A Regional Profile Of Assistive Technology Services: Assessment Of Service Delivery And Suggestions For Improving Post Secondary Transition
This article describes a study that investigates the adaptation and use of an existing survey (School District Profile of Assistive Technology Services), to perform an assessment of the delivery of Assistive Technology (AT) services and training in seven Special Education Cooperatives that provide special education services to the K-12 schools in the southern Illinois region. The survey assesses: The quality and type of AT services that are currently being used to support special education students in the school setting; the type of training needed by school personnel with regard to AT; and the survey instrument, in its modified form, perceived as an effective instrument for assessing the delivery of AT services. The authors discuss the appropriateness and challenges associated with applying authentic collaboration conceptual models and guidelines suggested by researchers for developing teams that facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from K-12 to postsecondary levels of education.
Assistive Technology (AT) teams currently exist in both K-12 and postsecondary institutions in the southern Illinois region. The K-12 teams were developed in seven Special Education Cooperatives (SECs) as a result of efforts supported by an Illinois State Board of Education grant (JAMP, 2000). In order to address the needs of students with disabilities at the postsecondary level, Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Disability Support Services (DSS) has established a working AT team with the support of a short-term grant obtained through the Illinois Board of Higher Education (Whitney, 2005). This team delivers AT training workshops throughout the southern Illinois region in addition to supporting students enrolled at the university.
Transitioning from the K-12 environment to the postsecondary level can be difficult for any student. This is especially true of students with special needs. Many times they need AT devices that require specialized training and expertise to use and to maintain. AT services are available to these students through the public school system from the time the student turns three years of age. There are also numerous agencies that assist with AT services for even younger children. When a student with special needs moves on to college, it is important that they continue to receive support from AT professionals. Without the necessary AT devices and equipment these students are at a high risk for failure at the postsecondary level.
In order for there to be a smooth transition between K-12 special education and post-secondary disability support services, there needs to be effective communication and collaboration between the agencies involved in helping these students. The following study was designed to assess the type and quality of AT service delivery systems currently used with K-12 students in the southern Illinois region as perceived by the Special Education professionals involved in the SECs AT teams. Understanding how services are being provided to students at the K-12 level will help postsecondary AT personnel provide for the needs of these students as they continue their academic endeavors.
A survey of the seven SECs in southern Illinois was conducted using a modified version of the School Profile of Assistive Technology Services (Reed, 2004) (Attachment 1). This instrument was designed to assess the type and quality of AT services that are currently being used to support students with special needs in the public school setting. The original instrument was modified to reflect differences in how Special Education services are provided in a more rural area, like southern Illinois, where the SECs deliver AT services.
Since the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has supported efforts to improve transitional services for students with disabilities throughout their educational careers and into the workforce. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 and the IDEA Amendments of 1997 include specific language and requirements in regard to transitional services. Regulations have been enacted from this federal legislation that require state and local education agencies to address the school and postschool transition service and technological needs of students with disabilities. A more recent effort by the Bush administration, the New Freedom Initiative (2004), has highlighted the importance of providing access to assistive and universally designed technologies.
Access to Services and Technology
Despite all of these efforts, significant challenges still remain in regard to creating comprehensive and responsive transitional services for secondary (Johnson & Sharpe, 2000) and postsecondary (Johnson, Sharpe, & Stodden, 2000) levels of education. There also remain significant difficulties in transitioning students into the community, securing jobs, and living independently (Johnson, Stodden, Emanuel, Luecking, & Mack, 2002). Postsecondary education has an enormous impact on the ability of students with disabilities to find employment. Only 15.6% of persons with disabilities with less than a high school diploma participate in today's labor force. This percentage climbs to 50.3% for persons with at least four years of college (Yelin & Katz, 1994). Only 50% of the 18 to 29 year-olds with disabilities, who are able to work, are currently working. This compares to the 72% of nondisabled persons in the same age range (Johnson, et al, 2002). A positive trend has been the increased capacity for postsecondary institutions to accommodate persons with disabilities. From 1990 to 1997 there was a 90% increase in the number of universities, community colleges, and vocational technical centers that offered educational opportunities for persons with disabilities (Pierangelo & Crane, 1997). However, many students with disabilities are not aware of appropriate AT devices available to them for the postsecondary learning and living environments until they enter colleges or universities. In addition, many of these students find that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing information technology resources. Access to these resources is required in order to excel in virtually every discipline. The transition of students throughout their educational careers could be enhanced with increased communication and coordination of efforts among the various levels of education, parents, and industry representatives, especially when students need adaptive equipment in order to optimize the learning process.
