1999 Conference Proceedings

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Kelly Jo Lynch, OTR, ATP
Statewide Consultant
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative
c/o CESA 8
223 W. Park St.
Gillett, WI 54124
Voice/Fax: 920-983-9849
Internet: KJLynch1@aol.com

Penny Reed, Ph.D, Director
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative
c/o Tomorrow River SD
357 N. Main St.
Amherst, WI 54406
Voice: 715-824-6415
Internet: preed@coredcs.com

The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative has been training school district staff across the state of Wisconsin to consider and assess the assistive technology needs of their students with disabilities. To facilitate this training, they have developed an assessment packet that school district staff can use to guide them through the consideration and assessment process. This packet contains a Procedure Guide, a Student Information Guide, a Planning Guide, an Assistive Technology Checklist and an Assistive Technology Consideration Guide. Participants will receive a copy of the entire assessment packet. This presentation will focus on the AT Checklist developed by Lynch (1997) and how school teams are using it to facilitate and improve their consideration, assessment and planning. The Assistive Technology Checklist provides an organizational structure utilizing eight functional categories. The categories are:

1) Writing, including Mechanics of Writing, Computer Access and Composing Written Material
2) Communication
3) Reading, Studying and Math,
4) Recreation and Leisure
5) Activities of Daily Living, including Mobility and Environmental Control
6) Positioning and Seating,
7) Vision and
8) Hearing.

Within each category, a continuum of assistive technology devices (from Low to High Tech) is listed. Using the AT Checklist, a team can identify potential Assistive Technology devices for trial use for an individual student, while considering the full range of options with the simplest adaptations first. The Checklist can also be used as a guide for planning for the studentÕs changing needs for Assistive Technology. The Assistive Technology Checklist for Students allows school staff to consider the needs of the whole child focusing on specific tasks the student needs to do, as opposed to focusing solely on the disability. The AT Checklist can be used as a tool to document assistive technology considered, tried, and in use by the student. In addition to the AT Checklist, the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative has developed the Procedure Guide, Student Information Guide, Planning Guide and AT Consideration Guide to assist the school district with the consideration and assessment process.

The Procedure Guide outlines the steps the school district team follows to effectively assess a child's needs for assistive technology. In determining whether or not the student needs Assistive Technology, the first question to ask is: 'Does the student have difficulty performing functional tasks?' If so, the next question is: 'Which tools will help the student perform the tasks?'. Effective assessment involves matching Student (abilities, difficulties), Environmental Considerations, and Tasks (that student needs to perform) with the appropriate Tools (Assistive Technology) (SETT - Zabala, 1994). In Wisconsin, we are committed to building school district capacity, therefore we teach a process that empowers the school district team. Part of this process involves training the team in a five step decision making process that facilitates team decision making. In carrying out the decision making, the Assistive Technology Consultant and the school district team form a partnership. The school district team members have expertise on the studentÕs abilities/disabilities, environmental considerations and tasks (including educational goals). The Assistive Technology consultant has specific knowledge regarding assistive devices and software. Therefore, when the School District Team and AT consultant form a partnership (each contributing their expertise) appropriate Assistive Technology devices can be selected for students. The role of the AT Consultant gradually fades as team capacity grows. The Student Information Guide is a tool the school district team can use for gathering information regarding a childÕs abilities and disabilities as they relate to functional tasks and the use of assistive technology. The Planning Guide outlines the five-step team problem solving process the team uses in assistive technology assessment.

In addition to these tools for Assistive Technology assessment, the Assistive Technology Consideration Guide is specifically designed to assist IEP teams with the consideration of Assistive Technology for each student.

Assistive Technology Checklist


Alternate Computer Access

Composing Written Material









Environmental Control




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