields, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, or rehabilitation engineering. A proper evaluation process determines the best assistive technology tools for a student while avoiding the purchase of outdated equipment and unnecessary costs. Cost, reliability, and the level of technical support required are also factors when evaluating assistive technology. The family doctor, a psychologist, and specialists or providers of assistive technology may also be part of the team.

For special education students, the Education for People with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams consider assistive technology to meet the needs of students. Every team that makes decisions about assistive technology must include five basic components. Evaluations are usually conducted by assistive technology specialists who have special knowledge and experience. The VA DOE Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU has identified seven indicators of an AT quality evaluation.

Violet Martin
Violet Martin

Professional social media guru. Amateur music fan. Coffee lover. Proud twitter scholar. Lifelong zombie aficionado.

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