Many times when families are new to receiving SoonerStart services, they are participating in the IFSP process as they are still learning about their child’s disability. For this reason, assistive technology may be one of the last things on anyone’s mind. Team members may find that families know little to nothing about AT or that they have been using AT without realizing it! The team should be aware of this and sensitive to how information about AT options is delivered.
There are many signs that can indicate whether a child requires an AT assessment. Many times, it starts from a parent or member of the SoonerStart staff’s concern for the way the child is (or is not) able to participate in intervention activities. The function of the AT assessment team is to develop a shared understanding of the child, the customary environments in which the child regularly participates, and the tasks that the child is expected to be able to complete and/or participate in. The AT assessment team should be able to provide specific information about the Child, Environments, Tasks, and potential AT Tools that can help the child do the same type of activities as typically developing peers.
The AT assessment team is charged with determining when and where to gather additional information about the child, environments, tasks and tools. There are many techniques to help teams in filling out child information.
The following may be used by team members when gathering information:
- Observations – Observe the child during typical activities and routines over multiple
- Interactions – Interact with the child. Engage him/her in activities similar to those which other children his/her age are Create opportunities for the child to try AT and/ or modifications that might be helpful.
- Interviews – Ask the child’s family, caregivers, and those involved in the child’s typical activities and routines specific questions for information regarding needs, abilities, interests, and participation patterns of the
- Record Review – Review past history, medical, or specialized assessment information that may provide insight on the
- Informal and Formal tests—Formal assessments are NOT required but may be used when possible and applicable.
- Protocols and Profiles—Pre-made forms teams use to record information about a child’s abilities and needs. The following are examples of forms teams may use:
- Communication Matrix
- Functional Communication Profile
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication Profile
- Pragmatics Profile of Everyday Communication Skills