Assistive Technology in the IEP

Assistive technology is generally considered to be an accommodation and can be included in several places in the IEP.

In Section "Consideration of Special Factors; Does the student need Assistive Technology devices or services?"  The “Yes” box can be checked, and a description of the specific assistive technology can be given after the prompt “If yes, please specify.”  When describing assistive technology, avoid brand names. Naming a particular device or software program only locks a student in to using that specific product, which may become obsolete or may not be appropriate in a given situation. Flexibility in the IEP allows the student’s team to find and use the most appropriate tool for each task. Rather, describe the necessary assistive technology and the function it performs.  For example     

  • Rather than “Co:Writer,” write “word prediction software.”
  • Rather than “AlphaSmart” write “portable word processor.”  
  • Rather than “DynaVox” write “dynamic screen speech-generating communication      device.”
  • Rather than “Big Mack,” write “Message recording communication device.”
  • Rather than “AbleNet Control Unit,” or “Big Red Switch,” write “Switch access for environmental controls, communication, and computer access.”

 

In the Section “Consideration of Special Factors, Does the Student have Unique Communication Needs?” the “Yes” box could be checked in certain specific circumstances described in this recent CDE Document  Please refer to that document, and consult with your school team Speech-Language Pathologist for details and additional information.

In the Section “Accommodations and Modifications,” the assistive technology can be included under “Accommodations-- What type(s) of accommodation(s) if any is (are) necessary for the student to access the general curriculum and/or appropriate activities to make effective progress?”  Answers can vary depending on the technology in question—several examples are:
 
  • Access to word prediction software, as needed, for written assignments.
  • Access to a portable word processor, when appropriate, for written assignments.
  • Access to a speech-generating communication device.

 

In the Section “Annual Goals and/or Objectives,” the assistive technology can be included as a part of the goal or objective—not as the main focus of the goal, but as a TOOL to accomplish that goal.  Focus on the desired outcome--what does the student need to do?  “The student will [read, write, speak, etc.]...” Describe in detail the criteria/evaluation and necessary accommodation. Use of equipment/devices as accommodations or levels of assistance can be included in goals and objectives in much the same way as assistance by an adult would be described. Here are some specific examples:

SWITCH ACCESS:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will demonstrate improved physical access skills for participation in classroom and school assignments and activities by activating a variety of electronic devices (e.g. computers, tape recorders, appliances and toys, etc.) by pressing a switch placed on his/her wheelchair lap tray within 5 seconds of an auditory prompt in at least 4 of 5 trials.
  • Baseline: Student presses the switch within 8 seconds in 2 out of 5 trials.
 
COMPUTER ACCESS:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will demonstrate improved physical access skills for participation in classroom and school assignments and activities by finding 2-3 resources related to class assignments on the Internet using an alternative mouse (e.g. touch screen, alternative keyboard, trackball, etc.) in 4 out of 5 opportunities.
  • Baseline: Student uses an alternative mouse and finds 1-2 resources in 2 out of 5 opportunities.

ALTERNATIVES TO HANDWRITING:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will compose a three sentence, one-paragraph essay on a selected topic using alternatives to handwriting (e.g. dictation, typing on the computer or a portable word processor, etc.) for at least 3 out of 4 opportunities.
  • Baseline: Student currently composes two sentences using alternatives to handwriting in 1 out of 4 opportunities.

SIMPLE MESSAGES:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date [the student] will independently greet peers and staff using a single-message recording device (e.g. “Big Mack”, “One Step,” “Step-by-Step”, etc.) in at least 4 of 5 opportunities.
  • Baseline: Student greets peers and staff in 1 out of 4 opportunities.

COMPLEX COMMUNICATION DEVICES:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will demonstrate appropriate conversational turn taking techniques using a multiple-message communication device (e.g. “Supertalker,” “DynaVox V,” “iPad with Proloquo2Go app) for 3 or more conversational turns with peers and/or staff in at least 3 out of 4 opportunities.
  • Baseline: Student takes 1-2 conversational turns in 2 out of 4 opportunities.

CHOICE MAKING:
  • Goal:  By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will initiate interactions and make appropriate requests using stylized line drawings depicting desired objects and/or actions from a field of two given choices in at least 4 of 5 opportunities with verbal prompting.
  • Baseline:  Student makes requests using stylized line drawings from a field of two in 1 out of 4 opportunities with verbal and gestural prompting.

TEXT TO SPEECH:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will independently read selected academic-based passages of moderate length (c. two pages), using text-to-speech software, and answer questions based on these passages with 80% or better accuracy.
  • Baseline: Student reads one-page academic passages and answers questions with 60% accuracy.

VOICE TO TEXT:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will compose a one-paragraph essay on a selected topic using alternatives to handwriting such as voice-to-text software with at least 80% accuracy.
  • Baseline: Student currently uses voice-to-text software with 60% accuracy.

WORD PREDICTION:
  • Goal: By his/her next annual review date, [the student] will type complete sentences using a minimum of five words using word prediction software in at least 4 of 5 trials.
  • Baseline: Student currently writes sentences and phrases of 2-3 words in 3 out of 5 trials.

 

***PLEASE NOTE:   The school team (teachers and related service providers) provides direct and consultative services for students, including assistive technology services.  Assistive Technology Team members are available to school team members when training or technical assistance is required but DO NOT provide direct service to students.  Assistive Technology should therefore not appear in the “service delivery” section.