Transitions are an exciting time and can work very smoothly for children using assistive technology when certain factors are planned for and in place. During the AT Assessment Process, IFSP teams should be thinking about how AT will be used immediately as well as in the future.
Assistive technology can play an integral role in the early childhood transition process. For a child transitioning into the school system with an IFSP, the team would have previously considered the AT needs of the child as required for him/her to benefit from daily routines in their natural environment and/or to achieve outcomes on the IFSP. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act explains that six months before the child turns three, the team members working with the child and his/her family are required to meet with the Local Education Agency (LEA) to discuss the upcoming transition.
34 CFR 303.209
- a. Conference to discuss services. The State lead agency must ensure that—
- If a toddler with a disability may be eligible for preschool services under Part B of the Act, the lead agency, with the approval of the family of the toddler, convenes a conference, among the lead agency, the family, and the LEA not fewer than 90 days— and, at the discretion of all parties, not more than 9 months—before the toddler’s third birthday to discuss any services the toddler may receive under Part B of the Act.
At this time, it is important to reconsider the child’s need for AT and discuss what devices and services may benefit the child as he/she may be transitioning to a new environment where activities and routines are different. There are many pieces of AT that children may need between the ages of birth to three that would continue to benefit them as they transition at the age of three.
Transition Steps and Services—is the section of the IFSP that includes information for a child who is transitioning out of SoonerStart services. If AT was used with the child and/or is currently being used, it should be documented here under “steps and activities to prepare the family and child for the new setting.”