Collecting Data and Decision Making
The IFSP team will need to collect trial data for each device to provide objective information about the child’s need for AT. This data collection will help the team make regarding the decision about which AT device(s) are appropriate for the child. Depending on the funding source, most entities will require objective data when considering a request to fund AT for an infant or toddler. There are a variety of data collection tools that can be used to document the child’s progress during an AT device trial. One example is the SETT Data Collection Tool, by Joy Zabala Ed.D. It can be found in Appendix B.
- Document AT tried, include low- and high- tech devices.
- Include the results of each of the trials with objective criteria to determine whether the trial was successful.
After completing trials and collecting data, the team should know which device(s) will meet the child’s needs. If more than one device meets the same need, the team may need to consider additional questions to select the best device.
- Will a no- or low-tech solution work just as well as a high-tech solution?
- Will the technology work in all necessary settings or environments?
- If it will be moved regularly, how portable is it?
- How easy is it to learn and operate?
- How reliable is it under home or other conditions?
- Does it need to work with other technologies?
- Are there sufficient technical resources available to support the technology?
Once trials are completed and information is gathered, the device will now be utilized. Making unanimous decisions as a team can be very challenging, especially when it comes to the implementation of new AT. A prescriptive process can help team members know what to expect, understand their roles, and duplicate the steps while serving on other teams. Remember: All team members must have equal say in decisions. In team meetings, there should be at least one facilitator, a recorder, and a timekeeper. Roles and responsibilities should be determined, stated, and agreed upon before starting the process.