AT Coordinator – David Farmer chairs the meetings and the representatives from each school are as follows:
The AT team meets quarterly to update the group on Assistive Technology issues. The AT Coordinator is also a member of the AT consortium which meets quarterly through the State DOE.
Assistive technology devices are identified in the IDEA 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 capabilities of children with disabilities. (Section 300.5)
The definition of an assistive technology device as provided in the IDEA is very broad and gives IEP teams the flexibility that they need to make decisions about appropriate assistive technology devices for individual students. Although the IDEA uses the term “device”, IEP teams should remember that assistive technology also includes assistive technology hardware and software. Assistive technology may also include technology solutions that are generally considered instructional technology tools, if they have been identified as educationally necessary and documented in the student’s IEP. For example, a classroom computer with a word processing program can be considered assistive technology for a student who demonstrates difficulty in writing and spelling if the IEP team has determined that it is educationally necessary.
Assistive technology devices are available in a variety of categories to address functional capabilities of students with disabilities. These categories include but are not limited to:
Academic and Learning Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as calculators, spell checkers, portable word processors, and computer-based software solutions that are used by a student who has difficulty achieving in his or her educational curriculum
Aids for Daily Living: Self-help aids for use in activities such as eating, bathing, cooking, dressing, toileting, and home maintenance
Assistive Listening Devices and Environmental Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as amplification devices, closed captioning systems, and environmental alert systems that assist a student who is hard of hearing or deaf with accessing information that is typically presented through an auditory modality
Augmentative Communication: Electronic and non-electronic devices and software solutions that provide a means for expressive and receptive communication for students with limited speech and language
Computer Access and Instruction: Input and output devices, alternative access aids, modified or alternative keyboards, switches, special software, and other devices and software solutions that enable a student with a disability to use the classroom computer
Environmental Control: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as switches, environmental control units, and adapted appliances that are used by a student with a physical disability to increase his or her independence across all areas of the curriculum
Mobility Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as wheelchairs (manual and electronic), walkers, scooters that are used to increase personal mobility
Pre-vocational and Vocational Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as picture-based task analysis sheets, adapted knobs, and adapted timers and watches that are used to assist a student in completing pre-vocational and vocational tasks
Recreation and Leisure Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as adapted books, switch adapted toys, and leisure computer-based software applications that are used by a student with a disability to increase his or participation and independence in recreation and leisure activities
Seating and Positioning: Adaptive seating systems and positioning devices that provide students with optimal positioning to enhance participation and access to the curriculum
Visual Aids: Electronic and non-electronic aids such as magnifiers, talking calculators, Braille writers, adapted tape players, screen reading software applications for the computer, and Braille note-taking devices that assist a student with a visual impairment or blindness to access and produce information that is typically present in a visual (print) modality (Adapted from the Assistive Technology Guidelines for Kentucky Schools, Kentucky Department of Education)
A particular student with a disability may require assistive technology solutions from one or more of the above categories. For example, a student with a severe intellectual disability may use an augmentative communication device to supplement his or her communication skills, adaptive switch toys to participate in leisure activities, and an adapted keyboard for accessing the software applications on the classroom computer.
The above listed categories of assistive technology devices are not disability specific. For example, a student with a learning disability who has difficulty focusing on the teacher’s lecture in class due to processing difficulties may require an assistive listening device to amplify the teacher’s voice in a classroom. Students with various types of disabilities use adapted tape recorders originally developed for visually impaired and blind children to access audio-taped reading materials.
The need for assistive technology devices is determined by the student’s IEP committee. Typically, assistive technology solutions are identified through consideration of assistive technology or through an assistive technology assessment. Once an assistive technology device has been determined educationally necessary, the student’s IEP team should document the required device(s) in the IEP. Information on considering and assessing the need for assistive technology devices and documenting assistive technology devices is included in subsequent sections of this manual.
Reference: Georgia Project for Assistive Technology www.gpat.org