The Assistive Technology (AsTech) team is part of Arlington Public School’s Department of Student Services and Special Education. The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) requires that assistive technology be considered at every student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. The IEP team discusses whether the provision of an assistive technology device or service is required for the student to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If the IEP team decides there is a need for assistive technology that cannot be met within the knowledge base and technology already available at the school, a referral should be made to the AsTech team. The AsTech Team then conducts an assessment and makes recommendations to the IEP team.
APS uses the SETT Framework to guide the AsTech assessment.
This framework considers the following;
- the STUDENT’s abilities and needs,
- the student’s learning ENVIRONMENT,
- the TASK required that are difficult for the student, and
- the TOOLs that would enable the student to meet IEP goals and access accommodations.
Devices fall in the following three categories:
- No tech – includes pencil grips, raised lined paper, and highlighting tape;
- Low tech – includes battery-operated toys, simple switches which run a toy or speak, and voice-recorded communication devices such as a CheapTalk; and
- High tech – refers to computers, software, electronic keyboarding devices such as a Forte, and computerized voice output devices.
There may be a trial period with a recommended assistive technology device or accommodation. The IEP team members keep data to determine if the recommended support is meeting the established needs of the student. If the IEP team reaches consensus and the need is substantiated, through the AsTech Team, the Office of Special Education provides the device and/or services. The AsTech team monitors cases as needed.