Assistive technology basics

At a Glance: How the IEP Team Decides on Assistive Technology

By Amanda Morin

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Assistive technology can help kids with learning and attention issues use their strengths to work on weak skills areas. It also provides support so that children can handle tasks that would otherwise be difficult. The IEP team at school decides which tools each student needs. Many teams make these decisions using something called the SETT Framework. Here’s how the overall process works.

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At a Glance: Who Decides on Assistive Technology in IEPs

Who decides what your child needs when it comes to assistive technology (AT) in the classroom? The process begins with the IEP team.

Step 1: AT is considered using SETT framework.
S is for student’s strengths, current performance and weaknesses in:
• Reading
• Math
• Writing
• Communication
• Learning and studying
• Vision, hearing and mobility
• Activities of daily living

E is for learning environment:
• How is the classroom physically arranged?
• What materials and equipment are used?
• How is instruction given (small groups, whole class)?

T is tasks for learning:
• What is the class expected to be able to do?
• Which tasks are essential for your child to be successful?

T is for tools being used to help your child and other tools that may help.
The IEP team considers the assistive technology range:
• Low/No Tech
• Mid-Level Tech
• High Tech

Step 2: AT assessment is done to look at your child, the tasks he needs to perform, types of AT and how they all work together.
This includes: Individual, Task, Technology, and Context

Step 3: The team develops a plan and timeline.
• Your child and teachers are trained in using the AT.
• Data is collected on how well the AT is working.
• The team discusses the data, adds the specific AT to your child’s plan or considers other options.
Graphic of At a Glance: Who Decides on Assistive Technology in IEPs
Graphic of At a Glance: Who Decides on Assistive Technology in IEPs

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Kristen Hodnett

Kristen L. Hodnett, M.S.Ed., is a clinical professor in the department of special education at Hunter College in New York City.

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