An area that has proven to be one of the biggest barriers for students with disabilities at all educational levels is information technology accessibility. There are a number of factors contributing to the problem, but the number one factor is lack of awareness of administrators and instructors on how to design and purchase software, web resources, and other electronic information that is accessible. In addition, these same administrators and instructors are confronted with many complex technical issues related to the evaluation, purchase, and deployment of secure, accessible networks and computers. The majority of the administrators and teachers do not have the technical background to effectively compare all of these technologies. In addition, there continues to be a lack of teacher comfort with technology (Bryant and O'Connell, 1998). In regard to AT, Bryant et al (1998) identify the main deterrent to student use of AT devices remains the lack of qualified people to conduct assessments and integrate AT into the curriculum. However, collaborating with postsecondary institutions and corporations that have extensive experience and expertise in AT could support the schools as students and teachers attempt to make efficient use of resources and to look for more progressive ways of providing access to education, training, and other web/computer-based resources.
Johnson (1999) states that the emphasis on collaboration between teachers and university colleagues is moving away from traditional forms of educational research in which academics accessed schools for their own research purposes, involving little active participation by teachers or resultant benefits for the school. Zeichner (1994) points to the growing dissatisfaction felt by teachers engaged in "exploitative" research relationships with academics. Based on a previous qualitative research effort (Russell & Flynn, 1997), 26 factors have been identified as contributing to the effectiveness of collaborative ventures involving postsecondary institutions and organizations from other sectors, such as business and industry, government, and schools. Russell and Flynn (2000) describe an effective collaboration as one that:
- Is sustainable (i.e., partners wish to continue working together, sufficient resources can be generated to continue operations).
- Is viewed positively by all partners, which may be due to a variety of reasons, but would generally include the perception that the collaboration was useful and productive.
- Generates positive outcomes in accordance with the goals and purposes of the collaborative entity.
- Creates a means of open and equal communication and decision making.
- Provides an improved mechanism to achieve common purposes more readily (e.g., more efficiently, at reduced cost, with better quality) through partnership rather than alone.
Adelman and Taylor (2003) describe building authentic collaboration as "(a) modifying existing processes to reduce "power" differences and enable shared decision making by participating stakeholders and (b) establishing and institutionalizing mechanisms for analyzing, planning, coordinating, integrating, monitoring, evaluating, and strengthening collaborative efforts." Therefore, clarification of the various relationships and roles in the partnership is essential (Kersh & Masztal, 1998) (Schwartz 1990, 223).
Each student's team should be unique, customized to reflect the student's unique needs. Anyone who has the potential to contribute to the decision making or implementation can be invited to participate on the team (Reed, 2004).
According to Reed (2004) there are five types of professionals who must be represented on every team making decisions about AT (Table 1). While school districts may vary in their specific procedures, it is essential that a team of people with specific sets of skills be involved in any AT assessment team. Table 2 identifies a number of professional titles representing various backgrounds that would be useful in identifying appropriate team members.
Table 1: Respondent Description
|1. A person knowledgeable about the student's family life, usually a School Social Worker. This could also include students and/or parents or other family members.||6|
|2. A person knowledgeable in the area of curriculum, usually a School Psychologist and/or a Special Education teacher.||7|
|3. A person knowledgeable in the area of language, usually a Speech/Language Pathologist.||3|
|4. A person knowledgeable in the area of motor-skills, often an Occupational or Physical Therapist.||2|
|5. A person who can commit the district's resources, not only for purchase of devices, but to authorize staff training and guarantee implementation in various educational settings, usually an administrator.||3|
|6. Other (Please Describe)||0|
Table 2: Suggested AT Team Members
The Collaboration and Transition Challenge
Developing an effective collaborative team that includes the majority of stakeholders involved with AT in the primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels of the educational system poses considerable challenges (Kersh and Masztal, 1998, Cavarretta, 1998). One of the main concerns of the people who provide AT support services at the university is that postsecondary students with disabilities arrive on campus without basic computing skills.
