AT Myths and Misconceptions

Arizona Department of Education
Exceptional Student Services
Assistive Technology
School Days Graphics courtesy of Pete's PowerPoint Station
Hello QIAT friends
• This is an abbreviated version of our presentation. I
have removed slides not relevant outside of Arizona.
I hope you enjoy the AT Myths. They were initially
created by me and Christine Flannigan from Glendale
(AZ) Union High School for a presentation to school
psychologists. They were so successful in creating
great talking points that we embedded them in other
presentations, including this one. If you have myths
we need to add, we’d love to hear from you.
Bruce Kennedy, MA, MPA
Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
Mary Keeney, CCC, SLP
Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
Ann Gortarez, MEd
Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
Learner Outcomes:
Learners will identify:
Legal aspects of assistive technology (AT)
Low tech to high tech continuum of AT
SETT Framework for consideration
Common myths and misconceptions about
delivering AT services in the schools
• ADE Assistive Technology resources and
What is Assistive Technology?
Special education law
defines assistive technology
as both devices and services.
Assistive Technology
“Any item*, piece of equipment, or
product system, whether acquired
commercially off the shelf, modified, or
customized, that is used to increase,
maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of a child with a disability.”
IDEA ‘04
surgically implantable devices
AT Devices
Any device
(off the shelf, customized, or modified)
Used by a person
with a disability
To improve
functional capabilities
In other words…
•ANYTHING you can
make, or buy, or change,
that will help ANY
student, with ANY
disability, do ANYTHING.
Assistive Technology Services
• “... any service that directly assists an
individual with a disability in the selection,
acquisition, or use of an assistive
technology device.”
 Evaluation and selection of an
assistive technology system
 Purchasing, leasing, or acquiring
 Training and technical assistance for the
individual, family/caregiver, and school staff
AT in the IEP
• Assistive technology must be
considered at every annual IEP
meeting, regardless of the
type or severity of the
student’s disability.
In other words…
• Consider assistive technology
for every student, every
disability, every annual IEP,
every time.*
*at a minimum
AT may be documented in a variety of places on the
Special Factors
Support Services
Supplementary Aids and Services
Related Services
Transition Plan
Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act
Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities
Applies to all programs that receive federal funds, including the
public school system
Students with disabilities must be given the same opportunities to
participate in educational programs and activities as their classmates,
and the use of AT may be considered as an accommodation.
If a child does not qualify for special education services, they
may be able to acquire AT through a Section 504 plan.
PEA staff members may also fall into this category as
employees with disabilities.
Arizona Department of Education
Assistive Technology Services
• Grant funded trainings
• District trainings
• Regional trainings
• Tech support
• Consultation
• Loan library
-Any PEA (public or charter school) is eligible
-Private schools, BIE schools not eligible
Arizona Department of Education
Exceptional Student Services
AT Loan Library
AT Infomercial
So, what AT
do students with
______ need?
Improve Functional Capabilities in…
• Activities of Daily Living
• Communication
• Composing Written
• Computer Access
• Control of the
• Executive Functioning
• Hearing
• Learning/Studying
• Math
• Motor Aspects of
• Positioning & Seating
• Reading
• Recreation
• Mobility
• Vision
All ideas above quoted directly from the “Assistive Technology Consideration Quick Wheel” sold by TAM
pictures used with permission from ATEN of FL
The SETT Framework
Step 1
(Zabala, 1995)
present levels of academic and
functional performance and evaluation data
Step 2
where the student will make
progress toward mastering the curriculum goals
and objectives
Step 3
and objectives that address the student’s
needs within the general curriculum
Step 4
AT devices and services required for the
student to make progress toward the objectives
is an ongoing process
Is this AT?
bendy straw
curly shoelaces
duct tape
The Assistive Technology
No or low
Mid tech
High Tech
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The public education agency (PEA) has written procedural
guidelines that ensure equitable access to AT devices and
services for students with disabilities, if required for a free
and appropriate public education (FAPE).
• Intent: Clearly written procedural guidelines help ensure that
students with disabilities have the AT devices and services
they require for educational participation and benefit. Access
to AT is ensured regardless of severity of disability,
educational placement, geographic location, or economic
©The QIAT Community (Revised, 2005). Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology Services. For more
information, visit the QIAT web site at
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA broadly disseminates clearly defined procedures for
accessing and providing AT services and supports the
implementation of those guidelines.
• Intent: Procedures are readily available in multiple formats to
families and school personnel in special and general
education. All are aware of how to locate the procedures and
are expected to follow procedures whenever appropriate.
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA includes appropriate AT responsibilities in written
descriptions of job requirements for each position in which
activities impact AT services.
• Intent: Appropriate responsibilities and the knowledge, skills,
and actions required to fulfill them are specified for positions
from the classroom through the central office. These
descriptions will vary depending upon the position and may
be reflected in a position description, assignment of duty
statement, or some other written description.
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA employs personnel with the competencies needed
to support quality assistive technology services within their
primary areas of responsibility at all levels of the
• Intent: Although different knowledge, skills, and levels of
understanding are required for various jobs, all understand
and are able to fulfill their parts in developing and
maintaining a collaborative system of effective AT services to
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA includes AT in the technology planning and
budgeting process.
• Intent: A comprehensive, collaboratively-developed
technology plan provides for the technology needs of all
students in general education and special education.
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA provides access to ongoing learning opportunities
about AT for staff, family, and students.
• Intent: Learning opportunities are based on the needs of the
student, the family, and the staff and are readily available to
all. Training and technical assistance include any topic
pertinent to the selection, acquisition, or use of AT or any
other aspect of AT service delivery.
Quality Indicators for Administrative
Support of Assistive Technology
• The PEA uses a systematic process to evaluate all
components of the agency-wide AT program.
• Intent: The components of the evaluation process include,
but are not limited to, planning, budgeting, decision-making,
delivering AT services to students, and evaluating the impact
of AT services on student achievement. There are clear,
systematic evaluation procedures that all administrators know
about and use on a regular basis at central office and building
Top 10 Myths About Assistive
Technology in Special Education
# 10
Bonus Myth:
If you have UDL,
you don’t need AT.
Resources and Handouts
Contact Information
Bruce Kennedy, MA, MPA
ADE/ESS Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
(928) 679-8107
Mary Keeney, CCC-SLP
ADE/ESS Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
(602) 542-4016
Ann Gortarez, MEd
ADE/ESS Assistive Technology Specialist
[email protected]
(520) 628-6665
Northern Region
Central Region
Southern Region

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