1998 Conference Proceedings

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Lifespace Access Profile(c): Assistive Technology Assessment and Planning for Individuals with Severe or Multiple Disabilities (Original Protocol) and the Upper Extension for Individuals with Physical Disabilities. Now offered in both Macintosh and Windows ‘95 versions.

Frances M. Patten
Carl Harvey School
1635 S. Center St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Voice (714) 241-6560
franmp@aol.com 

Gerald Stemach
7351 Bodega Ave.
Sebastopol, CA 95473
Jerry_Stemach@fcbbs.sonoma.k12.ca.us 

The Lifespace Access Profile(c) is a client-centered, team-based collection of observations that point to next steps in a comprehensive program utilizing technology. It turns the overwhelming task of determining how technology can benefit individuals with physical disabilities into a systematic, co-operative search for solutions that work.

The original Lifespace Access Profile was developed in 1992 to answer the need to “match” a severe or multiply disabled individual and his/her needs to the growing number of assistive devices that were on the market. In 1994 the authors added an “upper extension” to address the needs of the group of physically handicapped individuals who are cognitively normal or above. In 1998 the group is offering the Lifespace Profile in a computer program.

The computer version of the profile reproduces both levels of the Lifespace Access Profile in both Macintosh and Windows ‘95 formats. This electronic version reproduces the original profiles on the computer allowing the user to fill in all areas by clicking on choices and by typing in comments. The features of the computer version are listed later in this paper.

The same format is followed for the computer version as is used in the original protocols; a team of professionals and family gathers information about a person’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and support resources and about the environments in which he or she uses these resources.

Physical resources include the senses, general health, postural control, muscle tone, coordination, mobility support, range of motion, and body sites for switch access.

Cognitive resources include understanding what a switch can do, discriminating among switches through pictures, symbols, or textures, and receptive and expressive communication.

Emotional resources include reinforcers (what the person may want to control with switches), attention span, distractibility, and tolerance for change.

Support resources include family, care providers, and professionals and the degree to which they have adequate equipment support, training, and time to implement a program for assistive technology use.

Environments for technology include school, home, community, and places of work and recreation. The profile asks how fully the person participates in these environments and how well technology is integrated into that participation.

The profile and the program planning outcomes are rooted in 3 simple beliefs:

(1) Assistive technology is not an exact science. A person with disabilities often receives specialized services from a variety of providers. These providers may work in isolation by necessity or circumstance. Each may have a valid and different idea about what is best to meet this person’s technology needs. The profile brings the individual, the family, and all the providers together into a single team focused on how technology may benefit the person.

Mutually acceptable solutions are developed and implemented in a coherent, systematic manner. The profile and program plan reflect the person’s changing needs and abilities over time.

(2) No one person can know it all. Assistive technology can be overwhelming. The literature and documentation on available software, communication devices, computers, switches, and peripherals can fill many files and many hours. The profile is a road map that defines the paths worthy of pursuit in serving a particular individual. It promotes the concept of teaming on all phases of assessment, planning, implementation and review.

(3) The need for technology may exceed available resources. Carefully matched and well supported assistive technology can be remarkably enabling. Many individuals with severe or multiple disabilities would benefit from access to and training with assistive technology, such as computers, adapted toys and appliances, communication devices, and powered mobility.

The Lifespace Access Profile represents the collective experiences of William B. Williams, MA, School Psychologist and Assistive Technology Specialist; Gerald Stemach, MA, CCC-SLP, Augmentative and Alternative Communication Specialist; Sheila Wolfe, MA, OTR, Occupational Therapist and Development Specialist; and Carol Stanger, MS, Bio-Medical Engineer.

Working as members of a transdisciplinary team, they have reduced the assessment process to its critical elements. The completed profile is a powerful statement about current levels of functioning and projected goals.

The profile is a written record of observations made by a team of care and service providers. It is a shared document that encourages discussion and problem solving. It is not a standardized test. Rather it asks team members to rate the individual on a scale of 1 to 10 across a variety of behaviors and abilities. A low number signals a relative weakness or absence of a behavior; a high number signals a relative strength or presence of a behavior. Except for certain fixed conditions, it is expected that these ratings will change from year to year, moving---if even ever so slowly---toward higher numbers.

The profile links assessment findings to a team process that establishes priorities and clarifies strategies for intervention and follow-up.

In 1997, Frances M. Patten, Assistive Technology Specialist, began working on both the original profile and the upper extension templates on a data base with the object of making the profiles easier to use and in final form easier to read.

The final product will be available in both Macintosh and Windows ‘95 formats as a stand alone program and will have the following features:

One notation, the rating number, will cause that rating to appear in the six areas where it is required in the profile;

On the profile rating page in the rating box and on a horizontal continuum.

On the profile summary page in the rating box and on the graph that shows the assessment team areas of strengths and weaknesses.

On the two parts of the same graph that appear in the profile summary report.

