Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Within 504 Plans

QIAT 504

Project Leaders

  • Aaron Marsters: marsters.an@gmail.com
  • Gayl Bowser: gaylbowser@gmail.com

The QIAT-504 indicators are a set of statements that describe the characteristics of high quality assistive technology (AT) services provided to preschool, elementary and secondary students with disabilities  who are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) and receive protection under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for K-12.

The indicators are divided into seven general areas which include descriptors of quality for each area. 

Indicator Areas

  1. Awareness of Reasonable 504 AT Accommodations
  2. Determination of AT Needs as an Accommodation
  3. Plan and Implementation 
  4. Evaluation of Effectiveness 
  5. Administrative Support 
  6. Professional Development and Training 
  7. Student Instruction about AT
  1. Awareness of Reasonable 504 Accommodations:  The Awareness area describes the steps agencies take to make sure that 504 Teams are aware of the protections afforded to students with disabilities under Section 504, the AT services that are available to those students, and the agency processes to provide them.
    • 504 teams reference approved guidance and resources to support the decision making process for making reasonable student accommodations within the agency.
    • AT accommodations are identified as an option for all students eligible for 504 protection.
    • Teams are aware of potential AT tools readily available within the agency and acquire additional AT when it is needed. 
    • Teams are aware and follow a process for acquiring recommended AT in a timely manner.
  1. Determination of needs for AT devices and services as an Accommodation:  The Determination area describes the steps an agency takes to identify and document the need for student AT devices and services as an accommodation to access FAPE. 
    • 504 decisions, regarding the need for AT devices and services are based on equal access to curricular and extracurricular activities, and progress in the general education curriculum.
    • 504 accommodation decisions, including those related to AT, are made through a deliberate and collaborative decision making process that includes the use of information provided by educators, students, and family members such as:
      • formative assessments, 
      • diagnostic assessments, 
      • observation information, 
      • annual assessments, 
      • classroom work samples, and
      • previous use of AT or AT trials.
    • 504 team members have the collective knowledge and skills needed to make informed AT decisions and seek assistance when needed.
    • AT is clearly documented as an accommodation within the 504 plan.
  1. Planning and Implementation: The Planning and Implementation area describes actions that a 504 team must take to make sure that students are able to use AT devices as accommodations in classrooms and other school settings.
    • Everyone who works with the student knows how, when and where the AT accommodations will be used.
    • AT implementation is documented in a collaboratively developed 504 plan.
    • The 504 plan is widely disseminated to the student’s teachers and others who are responsible for making sure the plan is implemented.
    • The student, family and staff have the information and training they need to ensure the student can effectively use the AT identified in the 504 plan.
    • AT accommodations are integrated into the curriculum and routinely used by the student in relevant daily activities across environments.
    • The 504 team facilitates problem solving and coordination when the student experiences challenges using AT and/or current AT devices and services are not providing adequate access to FAPE.  
  1. Evaluation of Effectiveness:  Evaluation of effectiveness addresses activities that 504 teams engage in to help ensure that AT is being effectively used by the student.
    • The 504 team regularly reviews the effectiveness of the overall impact and effectiveness of accommodations, including AT.
    • Data are collected to provide 504 teams with a means to analyze the extent to which AT provides student access to FAPE and to determine what changes, if any, are needed.
    • Changes are made in the student’s 504 accommodations when the 504 plan review and data indicate that changes are needed to improve student access to FAPE.  
    • The effectiveness and impact of the student’s use of AT and any needed changes within the 504 plan are communicated to all stakeholders, including the student and family, relevant educators, and administration. 
  1. Administrative Support:  This area defines the critical areas of administrative support and leadership for developing and delivering AT services. It involves the development of policies, procedures and other supports necessary to improve quality of services and sustain effective AT programs. 
    • The agency has written procedural guidelines for accessing and providing AT services that are consistent with federal, state and local laws to ensure FAPE for students with disabilities served under Section 504. 
    • The agency’s written procedural guidelines about AT within the 504 process are broadly disseminated. 
    • The agency has a systematic process to handle grievances and complaints related to the use and support of AT or inaccessible instructional and information technology. 
    • The agency employs personnel with the competencies needed to support quality AT services within their primary areas of responsibility at all levels of the organization. 
    • The agency includes AT supports and services in the technology planning and budgeting process. 
  1. Professional Development and Training:  Professional development and training describes critical features of AT training efforts for all staff and other key players in the AT program.
    • The agency  provides staff with opportunities for professional development on AT including ongoing learning opportunities that utilize local, regional, and, national resources. 
    • Professional development and training in AT follow research-based models for adult learning that include multiple formats, delivered at multiple skills levels and are driven by individual preferences and needs.
    • AT professional development and training is aligned with other agency initiatives and/or services. 
    • The 504 Office leads by example and offers assistive and accessible technology professional development to all  instructional staff.
  1. Student Instruction About Section 504 AT Accommodations to Access FAPE: This area describes actions an agency takes to help students enhance participation, increase self awareness and problem solving related to the selection and use of AT for access to FAPE.
    • The agency ensures that student is actively involved in the 504 planning, implementation and evaluation processes.
    • The agency ensures that skills are explicitly taught so that the student can independently  advocate for, use and problem solve when appropriate when AT is provided as a 504 accommodation in classrooms and other school settings.
    • The agency identifies an individual who the student can go to for assistance when AT is provided as a 504 accommodation.

Download QIAT 504 pdf

Our thanks to the many AT leaders who contributed to this work.  We want to offer special thanks to Janet Peters of the QIAT-PS project, Joan Breslin-Larson,  Penny Reed and Joy Zabala of the QIAT Leadership Team  for their excellent reviews and feedback during the development of the QIAT-504  Indicators.


“Help Everyone Use and Implement Assistive Technology Better”. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://qiat-ps.org/

34 C.F.R. Part 104. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://castpublishing.org/books-media/quality-indicators/

Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.qiat.org/

Student Self-Evaluation Matrix. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://qiat-ps.org/collaborators/