The existing level of collaboration between the SECs and the university has been built on past and on-going efforts by both groups to develop AT resources and services in the state. The main concerns being addressed by the SECs at the elementary and secondary levels are the use of AT to facilitate student learning and socialization. As a way to address these issues, one of the SECs received a grant, Staff Education for Effective Collaboration in Southern Illinois: Building Teams for Student Success (JAMP, 2000), through the Illinois State Board of Education. One objective achieved through this grant was the establishment of Joint Agreement Assistance Training Teams. Each SEC has a team that is responsible for training in a particular area. A team exists at one of the SECs that is responsible for developing AT training, support services, and resources for the other six SECs. This team has delivered several training sessions to staff and teachers at the elementary and secondary levels and has attended several conferences on AT in order to learn more about the topic. The team has also established some resources and procedures for evaluating students and deploying AT.
The AT team, working out of the DSS office at the university, has delivered more than 550 AT training workshops in the region. In addition, DSS supports and provides training to students with disabilities in regard to hardware and software that provide access to information technology. DSS also provides federally-mandated academic and programmatic support services to these students. The existing level of collaboration has established formal lines of communication between institutions. This type of collaboration is necessary for allowing students with disabilities to transition through the various levels of education and into the workforce, using appropriate, compatible AT.
The assessment instrument used to complete the region-wide assessment of services, as they currently exist in southern Illinois, was a modified version of the School District Profile of Assistive Technology Services developed by Reed (1997) for the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (Attachment 1). The instrument is a self-assessment tool that has been designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in existing AT delivery services in an individual school. The survey examines how these services are provided throughout the process of identifying, planning, and implementing an AT service delivery program for students with special needs. Modifications were made to some of the narrative descriptions in order to better reflect the specific situations found in the southern Illinois region. An additional question was added to the survey regarding how well the survey instrument assessed AT services in their region as Excellent, Very Good, Adequate, or Poor.
Respondents were asked to consider 23 components of AT service delivery. Each of the 23 survey items include a narrative description corresponding to six general categories: Referral, 1; Evaluation, 2; Extended Assessment, 3; Plan Development, 4; Implementation, 5; and Periodic Review, 6. Respondents' choices were assigned numerical values for each of the 23 items as follows: Highly Unsatisfactory, 1; Unsatisfactory, 2; Needs Improvement, 3; Satisfactory, 4; Highly Satisfactory, 5; or 0. Respondents were instructed to enter a zero (0) if they did not have adequate information to respond to a particular item. The addition of the zero (0) response was another modification to the original survey. Zeros were not used in the calculations of means or standard deviations. The category descriptions associated with the numerical scale were also modifications to the original survey.
Table 3, Item Analysis, compares the description selected for each item, based on the average score received, with the corresponding description of the Components of Effective AT Service Delivery. The rounded mean for each item was used to select the appropriate description. For example, a category 3 description would be selected for a mean of 2.5 to 3.4. Surveys were distributed through the administrators at the various locations and team leaders of existing AT teams in the seven SECs. Ten surveys were given to each Cooperative Director to distribute. Surveys and a cover letter were delivered to the Directors at a Regional Director's meeting along with stamped, addressed envelopes to facilitate the return of the surveys. The Directors were given written and oral instructions requesting that the survey be completed by the Special Education teachers, support staff, and administrators in their Cooperatives who were involved with the delivery of AT services.
