2001 Conference Proceedings

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Assistive Technology Solutions for IEP Teams

Sherry L. Purcell, Ph.D.
Deborah Grant, M.A.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 provides a mandate for public education to become more inclusive for all learners. Access to the general education curriculum is required. How educators provide access to that curriculum is the key to educational success for students with special learning needs. 

A primary goal of every IEP Team should be to structure a learning environment which maximizes each student's ability to actively engage in daily activities. A general principle of education is that active learning opportunities allow a student to build on his/her own strengths, to construct his/her own knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, and to express that knowledge in a manner consistent with the individuals unique abilities. Children with disabilities present us with a variety of challenges. Learning is modulated for many through eyes which do not see, ears that do not hear, hands which do not grasp, legs which do not walk, and mouths which do not speak. Assistive technology bridges the gap between a child's functional skills and his/her ability to participate in the educational process. 

This session will present a newly developed guide for IEP teams called, Assistive Technology Solutions for IEP Teams: A Practical Guide for Implementing IDEA'97 . This guide is designed to infuse assistive technology into curriculum goals and objectives derived from state frameworks in the areas of reading, writing, communication and mathematics. This guide is designed to link curriculum standards from these frameworks with access solutions. The solutions offered include a range of suggestions from no/low tech to commercially available items. Vendor and purchasing information are cross referenced. Sample IFSP/IEP goals are included. As an additional benefit, a "Trash to Treasures" section includes fun -to- make -low -cost assistive technology items which can be easily constructed from remnants and throw-away materials. Participants in this session will develop strategies for addressing assistive technology considerations mandated by IDEA'97 which will be both cost effective and educationally effective in helping students to access curriculum goals and objectives.


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