Once the assessed individual’s name, birth date, age, and an additional identifying number (social security or student number) are typed in the form, they will appear on each page of the profile.

The “main menu” of the program features buttons that will accomplish the following:

The “print menu” features buttons to print:

Each protocol page has the following buttons;

Assessment manual buttons will take the user to the appropriate page in the assessment manual for each of the 59 scales.

Each assessment manual page features buttons to;

Go backwards and forwards in the assessment manual

Return to the appropriate protocol page

Return to the main menu .

As an individual’s situation changes from preschool, to elementary school, to high school and then into adult programs or college the Lifespace Access Profile can be easily updated to reflect the changes in physical, cognitive and emotional needs of that individual. Updated protocols will make it easy to track previous interventions and their results.

Lifespace Access Profile:

Assistive Technology Assessment and Planning for

Individuals with Severe or Multiple Disabilities (Original Protocol) and the Upper Extension for Individuals with Physical Disabilities.

Now offered in both Macintosh and Windows 95 versions.

The Lifespace Access Profile is a client-centered, team-based collection of observations that point to next steps in a comprehensive program utilizing technology. It turns the overwhelming task of determining how technology can benefit individuals with physical disabilities into a systematic, co-operative search for solutions that work.

The original Lifespace Access Profile was developed in 1992 to answer the need to 'match' a severe or multiply disabled individual and his/her needs to the growing number of assistive devices that were on the market. In 1994 the authors added an 'upper extension' to address the needs of the group of physically handicapped individuals who are cognitively normal or above. In 1998 the group is offering the Lifespace Profile in a computer program.

The computer version of the profile reproduces both levels of the Lifespace Access Profile in both Macintosh and Windows 95 formats. This electronic version reproduces the original profiles on the computer allowing the user to fill in all areas by clicking on choices and by typing in comments. The features of the computer version are listed later in this paper.

The same format is followed for the computer version as is used in the original protocols; a team of professionals and family gathers information about a person's physical, cognitive, emotional, and support resources and about the environments in which he or she uses these resources.

The profile and the program planning outcomes are rooted in 3 simple beliefs:

(1) Assistive technology is not an exact science. A person with disabilities often receives specialized services from a variety of providers. These providers may work in isolation by necessity or circumstance. Each may have a valid and different idea about what is best to meet this person's technology needs. The profile brings the individual, the family, and all the providers together into a single team focused on how technology may benefit the person. Mutually acceptable solutions are developed and implemented in a coherent, systematic manner. The profile and program plan reflect the person's changing needs and abilities over time.

(2) No one person can know it all. Assistive technology can be overwhelming. The literature and documentation on available software, communication devices, computers, switches, and peripherals can fill many files and many hours. The profile is a road map that defines the paths worthy of pursuit in serving a particular individual. It promotes the concept of teaming on all phases of assessment, planning, implementation and review.

(3) The need for technology may exceed available resources. Carefully matched and well supported assistive technology can be remarkably enabling. Many individuals with severe or multiple disabilities would benefit from access to and training with assistive technology, such as computers, adapted toys and appliances, communication devices, and powered mobility.

The Lifespace Access Profile represents the collective experiences of William B. Williams, MA, School Psychologist and Assistive Technology Specialist; Gerald Stemach, MA, CCC-SLP, Augmentative and Alternative Communication Specialist; Sheila Wolfe, MA, OTR, Occupational Therapist and Development Specialist; and Carol Stanger, MS, Bio-Medical Engineer.

Working as members of a transdisciplinary team, they have reduced the assessment process to its critical elements. The completed profile is a powerful statement about current levels of functioning and projected goals.

The profile is a written record of observations made by a team of care and service providers. It is a shared document that encourages discussion and problem solving. It is not a standardized test. Rather it asks team members to rate the individual on a scale of 1 to 10 across a variety of behaviors and abilities. A low number signals a relative weakness or absence of a behavior; a high number signals a relative strength or presence of a behavior. Except for certain fixed conditions, it is expected that these ratings will change from year to year, moving---if even ever so slowly---toward higher numbers.

The profile links assessment findings to a team process that establishes priorities and clarifies strategies for intervention and follow-up.

In 1997, Frances M. Patten, Assistive Technology Specialist, began working on both the original profile and the upper extension templates on a data base with the object of making the profiles easier to use and in final form easier to read.

The final product will be available in both Macintosh and Windows Ô95 formats as a stand alone program and will have the following features:

One notation, the rating number, will cause that rating to appear in the six areas where it is required in the profile;

The main menu of the program features buttons that will accomplish the following:

The print menu features buttons to print:

Each protocol page has the following buttons;

Assessment manual buttons will take the user to the appropriate page inthe assessment manual for each of the 59 scales.

Each assessment manual page features buttons to;

As an individuals situation changes from preschool, to elementary school, to high school and then into adult programs or college the Lifespace Access Profile can be easily updated to reflect the changes in physical, cognitive and emotional needs of that individual. Updated protocols will make it easy to track previous interventions and their results.


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