Table 3: Item Analysis
|Item||Components of Effective AT Service Delivery||Description Based on Average Score||Average||Std.|
|1C||School district forms/reports include places to request and describe AT.||District forms include the words AT, but do not include space to describe AT devices and services.||4.35||1.089|
|2C||Evaluation staff know when and where to refer a student for additional evaluation from persons with expertise in a specific area.||Referrals are used to replace local evaluation in areas where evaluation staff has identified weaknesses.||4.263||1.046|
|2A||Staff provides evaluations and are knowledgeable about the operation and application of a variety of AT devices.||Evaluation staff are trained on some aspects of AT and the district provides for some updates/skill training.||4.2||1.056|
|3C||Parents are equal, valued participants in all aspects of AT decision making.||Parents are usually part of the AT decision making process.||4.143||0.793|
|2B||Evaluation staff utilize accommodations during evaluations.||AT and other accommodations are sometimes utilized as part of the evaluation process.||4.056||0.873|
|4A||District's IEPs, when appropriate,include AT devices and services as part of specially designed instruction, related services, or supplementary aids and services.||IEPs usually include AT and/or reflect that AT was considered.||3.947||0.970|
|6A||AT is part of the district's overall technology plan.||AT is usually included in technology plans||3.938||1.063|
|3D||District teams match student needs, abilities, environments, and tasks to appropriate, cost-effective tools.||Teams have limited equipment resources to meet student needs, but provide services which support best possible use of time and equipment.||3.905||0.995|
|4D||Planning for transition includes specific consideration of AT needs.||AT is frequently considered in transition planning.||3.813||0.911|
|3E||When referred, district staff conduct transdisciplinary assessment of student's need for AT.||Pertinent personnel conduct joint assessments. Comprehensive report(s) with recommendations limited to what is available in districts.||3.8||1.240|
|5A||Clear responsibility for training, equipment maintenance, and operation assigned to specific service providers.||Staffs generally know their responsibilities. Equipment is operating and in use in most cases, and some training is provided.||3.750||0.550|
|4C||IEP teams design and write integrated transdisciplinary IEPs that incorporate AT in appropriate tasks.||Parents and staff send objectives, staff cooperatively writes child-centered IEPs. IEPs are implemented collaboratively.||3.737||1.327|
|1D||District promotes parent input and inquires about AT and its use.||District uses procedures which value parental inquiries and input, but does not encourage active participation in decision making activities.||3.65||1.268|
|5B||School district budgets for the purchase of AT.||AT is a line item in the district budget that generally meets the need for items for specific students.||3.5||0.798|
|5E||Service providers and parents monitor and adjust implementation to correspond to changing student needs and abilities.||Monitoring by AT teams (including parent) on a consistent basis. AT consultant on-site visits as needed.||3.5||1.098|
|3B||School district staff making decisions about AT use a clearly defined decision making process.||Most team members are trained and team sometimes uses an organized process.||3.4||1.273|
|5D||Identified consultant(s) in district (or a consulting agency) serves as a resource to personnel working with students using AT.||Consultant or team has regular schedule for AT duties. Part time AT members called on as time permits.||3.263||1.195|
|1A||School district provides training about AT, legal mandate, and what AT can do for students with disabilities.||Some special and regular education staff members are aware of AT and have received inservice training.||3.250||0.766|
|6B||Continuing education needs of staff are assessed and responded to by the district or consulting agency.||Need for training is responded to and supported when requested by staff.||3.238||1.06|
|3A||School district has an effective system to borrow AT for trial use.||District staff occasionally arrange AT trials.||3.211||1.273|
|4B||School district assures staff are trained in how to effectively write AT into IEPs when needed.||Some staff have been trained writing AT into IEPs.||3.095||0.995|
|1B||School district special education procedure manual or teacher handbook includes AT services and devices.||Procedure manual has directions for providing AT services and devices but needs improvement or updating.||2.846||1.144|
|5C||Staff involved in the provision of AT services have time to meet together.||Some team members meet, but not all can attend meetings.||2.7||1.261|
A total of 70 surveys were distributed and 21 were returned yielding a 30% return rate. The majority of respondents were from the job description category of "A person knowledgeable in the area of curriculum" (n = 7) followed by "A person knowledgeable about the student's family life" (n = 6) (Table 1). The mean was calculated for the sum of the means for each of the six general assessment categories (Table 4). The means and standard deviations were calculated for each of the 23 survey items and were ranked in descending order (Table 3) with the corresponding benchmark descriptor of Components of Effective AT Service Delivery.
