Families receiving SoonerStart services participate in the IFSP while simultaneously learning more about their child’s disability. For this reason, AT may be the furthest from anyone’s mind. Families might have minimal to no knowledge of AT or have been using AT without awareness. The IFSP team should be aware of the family’s knowledge base of AT and how to deliver information of AT options.
Many signs indicate whether a child requires an AT Assessment. Typically indication starts with a parent or member of the SoonerStart staff’s concern for the way a child is (or is not) able to participate in the intervention activities. The function of the AT Assessment team is to develop a shared understanding of the child’s customary environments and expected daily activities in which the child participates. The AT Assessment team should 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. 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.
- Interactions – Interact with the child. Engage him/her in activities similar to those of his/her peers. 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 child.
- Record Review – Review history, medical, or specialized assessment information that may provide insight into the child.
- Informal and Formal Tests—Formal assessments are NOT required but may be used when possible and applicable.
- Protocols and Profiles—Use 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