Assistive Technology (page 2)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 mandates that to ensure students receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams must consider the need for assistive technology when developing the IEP. Federal regulations for implementation of the provisions of IDEA 2004 state that schools must ensure assistive technology (AT) devices and/or services need to be made available to a child with a disability if required as a part of the child's special education; related services; or supplementary aids and services. When considering the need for assistive technology, it is important to understand the following terms.
Assistive Technology Device is defined in IDEA 2004 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 the functional cap- abilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
Assistive Technology Service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
The term includes:
- the evaluation of the needs of a child with a disability including a functional evaluation of the child in the child's customary environment;
- purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of a device;
- selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing AT devices;
- coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with AT devices;
- training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, that child's family; and
- training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services), employers, or other individuals who provide services to employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of that child.
The SETT Framework
When considering the need for assistive technology while developing a student's IEP, the Assistive Technology Team at the Arizona Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services (ADE/ESS) suggests that teams use a framework to guide consideration, such as the SETT. It is a guide that can be utilized when gathering data in order to make effective assistive technology decisions. The SETT acronym stands for Student, Environment, Tasks, and Tools.
The following are examples of the types of questions that IEP teams should be discussing when using the SETT Frame- work. During the discussion, thought should be given to the students needs identified in the five areas in the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) (social/emotional, physical, cognitive, communication, and academic) across all environments (e.g., classroom, playground, bus, etc.) in which the child functions.
- What are the students special needs?
- What are the students strengths?
- How does the student feel about technology?
- What materials and equipment are currently available in the environment?
- What is the physical arrangement?
- Are there special concerns?
- What is the instructional arrangement?
- What activities take place in the environment?
- What activities support the students curriculum?
- How might the activities be changed to accommodate the students special needs?
- How might technology support the students active participation in those activities?
- What no-tech, light-tech, and high-tech options should be considered when developing a system for a student with these needs and abilities doing these tasks in these environments?
- What strategies might be used to invite increased student performance?
- How might these tools be tried out with the student in the environments in whichthey will be used?
Supports for School Personnel
Teams should also determine the need for training of the student, staff, and family members to ensure the assistive technology is being utilized appropriately across environments. Who will do the training, as well as when and where it will occur should also be discussed. School staff may be able to provide the training or in some cases the company that sells the device can do the training.
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