Who Decides What Assistive Technology is Appropriate for a Student?

The school's IEP team is responsible for deciding what assistive technology tools each student needs. The team makes these decisions using the SETT Framework, which involves an evaluation process that takes into account the student's strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and strategies for interacting with them. It is important to consider the different environments in which the student will use the technology, such as at home, school, or in public places like libraries or shopping malls. The perspectives of family members, teachers, and the student themselves must be taken into account.

If the IEP team determines that a student needs assistive technology, they may ask a specialist to evaluate them to determine what type of technology is best for their individual needs. Parents can also request an AT evaluation if the school does not mention it. Assistive technology (including devices, software, recordings, and more) can increase, maintain, or improve the abilities of people with disabilities in both educational and workplace settings. Occupational therapy and assistive technology evaluations may be needed for children with poor handwriting.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is responsible for creating agreements between it and non-educational public agencies to ensure that students receive the special education or related services, complementary aids and services, and transition services that are necessary to provide them with FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), including assistive technology devices and services. The Northwest Access Fund (formerly known as the Washington Access Fund) provides loans for assistive technology and accessibility modifications for homes and vehicles. An assistive technology evaluation may include a functional evaluation of the student at school or at home. LD Online Technology is an excellent source of information on “low tech” and “high tech” technology and tools.

The VA DOE Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU has identified seven indicators for an AT quality evaluation. A study has shown that assistive technology used by a team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and educators has a significant impact in helping students with disabilities achieve their academic goals. If after a reevaluation there is still disagreement about the needs for assistive technology and the student's parents believe that the school evaluation was inadequate or did not address their needs, they have the right to request an independent evaluation of the student. Examples of assistive technology devices and services offered as special education designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability include a voice-activated computer and training for the student and teacher to use it.

Even those who do not qualify for special education under IDEA may be entitled to receive assistive technology under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The IEP team makes decisions about technology, devices, and support services based on each student's unique needs so they can be more confident and independent.

Violet Martin
Violet Martin

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

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