AT Support Staff
Assistive Technology Referral, Consultation and Assessment Process
- The IEP team may consider initiating a referral for an assessment when:
- expected progress on IEP goals isn’t occurring despite thoughtful and targeted instruction over time, or
- the question arises concerning whether a particular AT tool could be used as a compensation for a missing skill or ability, or
- the question arises concerning whether a particular AT tool or strategy could make a significant difference in student performance.
- Typically the SPED or 504 casemanager fills out the referral form.
- If the referral is for a Consultation, the form is filled out by appropriate staff (OT, SLP, or teacher- depending on focus of concern) and is forwarded to MESD's AT Support Staff person (Teresa Johnson at the MESD's Ainsworth Building.)
- If the referral is for a Full Assessment, the referral form must be signed by the student's home district special education representative. This representative will forward the form to MESD's AT Support Staff person (Teresa Johnson at the MESD's Ainsworth Building.) Parental consent will be obtained later at the SETT meeting.
- Referrals can also be made by parents and by students.
- A team member can request assistive technology consultation for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
- staff training on software or devices,
- suggestions or brainstorming of embedding software or devices in the school curriculum or routines,
- technical support and troubleshooting for devices.
- If a student's team is considering a referral for an Augmentative Communication Assessment, including trials of speech generating devices, a referral for AT Consultation is required. This will help ensure that foundational skills (e.g., switch access, an established low tech communication system, etc) have already been established.
- An MESD assistive technology (AT) consultant will contact the referring case manager who will set up an assistive technology planning meeting (SETT meeting) that includes as many individuals as possible from the student’s special education team, including parents and a district representative.
- The AT consultant will compile some information (see SETT form) prior to this meeting from service providers, from direct observation, and from written records.
- The SETT meeting will be held to discuss:
S – the Student:
abilities and difficulties related to assistive technology concerns,
E – the Environment:
descriptions of factors that pertain to the locations where the student is having difficulty,
T – the Tasks:
lists of the tasks that the team has decided the student needs to accomplish – generally the IEP goals,
T – the Tools:
tools or strategies to consider in helping the student accomplish the defined tasks.
- Together, team members generate as much information as possible about the student and the environment in which s/he needs to function. All team members can brainstorm possible helpful tools. The team then specifies which particular tools will be selected for inclusion in the formal plan for extended trials of devices . The AT consultant will then complete the SETT report which helps structure and organize the process. The SETT report will include an Implementation Plan that specifies which devices will be used in specified routines, responsibilities of team members, data collection strategies, and timelines.
- Signed parental consent for evaluation will be obtained upon development of this assessment plan.
- The Implementation Plan is followed for the designated amount of time (weeks or months.) Data is collected (see data sheets) and/or work samples compiled during these extended trials of devices.
- At the conclusion of the extended trails, a review meeting (reSETT)is held, which includes the original meeting participants. Data is reviewed. The team makes a formal, data-based recommendation(s). Recommendations fall in one of the three categories:
- Yes – the student needs a particular AT device or strategy
- A plan is made to acquire the device or strategy
- The device or strategy in written into the IEP
- No – the data indicates that the student does not benefit from the assistive technology
- The SETT report is completed and included in the student’s file
- More information is needed – a new implementation plan is developed.
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- Once recommended assistive technology tools are acquired, it is the responsibility of the AT consultant to train the student and necessary adults in the school. Considerations include:
- Does the student know how to use the tool?
- Does s/he know when to use the tool (which classes, which types of assignments, etc?)
- Does s/he know how to get help with issues concerning the tool?
- Use of the assistive technology tools and services need to be formally reviewed by the IEP team, at least annually, to determine whether the assistive technology is still useful and being used meaningfully. If not, the team needs to figure out why, and what to do next. Is the equipment working properly? Does the student still need it (have skills improved so that s/he no longer does?), Is additional training necessary? Should another assessment occur?