Assistive technology (AT) can be an invaluable component in the lives of individuals with disabilities. This technology is effective for preschool through adult populations and can be used to positively affect a student’s life skill areas of: communication, mobility, education, recreation, vocation, independence and therapy.
Assistive Technology is defined as any item, piece of equipment, or product system acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified or customized, used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
AT includes devices that are considered “low tech” or “high tech”. AT covers a wide range of equipment such as adapted toys, switches, amplification systems, augmentative communication systems, or visual aids.
AT services are facilitated or provided through the Assistive Technology Team and may include the following:
- Evaluation of student’s needs
- Facilitating the acquisition of the AT devices
- Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, repairing, or replacing AT devices.
- Coordinating and using other interventions and services with the device.
- Training the student to use the device.
- Training or providing technical assistance for professionals.
HOW TO DETERMINE IF A STUDENT IS IN NEED OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY?
The Case Conference Committee may request an Assistive Technology Evaluation. This request is then forwarded to the Assistive Technology Team. The team conducts the evaluation, devices may be explored on a trial basis to determine how effective they are. As part of the evaluation teacher and parent input is obtained. The completed AT report is submitted to the Case Conference Committee. This enables the Case Conference Committee to make an informed, appropriate decision regarding AT needs and services. The AT team is available for follow-up consultation.
The AT team works in a collaborative manner. The expertise of professionals especially trained in the areas of fine and gross motor, mobility, speech and language development, vision, and audio logy merge to provide a viable AT resource to students, staff, and parents.
Through the dedication and hard work of the Assistive Technology Team and the collaboration with the Case Conference Committee/ IEP teams many students with disabilities are benefiting from AT devices by improving their ability to learn, compete, work, and interact with others.
The decision to provide AT to a student with a disability is made by the Case Conference Committee.