Table 4: Ranked Averages for the Six General Assessment Areas
|1. Evaluation||2A -2C
|2. Extended Assessment||3A - 3E
|3. Plan Development||4A - 4D
|4. Referral||1A - 1D
|5. Periodic Review||6A - 6B
|6. Implementation||5A - 5E
Based on the six general assessment areas respondents rated the AT service delivery provided at the Evaluation stage of the program planning process as the most satisfactory (Average = 4.17) (Table 4). They also rated the Extended Assessment process of the students AT needs as satisfactory (Average = 3.69). AT services provided during the Referral process and at the time the student's individual educational plan (IEP) is developed were also ranked in the Satisfactory range. (Averages = 3.52 and 3.65 respectively) Survey items in the categories of Periodic Review and Implementation (Averages = 3.46 and 3.24 respectively) were ranked as Needs Improvement. None of the six general assessment areas were ranked as either Unsatisfactory or Highly Unsatisfactory.
All 23 items in the Item Analysis (Table 3) fell within two of the five categories. Fifteen items were classified as Satisfactory and 8 items were in the Needs Improvement range. The analysis of the individual survey items suggests that, during the Referral process, respondents were satisfied with the way the District's written forms address AT. They were also satisfied with the way the District encouraged parent involvement in the AT decision-making process. Respondents did however suggest that District procedure manuals needed improvement or updating and that more staff members need to be made aware of and receive training in AT.
At the Evaluation level (2A-2C), respondents were satisfied with the expertise of the evaluation staff and their willingness to make accommodations for the student during the evaluation. They were also satisfied with the way the Evaluation staff utilize specialized evaluations, when necessary, to determine appropriate AT services.
Items in the Extended Assessment section (3A-3E) were rated as needing improvement with regard to the district having a clearly defined AT decision-making process and an effective system for borrowing AT equipment for trial use. Respondents were however satisfied with the transdisciplinary approach and amount of parent involvement utilized in determining a student's AT needs. They also responded positively concerning the District AT team's ability to match the student's needs to appropriate, cost effective AT tools.
At the IEP or Plan Development (4A-4D) stage respondents indicated satisfaction with the way that AT was included for consideration in the individual student's plan. They were also satisfied with the way the IEP teams addressed AT on the District's written forms and how AT was considered in the student's transition plan. The one area that respondents felt needed improvement concerned the desire for more staff training in how to write AT information into the IEP.
During the Implementation (5A-5E) phase of AT service delivery, respondents indicated satisfaction with the way that responsibility for AT services were assigned to appropriate service providers. They were also satisfied with how these providers, along with the parents, monitored and adjusted to the changing AT needs of the students. In addition, they were satisfied with the amount of funds the school districts budget for the purchase of AT equipment. They indicated that some improvement was needed in providing time for staff to meet and consult with other team members concerning AT services.
In the final area, Periodic Review (6A-6B), respondents reported that they were satisfied with their District's overall technology plan and indicated that training in the area of AT was supported by the District when it is requested by the staff.
Table 5 reports the data in regard to the respondent's perceptions of the quality of the survey's ability to assess AT services and training. Most of the respondents (n = 8) rated the assessment instrument as Very Good in regard to its ability to evaluate AT services and training
Table 5: Responses - How well do you think the survey assessed AT services in your region?
The results of the study suggest that, in general, the AT service delivery systems that are currently being used to support K-12 students with special needs in the southern Illinois region are perceived as adequate and effective with some areas in need of improvement. AT members are satisfied with how AT services are considered from the time that the student is first referred for special education services. They are also satisfied with the way AT is made part of the student's IEP and implemented throughout the student's educational program. The survey indicates that there are an adequate number of professionals (school psychologists, social workers, and speech therapists e.g.) at the elementary and secondary levels who are actively involved in performing and supporting assessment and data collection activities with school staff, students, and parents. These are the types of professionals (Reed, 2004) who have been identified by researchers as having the knowledge, rapport, and expertise needed to collect accurate and valid information.
The survey results suggest a need to improve or update District AT procedure manuals. Because of the rapid changes in technology, this type of procedure manual requires frequent revision. It must reflect current changes in AT equipment, service delivery procedures, and training. The staff members responsible for monitoring these changes need to keep abreast of current trends and will require adequate time to complete the revisions.
Lack of time to participate in AT activities was another area that was seen as needing improvement. In most cases the AT teams are comprised of staff members who have only a limited amount of time to spend on AT activities. Administrators need to ensure that members of their AT teams have time from their regular duties to consult and collaborate with staff, students, and parents concerning AT equipment, policies, and procedures. This time is especially important for staff members working with students about to transition into the postsecondary level. Collaboration between the staff members supplying current AT services to a student in the K-12 environments and the AT staff members who will be assisting the student in the future is essential to facilitating a smooth transition for the student into the university setting.
