What Parents & Students Need to Know

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1 Assistive Technology in the IEP What Parents & Students Need to Know July 9 th, 2011 Jill Castle Educational Consultant

2 What Is Assistive Technology? IDEA defines Assistive Technology as:...any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. [20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Section 1401 (25)].

3 Did you know? Special Education Law further defines Assistive Technology in terms of both devices and services.

4 Assistive Technology Devices Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. IDEA 04

5 All states have AT lending libraries State Departments of Education Technology Assistance programs through state Medicaid systems

6 Assistive Technology Services...any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. Evaluation and selection of assistive technology system Purchasing, leasing, or acquiring devices Training and technical assistance for the individual, family/ caregiver and school personnel

7 AT in the IEP Assistive Technology must be considered at every IEP meeting, regardless of the type or severity of the student s disability.

8 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities Applies to all programs that receive federal funds, including the public school system Students with disabilities must be given the same opportunities to participate in educational programs and activities as their classmates, and the use of AT may be considered as an accommodation. If a child does not qualify for special education services, they may be able to acquire AT through a 504 plan.

9 Assistive Technology Categories Reading Learning/Studying Math Written Expression Motor Aspects of Writing Computer Access Communication Positioning & Seating Vision Hearing Recreation Mobility Activities of Daily Living Control of the Environment

10 So, what AT do students with DMD need?

11 The SETT Framework (Zabala, 1995) Step 1 Student present levels of academic and functional performance and evaluation data Step 2 Step 3 Environment where the student will make progress toward mastering the curriculum goals and objectives Tasks and objectives that address the student s needs within the general curriculum Step 4 Tools/AT devices and services required for the student to make progress toward the objectives

12 SETT is an ongoing process Student Tools Environment Tasks

13 The Assistive Technology Continuum No /low tech Mid tech High Tech

14 What if I think my child needs Assistive Technology? Do discuss in the context of an IEP meeting Don t wait for the annual IEP Do request based on your child s abilities Don t request based on disability or category of eligibility

15 Advocacy Conversations Advocacy Conversations based on Assistive Technology Advocacy with the permission of the author. Edyburn, David Assistive Technology Advocacy Journal of Special Education Technology Practice, March/April

16 Advocacy Conversations School official: We ve considered your child s need for AT and have determined that s/he will not benefit Parent: I would like to review the documentation that supports your decision. In particular, I would like to see the data regarding performance with Assistive Technology and without.

17 Advocacy Conversations School official: We are not authorized to make a decision about AT Parent: I m disappointed to hear that. I guess we will need to adjourn the meeting until an appropriate administrator is here.

18 Advocacy Conversations School official: We re not even sure what kind of Assistive Technology is out there Parent: What steps will you take to fulfill the consideration mandate?.

19 Advocacy Conversations School official: Well, your student doesn't need a computer or anything like that, so we ll just check the no box Parent: When considering Assistive Technology, we should begin at the no tech/low tech end and work our way up until we find the possible solutions. So we don t know yet whether or not student needs a computer, and even if s/he doesn t, that doesn t mean he wouldn t benefit from some other AT tool.

20 Advocacy Conversations School official: We will provide some specialized technology but there s no need to write it into the IEP Parent: I am pleased to hear that Assistive Technology will be provided. However, to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected, our plan for acquiring and using AT should be written into the IEP.

21 Advocacy Conversations School official: We don t want him to become dependent on a text-reader how will he ever learn to read? Parent: Based on student's IEP goals related to reading, I am confident she will continue to progress in her reading skills. But in the meantime, student doesn't have the independent reading skills to meet grade level expectations. How will she access large amounts of text without a text reader?

22 Advocacy Conversations School official: It s not clear that student actually does better with the technology Parent: I would like to see the data that supports such a conclusion. Typically, we need to review performance data over time, with and without the technology, to come to such a conclusion.

23 Advocacy Conversations School official: We can t afford that! Parent: Cost cannot be condiered as a factor in AT consideration. If you would like to propose a lower cost item that has the same features we have identified as necessary for student, I would be willing to try it.

24 Advocacy Conversations School official: Student refuses to use the AT Parent: There are many factors that can lead to the abandonment of Assistive Technology. Can we talk about why student is not wanting to use it? If we can figure that out, then we ll be in a good position to figure out what to do next.

25 Advocacy Conversations School official: Your child isn t the only one struggling with Parent: I can appreciate your concern, but my primary interest is in the success of my child. As a result, what are you gong to do to ensure that my child has access to the AT he needs to be successful?.

26 Contact Information Jill Castle Special Education & Behavior Consultant

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