When determining the AT needs of a student with a disability, it is important for LEA teams to provide high-quality, AT services. The Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) were developed by focus groups, validated through research, and provide a set of descriptors that can serve as a guideline for LEAs to evaluate the quality of their AT services. These indicators are broken down into eight areas that are important to the development and delivery of AT services and include:
- Consideration of AT Needs
- Assessment of AT Needs
- AT in the IEP
- AT Implementation
- Evaluation of Effectiveness of AT
- AT in Transition
- Administrative Support for AT
- AT Professional Development
A set of self-assessment matrices have been developed as a companion piece to the Quality Indicators intent statements for each area. School districts can use the QIAT to assist in the self-assessment and development of district level policies and procedures which are in alignment with the mandates and expectations of federal and state law. In most instances the Quality Indicators are also appropriate for the consideration of AT for students who qualify for services under other legislation (e.g. Section 504 and Title II).
34 CFR §300. 24(a)(2) Development, Review, and Revision of IEP
(2) Consideration of Special Factors.
“The IEP Team shall — (v) Consider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.”
AT must be considered for every student with a disability during the development, review, and revision of the IEP1. This includes the Initial, Interim, Subsequent, Amended, and Modified IEP or when a team member deems it necessary.
The Congressional intent of this section of IDEA is to emphasize AT as a means to support educational achievements. The law requires that the IEP team consider/discuss a student’s need for AT devices and services during the IEP process. The law places the decision-making responsibility regarding whether or not the student requires AT with the IEP team.
Because IDEA does not provide specific guidance for how AT Consideration should be conducted by an LEA, it is up to the schools to use research from the QIAT and other resources to develop and adopt operational procedures that provide guidance for consistently considering AT for all students on IEPs.
When polled, many AT service providers in Oklahoma prefer using the Big East Educational Cooperative AT Consideration Checklist form to help them determine whether or not students in their districts require AT.
The flow chart on the next page depicts the AT Consideration process and potential scenarios IEP teams may face when considering students’ needs for AT.