Teacher training is also seen as an area of weakness with regard to AT service delivery within the southern Illinois SECs. Training in general AT topics should be incorporated into the inservice training activities that the Districts provide for all teachers. In addition, small group training on more specific AT topics, such as equipment maintenance, use, and evaluation, would be beneficial for staff who work (or will work) directly with students who require AT devices.
The survey itself was considered to be a very good tool for assessing AT delivery services and training for the region by the majority of respondents. This appears to support the expansion of the use of the instrument from a self assessment tool for an individual school to a state/regional assessment instrument for evaluating AT service delivery systems. The instrument has been further modified and used as part of the assessment component in a federal grant proposal (Whitney, 2005). The proposal focused on the assessment of AT service delivery systems in the Mississippi Delta Region which includes 219 counties in seven states that border the Mississippi River. Further utilization could be enhanced by converting the hardcopy survey into an interactive document that could be accessed through the web. This would facilitate the collection of data, dissemination of the results, and improve the process involved in assessing AT delivery services in broader applications in the future.
This article presented information concerning the use of an existing survey designed to assess the delivery of AT services and training that facilitate the transition of students from K-12 to postsecondary institutions. Limitations of the study include no follow up on surveys that were not returned. Not all stakeholders listed by researchers (Reed, 2004) were included in the distribution of the survey.
The tasks accomplished by the university and the SECs have been approached in separate yet parallel fashion. The existing level of collaboration between the postsecondary and K-12 AT teams could be further advanced by the development of a single Assistive Technology Resource Team consisting of K-12 and postsecondary faculty and staff members. This team could play a major role in addressing many future challenges by coordinating efforts throughout Illinois. Representatives of an Assistive Technology Resource Team could work together to develop staff, student, and instructor training, research-based student and program assessments, and accessible educational web sites. In addition, the team could develop strategies and procedures for evaluating and deploying accessible computer networking technologies.
In addition to transition services, students need access to technology in the educational environments and at home. Technical support and assistance of local technology service providers and the university may be necessary in order to access information technology resources, such as high speed internet access. Corporate involvement could also play a role as a source of expertise for grant writing and the acquisition of hardware and software.
From the parents and the students' perspective, each transition should result in satisfactory educational outcomes. These outcomes are directly tied to gaining successful employment and becoming a more productive and engaged citizen. Developing and utilizing partnerships like the Assistive Technology Teams in the SECs and taking greater advantage of existing resources will be useful in improving the transition experience for students.
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Assistive Technology Services Questionnaire
Please select the one description that most closely identifies your role in the AT process:
- _____ A person knowledgeable about the student's family life, usually a School Social Worker. This could also include students and/or parents or other family members.
- _____ A person knowledgeable in the area of curriculum, usually a School Psychologist and/or a Special Education teacher.
- _____ A person knowledgeable in the area of language, usually a Speech/Language Pathologist.
- _____ A person knowledgeable in the area of motorskills, often an Occupational or Physical Therapist.
- _____ A person who can commit the district's resources, not only for purchase of devices, but to authorize staff training and guarantee implementation in various educational settings, usually an administrator.
- _____ Other (Please Describe) ______________________________________________________________________________________________
Please respond to the following question after using the Profile of Assistive Technology Services survey.
How well do you think the Profile of Assistive Technology Services survey assessed AT services in your region?
- _____ Excellent
- _____ Very Good
- _____ Adequate
- _____ Poor
School Profile of Assistive Technology Services
|Components of Effective AT Service Delivery||
1. ReferralA . School district pro- vides training about AT. legal mandate, and what AT can do for students with disabilities.
