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AT - The Basics
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Welcome to the Newton Public Schools Assistive Technology Resource Website!
Consultation vs. Assessment:
The goal of any assistive technology consultation or assessment is to determine what is educationally needed for a student to make effective progress as part of FAPE. Assistive technology must be considered in conjunction with the student's IEP and, when recommended, must support IEP goals and objectives.
To determine which device and/or strategy will be the best fit for the student to help them be successful, I follow a process called the
. I carefully look at the
they are asked to do in their educational setting to choose the appropriate
Assistive technology device means
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 a child with a disability. AT is a continuum of devices and strategies that should be considered and/or implemented according to which is least restrictive. Examples of AT include: pencil grips, colored overlays, slant board and audiobooks. Many people hear the word technology and automatically think iPad or computer, but AT is any item that helps a student access the curriculum.
is a discussion with staff, parents or students around specific areas of concern and results in more immediate implementation, as suggestions are made during the consultation. A written summary is provided after the consultation, usually within one to two weeks. Once a teacher submits a referral they should schedule a consultation using my public calendar.
is a longer, more involved process and should be reserved for students with significant needs who require more time to trial software, devices, etc. There is no standardized testing for AT and I use a variety of resources to guide the assessment, depending on the areas of concern and the student's ability. I follow the 30/45-day timeline for an assessment and a report is made available two days before the team meeting.
The term “assessment” should be used rather than “evaluation” based on the following definition from the Federal Register:
A group of activities conducted to determine a student's eligibility for special education.
A group of activities conducted to determine a student's specific needs.
Please keep in mind: I am not determining a student's eligibility; I am merely making recommendations for accommodations that will help the student access the curriculum.
All students benefit from the use of technology, however, most students do not need a dedicated device to access the curriculum and to receive FAPE. A student's need for a dedicated device can be determined through a consultation.
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