Indicator 1: Consideration of AT Needs

Quality Indicators for Consideration of Assistive Technology Needs

Consideration of the need for AT devices and services is an integral part of the educational process contained in IDEA for referral, evaluation, and IEP development. Although AT is considered at all stages of the process, the Consideration Quality Indictors are specific to the consideration of AT in the development of the IEP as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In most instances, the Quality Indicators are also appropriate for the consideration of AT for students who qualify for services under other legislation (e.g., 504, ADA).

1. Assistive technology devices and services are considered for all students with disabilities regardless of type or severity of disability.

Intent:  Consideration of assistive technology need is required by IDEA and is based on the unique educational needs of the student. Students are not excluded from consideration of AT for any reason. (e.g., type of disability, age, administrative concerns).

2.   During the development of an individualized educational program, every IEP team consistently uses a collaborative decision-making process that supports systematic consideration of each student’s possible need for assistive technology devices and services.

Intent: A collaborative process that ensures that all IEP teams effectively consider the assistive technology of students is defined, communicated, and consistently used throughout the agency.  Processes may vary from agency to agency to most effectively address student needs under local conditions.

3.  IEP team members have the collective knowledge and skills needed to make informed assistive technology decisions and seek assistance when needed.

Intent:  IEP team members combine their knowledge and skills to determine if assistive technology devices and services are needed to remove barriers to student performance. When the assistive technology needs are beyond the knowledge and scope of the IEP team, additional resources and support are sought.

4.   Decisions regarding the need for assistive technology devices and services are based on the student’s IEP goals and objectives, access to curricular and extracurricular activities, and progress in the general education curriculum.

Intent:  As the IEP team determines the tasks the student needs to complete and develops the goals and objectives, the team considers whether assistive technology is required to accomplish those tasks.

5.   The IEP team gathers and analyzes data about the student, customary environments, educational goals, and tasks when considering a student’s need for assistive technology devices and services.

Intent: The IEP team shares and discusses information about the student’s present levels of achievement in relationship to the environments, and tasks to determine if the student requires assistive technology devices and services to participate actively, work on expected tasks, and make progress toward mastery of educational goals.

6.   When assistive technology is needed, the IEP team explores a range of assistive technology devices, services, and other supports that address identified needs.

Intent: The IEP team considers various supports and services that address the educational needs of the student and may include no tech, low tech, mid-tech and/or high tech solutions and devices. IEP team members do not limit their thinking to only those devices and services currently available within the district.

7.   The assistive technology consideration process and results are documented in the IEP and include a rationale for the decision and supporting evidence. 

Intent: Even though IEP documentation may include a checkbox verifying that assistive technology has been considered, the reasons for the decisions and recommendations should be clearly stated. Supporting evidence may include the results of assistive technology assessments, data from device trials, differences in achievement with and without assistive technology, student preferences for competing devices, and teacher observations, among others.

Common Errors

  1. AT is considered for students with severe disabilities only.
  2. No one on the IEP team is knowledgeable regarding AT.
  3. Team does not use a consistent process based on data about the student, environment and tasks to make decisions.
  4. Consideration of AT is limited to those items that are familiar to team members or are available in the district.
  5. Team members fail to consider access to the curriculum and IEP goals in determining if AT is required in order for the student to receive FAPE.
  6. If AT is not needed, team fails to document the basis of its decisions.