|All staff including regular educators are aware of AT and have received inservice training.||Most special and regular education staff members are aware of AT and have received inservice training.||Some special and regular education staff members are aware of AT and have received inservice training.||A few special education staff members are aware of AT and have received some inservice training.||Staff members have not received training a bout AT.|
|B. School district special education procedure manual or teacher handbook includes AT services and devices.||Procedure manual has very clear, specific, up-to-date directions and procedures for providing AT services and devices.||Procedure manual has adequate directions for providing AT services and devices.||Procedure manual has directions for providing AT services and devices but needs improvement or updating.||Procedure manual mentions AT, but lacks directions.||There is no procedure manual, or it does not mention AT.|
|C. School district forms/reports include places to request and describe AT.||All appropriate forms include clearly identifiable places to indicate and describe AT devices and/or services.||District forms include the words AT, but do not include space to describe AT devices and services.||School district forms do not mention AT and reports do not address AT.||Staff are not encouraged or directed to consider AT.|
|D. District promotes parent input and inquires about AT and its use.||District uses procedures to respond in ways that value parental input and promote active parental participation.||District uses procedures which value parental inquiries and input, but does not encourage active participation in decision making activities.||Parent inquiries routed to staff members. who send list of resources and suggestions governing further involvement.||Parent inquiries handled on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of staff member receiving call.||Parent inquiries, requests and input are not sought or acted upon.|
2. EvaluationA. Staff provides evaluations and are knowledgeable about the operation and application of a variety of AT devices.
|Evaluation staff are trained on a variety of AT hardware and software, and the district provides for ongoing skill development.||Evaluation staff are trained on some aspects of AT and the district provides for some updates/skill training.||Evaluation staff have some training in AT and how to utilize it in evaluations.||Evaluation staff is not knowledgeable about AT.||Evaluation staff are not encouraged or directed to learn about AT.|
|B. Evaluation staff utilize accommodations during evaluations.||AT and other accommodations are routinely utilized as part of the evaluation process.||AT and other accommodations are sometimes utilized as part of the evaluation process.||Evaluation staff has occasionally used AT as an accommodation.||AT and other accommodations are not utilized during evaluations.||Evaluation staff is opposed to using AT during evaluations.|
|C. Evaluation staff know when and where to refer a student for additional evaluation from persons with expertise in a specific area.||Referrals are used to supplement information gathered by staff. Referrals are timely and tailored to specific needs of the student.||Referrals are used to replace local evaluation in areas where evaluation staff has identified weaknesses.||Referrals are occasionally made, but not tailored to individual needs.||Referrals are never made.|
3.Extended AssessmentA. School district has an effective system to borrow AT for trial use.
|District staff routinely obtains AT for trial use from in-district, consulting agency or vendor.||District staff often obtains AT for trial use from consulting agency, or vendor.||District staff occasionally arrange AT trials.||District staff have arranged an AT trial in the past.||District staff do not obtain AT for trial use with students.|
|B. School district staff making decisions about AT use a clearly defined decision making process.||Team members are trained in, and effectively use, a clearly defined decision making process.||Team members are trained and are making progress in using a clearly defined process.||Most team members are trained and team sometimes uses an organized process.||Some team members are trained but team rarely uses an organized process.||Team members are not trained in, and do not use, a decision making process.|
|C. Parents are equal, valued participants in all aspects of AT decision making.||Parents are routinely included in information gathering, decision making, and planning for AT trials and use.||Parents are usually part of the AT decision making process.||Parents are occasionally part of the AT decision making process.||Parents are informed about decisions after they are made or are minimally involved.||Parents are not included in AT decision making.|
|D. District teams match student needs, abilities, environments, and tasks to appropriate, cost-effective tools.||District consistently provides funding, time, resources, and personnel to match student's needs and technology.||Teams have limited equipment resources to meet student needs, but provide services which support best possible use of time and equipment.||District supports teams with some AT equipment, resources, and training, but limits equipment and restricts time available for team activities.||District maintains an equipment/resource bank, but time limits team support leading to appropriate use.||District does not provide time and resource support to teams. No equipment bank.|
|E. When referred, district staff conduct transdisciplinary assessment of student's need for AT.||Pertinent personnel conduct assessments jointly in natural environments. Discipline boundaries minimized. Comprehensive reports and recommendations.||Pertinent personnel conduct joint assessments. Comprehensive report(s) with recommendations limited to what is available in districts.||Interdisciplinary team assessment conducted by separate disciplines with reports and recommendation.||Assessment conducted by separate discipline(s) in pull out model. Separate report(s) and recommendations made.||District does not conduct assessment of AT need.|
4. Plan DevelopmentA. District's IEPs, when appropriate, include AT devices and services as part of specially designed instruction, related services, or supplementary aids and services.
|IEPs clearly include AT in ways that reflect its use. Consideration of AT is always evident.||IEPs usually include AT and/or reflect that AT was considered.||IEP includes place for AT consideration.||AT is sometimes written in, but no places clearly require it or indicate that AT was considered.||AT is not considered in the development of IEPs.|
|B. School district assures staff are trained in how to effectively write AT into IEPs when needed.||All staff have received training in writing AT into IEPs.||Most staff have received training in writing AT into IEPs.||Some staff have been trained writing AT into IEPs.||No specific training has been provided.||Staff do not appropriately include AT in IEPs.|
|C. IEP teams design and write integrated transdisciplinary IEPs that incorporate AT in appropriate tasks.||Collaborative teams develop single IEP which is continually implemented by team members with shared and well defined responsibilities.||Parents and staff send objectives, staff cooperatively writes child-centered IEPs. IEPs are implemented collaboratively.||Individual disciplines write IEP objectives then implement cooperatively as time permits.||Staff involved write IEP objectives as a team, but implement individually.||Individual staff members write IEP objectives based on what they see within their respective disciplines.|
|D. Planning for transition includes specific consideration of AT needs.||Effective, systematic transition planning is conducted which consistently includes AT when appropriate.||AT is frequently considered in transition planning.||AT is not generally included or considered in transition planning.||AT is rarely included or considered in transition planning.||AT is not part of it, nor considered in transition planning.|
5. ImplementationA. Clear responsibility for training, equipment maintenance, and operation assigned to specific service providers.
|Staff members know their responsibilities and work effectively together to train others, keep equipment working, and insure its appropriate utilization across environments.||Staffs generally know their responsibilities. Equipment is operating and in use in most cases, and some training is provided.||One or two staff members are always viewed as being responsible for AT and little training of others is provided.||Some equipment is not working appropriately. Responsibility is vague and no training of others is provided.||Equipment is typically unused, underused, or not working due to confusion about roles and responsibilities.|
|B. School district budgets for the purchase of AT.||AT is a line item in the district budget with sufficient funding to acquire and maintain an array of devices for staff training and trial use, as well as use by specific students.||AT is a line item in the district budget that generally meets the need for items for specific students.||AT is a line item in the district budget, but does not meet the identified student's needs.||AT is not in the budget, but items are sometimes purchased when needed.||AT is never purchased by the district.|
|C. Staff involved in the provision of AT services have time to meet together.||Regular meeting times are scheduled for teams to discuss AT implementation.||Team members have some scheduled times to discuss AT.||Some team members meet, but not all can attend meetings.||Occasional meetings to discuss AT have occurred.||Staff do not have time to talk with each other about AT|
|D. Identified consultant(s) in district (or a consulting agency) serves as a resource to personnel working with students using AT.||Uniformly understood district procedures support AT consultant or team, which provides training, resources and troubleshooting.||Consultant or team is available on a regularly scheduled basis for AT activities, screening, evaluations, consultations, training and follow-up.||Consultant or team has regular schedule for AT duties. Part time AT members called on as time permits.||AT consultant or team has limited time and administrative support for follow-up and dissemination of information to other district personnel.||District does not support training of AT consultant or team, or provide time for AT activities.|
|E. Service providers and parents monitor and adjust implementation to correspond to changing student needs and abilities.||All students followed closely by AT teams (including parent) with district or consulting agency AT support on a consistent basis.||Monitoring by AT teams (including parent) on a consistent basis. AT consultant on-site visits as needed.||Monitoring and adjusting done by AT team and parents are not normally involved.||Teacher monitors and adjusts without team support. No formal input from parent.||AT monitoring addressed annually at IEP review.|
6. Periodic ReviewA. AT is part of the district's overall technology plan.
|AT is always included in technology planning across the districts.||AT is usually included in technology plans.||AT is included only in some buildings.||AT is only included in grants where its consideration is required.||AT is never included in planning for district technology needs.|
|B. Continuing education needs of staff are assessed and responded to by the district or consulting agency.||Need for new training in AT is regularly assessed and access to information arranged.||Need for training is assessed.||Need for training is responded to and supported when requested by staff.||Need for training is sometimes recognized.||Staff need for continued training in AT is not met.|